Friday Offcuts – 15 July 2022

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The timing’s spot on. The opportunity of better utilising wood residues from forest and skid sites is a hot topic right now across the industry. The economics are really starting to stack up and conversions from larger energy users from fossil fuels to renewables including biomass are appearing now almost monthly. Already, over 300 forest managers, wood harvesting contractors and those involved in transporting and aggregating residues supplies have registered for the major Wood Residues event ( www.woodresidues.events running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 26-27 July. It’s going to be a full house.

In line with this interest in utilising biofuels, Genesis Energy says its plans to use biofuel at the Huntly power station, currently running on gas and coal, could extend its life to post-2040. They’re preparing now to run trials using biomass, or wood pellets, as a replacement for coal. Aside from supporting the NZ Government’s goal of increasing the renewable share of energy consumption to 50% by 2035, the conversion to pellets will ensure a speedy transition can occur at the power station as minimal modification will be required to the existing plant.

Biofuels are also at the forefront of airlines moving to more sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Understandably fuel burn is the most significant factor in an airlines carbon emissions. AU$200 million has just been set aside by the Australian airline Qantas as part of their goal of using 10% SAF on its planes by 2030. It’s also hoped that the investment will help kickstart the local biofuels industry as currently, you can’t get SAF from Australia. Same thing in Japan. The adoption of SAF is a key component of their plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector. Japan is looking to introduce new SAF measures in 2023 and they’re estimating that Japanese airports will be using between 2.5 and 5.6 billion litres of SAF by 2030.

And still with energy, after calling for early interest to develop renewable energy generation and storage in its pine plantations, Forestry Corporation NSW say that by installing wind turbines in just five forest sites, they could generate up to 2.5 gigawatts of energy a year for the State. They’re now seeking formal proposals. Other state governments have also been looking at opening up parts of their state pine plantations to wind energy projects. In Queensland, development approval has been given for an AU$2 billion project where up to 226 turbines would be located in state pine forests and a similar project has been proposed by the French renewable energy developer Neoen, which is looking at a 900MW wind project and battery hub in western Victoria.

And finally, in trucking news this week, SCA together with Scania have just announced that they’ve rolled out the world’s first electric log truck. It’s a battery-powered truck with a capacity of 80 tonnes. More testing and data collection (including comparing energy consumption, productivity and costs against existing vehicles) is being planned over the European summer months with logs being transported between SCA’s timber terminal and their paper mill in Obbola, Sweden. The next part of the roll out is for the new truck to be built into SCA's regular operations. The operational use of this new truck demonstrates just how quickly some of these new vehicle and battery technologies are developing at the moment. That’s all for this week.

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Responsible Wood spreading PEFC word in NZ

Responsible Wood CEO Simon Dorries and Sustainability Manager Matt de Jongh have spent a week travelling throughout New Zealand, introducing the new AS / NZS 4708 Sustainable Forest Management standard to the NZ market.

This included hosting a workshop at SCION House, Rotorua, where Matt de Jongh and Simon Dorries introduced the new standard to a cross-section of PEFC certificate holders and stakeholders. In December 2021, Responsible Wood published the new AS/NZS 4708:2021 – Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) principles standard.

Published for the first time as a Trans-Tasman Standard, the new Standard provides common benchmarks for sustainably managed Australian and New Zealand forests. To download the latest standard visit www.responsiblewood.org.au.

“It is important to communicate with certificate holders on the key changes to the new standard and that there is a two-year transition period,” said Matt de Jongh. “It is also important to point out that the new standard is, for the first time, a joint Australian and New Zealand standard.”

Mr de Jongh will continue to hold workshops throughout Australia and New Zealand over coming months. So far Mr de Jongh has presented workshops in Tasmania and Western Australia with upcoming workshops scheduled in Melbourne and Mount Gambier.

In November 2021, the SCION Innovation Hub was awarded World Architecture Festival Best Use of Certified Timber Prize – Supported by PEFC International in Lisbon Portugal. The building showcases PEFC-certified timber in a unique diagrid structure – a design requiring less material than a traditional mass engineered timber building, greatly assisting with earthquake conditions as well as achieving embodied carbon zero.

Earlier in the week, Simon Dorries and Matt de Jongh visited a PEFC-certified Southwood Exports Limited Forest in Invercargill, New Zealand. “PEFC certified since August 2017, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet with a certified forest manager and discuss the new Trans-Tasman Sustainable Forest Management Standard.” Mr de Jongh said.

