Friday Offcuts – 29 November 2019

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Leading the news this week is last Friday's announcement from New Zealand’s Forestry Minister, Shane Jones. It was on his home turf, Northland, and it was timed to coincide with the release of two new reports commissioned by Te Uru Rākau that showed log supplies to local wood processors are expected to tighten up over the next few years. Although nothing has yet been settled, the measures being explored by the Minister’s officials may raise a few eyebrows from the country’s forest owners.

It appears, reading between the lines, that the package is aimed more at the smaller woodlot owners increasingly involved in harvesting blocks that they planted in the late 80’s and early 90’s rather than corporate or larger forest owners. MPI’s national wood availability forecasts shows that in 2007, just 14% of the national harvest was drawn from smaller growers. By 2015 this had risen to 25.5% and the figure is forecast to average 40% during the 2020’s, when smaller growers are supplying between 13 and 14 million m3 per annum. This change in harvesting patterns means that smaller growers are going to be supplying two out of every five logs in the 2020’s. It’s important that they can participate fully and fairly in the log market.

Among the measures being suggested are the introduction of a professional registration scheme for log buyers, a standardised sales and purchase contract, more information to help local growers work through their log harvesting and sales plans and increased efforts to help small forest growers pool their resources to achieve economies of scale when it comes to sale. A series of workshops are being planned around the country in December by MPI and the Minister plans on reporting back early in the New Year.

Again, this week, we cover the outstanding efforts that the Australian industry have taken to engage younger students and teachers. The recently launched virtual reality school toolkit, ForestVRTM, has already caught the attention of teachers from across Australia. It’s a new approach to learning and it’s pitched perfectly with younger technology-savvy learners hungry for exactly this type of experience. In addition to the virtual reality toolkit that enables students to look inside a myriad of forestry and wood products operations, new teaching resources and lesson plans are also being rolled out across schools in early 2020. Further information on this ambitious initiative is detailed below.

Congratulations to Forest and Wood Products Australia, the various teacher associations and leading forest and wood product industry partners in Australia that have been driving and funding this joint initiative. Somewhere along the way the Kiwis have missed the boat. Regional Wood Councils in part are filling local needs with limited funds and Future Foresters on a shoe string budget is actively engaging younger readers through their short well-made videos that they’re posting onto social media.

Efforts in New Zealand to date have largely been disjointed. To truly make a difference in a sector that’s increasingly finding it tougher to fill the skills gaps and attract younger people into forestry, harvesting, transport and wood processing, the industry needs to address the issue rather than just continue to talk about it. Key industry associations need to take the lead here, provide the necessary resources to fund this work and take a leaf out of the Australian industry’s efforts. And finally, if wishing to advertise in this newsletter over the next few weeks or in the New Year, check out details in the story below. Enjoy this week's read.

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New measures proposed for woodlot sales

The Government will further strengthen New Zealand’s wood processing sector as part of our focus on ‘value over volume’ in our forestry industry, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

Minister Jones met with forestry representatives in Northland to signal new measures to help the industry, including a log buyer registration scheme that would see more logs processed onshore and provide better job certainty in regional communities.

“Our commercial forestry and wood processing sector faces significant challenges,” Shane Jones said. “It is a fragmented industry and there is significant value to be gained by increasing cooperation between those who own the land, own the trees, process them, and export them. The focus has historically been on volume rather than adding value and high export prices have created strong incentives to export unprocessed logs”.

“The Government is also well aware of looming log supply constraints for domestic processors over the coming decades,” Shane Jones said. On Friday, two research reports commissioned by Te Uru Rākau from Forme Consulting and Scion into log supply issues in Northland were also released. The reports note the region will see restricted supply worsen in the early 2020s, with shortages in Canterbury, Southland and the southern North Island emerging in the late 2020s.

“The package of measures I have asked my officials to explore won’t fix things overnight but they will help provide surety of supply and assurance of the sustainability of New Zealand wood for markets. The most significant initiative would be the introduction of a professional registration scheme for log buyers as well as a standardised sales and purchase contract”

“This would ensure small growers receive impartial and comprehensive advice from log buyers and provide for redress in the event of unprofessional behaviour. I also propose to create a national definition of wood legality, which will support access for our forestry exports internationally”.

“The global illegal log trade is a substantial and an ongoing challenge, which is undermining and threatening progress on sustainable development and climate change objectives. We’re also going to increase the flow of transparent information for the sector such as publishing a harvest and sales information series and help small forest growers pool their resources to achieve economies of scale”.

