Friday Offcuts – 11 August 2023

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In fire management this week, we cover an extensive review that’s been undertaken of eucalypt decline and dieback in relation to lack of low intensity fire management across Australia. The exclusion of frequent low intensity mild fire has been identified as the primary cause of eucalypt decline in Australian native forests and woodlands. The review highlights the need for urgent on the ground action and adaptive management practices to arrest the decline, more open seen in eucalypt crowns and forests with dense understoreys and to help reduce bushfire risks and impacts.

The Green Triangle (an area spanning south east South Australia and south west Victoria) will soon be home to Australia’s largest camera bushfire detection network. High-definition cameras, satellite feeds, artificial intelligence, and modern cloud software are being set up ahead of the 2023/24 fire season in 14 locations across the region. The new technology is been set up to protect one of Australia’s most important forestry regions (South Australia has an AU$1.4 billion forest industry) to help combat the growing threat of bushfires by detecting and pinpointing new ignitions and alerting fire crews.

We’ve provided this week an update from the team at Forest360 on the state of the NZ log market. The feeling out there, is that we’re all in for a tough ride medium term, especially those companies that are heavily exposed to China. Wharf gate prices in August have seen solid increases due to reducing log inventories, a flow-on of increased domestic wholesale prices in China and reduced shipping costs. However, construction activity in China remains subdued and wood harvesting crews, particularly those on the East coast of NZ, have been taking the brunt of the current downturn. The drop off in softwood log inventories at China’s main ocean ports is also covered in a separate update from FEA. They report that Radiata pine log inventory volumes from NZ and South America were down 10% in July compared to a month earlier.

Another update on road transport and the de-carbonisation of heavy transport fleets that’s underway. Heavy transport experts from NZ Post and Hyundai Motors New Zealand have been evaluating the performance of the first hydrogen fuel cell-powered truck being used for commercial heavy transport in NZ. It was launched a year ago and results 12 months on, have been glowing, both in the open road and urban routes that have been trialled. Key findings include faster acceleration than fossil fuel vehicles, less driver fatigue and a significant reduction of carbon emissions. New Zealand is the second in the world to adopt hydrogen fuel cell technology in a commercial setting, the other being Switzerland where 50 such trucks are in commercial use.

Finally, remember if you are planning to register for our Carbon Forestry Conference running in just over two weeks be very quick as it's very close to selling out. Go to Carbon Forestry2023. If you can't get up to Rotorua in person, note virtual registrations are available at event website. That's it for this week.

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August 2023 NZ log market update

Opinion Piece: Marcus Musson, Director, Forest360

Moving into electioneering season we are starting to see our political masters throw cash promises at potential voters like candy to kids, seemingly without any real analysis of return on investment or project viability (lucky we’re also promised free dentistry).

There’s been a fair amount of press around the issues the forest industry has been facing including an over-reliance on China and the risk of one market taking 60% of your products. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking logs or processed lumber, if the level of demand doesn’t support your level of supply, things are going to get stickier than a late-night fender bender on Oriental Parade.

It's no comfort (or surprise) that our dairy cousins are now also facing the same China conundrum with oversupply issues forcing Fonterra to drop their payout by a dollar per kilo of milk solid putting the payout in negative territory for many farmers, especially newbies to the game. To put some reality around this payout reduction, every $1/kilo drop wipes $1 billion from the NZ Inc income which makes the election candy throwing a bit more difficult.

The general feel amongst the primary sectors is that we are all in for a tough ride medium term especially those of us heavily exposed to China. MPI have been drinking the ‘kool-aid’ and are a bit more optimistic in their Situation Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI). The 2023 figures forecast dairy export revenue to increase 14% to $25.1B, meat and wool to decrease 3% to $11.9B and forestry to decrease 1% to 6.5B. I would expect many in the big three sectors will be thinking these numbers are overly optimistic considering the significant headwinds we are collectively facing.

August At Wharf Gate (AWG) log pricing has seen a solid increase with A-grade now in the very high $110 to early $120/m3 mark. This lift is due to reducing log inventories, a flow-on of increased domestic wholesale prices in China and reduced shipping costs. Current off-port softwood sales in China are running in the 70,000m3 per day level which sounds huge, but is subdued compared to previous years and only marginally ahead of deliveries.