PEFC continues to grow from strength to strength with more than 600,000 hectares of New Zealand defined forest now certified under the PEFC certification. Responsible Wood is the National Governing Body for PEFC in Australia and manages the PEFC New Zealand scheme on behalf of the New Zealand Forest Certification Association (NZFCA).

Photo: Matt de Jongh, Responsible Wood, Julian Elder, Scion, Pam McLean, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Andy Fleming, Rayioner New Zealand Limited, Carol Rivera, SGS New Zealand Limited, Colin Maunder Timberlands Limited, Sally Strang, Manulife Investment Management NZ Forest Management Limited, Murray Parrish, OJI Fibre Solutions NZ, Simon Dorries, Responsible Wood, Kit Richards, New Zealand Institute of Forestry, Graeme Gillies, ECG, and Robert Finch, Scion, attend the SCION workshop introducing stakeholders to AS / NZS 4708 in Rotorua, New Zealand

Source: Responsible Wood

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Using biomass to extend Huntly's life

Genesis Energy says its plans to use biofuel at the Huntly power station could extend its life to post-2040. The observation is made in submissions on the NZ Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan which is currently being considered by Parliament’s environment select committee.

Genesis said it supports the government’s goal of increasing the renewable share of energy consumption to 50% by 2035. “However, we consider that the current focus may be too siloed in terms of achieving our transition to renewable energy generation and a 100% renewable electricity goal,” the submission said.

Like many in the sector, it warned of unintended consequences of a 100% renewable goal including an insecure and unreliable electricity supply. A recent cabinet paper showed while ministers are keen to phase out gas, they understand the problems it might cause.

Huntly station was commissioned in 1982 to run on gas and coal. When gas is available, it is used, but coal is required at times of high demand and when the gas supply is low. This use has been identified as one of the factors behind higher-than average wholesale electricity prices. This also creates higher emissions.

Genesis is preparing to run trials at Huntly using biomass. These are special woody pellets it has to import, but have the benefit of being a near drop-in replacement for coal, “offering the opportunity to rapidly transition coal use at Huntly Power Station with minimal plant modification”. Like coal, it can be easily stockpiled.

“For this reason, Genesis considers biomass a useful renewable solution to dry year risk if Onslow (the government is currently considering a pumped hydro project at lake Onslow) is built and beyond when there are periods of severe drought. Genesis also considers biomass is a feasible alternative as we have assessed that the lifecycle of the Rankine units running on biomass can be extended to 2040 and possibly beyond at a significantly lower capital cost relative to alternative infrastructure solutions.”

In its submission, Genesis said the Emissions Reduction Plan had to consider the many interrelated factors at play in the energy sector or face challenges seen overseas. “Taking a system-wide view of the energy sector, Genesis is not convinced measures like relying solely on renewable energy, or the banning of new thermal electricity generation or new natural gas connections will facilitate the best carbon outcomes or the fastest route to reducing emissions.”

Source: BusinessDesk



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World’s first electric log truck rolled out

SCA has, together with Scania, has developed the world's first electric timber truck with a capacity of 80 tonnes.

The world's first electric timber truck with a capacity of 80 tonnes has now been delivered to SCA. The vehicle solution developed by Scania in close collaboration with SCA and the research institute Skogforsk, is part of the transition to sustainable transport.

"The 80-tonne battery-powered timber truck shows that even really heavy transport can be electrified. The partnership with SCA, is an early show of what is possible, is a clear signal that it is possible to electrify even heavy transport. A change of pace is needed to make Sweden fossil-free in time and meet the goal of the Paris Agreement," says Fredrik Allard, Head of E-mobility at Scania.

"An electric timber truck is a symbol of something pretty cool. Shipping of timber has been talked about as something that might never be possible to electrify. The development in recent years and what we are now presenting together with SCA shows how fast the development is taking place both in terms of vehicles and batteries, says Allard.

The intention is that the vehicle will transport timber on the stretch between SCA’s timber terminal in Gimonäs and the paper mill in Obbola outside Umeå. The new electric timber truck represents another innovative step on the journey towards a fossil-free society and can be driven with a total weight of 64 tonnes on public roads and 80 tonnes on private roads.

The electric timber truck will be test-driven during the summer and continuously studied by the research institute Skogforsk to collect relevant data that can form the basis for comparisons with conventional diesel-powered timber transports. After that, the plan is for it to be included in SCA's regular operations.

The studies carried out during the summer will, among other things, compare energy consumption, productivity and costs against existing vehicles and map out what would be required for a broad implementation of electric timber trucks across the country.

More >>

Source: SCA



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AU$200M to develop Australia's SAF industry

The Australian airline and European manufacturer have joined forces in investing in SAF.