“From my regular discussions with those in the industry, I know they understand the need for this nationally-focused approach to provide certainty and longevity for the wider sector. Cabinet has directed officials to pursue these measures and I intend to report back early next year”.

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X-Frame gets commercialisation boost

Clip-together modular building design can be rapidly assembled, disassembled and reused, eliminating waste during a building’s lifecycle

Victoria University of Wellington PhD candidate Ged Finch is fast tracking the commercialisation of his X-Frame structural frame solution for waste free buildings with support from the KiwiNet Emerging Innovator Programme. The game-changing framing system can be disassembled and re-used at the end of a building’s useful life.

Finch’s design, a self-braced interlocking wood design which clips together eliminating the need for single-use fixings, has the potential to eliminate waste and reduce the amount of raw materials being used by the building industry. Approximately half of all New Zealand's waste—about 1.6 million tonnes every year—is generated by the construction sector.

“The current widespread use of adhesive-based fixings and single-life materials means that building a single new home will create about four tonnes of waste during construction, and even more when it’s eventually demolished and taken to the landfill,” says Finch. Finch, who has been working with Viclink, Victoria University of Wellington’s commercialisation office, also secured a place on KiwiNet’s Emerging Innovator programme to help commercialise the green architectural solution.

Every single component of Finch’s X-Frame design, cut by a computer-controlled router, can be disassembled and reused, so no waste is produced at any stage of a building’s lifecycle. The clip-together design allows any type of structure—floors, walls, ceilings—to be rapidly assembled and disassembled many times over, using unskilled labour and a bare minimum of tools, akin to flat-pack furniture. Adding doors or windows at a later stage is simple, and when kids leave home: “they could literally take their rooms with them, as our modular design also clips onto standard framing.”

Dr James Hutchinson, CEO of KiwiNet, says: “Ged’s vision is to transition the building sector from a linear (take, make, dispose) economy to a circular economy—where materials are reused in endless cycles. His approach could set a new benchmark for sustainable design, and it makes great commercial sense. KiwiNet’s Investment Committee saw an opportunity to support Ged with expertise, networks and funding to do specialised work required to demonstrate his ideas at scale, and to assist with the commercialisation pathway from concept to new architectural solution.”

Finch is currently building a small (10m2) prefabricated prototype dwelling in Auckland to demonstrate his ideas at scale and to inform market viability. He believes the completed prototype will be New Zealand’s most sophisticated ‘circular’ building.

Finch says, “This prototype build is a major step as it is the first time we will have built the entire wall system with cladding, cavity battens, insulation and an internal lining. Unitec Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture have helped out by providing robotic fabrication facilities to create the frame – which means we’ll be able to have the entire building water-tight in less than one week on-site. We’re cladding the assembled X-Frame in an entirely reusable, chemical free external cladding system centered around a naturally preserved timber product being developed by Abodo Wood Ltd.”

Photo: Ged Finh to Victoria University of Wellington

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Virtual reality engages tech-hungry learners

With the increased need to integrate meaningful and engaging technology and ICT capability tools in schools, teachers are increasingly required to discover and learn new ways to incorporate these tools in the classroom to meet their busy curriculum.

Smartboards, webquests, ipads, laptops – the need to engage our active learners in new and interesting ways is ongoing. It can be difficult however to find ways to integrate technology in an authentic way to meet Australian curriculum outcomes – not just use technology for the sake of it, or dare we suggest, for entertainment value.

In a time where we also hope to provide real world tangible solutions to an ever-increasing concern amongst many of our students for our climate future, it’s no surprise that a recently launched virtual reality school toolkit, ForestVRTM, has caught the attention of teachers around Australia.

ForestVRTM, allows students to immersively - and virtually - learn through 360 experiences and environments about Australia’s productive forests from seed to shelter - the only carbon positive industry in Australia. The free to view and download online 360 experiences and virtual tours have students immersed right alongside forestry workers while they plant new tree seedlings, or join the log crane operators in their heavy machinery as they get harvested logs ready to be processed into paper and cardboard.

Today’s technology-savvy learners are hungry for this type of experience, and teachers will be pleased to see even their most-trickiest of students, engaged in this approach to learning. ForestLearning, an initiative of Forest and Wood Products Australia Ltd., has launched the immersive toolkit for schools at the recently held Geography Teachers Association Victoria, Australian Geography Teachers Conference, Forest Education Foundation conference in Tasmania, and the Mount Gambier ForestLearning pathways program.