We are currently entering the season of higher historical demand but, as the Chinese construction sector (and general economy) has about as much positivity as the Taxpayers Union following a visit from James Shaw, it’s unlikely that there’ll be any significant rise in construction activity. Although NZ supply has reduced due to the impact of the lower prices, rubbish weather and cost increases, the actual supply reduction won’t manifest in China until this month and buyers can see a reduction in vessel bookings going forward.

There is, however, a resounding warning from Chinese buyers that we need to be very careful around pushing prices up too quickly in response to a demand increase based on reduced supply. One quick glance at the graph below shows a race to the top is almost always followed by a swift race to the bottom.

We are continually seeing an attrition rate of harvest contractors that is almost rivalled by departing MP’s. Understandably, much of this attrition is in the East Coast and regions that have a higher exposure to woodlots. The volume of repossessed or handed back logging gear sitting in machinery yards in Rotorua and Taupo is sickening and it’s a wonder the weight of all that steel isn’t making those yards sink. This will have an effect on permanent supply volumes and the silver lining may be a more stable price going forward as the ability for the harvesting sector to react to price increases is diminished.

More >>

Source: Forest360

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Lack of low intensity fires causing eucalypt decline?

Getting to the root of the issue: Review of eucalypt decline and dieback in relation to lack of low intensity fire management across Australia has been completed by John O’Donnell.

The review has been designed to tease out the key issues in relation to eucalypt decline with key researcher text available to assist readers in understanding important information, issues and key references. This approach allows integration of key information in one place to better assist readers in understanding the key issues and references.

There are a considerable number of research papers and authors who have identified exclusion of low intensity mild fire as the major cause of eucalypt decline across a number of Australian native forests and woodlands outlined in the references used list.

Key research authors in relation to establishing root cause of eucalypt decline relating to soil changes associated with inadequate low intensity fire include Turner, Lambert, Jurskis, Horton, Landsberg and Ellis. Other useful contributions have been made by Ishaq, Jones, Davidson, Close, Dijkstra and Adams. Howitt also identified eucalypt decline as linked to a reduction in burning in his legendary 1890 paper. There are 66 papers identified in the “key references used for this review” list and an additional 39 other references in the Section 7 list.

Jurskis (2016) makes critical observations in relation to chronic decline:

… chronic decline involving a wide range of arbivores has affected a wide range of eucalypts across Australia since European settlement, and is currently rampant in many areas of forest and woodland. Pasture improvement and/or exclusion of fire and grazing are the major causes of chronically declining health of eucalypts.

The author considers that exclusion of frequent low intensity mild fire as the primary cause of eucalypt decline in Australian native forests and woodlands and this has been inadequately recognised in many studies, research, papers, articles, reviews, management plans, legislation, policies and reports on land and fire management. This lack of recognition is in itself a major environmental issue and ignores up to 60,000 years of Aboriginal burning practices across the landscape.

There is rapid expansion of eucalypt decline across Australia as detailed in the review. There are extensive negative consequences of lack of fire and resultant eucalypt decline and these consequences have been identified in Section 9 of the review. These consequences highlight the need for urgent on the ground action and adaptive management in regards to eucalypt decline.

A lot of effort has been undertaken in relation to research on forest decline and diebacks, with little adaptive management responses, at least in Australia. There has also been confusion between the different described diebacks. Researching symptoms of decline rather than primary factors has resulted in a lot of lost funding, time and lost opportunities for adaptive management.

There is often evidence in the landscape of the impacts of changed fire regimes with contrasts in forest health/ decline due to different fire regimes that are often visible. There are opportunities to observe this by assessing opposite sides of tenure boundaries; the top and bottom sides of roads; between drainage lines and spurs and between reserves and general management zones in areas where decline has commenced. The case studies in Section 8 highlight case study examples.

The key US federal legislation commitment in place reducing fuel loads, increasing prescribed burning, improving forest health and expanding community mitigation work under the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill and other legislation provides a useful adaptive management role model for Australian forests suffering decline or likely to suffer decline. A good example of a forest health strategic plan, this being 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan for Eastern Washington, is provided.