Australian airline Qantas has announced plans to invest AU$200 million in a Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) industry in Australia. In conjunction with the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the project will help Qantas reach its goal of using 10% of SAF on its planes by 2030.

What is Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

Globally, the aviation industry is looking for ways to innovate, save money, and reduce carbon emissions. Fuel burn is the most significant factor in carbon emissions. Traditionally, jet fuel is obtained from oil sourced in regions such as Russia or the Middle East. The oil we use for aircraft is not sustainable and is running out. So, Sustainable Aircraft Fuel is the answer.

Why did Qantas invest so much? In Australia, there are no Sustainable Aviation Fuel sources, meaning you cannot get SAF from Australia. As a consequence, Qantas is reliant on fuel coming from London and Los Angeles. Quite a distance away.

"This investment will help kickstart a local biofuels industry in Australia and hopefully encourage additional investment from governments and other business and build more momentum for the industry as a whole," Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.

Currently, Qantas has a number of goals to reach concerning sustainability and helping reduce the impact of climate change. Now, they are aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050, and according to Qantas, Sustainable Aviation Fuel is the only viable technology available for the Australian airline to achieve this.

How will they invest?

According to the airline, Qantas is looking at investing in startup firms and also already existing firms to produce the fuel. Joyce commented "It makes a lot of sense for us to put equity into an industry that we will be the biggest customer of. We're calling on other companies and producers to come forward with their biofuel projects."

For Qantas to reach its goal by 2050, it must invest in sourcing SAF locally, not abroad. It makes no sense to be using more fuel to get sustainable fuel from other countries. The investment was a smart move by Qantas.

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury agrees that the industry needs SAF in every region. He said, "This is especially true for a country like Australia, which is geographically distant and highly reliant on aviation to remain connected both domestically and internationally."

Source: Reuters, SimpleFlying.com



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Fieldays: Wood Forestry Hub to be showcased

For the very first time at New Zealand’s National Fieldays, a large-scale Forestry Hub is to be held. This is a great opportunity for the forest and wood processing sector to come together and showcase the exciting possibilities of forestry to the public, farmers, officials, journalists and politicians.

If you’d like to be a part of it, please contact Adele Maurice adele.maurice@mpi.govt.nz by Friday 29 July 2022. There are only 12 spaces left. Fieldays 2022 run from 30 November to 3 December, at Mystery Creek in the Waikato.

The Fieldays Forestry Hub is a sector wide collaboration with funding support from Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service and Forest Growers Levy Trust. It is supported by an advisory group to plan the event with representatives from across the sector including Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service, Scion, New Zealand Forest Owners Association, Red Stag, New Zealand Farm Forestry Association and Future Foresters.

A wide range of forestry organisations have already confirmed their participation in the Hub - from large companies to small not for profit organisations and everything in between, to showcase New Zealand’s forestry sector at this huge event on the agricultural calendar.

Fieldays attracts approximately 130,000 visitors over the four-day event and is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agriculture event and the ultimate launch platform for cutting edge technology and innovation.

Source: Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service

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Latest Australian Timber Market Survey report

Australian Softwood products

Prices for untreated MGP structural timber products continued to increase in the first three months of 2022, with price movements ranging between 4.0% and 4.5% higher over the March quarter’s was the case in the previous quarter (December 2021), upward price movements for treated outdoor products were higher again, ranging between 4.6% and 5.3%.

Strong upward price movements were also seen for most panel products, with plywood and MDF prices ranging between 3.7% and 7.5% higher. Upward price movements for particleboard products were more moderate in comparison, ranging between 1.4% and 2.3% higher. The pandemic-related surge in engineered wood product prices continued, with price movements for LVL and I joist/I-beam products ranging between 5.1% and 8.2% higher over the March quarter.

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; Sustainable Timber Tasmania; and Southern Cross Forests.


Further information and the latest Timber Market Survey report is available here.

Source: Indufor Group

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Power projects in plantations showing promise

Installing wind turbines in just five sites in State-owned pine plantations could generate up to 2.5 gigawatts of energy a year, a registration of interest process has revealed, prompting Forestry Corporation NSW to formally call for Expressions of Interest to develop renewable energy generation and storage in plantations near Oberon, Sunny Corner, Bondo, Orange and Laurel Hill.

Forestry Corporation Strategy and Risk Manager Gavin Jeffries said close to 50 providers responded to a Registration of Interest process, identifying enormous potential to boost renewable energy production in NSW and power over 1.5 million homes annually.