The ForestVRTM Learn Through Immersion virtual reality toolkit, and soon to be launched in early 2020 teaching resources and lesson plans, was developed and designed through collaboration with the Geography Teachers Association Victoria and the Design and Technology Teachers Association Victoria and other successful early adopters of VR in classrooms, in conjunction with leading forest and wood product industry partners.

Filmed at 28 different locations across Australia, the 360 immersive experiences and virtual tours are available to view and download via They can also be useful tools used in conjunction with school field trips to forest areas, as they provide students with the ‘missing links’ in the productive forestry renewable cycle that wouldn’t otherwise be possible to visit for students due to OH&S, bus costs and other barriers.

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Freight hub a bold vision for New Zealand

The design of a new rail-road freight hub near Palmerston North is a bold vision for New Zealand's logistics sector, KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller says. The Master Plan for the three-kilometre long intermodal freight hub, unveiled by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones on Tuesday, combines a container terminal, warehousing for road transport operators, and bulk goods and forestry loading operations with KiwiRail's train operations and maintenance facilities.

"This is a major step forward in New Zealand's approach to freight logistics," Mr Miller says. "It brings road and rail freight together in a much more integrated and seamless way, improving efficiency and saving in costs. The design allows for consumer imports and bulk exports to be managed at one place, and there is plenty of room to co-locate freight partners and meet their warehousing needs."

Mr Miller says Palmerston North is already a critical freight distribution point, with goods coming through from the upper North Island, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Wellington and the South Island. "With freight volumes expected to increase in the decades ahead, this intermodal hub will be a crucial freight centre for the lower North Island.

"The efficiency improvements will make rail more attractive and help manage the numbers of trucks on our national and regional roads. But we are also planning for the decades ahead, ensuring the hub is designed to accommodate longer, more economical 1,500 metre trains - which is a 60 per cent increase in length and capacity.

"A purposely designed facility to link rail and road together like this hasn't been seen in New Zealand. We are creating something world-class, which will support the growth of Manawatu's logistics industry well into the future."

The Government's Provincial Growth Fund has invested NZ$40 million as a catalyst to developing the hub. This funding allows KiwiRail to design the hub, purchase land for it and have the land designated for rail use. With the Master Plan complete, KiwiRail is now working with local councils, iwi and other stakeholders to identify sites around Palmerston North where the hub could be built.

KiwiRail expects to identify a preferred technical site, and will be consulting with the public early next year, before seeking to have the land designated for rail use. The Intermodal Freight Hub Master Plan fly through animation is available for media use from this drop box link.

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VAFI Annual Awards celebrated

On Friday 15 November, the achievements of VAFI members were recognised by the VAFI Awards.

The Economy Award, sponsored by Timber Training Creswick was awarded to Australian Paper for its outstanding contribution to the Latrobe Valley and Victorian economy through a number of initiatives and major projects undertaken in 2018/19 including the 2018 Maryvale Mill Annual Shut.

The annual shut was one of the longest in the site’s 81-year history. Over 26 days last August and September, the shut allowed for the investment of AU$51 million in 31 separate capital upgrades to strategic Mill infrastructure. More than 50 local businesses were involved in the shut, boosting the Latrobe Valley regional economy and supporting valuable employment opportunities.

The Community Award, sponsored by ForestWorks, was awarded to SFM Environmental Solutions for its Forestry in Schools project. Rendelsham Primary School owned a plantation of trees that had been established on local council land some 35-40 years earlier. SFM staff visited and assessed the site’s suitability for harvest. SFM staff Courtney Pink and Mike Lawson talked to the children in their classroom prior to walking down the entire school to see the harvesting operation in progress. Employment opportunities were also discussed, and once on site, the children were clearly sold on working in the industry.

The Sustainability Award, sponsored by Indufor, was awarded to Walker’s Sawmill in Corryong for its investment in its solar power initiative on the site, demonstrating its commitment to renewable energy and improved productivity. Walker's Sawmill is now reaping the rewards of new LED lighting and solar electricity. Employment has grown to 23 staff and production has increased by 40%. The Sawmill has kept people in jobs, contributed significantly to the local town of Corryong, provided a substantial increase to the timber and forestry industry economy. Crucially, it has achieved this while also lowering the carbon footprint of the business by investing in renewable energy.