Getting to the root of the decline issue is time critical, inaction in relation to this issue results in continuation of eucalypt decline across Australia and is resulting in increasing areas of eucalypt decline, more open eucalypt crowns and forests with dense understoreys and increased bushfire risks and impacts.

A full copy of the 47 page report can be read here.

Source: John O’Donnell, July 2023

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Australia’s largest AI-powered bushfire camera network

The Green Triangle (an area spanning south east South Australia and south west Victoria) will soon be home to Australia’s largest camera bushfire detection network. This investment in technology supports quick and precise fire detection, protecting communities and plantation forests, a crucial industry for the region.

Spanning 14 locations, Pano AI offers a comprehensive turnkey solution that integrates high-definition cameras, satellite feeds, artificial intelligence, and modern cloud software to detect and pinpoint new ignitions and alert fire professionals within minutes. The key to keeping fires small and limiting the impact on industry and the community is through rapid response and the world-leading actionable intelligence helps fire crews get to the scene faster and safer.

Speaking from Mount Gambier, South Australian Minister for Primary Industries, Regional Development and Forestry, Clare Scriven said “South Australia’s $1.4 billion forest industry has had a long and strong history of embracing cutting edge technology and the implementation of Pano’s AI fire detection system continues this proud legacy.

“Unfortunately, fire doesn’t recognise boundaries so this collaborative State Government/industry initiative in utilising this ground-breaking technology helps us to ensure the best fire management tools are at our disposal. This is a system that isn’t just for the benefit of the Green Triangle forest region, but is a win-win for all other landscape users, primary producers and local communities.”

“We applaud Minister Clare Scriven, the Government of South Australia and the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub (GTFIH) for leading the installation of modern detection technology to combat the growing threat of bushfires,” said Arvind Satyam, Chief Commercial Officer and one of founding members of Pano AI. “Our team at Pano is made up of former fire professionals as well as world class technologists who have come together to build the best possible tools for first responders. We're excited to partner with the GTFIH across their region spanning South Australia and Victoria".

Cameron MacDonald, Chair of the GTFIH said that it was a priority to utilise leading technology as a key protection measure: “This tool from Pano AI provides us with the best opportunity to detect ignitions early so we can extinguish threats before they threaten lives, property and our industry.”

Anthony Walsh, Manager, Green Triangle Fire Alliance said this new technology will protect one of Australia’s most important forestry regions, and with La Nina over, the timing couldn’t be more critical, according to Mr Walsh. The Pano cameras are set to be deployed ahead of the 2023/24 fire season.

About Pano AI

Pano AI is the first disaster preparedness technology provider to offer a fully-integrated solution for active bushfire detection using artificial intelligence to help fire authorities identify and extinguish new ignitions before they become a threat. Pano AI currently actively operates in Australia and the US. In total, Pano monitors a land area of over 2.4 million hectares. Pano provides services in four Australian states: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. They also provide service in six US states: California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

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SnapSTAT - Australian log export volume history

Australian exporters receive new opportunities to ship logs to China following a 2.5-year ban, but exports are not anticipated to reach historic levels. The graph below shows softwood log exports from Australia from 2010 to 2022.


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Hydrogen truck – world's 2nd for commercial operations

It sails up the Bombay Hills, accelerates faster than fossil fuel vehicles, and incurs less driver fatigue - some of the key findings from a trial of NZ Post’s new zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell-powered truck. The zero emission, cutting-edge Hyundai XCIENT FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) is a new generation hydrogen vehicle used for the first time here for commercial heavy transport.

Since it was launched in July last year, it has completed an initial evaluation period before moving into full commercial operations with parcel freight between Auckland and Hamilton to assess its performance on New Zealand roads and conditions.

Heavy transport experts from NZ Post and Hyundai Motors New Zealand evaluating the truck’s performance are thrilled with the results in both open road and urban routes. They hope it will pave the way for uptake of this new technology in the sector as key to reducing carbon emissions.

Based on typical heavy vehicle mileage one fuel cell EV truck in operation avoids the equivalent CO2 of around 112 fossil fuel light vehicles – making a big difference with each heavy fuel cell vehicle.