“We see co-locating renewable energy developments within timber plantations as an innovative opportunity to boost renewable energy production in NSW and the renewable energy market agrees, with 47 providers registering their interest,” Mr Jeffries said.

“Overwhelmingly, wind power has emerged as the most feasible technology and the pine plantations near Oberon, Sunny Corner, Bondo, Orange and Laurel Hill have been identified as prime locations for wind turbines, pumped hydro systems and battery storage.

“Wind farms successfully operate in softwood forests overseas and in Australia, State forest pine plantations are ideal locations because they are often remote from local communities and homes but have good connections to the existing high voltage transmission network. They are located in windy areas and have an existing road network.

“Wind turbine projects in these five sites could together produce 25 per cent more clean energy than the Snowy 2.0 project, or enough to provide power to over 1.5 million homes. Other technologies could further increase generation capacity.

“While this is an exciting prospect, we are still in the very early stages of assessing these opportunities and we will use the EOI process to help us to understand more about what these developments might look like and which are suitable to investigate further.

“We will only ever consider a renewable energy project that is compatible with our activities to produce renewable timber, provide community access, manage fire and maintain sustainable forest management. We also have strict requirements limiting the footprint of developments and ensuring we maintain an ongoing supply of renewable timber from plantations.

For further coverage on this story, click here

Source: FCNSW



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Australia's 'revolutionary' plan to save koalas

Koalas would be given the highest level of protection of any animal species in Australian history under an "unassailable" new law being proposed.

The Australian Koala Foundation is pushing for a federal "Koala Protection Act" that would place caveats on land clearing and other “damaging activities” across all the habitat areas of the much-loved species. Up to 1.5 million square kilometres of forest, or 20 per cent of the Australian continent, would be protected under the plan hatched by the lobby group.

The foundation has sent its draft bill to new Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, who has been contacted for comment. The Morrison Government earlier this year accepted scientific advice to declare koalas were endangered in Queensland, NSW and the ACT after a decline in numbers due to land clearing and bushfires.

The Australian Koala Foundation is concerned that koalas are not similarly marked endangered in South Australia and Victoria. It has also pointed out that the federal recovery plan for koalas is yet to be enacted a decade after the species was first listed as "vulnerable".

More >>

Source: NZHerald
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EOI’s for Queensland R&D projects

Queensland’s Regional Forestry Hubs have announced five new expressions of interest to deliver projects to foster growth and productivity across the State’s forest and timber industry. Supply chains and infrastructure, bioenergy and carbon, forestry and plantation investment models are focus areas for four projects in North Queensland and a new project in the South + Central region will examine skills and training requirements for the region.

North Queensland Regional Forestry Hub Manager Hulton King said these are the first projects identified to address some of the technical issues, needs and opportunities to progress growth in the region.

The projects are:

• Assessment of the current and future potential supply chain infrastructure supporting regional forestry and wood processing activities
• Assessment of the Carbon Regulatory Framework for North Queensland’s Plantation and Farm Forestry industry
• Assessment of the current and future potential volume of underutilized or waste biomass from local forestry and wood processing activities and their potential use and markets
• Northern Australia Forestry Literature Review

Detailed EOI’s and a scope of works for each of the projects are available here.

South + Central Queensland Regional Forestry Hub Manager Kerry Fullarton says the new EOI is in response to the sector facing substantial challenges to recruiting and retaining suitably skilled and qualified workers.

“Shortage of skills is a major constraint on the development of an efficient and effective forest industry in South + Central Queensland. Low skills levels across the sector inhibit the attainment of economic, sustainable forest management. This project is to identify the future skills needed and to determine the size and scope of the training required,” said Mrs Fullarton.

The project is:

- Forestry training and education future skills assessment

The detailed EOI’s and a scope of works is available here.

Source: Timber Queensland



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NZ Forestry Scholarship applications open

Applications are open for Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau (Forestry Scholarships) for study in 2023, giving young people a foot in the door to a career into one of New Zealand’s biggest primary sectors.

There are nine scholarships available, to those studying the Bachelor of Forestry Science or the Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Forest Engineering through University of Canterbury, as well as the Diploma in Forest Management through Toi Ohomai.

“Forestry and wood processing is New Zealand’s third largest primary sector by export value and needs more qualified and skilled people joining its workforce,” says Marion Schrama, Manager Skills, Training and Workplace Safety, Te Uru Rakau – New Zealand Forest Service.

“It is an exciting time to be studying and working in the sector, which is undergoing transformation, playing a leading role in our climate change response, driving economic growth and building environmental sustainability.”