VAFI’s Lifetime Achievement recipient was Max Walker of Walker’s Sawmill. Max has devoted more than eight decades to the timber and forestry industry and Tim Johnston, VAFI CEO was privileged to pay tribute to a son, husband, father, stalwart, friend and one hell of a saw miller. Max was not able to travel due to ill health and the award was accepted on his behalf by his son, Graham.

Source: VAFI The News Mill

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Victorians turn out for timber jobs rally

On Monday approximately 300 native forestry workers and supporters including members and sponsors from AFCA, the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) and Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) attended a rally held at Parliament House.

Industry heard from AFPA CEO Ross Hampton and VAFI CEO Tim Johnston as well as Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh. Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien announced at the rally support for Legislative Council Inquiry into the Andrews Government decision to shut down the native forestry industry by 2030.

The Opposition also confirmed their promise to overturn the decision to shut down native forestry industry, if elected in the next state election. Symbolic of their support both O'Brien and Walsh tore up the current transition package proposed by the current Government, a package which is entirely unsatisfactory to our industry (picture below).

In front of the crowd AFCA General Manager, Ms Stacey Gardiner completed a brief interview with AFCA Director and Forestry Contractor, Chris Stafford, on what the announcement meant for him and his ten direct employees, many who attended the rally.

They also noted that a number of members were unable to participate in the rally as they were currently supporting the government with fire-fighting activities in East Gippsland with their employees and equipment. This service and equipment that would no longer be available if the decision to close the native industry was not reversed.

For more information, please read the joint media release here.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh's media release here.

Source: AFCA

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Timber Queensland Board elected

Responding to regional opportunities and technical innovations ahead for the State’s $3.2 billion forest and timber industry, a broad representation of Directors was elected at Timber Queensland’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week, which was hosted at the ARC Future Timber Hub at the University of Queensland.

A unanimous decision by members present, elected Mr Paul Bidwell Deputy Chief Executive, Master Builders Queensland as the Chair and Mr James Hyne, Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Hyne Timber, as Deputy Chair.

Timber Queensland Chair Mr Paul Bidwell said the incoming Board visited the Future Timber Hub’s structural engineering and fire laboratories where experts from industry, government, and academia are collaborating to develop the skills, knowledge and resources to foster future growth of tall timber buildings.

“Many of these projects focus on developing engineered wood products (EWPs) in future building structures. Increased use of products such as glue laminated timber, laminated veneer lumber and cross laminated timber, offer new opportunities for the construction industry to reduce environmental impact and adopt timber solutions in the building market,” said Mr Bidwell.

“We were able to see first-hand the applied research and integrated approaches to tall timber design and engineering, with many exciting applications for future housing and commercial projects.” The Future Timber Hub is an interdisciplinary partnership between the University of Queensland, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Arup, Hyne Timber, Lendlease, Queensland Fire and Emergency Service, Scion NZ, Griffith University, University of British Columbia and the University of Canterbury.

Mr Bidwell said a key strength of the incoming Board was its diversity of Directors who represent the full industry supply chain from growers and processors through to traders and fabricators. “Timber Queensland provides a united, powerful voice, and this board has insight into the policy and regulatory environment, as well as the environmental, technical and market development aspects of meeting the growing demand for timber products,” he said.

The Directors elected at the 2019 AGM included:

• Paul Bidwell, Master Builders Queensland
• James Hyne, Hyne Timber
• Robert Tapiolas, Parkside Group
• Craig Neale, AKD Softwoods
• Curly Tatnell, DTM Timber
• Islay Robertson, HQPlantations
• Bob Engwirda, Hurfords Wholesale
• Adan Taylor, GMT Logging
• David Simms, Simms Group
• Bob Ryder, DTM Frame and Truss

Timber Queensland Chief Executive Officer, Mick Stephens said the Board had identified some key priorities going forward in 2020, including resource security and expansion, waste management and improving regional timber supply chains.

Photo: Directors present at the incoming meeting from L to R: Bob Engwirda, Adan Taylor, Craig Neale, David Simms (back row). James Hyne, Paul Bidwell (front row).

Source: Timber Queensland

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Fine and reprimand for East Coast debris damage

Juken New Zealand has been fined NZ$152,000 and reprimanded by an Environment Court judge for its activities at Waituna Forest, after storm-induced slash and debris damage to waterways last June.