Ryan Beale, NZ Post’s National Road Operations manager who has been overseeing the trial, says current testing has the hydrogen truck operating around the South Auckland business area and between NZ Post’s South Auckland and Highbrook depots.

Longer-range testing has been between Highbrook and Waikato depots. The truck has been clocking between 350 and 400kms a day, at an optimal cruise speed of 85-88kms, maintaining the same point to point schedule time.

“The testing is to evaluate the vehicle's suitability for our freight and the routes we serve,” says Ryan. “Within the current constraints, refuelling is taking place in Auckland while we await further network development.”

New, government-funded hydrogen refuelling sites are due to open in Wiri, Te Rapa, Tauranga, and Palmerston North in coming months, enabling refuel in 15 minutes with state-of-the-art technology. These additional fuelling sites will open up longer routes and 24/7 operations.

Ryan says the hydrogen truck configured for European standards and conditions underwent an extensive range of tests and software adjustments to meet operational standards and compliance requirements for New Zealand regulations and road conditions before it was ready for the trial.

Grant Doull, National Manager Hydrogen & Eco Commercial Vehicles at Hyundai Motors New Zealand says New Zealand is second in world to adopt this technology in a commercial setting. The other is Switzerland where 50 such trucks in commercial use.

“This project has been two years in the making. This truck is ideal for NZ Post as a transporter of high volume, lower weight freight,” he says. Evidence and performance data gathered in the trial will be of value to everybody in transport sector, he says.

“It’s been a valuable partnership with NZ Post who are strong in sustainability leadership to trial this future-focussed technology.”

More >>

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Record nominations recognise forestry’s top talent

Heralding the success of the inaugural awards last year, the Central North Island forestry industry stepped up to bring in a record number of nominations for the second year, with seventy-seven contenders up to take the stage at the Energy Centre Rotorua on Friday (4 August) last week.

Her Worship Mayor Tania Tapsell of Rotorua acknowledged that forestry was well known in the region and respected for the trade and skills it brought but as an industry it was important to take time to reflect this and celebrate the people that work so hard. Mayor Tapsell confirmed that Rotorua was the epicentre of forestry contributing NZ$314.7 million in 2022 to the local GDP across forestry, logging and processing.

“Forestry is part of our DNA and we have an exciting future ahead of us despite the current challenges”, Tania resonated. “Our most important assets are our land and our people.”

A new award was introduced this year, the Good Deed Award sponsored by Safetree the industry’s health and safety brand. It recognised a person within the forest industry for paying it forward, helping others or for supporting a charity or initiative or action. The audience on the night chose their winner, votes counted, and Gareth White from G White Logging took out this award acknowledging the fantastic work he undertook during Cyclone Gabrielle, delivering goods and resources to Hakes Bay and Tairawhiti.

Gareth also took out the Hero of the Year award while his company overall, G White Logging went on to take out a strong hold on the night of awards also taking home Female in Forestry, Harvesting Excellence, Log Processing and Trainee of the Year.

From a very strong nomination list of women, two winners were awarded as Female in Forestry, the first Rona Wheeldon from OFM with many years of experience in harvesting operations, and many find her insights are well thought out and reasonable and she continues to be a great advocate for our industry. The equal winner, Rachelle Dunn from G White Logging Ltd, was described as a vital cog in the machine, her unwavering dedication, and remarkable work ethic and affectionately known as “Aunty”.

The Generation Programme was also recognised again, after three years of managing this programme, Damita Mita, CEO for the Central North Island Wood Council and manager for the programme, said, “The Generation Programme remains strategically important to our industry regionally. To date we have run 5 programmes with 38 successful graduates. Of those graduating students 39% moved into employment and 34% continued their studies. Whilst we know the programme has transformed the lives of many of the individuals that have completed the course, it also has a proven positive impact for whanau and plays an important part in maintaining the community backing for the forestry industry - 'our social licence'.

The audience of 500 also exceeded last year’s ticket sales and MC Pio Terei once again kept them entertained at the Energy Centre Rotorua formal dinner celebrating the heroes of the region.