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service established the Scholarship programme in 2018 to support people into higher-level study, and in particular to provide pathways for those who identify as female and/or Māori, who remain underrepresented in the forestry and wood processing sector.

“I was very excited to receive the Scholarship and get into study,” says Phoebe Naske from Gisborne, a scholarship recipient and first year forestry science student this year. “The money is a huge help and I value the opportunity to also do paid summer internships in the forestry industry, where I can build my knowledge and make great contacts for the future.”

Marion Schrama says the scholarships provide more opportunities for people to study and pursue a wide range of careers, and to ensure the forestry and wood processing sector is diverse and reflective of our local communities and regions.

Applications for the 2023 scholarships opened 1 June 2022, and close 15 August 2022 for the Degree Scholarships and 16 December for the Diploma Scholarship.

For more information about Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau (Forestry Scholarships), please click here or email mpiforestryscholarships@mpi.govt.nz

Source: MPI

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Polytechnik recapitalised and under new ownership

Polytechnik Biomass Energy, a global technology leader in biomass combustion, wood gasification and carbonisation systems has announced that they have a new majority shareholder and has restructured in order that they can continue to offer their full range of biomass boiler systems. The restructuring was finalised on 20 June 2022.

In late January, Polytechnik which was in insolvency, announced that they’d filed for a restructuring to proceed without self-administration. The company said it would be working with creditors to complete existing projects and to support existing customers and would work to overcome their liquidity crisis.

The recent announcement can be read here

Locally, the company has provided 19 boiler plant installations in Australia and New Zealand over the last few years and is currently working on seven boiler plants for four customers in New Zealand with a combined heat output of about 50,000 kWh.

Source: Polytechnik

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WA’s construction strain to continue

Western Australia has recorded the second highest annual increase in construction costs in the nation, up 10.4 per cent over the 12 months to June 2022. It was only a touch behind South Australia which had the highest annual increase in construction costs, up 10.5 per cent.

It is the fastest pace of growth on record for residential construction costs outside the introduction of the GST in 2001, according to CoreLogic’s Cordell Construction Cost Index.

CoreLogic construction cost estimation manager John Bennett said the figures showed the cost of metal, structural steel, reinforcing, fixings and fencing were under pressure, adding to rising prices across timber products. “Suppliers are frequently mentioning the impact of rising fuel, freight and electricity costs on their bottom line and these are significant additional challenges being faced by the industry,” he said.

“It is important to note these factors only add to other pressures that have impacted the residential construction industry for 18 months now, such as labour availability and overheads. A shortage of labour and materials means a delay in completion times, which leaves builders vulnerable to market changes and holding costs.”

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said the double-digit annual increase in construction costs had been expected, with the impact playing out across several states this year. “Construction cost growth is an additional concern to an industry already under immense workload pressures as well as economic conditions such as rising interest rates and inflationary pressures,” he said. McGowan said they were working with the state government to promote

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Source: SMH



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... and one to end the week on ... at the zoo

A little boy had just started school. He was doing so well his grandfather took him to the zoo to celebrate. As they stopped at each enclosure the Grandfather asked the boy, "What's this?" It's a proud lion," the boy replied.

"That's good," said Grandfather. "And what's this in the next one?" "It's a mean tiger" replied the boy.

"Well done," said Grandfather "you're so clever. And what's the big one over there?" "It's a fricking elephant." Said the boy gleefully. "What did you say," queried the Grandfather? "A fricking elephant," he repeated.

"And where on earth did you learn that from?" asked Grandfather sternly. "Over there on the sign, he replied pointing, A-f-r-i-can Elephant.



One more as we're talking about zoos. This one sent in by a reader and was taken from The London Times a few years ago.

Outside the Bristol Zoo, in England, there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 coaches, or buses.

It was manned by a very pleasant attendant with a ticket machine charging cars 1 pound (about $2.50) and coaches 5 (about $12.50).

This parking attendant worked there solid for all of 25 years. Then, one day, he just didn't turn up for work.

"Oh well", said Bristol Zoo Management - "we'd better phone up the City Council and get them to send a new parking attendant... "

"Err ... no", said the Council, "that parking lot is your responsibility. "

"Err ... no", said Bristol Zoo Management, "the attendant was employed by the City Council, wasn't he?"

"Err ... NO!" insisted the Council.

Sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain, is a bloke who had been taking the parking lot fees, estimated at 400 pounds (about $1,000) per day at Bristol Zoo for the last 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over 3.6 million pounds ($9 million).

And no one even knows his name.





And on that note, enjoy your weekend. 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: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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