Gisborne District Council was also reprimanded by Judge Brian Dwyer. who said it was “disgraceful” the council had not made any compliance checks since first issuing Juken with resource consents for Waituna in 2013.

The GDC had a statutory obligation under the Resource Management Act to ensure compliance by consent holders but did not do it, the judge said. Forest companies in Gisborne and the council both needed to “lift their game”, Judge Dwyer said.

Juken is the first of several forest companies to face penalty for slash damage caused after weather events on June 3 and 4 and June 11 and 12 last year. The company changed its previous not guilty plea and pleaded guilty earlier this year to a Resource Management Act charge of discharging contaminants — slash, and logging debris — on to land where it was able to enter water.

On June 25, Juken self-reported the damage to the neighbour’s property (which it has since remedied) to the GDC, which had begun investigating debris damage caused in the area and at Tolaga Bay. Council officers who inspected Waituna found Juken in breach of six of the conditions in each of its two resource consents. Issues related to roading construction and run-off, water control, and unstable accumulations of log debris mixed with soil left perching over landing sites.

Abatement notices were issued, with which Juken had more than complied, Mr Hopkinson said. Judge Dwyer said the company’s culpability was high. It had not only breached its resource consents but had failed to comply with the NZ Forest Owners Association Environmental Code of Practice. Management and practices at Waituna were poor.

Forestry and wood processing company Juken has expressed “sincere regret”, after it was fined for breaching the Resource Management Act. A company statement said Juken “expresses sincere regret for its failure to comply with the law in this instance, and for the damage caused”.

Juken self-reported the discharge and co-operated with the council at all times, the statement said. Genuine efforts had also been taken to carry out remedial works required in an expeditious manner, the company said. To date, Juken has expended approximately NZ$600,000 remediating the damage caused and the only affected land owner is satisfied with Juken’s actions and efforts.


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Latest quarterly Timber Market Survey report out

The September quarter 2019 Australian Timber Market Survey (TMS) has shown downward price movements for untreated MGP products ranging between 0.4% and 1.3%. Treated sleeper and treated decking prices also declined over the quarter, with price movements ranging between 0.3% and 1.4%.

Price movements for panel products were mixed, with price decreases for MDF products ranging between 1.1% and 1.3%, and price increases for plywood products ranging between 0.6% and 0.9%. Price movements for engineered wood products were downwards and ranged between 0.4% and 1.0%. LVL products recorded the largest price declines within the engineered product group.

The TMS collects price data through quarterly surveys of a representative sample of timber market participants in eastern Australia. All quarterly TMS reports contain price movement information for softwood timber, panels and engineered wood products. The June and December quarter editions also include price movement information for hardwood timber products surveyed over a six-month period.

The TMS is prepared by Indufor and funded by nine major Australian forestry organisations: Forestry Corporation of NSW; VicForests; Hancock Victorian Plantations; HQPlantations; OneFortyOne Plantations; Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Green Triangle Forest Products; AKD Softwoods; and Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

Further information and the latest Timber Market Survey report is available at: September quarter 2019 TMS report

Source: Indufor Asia Pacific (Australia)

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More nurseries needed to produce the sea of pines

The NZ Government has suggested that we should make ourselves carbon neutral by planting many millions of additional forest trees. If this is to become a reality there will be a need for new nurseries to be established to cater for the many millions of trees that will be needed.

So, now is an opportune time to remind ourselves of the need for these nurseries to ensure that their plants are well infected with the correct mycorrhizal fungi. This is particularly important if the trees are ectomycorrhizal species, for example pines, Douglas fir, and eucalypts, and are to be planted into cropping areas, grassland and scrubland where there are unlikely to be any ectomycorrhizal fungi present.

Some of you will remember the problems that were encountered in the 1980s when some nurseries failed to do this and Douglas fir planted into upland areas of Southland, Otago and Canterbury turned yellow and died. A recent chapter in a book "Commercial Inoculation of Pseudotsuga with an Ectomycorrhizal Fungus and its Consequences" written by Ian Hall, Chris Perley and colleagues reminds us of the potential problems. The chapter outlines how a new nursery established in North Otago in the mid-1990s, which was capable of producing about 10 million containerised trees, was faced with a sea of yellow Douglas fir seedlings (photo).