The winners:

Generation Programme Graduate of the Year (sponsored by South Waikato District Council): Corban Coxon (Tombleson Logging) Excellence awards: Zshawnee Uatuku and Kadafi ToeToe

Trainee of the Year (sponsored by Competenz: Te Pukenga): Norton Craig (G White Logging Ltd) Runner-up: Mana Petero (PR Forestry Ltd)

Silvicultural Excellence (sponsored South Waikato Investment Fund Trust): Dean Anderson (D Anderson Contractors Ltd) Runners-up: Kyle Patterson (Ace of Spades Ltd) and Mana Petero (PR Forestry Ltd)

Forest Protection and Services Excellence (sponsored by Scion): Steve Gatenby (Timberlands)

Harvesting Excellence (sponsored by Manulife Investment Management): Clint Maxwell (G White Logging Ltd)

Distribution Excellence (sponsored by RFH): Haeata te Whaiti (Trimble Forestry)

Log Processing Excellence (sponsored by Tigercat): Rob Davy (G White Logging Ltd) Runner-up: Kelly Smith (FPNZ Ltd)

Log Truck Driver Excellence (sponsored by Patchell): Royce Te Huia (Chris Angus Transport CAT Ltd)

Forest Engineering Excellence (sponsored by Ontario Teachers/Manulife): JB (John Boy) Butler (Gaddum Construction Ltd)

Wood Processing Excellence (sponsored by Oji Paper Company): Kaylib Winiata (Donnelly Sawmillers)

Outstanding Environmental Management (sponsored by Tiaki Plantations Company/Manulife): Razorsharp Harvesting Ltd

Outstanding Health and Safety Management (sponsored by Taumata Plantations Ltd/Manulife): Crew 54 (Fast Harvesting Ltd)

Outstanding Regional Service Award (sponsored by PF Olsen): Insitu Heritage, Runner-up: Debbie Stewart and Team (Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust)

Female in Forestry Award (sponsored by Timberlands): Rona Wheeldon (OFM Ltd) and Rachelle Dunn (G White Logging Ltd)

Best Farm Forester Award (sponsored by The WIDE Trust): David Dysart (Apple Tree Farms)

Best Native Forest Enterprise Award (sponsored by Wildlands): Wiremu Ruru (Ruru SFL Ltd)

Hero of the Year Award (sponsored by First Security): Gareth White (G White Logging Ltd)

Good Deed Award (sponsored by Safetree): Gareth White (G White Logging)

SPECIAL AWARD: National Forest Industry Collaboration Award (sponsored by the CNI Wood Council): Fieldays Forestry Hub Advisory Group

Photo: Gareth White (G White Logging), winner of the Hero of the Year Trophy, and Tim Covic (First Security Sponsor)

Source: Central North Island Wood Council

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Carbon markets and the ETS Review

When Carbon Match last wrote, there was excitement over the announcement that the NZ Government would, following a legal challenge, adopt ETS price settings more consistent with the Climate Change Commission's recommendations.

NZUs firmed on that news all the way back to the $65 mark, but didn't stay there, and have traded a range this week from $55 to $61. The last few days it seemed that there was something of a stand-off round the $60 level, with buying interest on our screen sitting shy of this, but no significant offer volume emerging until that "better" psychological level of $60. NZUs are there or thereabouts at the moment.

Volatility seems to be a constant in this market, with NZU holders' key concern the ETS Review consultation, responses to which are due today.

The release of that consultation document mid-June saw NZUs come off sharply, falling from $60 to below $38 within a three-week period. Option 3 of the document posited applying restrictions or conditions to forestry NZUs "to make removal NZUs less attractive and increase the demand for other NZUs sold by the Government".

Option 4 suggested two NZ ETS markets with separate prices: one for emissions reductions and another for removals. That option could see emitters unable to use forestry NZUs to ‘pay’ for their emissions. "Instead, carbon removals would be sold directly to the Government or on a separate market."

We very much want to see gross emissions reductions alongside sequestration. But, looking through those ideas to “improve” the ETS, there is perhaps insufficient comprehension of - or worse, actual disregard for - the large number of commercial contracts already in place into the future.

