Friday Offcuts – 13 March 2020

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Coronavirus continues to hit the headlines with the business community and the forestry industry still reeling across the region. We’ve included an excellent extended update on the impacts of COVID-19 on New Zealand, it’s key trading partners and the forestry industry produced by Te Uru Rakau at the end of last week. It includes a number of useful links where immediate assistance can be found for those that are impacted. We’ve also added a media release highlighting the situation and impacts that the slow-down is having on our harvesting crews, and increasingly, as harvest volumes continue to drop, on transport companies, ports and stevedoring operations.

Amidst the bad news though, a much more positive story on the outbreak appeared mid-week. It was an update sent out to institutional clients of the NZ Investment firm, Forsyth Barr. In it they reported that a there are a number of indicators suggesting that China is now getting back to work. Outside of the Hubei province, where the virus originated, more than 90 percent of large-scale industrial enterprises are reportedly returning to normal production. Citing data from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, many of the large industrial provinces, such as Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shandong and Jiangxu, have now achieved a resume-to-production rate above 95 percent and out of China's top 100 cities, 26 have completely resumed normal operation with another 66 having reached more than 90 percent. Fingers crossed.

We’ve also included this week a fascinating story from where this all started, in Hubei, back in early January. Three-quarters of the infected cases early on in the outbreak came from Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province. At the onset of the virus outbreak, there were only 400 hospital bed spaces available in Wuhan for respiratory patients. They urgently needed more beds – and quickly.

What was the answer. You’ve all heard about it but it’s still difficult to get your head around it. Within 14 days, two hospitals accommodating almost 3000-bed spaces had been built by the Chinese. We’ve included a story (and a time lapse of the hospitals being built) on just how this incredible feat was achieved. Part of the speed of the construction they say can be put down to the prefabrication construction technology that they used and the Building Information Modelling (BIM) system that the Chinese government has been promoting in recent years. Enjoy.

And finally, on a more sombre note, TimberLab Solutions Ltd advised the timber industry earlier in the week of the unfortunate and sudden passing of their CEO, Grant McIntosh. Many of us will have worked with or alongside Grant over the years. He, like those family members before him (his father Ken, and his father Ian, who founded the company back in 1958) had all been involved in developing novel Glulam production technologies as well as developing local and international markets (some of the first glulam timber out of New Zealand was sent up to the middle east way back in 1993) for well over 60 years. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family, work colleagues, friends and those that knew and have worked with Grant over the years. Details relating to the funeral service can be found in the story below.

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Corona-virus - economic conditions and current impact

Although a fast moving landscape right now, please find attached an update relevant to NZ forestry operations on COVID19 provided by Te Uru Rakau late last week.

General economic effects

• Chinese firms are resuming work, and there appears to be an improvement over the last week. However, production has not returned to normal levels. The Chinese quarantines and associated slowdown will continue to result in impacts on the global supply chain for some time.

Situation in China

The summary of Chinese forestry news articles is:

• Work reportedly resumes in wood industry, including wood processing plants, although the market is yet to recover. In Shandong province (coastal province south-east of Beijing, population 100 million) has lifted the requirements for government approval for work resumption. Some factories started to receive orders.

• With more enterprises back to work, workers are gradually able to travel across provinces to work. It is mentioned in news that in Guangxi local city, 200 workers from other provinces are newly recruited to local factor wood industry factories. (Guangxi is west of Guangdong province, population 48 million.)

• Wood markets are generally expecting a downturn this year, but not everyone is pessimistic. Some still hold confidence toward the next half of this year.

• Chinese ports remain congested. Our estimate is that ports in China have about 6.5 million m3 of inventory, with space for the approximately 1 million m3 already in transit. This is significantly above usual volumes. Inventories are likely to remain elevated until Chinese manufactures resume taking significant amounts of product from the wharfs, although we are hearing that Chinese ports are making more space for log storage if required.

Other Markets

• South Korea is a major destination for export forestry products, taking a mixture of logs, lumber and pulp. The total value of forestry exports to South Korea is approximately $447 Million, making it New Zealand’s 3rd largest forestry export destination (after China and Australia).

• The USA is a smaller export market, but is important for some sub-sectors of the forestry industry. The USA is New Zealand’s largest destination for sawn lumber.

• COVID19 will continue to have impacts on New Zealand trading partners, and knock-on effects for the New Zealand economy. Government is continuing to monitor export markets to understand any potential implications for New Zealand exporters.

• We know that fire salvaged logs from Australia will have a short term impact on prices, but there may be long term impacts on their sector and log supply. Te Uru Rākau/MPI staff are working with our Australian counterparts, and will raise the issue in the next week.