Preliminary studies by Ian Hall and his truffle team showed that none of the trees had any mycorrhizal fungi on their roots. In an attempt to get a quick fix, the nursery had heaped on nutrients to try to correct the problem. It turned out this was the worst thing they could have done because it made the plants unattractive to mycorrhizal fungi. If these had then been outplanted into the upland runout pasture in Southland where the plants were destined for and where there were no sources of suitable ectomycorrhizal fungi, the trees would probably have grown a little then turned yellow, become stunted and died.

So, a suitable mycorrhizal fungus was selected (Rhizopogon parksii) which was relatively easy to manipulate, a method developed for quickly inoculating all the seedlings, and providing not too much fertiliser was applied in the nursery, it was possible to ensure that the millions of seedlings were mycorrhizal, suitable for outplanting and guarantee good growth. The plantation at Gowan Hills is now more than 20 years old, the stand is even and there is no sign of yellowing.

In the discussion of the chapter the authors then delve into the vexed question regarding the replacement of our iconic grasslands with trees in those areas where forest would have covered the land before the arrival of man. They also suggest that it would have been better if the Douglas fir had been mycorrhized with fungi that produced edible mushrooms although at the time this was not an option - the forestry company simply couldn't wait for the development of the additional technology.

However, this has now been developed so that radiata pine, Scots pine, and stone pine can be mycorrhized with the delicious saffron milk cap mushroom. Indeed, the stone pine offers the possibility of triple cropping a stand - mushrooms after a couple of years, then pine nuts and finally timber, an option that Ian and his colleagues have been working on in New Zealand, China and elsewhere for more than a decade. With a little more work, it should also be possible to inoculate Douglas fir with one of the edible North American truffles or Suillus lakei (painted bolete).

A copy of a conference paper given by Ian Hall in China last year on the production of edible mushrooms as secondary crops in plantation forests can be downloaded from Research Gate.

Source: Truffles and Mushrooms (Consulting),

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Advertising options over Christmas

For those planning on advertising in this newsletter over the next few weeks, best get on to it. Our last issue for Friday Offcuts for 2019 will run in just two weeks’ time, on Friday 13 December. We plan on resuming service again on Friday 17 January 2020.

Any questions regarding the placement of adverts in the lead up to or immediately after the Christmas summer break, please make contact with

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5,000 forestry workers now off the job

Vancouver Island’s forest industry has effectively been shut down with news this week that Mosaic Forest Management has curtailed harvesting operations. The company, which manages the forests for TimberWest and Island Timberlands, said as many as 2,000 forest contractors have been idled weeks earlier than usual due to market conditions.

“We are currently experiencing very challenging pricing and market conditions. As a result, we are shutting down earlier ahead of a usual winter shutdown,” said Pam Agnew, Mosaic’s communications manager. “We are monitoring the situation closely and look forward to restarting production when the market outlook improves.”

The winter shutdown happens every year, though generally it doesn’t come for another few weeks. This year the shutdown started Nov. 25, which means some contractors will have wrapped up their work by the end of this week. Others may take another week or so.

Contractors involved in the planning and silviculture side of the operations may continue working. “We are working with our customers and contractors to manage through this challenging time. We will monitor the situation very closely,” said Agnew.

With Mosaic’s curtailment there are now 5,000 forestry workers out of work on the coast. Nearly 3,000 Western Forest Products employees and contracted workers at six Island manufacturing plants and timberlands around the coast have been on strike since July 1.

Mediated talks between the United Steelworkers Union and Western broke off Nov. 18. The union said it has requested that Western return to the bargaining table. No schedule of new talks has been announced.


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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... a dicky heart

Billy goes to the doctor

Billy – I have a dicky heart doc

Doctor – I think we can fix that with some pills

Take one pill on Monday

Skip Tuesday

Take one pill on Wednesday

Skip Thursday

Take one pill on Friday

Skip Saturday and Sunday

A few months went by and the doctor met Billy’s wife

He asked how is Billy

Wife – Billy died

Doctor – how when

Wife – it was his heart

Doctor – but the pills should have sorted that

Wife – the pills were great, it was all that skipping that killed him

One more. A young Scotsman leaves home and moves to New York.

After six months his mom calls him and she asks how he finds the Americans.

“Horrible,” he says. “They’re always yelling and screaming. I hate how they constantly pound on the walls and stomp the floors.”

“How do you get by?” she asks.

“I just relax in bed, playing me bagpipes,” says the Scot.

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Must be about time to start that Xmas shopping. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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