The consultation document itself appears to be predicated on a number of critical assumptions. Some of these need to be updated, others grounded in evidence, or at the very least re-evaluated against the current context. The contention is that the ETS to date has not, and will not work to deliver any significant real gross emission reductions.

Indeed, there is little evidence that it has. However, having only fleetingly touched into the $80s late last year, we would ask a different question - where is the evidence that it won't? Very few of us want to rent forever if we can buy our own home. And those running emissions-intensive assets surely feel the same way. But timing matters.

A further implication of this consultation, or at least its portrayal by some in the media, is that we do not need more forestry, or that exotic forestry for sequestration is "bad". Here, we also approach very dangerous territory. We understand and support the need to get the right tree in the right place. And that must be done.

But it must not be done by turning off the investment tap into sequestration. Of that, we need more, not less.

More >>

And the Forest Owners Association wants the government to put an immediate hold on a reform of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to restore stability to the carbon market and certainty for forest planning. See yesterday’s media release

Source: Carbon Match, Forest Owners Association

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FEA Update: China softwood log inventories

China’s Softwood Log Inventories at Ocean Ports.

FEA industry sources in China report that softwood log inventories at the country’s main ocean ports totaled 3.71 million m³ on July 29, down 15% (-670,000 m³) from the previous month, as follows:

• Radiata pine log inventory volumes from New Zealand and South America reached 2.62 million m³, down 10% from a month earlier and comprising nearly 71% of overall log inventories (versus 67% in late June).

• North American Douglas-fir and hemlock log volumes were 460,000 m³, down 25% from late June and accounting for 12% of overall log stocks (versus late June’s 14%).

• European spruce log volumes were 420,000 m³, down 31% from late June and comprising 11% of overall log inventories.

• Softwood log inventories from other countries (Japanese sugi, European red pine logs, etc.) amounted to 210,000 m³ (-9%).

In July, average daily sales at ocean ports were estimated at 72,500 m3, versus 69,200 m3 in July 2022 and 71,800 m3 in July 2021. Given the prolonged period of low prices and significant losses, combined with fewer new arrivals due to conservative purchasing in previous months, some large traders with large stocks held back volumes in attempts to raise prices in wholesale markets and avoid selling at lower levels.

These strategies proved highly successful, leading to panic buying by processing mills. Mills with minimal inventories began buying extra volumes for their own stock, fostering a rapid drop in log inventories and an equally fast rise in log wholesale market prices during the month—up RMB 50–120/m3 at Taicang and RMB 100–160/m3 at Lanshan.

For more information on FEA’s China Bulletin where this data is reported monthly, please click here, or contact Matt Robertson at

Source: FEA

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AFCA appoints new General Manager

The Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) is delighted to announce the appointment of Tim Lester as its new General Manager commencing 14 August 2023. Tim brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience gained over more than two decades of working across government and industry organisations, focusing on national issues related to natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, animal welfare, biosecurity, and rural innovation.

Commenting on Tim Lester's appointment, AFCA Chair, Adan Taylor, expressed confidence in his abilities, stating, "Tim will be a great leader for AFCA & representative for its members." Outgoing General Manager, Carlie Porteous, also echoed the sentiment, saying, "Tim is precisely what the Association needs now. We have experienced good growth and created a shared community among Forest Contracting Businesses. Tim will see the Association progress even more with his forward-looking policy experience."

Growing up on his family's dairy farm in southern Queensland, Tim has developed a deep passion for advocating sustainable and productive landscapes for rural Australia's people and industries. His extensive experience as the Executive Officer for the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations, along with his roles in government and agricultural organisations, makes him an invaluable asset to AFCA.

"We are looking forward to welcoming Tim as an asset to AFCA. His expertise and leadership will be instrumental in driving the continued growth of our organisation," stated the AFCA Chair.

Throughout his career, Tim has contributed significantly to various initiatives, including his work with the Department of Agriculture on animal welfare and the National Food Plan. He also played a crucial role as the Department's first liaison officer to the National Farmers Federation. His involvement with Land & Water Australia in sustainable agriculture programs, such as Managing Climate Variability, Grain & Graze, and the National Program for Sustainable Irrigation, further demonstrates his dedication to fostering sustainable practices.