Impacts on New Zealand

• New Zealand’s forestry industry continues to be impacted by COVID19 related disruption. Te Uru Rakau’s industry contacts, primarily those involved in scheduling and making exports, report that in their view it is likely to be 6 months before normal business can resume, assuming the international situation does not deteriorate.

• Provisional data from StatsNZ shows that forestry exports for the 4 weeks to 23 February are currently tracking below both 2019 and 2018. This is below forecast, and supports industry information that shows that harvesting and log exports have slowed.

Harvesting contractors

• Impact on harvesting contracts continues to be significant. Major forestry companies, including forest owners, are working to keep their contractors operating, but with reduced volumes. This will ensure these contractors remain sustainable for the moment, but this approach will not be sustainable for a long-term disruption.

• Independent or smaller contractors harvesting woodlots appear to be more affected. We continue to hear of independent contractors who have stopped work, or have little forward work.

The Processing Sector

• We have qualitative information direct from some exporters of processes timber that some domestic mills are being quoted higher prices for saw-logs to compensate for lower prices for other logs.

• Exporters are reporting problems securing containers and sailings. Exporters are paying a surcharge to access the few available empty containers, which may be adding 20% to transport costs for exporters.

• Lumber and processed product exporters are less exposed to China, as they export to a range of other markets, and these markets are generally still operating well. However, continued spread of COVID 19 remains an unknown risk.

Effects on workers and regions

• We continue to hear that Gisborne remains the most heavily affected region, given the relative importance of the forestry sector to the region.

• We are aware that some other communities may also be badly affected, but lack the resources or co-ordination to convey this message clearly to government. We’d be interested if there are areas that we should approach.


COVID-19 Specific Information for Businesses:

• A collation of government information relating to coronavirus (COVID-19), how it may affect your business and how you can stay up to date as new information becomes available, can be found here.

IRD: • Full details about the tax relief options available are on the Inland Revenue website here or call Inland Revenue on 0800 473 566.


• Financial support availability and advice for individuals and businesses, can be found here.


• Latest health updates, information and advice on COVID-19, including self-isolation information and mental wellbeing management, can be found on the Ministry of Health website.


• Primary Industry related information, can be found on the Ministry for Primary Industries website here.

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Third shift being added for bushfire recovery operations

Hyne Timber Tumbarumba is in the process of adding a third shift as the Bushfire recovery salvage operation continues. The site already employs approximately 230 people and is actively recruiting to a range of new opportunities and vacancies. Site Manager, Marcus Fenske said the third shift is essential as the company does its part in bushfire recovery and increases locally grown, plantation softwood timber supply to customers.

“Demand for our plantation softwood framing is very strong with one in four new homes across NSW constructed from product manufactured here at the Mill in Tumbarumba. The race is on to process as much salvaged, fire impacted pine logs as possible following the devastating bushfires at the start of the year. Once we get the burnt bark off, the processed timber is great quality and continues to be delivered to around 400 different customer sites across NSW, Victoria and ACT”.

“We have already recruited 8 people, 50% of whom are women as we continue our commitment to our gender diversity at the Mill. Training in multi machine operating skills has commenced. “We are seeking 6 more process operators in addition to a range of vacancies including Mechanical Fitters and a Process Electrical Technician.” Mr Fenske said. Hyne Timber continues to work with all levels of Government on the medium to long term challenges ahead given over 50,000 hectares of pine plantation is fire impacted in NSW alone. Until plantations are re-established in 20 – 30 years’ time, interim solutions for viable log supply requires Government support.

This includes prioritising all pine plantation for domestic processing over export, freight subsidies for Australian processors, and dedicated recovery coordination covering the longer-term issues of replanting and wood flow management. The industry supply chain supports approximately 5000 jobs in the South West Slopes region and AU$2billion per year to the South West Slopes economy alone. Required freight subsidies are negligible compared to the economic value of the industry.

If interested in looking through the operation and taking the virtual Mill Tour, visit

Source: Hyne Timber, Photo: Judy Kelso - Long Term Tumbarumba Employee and Resident

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How did China build two hospitals in just 10 days

The recent Chinese New Year of the Rat was besieged by an atmosphere of fear and distress prompted by an epidemic outbreak of the novel coronavirus that was titled by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “Corona Virus Disease COVID-19.” Since the first case was discovered in early January, to date, almost 60,000 infected cases and still around 10,000 suspected cases have been reported in Hubei, three-quarters of which are in Wuhan.

Wuhan’s usual medical resources are far from capable of taking in, testing, quarantining, and treating this many numbers of patients. At the onset of the virus outbreak, there were only 400 hospital bed spaces available daily for respiratory patients. On January 22, Hubei announced the construction of hospitals for exclusively treating COVID-19 patients. Within a span of 14 days, Wuhan had two hospitals accommodating almost 3000-bed spaces completed.