In response to his appointment, Tim Lester expressed his enthusiasm for the new role, saying, "Australia's forestry industries face significant challenges as well as amazing opportunities. I'm really excited to be taking on this role with AFCA and be able to work with the membership on the issues that matter and will make a difference." Tim Lester's commitment to rural Australia and his extensive experience in policy and engagement make him an excellent choice to lead AFCA into the future.

Source: Australian Forest Contractors Association

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New lead for Wood Solutions programs

Exciting ventures are on the horizon for WoodSolutions. Starting with introducing the newly appointed Head of Built Environment Programs & WoodSolutions Program lead, Kevin Peachey

Kevin was previously the Statistics and Economics Manager at Forest & Wood Products Australia and formerly worked with Australian Forest Products Association, Timber Towns Victoria, and the National Timber Councils Association. He has a great passion and understanding of wood products and is enthusiastic to lead the WoodSolutions Team. He will also continue in his role as Chair of the Resilient Timber Housing Program.

Hitting the ground running, Kevin is excited to announce the 6-month advisory role of Karl-Heinz Weiss, director of Weiss Insights, a respected industry consultant known for his pioneering work in engineered timber for the design and construction sectors in the UK, Europe, and Australia.

Kevin and Karl-Heinz will work closely together to evaluate and further develop the WoodSolutions strategy and objectives. They will move straight to consultation and collaboration with the design and build industry, and stakeholders.

“I am excited to support the WoodSolutions team as we develop the strategic framework to build on their significant existing achievements, developing the plan and pathway for further success … at a time when timber is experiencing a renewed focus as a low carbon solution across the sector,” said Karl-Heinz.

“WoodSolutions connects design and build specifiers with invaluable practical information to successfully utilise timber in their projects and we are excited to see what this new collaboration will bring for the program.”

WoodSolutions has been active for over 12 years and during this time has been a consistently growing source of information and resources for the design and build industry. The program is known for its ability to pivot and deliver for the needs of its users. During COVID, the team worked to bring their popular Continuing Professional Development presentations to an online, accessible format with remarkable success.

Source: Wood Solutions

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NZ$2b renewable energy fund announced for NZ

Green hydrogen and battery storage development will be part of a NZ$2 billion fund with the goal of making New Zealand one of the first countries in the world to reach 100% renewable electricity.

The Government has worked with multinational giant BlackRock – a large investor in climate infrastructure and clean technology – on the net zero fund which aims to accelerate green energy options which also include solar and wind.

That will help fuel a low emissions economy and provide access to greater pools of capital for New Zealand businesses, supporting the creation of highly skilled local jobs, says the Government.

Prime minister Chris Hipkins announced the first of its kind New Zealand net zero fund alongside energy and resources minister Megan Woods and BlackRock representatives in Auckland on Tuesday this week, 8 August.

“This fund is a massive opportunity for New Zealand innovators to develop and grow companies,” says Hipkins. “I’m absolutely stoked about what this means for Kiwi ingenuity in renewable energy; it shows that our ambitious climate targets have the world’s attention, and that they are good for the climate, good for the economy, and will help create highly skilled jobs.

Woods says the fund will accelerate New Zealand’s emissions reduction. “With record levels of renewable electricity generation in recent years, New Zealand is well-positioned to be one of the first countries in the world to deliver a fully renewable electricity system,” she adds.

“New Zealand is now an investment magnet for capital that will unlock technology such as battery storage, wind and solar generation, green hydrogen production and more electric vehicle chargers across New Zealand.” Woods says the fund will look to crowd in investment from Crown companies and entities, including superannuation funds, and private sector funds, to accelerate New Zealand’s transition to 100% renewable electricity.

BlackRock chief executive and chairman Larry Fink says the NZ$2b fund is an important step for investment in climate infrastructure. “This is the largest single-country low-carbon transition investment initiative BlackRock has created to date. It will enable New Zealand companies to access greater pools of capital to build out climate infrastructure across the country’s energy system including in wind power, solar power, battery storage, electric vehicle charging, and natural capital projects.

More >>

The NZ Government is also now seeking feedback on work to transition New Zealand towards a low emissions economy, with consultation on five streams of energy policy including an Interim Hydrogen Roadmap that will set out the government’s initial views on the future role of hydrogen in New Zealand. Details can be read here

Source: transporttalk, Scoop

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NZIF Forestry 2023 Foundation Awards announced

The Trustees of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry Foundation are very pleased to announce the 2023 awards.

This year we made four awards. The Chavasse travel award, and three student awards: the University undergraduate, the Mary Sutherland, and the Frank Hutchinson scholarships.

The Chavasse travel award goes to Dr Serajis Salekin a scientist working at Scion. Serajis is a scientist specialising in forest modelling. He will use the award to support his travel to the 5th International Congress on Planted Forests in Nairobi, Kenya, in November this year. He will present a paper "Carbon sequestration potential of plantation forest tree species in New Zealand: A comparative study". This conference will also give him the opportunity to build his international scientific networks.

Liam Walker a fourth year Bachelor of Forestry Science student at the University of Canterbury School of Forestry receives the University undergraduate scholarship. This award recognises excellence at the student level and forestry aspirations.

The Mary Sutherland scholarship is open to students enrolled for a forestry or forestry related course at a New Zealand Polytechnic. It recognises excellence at the student level and forestry aspirations. This year the award goes to Peter Kapene, a second-year student in the New Zealand Diploma in Forest Management at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology – Te Pukenga.

The Frank Hutchinson Postgraduate scholarship goes to Simon Smith (pictured), a University of Canterbury School of Forestry postgraduate student. Simon’s project is to ‘Identify a process for identification of unstable terrain as it relates to forest operations.

The trustees were very pleased with the level of interest and the quality of applications and would like to congratulate all applicants as well as the four winners.

More information on the Foundation and its awards can be found at its website. The foundation was established in 2011 as a charitable trust by the New Zealand Institute of Forestry to advance education in relation to forestry. The trustees are Tim Payn (Chair), Andres Katz, Lou Sanson, and Prue Younger.

For any general enquiries about the Foundation please email

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Protections urged for threatened forestry workers

Aggressive, violent and unhygienic attacks have been directed at forestry workers and their families amid rising tensions over the industry's future.

Environmental and financial concerns, a promised koala sanctuary and the fallout from interstate logging bans have made NSW's state forests a new battleground for workers and those against the industry.

Claims of workers receiving 200 harassing phone calls a day, having faeces thrown at them and their wives threatened with rape were aired in parliament this week, prompting Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty to call for more respect from protesters.

"Everyone deserves to go to work and be able to come home safely," she told AAP. "People who move onto forest land need to be safe from injury and also not put others at risk. "I respect the right of people to protest but we also have to respect each other and not put people's and worker's lives at risk of injury or worse."

While protests were generally portrayed as peaceful, NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Mark Banasiak said there was a need to create timber safety zones to protect workers. He said he had learned of many instances of threatening behaviour towards workers.

He introduced a bill that would create a specific offence for unauthorised entries to timber safety zones, similar to those enacted in Victoria last year.

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Source: canberratimes

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... proud to be a Queenslander

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, Melbourne scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the Victorians, in the weeks that followed, a Sydney archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story published in the Sydney Morning Herald read: "New South Wales archaeologists, finding traces of 130-year-old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network 30 years earlier than the Victorians".

One week later, the Courier Mail in Brisbane , Queensland , reported the following: "After digging as deep as 30 feet in his pasture near Beenleigh , Queensland , John Brown, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely b***** all. John has therefore concluded that 150 years ago, Queensland had already gone wireless."

Just makes you proud to be a Queenslander!

A couple more. Two cows were standing next to each other in a field.

Daisy says to Dolly, "I was artificially inseminated this morning."

"I don't believe you," said Dolly.

"It's true, no bull!" exclaimed Daisy.

Husband says to wife " How do you control your anger when I annoy you?"

Wife replied " I just go and clean the toilet "

Husband " How does that help?"

Wife " I use your toothbrush."

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

John Stulen
Editor, WoodWorks News
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011

Web page:

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

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