Moreover, large public buildings, including sports stadiums, exhibition halls and schools, were refitted into 11 field medical centres, and all existing hospitals were also redesigned and renovated to provide additional bed spaces. In merely two weeks, a rough estimate of 15,000-bed spaces was made available to patients and supporting medical teams. The speed and scale of the construction are unprecedented in a global context, how did China do it?

Let us first look at the two hospitals built from scratch in 10 days. They are called the “Huoshenshan Hospital” and the “Leishenshan Hospital,” meaning the Fire God Mountain and the Thor God Mountain respectively. Both Gods are described in ancient Chinese mythology as being able to defeat all evils, explicit of China’s determination to conquer the pandemic.

At the behest of the Central Government, Fire God Mountain started construction on January 22, shortly followed by the Thor God Mountain. What makes it possible to coordinate what seemed to be a disarrayed bunch of people, materials, and resources and put together a hospital that has over 1000 bed spaces, equipped with fresh air system, negative pressure system, emergency wards, sewage treatment, cafeteria, water electric and gas network, and dormitory for 2000 medical workers, in merely ten days?

Here are some interesting yet touching details behind building the hospitals:

The hospitals started construction right before the CNY, and most workers have gone back home to celebrate with their families. The “China Construction Engineering Bureau” who took the lead in constructing the projects sent notices recruiting workers who were based in Hubei, almost 8,000 workers showed up, most of them voluntarily enrolled to show support.

A Beijing Design Institute took 78 minutes to update and complete all architectural and structural designs of the hospitals, and they were in charge of designing the Beijing Xiangtangshan SARS hospital 17 years ago.

The designs were then handed over to the projects’ designated design Institute that spent one hour on assembling 60 onsite designers and several hundred online BIM designers. This massive design team used 24 hours to complete all design specs and coordinated onsite drawing details with the construction team.

Besides the spirit of unity of the Chinese inspired by a time of national crisis, the prefabricated construction technology and the BIM system that the Chinese government has been promoting in recent years significantly accelerated the speed of construction.

Because of BIM and PC advancements, each stage of the project is able to interlock with the next accurately, greatly reducing convergence time in between. The efficiency of this system is not only demonstrated in the construction of the two hospitals, but also the refitting work of the 11 field hospitals in Wuhan.

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NZ forestry contractors reach breaking point

New Zealand Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) says forestry crisis is dire and contractors are reaching breaking point in an ever-worsening situation.

Rapid impacts have been felt over the past month by the forestry industry with the effects of the outbreak of the Coronavirus, with many out of work and in serious financial crisis. Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) CEO Prue Younger says people outside the industry are largely unaware of the seriousness of the crisis.

“We need to have politicians, government officials and the public outside of forestry fully understand just how dire our sector of the industry is for our contractors,” she says. “Logging and forest roading contractors who employ the bulk of the people and carry the highest debt have been hit extremely hard. The planting crews are the least effected for now, but their work will inevitably be impacted if depressed log prices continue long enough.”

The contracting workforce is more vulnerable than ever before in any previous market crash. As a consequence of the mid 1990’s planting boom, far more of the national cut is now in smaller forests. Smaller owners have a short window to harvest and are far more sensitive to price drops than larger corporate forests historically were. Lay-offs are a direct result, with hundreds of workers already laid off and more to follow.

“Our contractors do not have cash reserves to sustain unemployed staff or the capital repayments on their machinery,” Younger says. “To top it off, we are now heading into winter, when economic conditions typically only get tougher for contractors.”

The effects to transport are being felt as well where logging truck drivers are a good example of the flow on this is having to the supply chain flow. As the harvest volume drops, the truck drivers get laid off and then the ports and stevedore companies feel the pressure of unemployment too.

Log Transport Safety Council (LTSC) Chairman Warwick Wilshier says trucking contractors are mirroring the downturn equally with forestry contractors. At the same time logging truck contractors are concerned about the work being carried out around deployment.

“The lack of truck drivers prior to the COVID-19 crisis was bad enough and now their drivers are seen to be an easy target for work in other industries like horticulture, freight and road maintenance,” says Wilshier. “After a few weeks of paying wages and getting no work in, there is only one option – for contractors to relinquish their staff to other opportunities outside of forestry,” says Warwick. “It is hardly ideal, and the fear is that they will walk and not come back. When work starts up again there is going to be a massive hole in the workforce that will take time to build up.”

Those same sentiments are being felt as FICA engage with deployment opportunities being offered to contractors by horticulture. “About to start their season, they are desperately short of equipment operators, along with tractor and forklift drivers, and the skills learned in forestry are generally transferrable,” says Younger.

“The social dilemma is turning our focus to support our workforce in maintaining some income for families and whanau. We acknowledge the extreme social effects this crisis is having on redundant employees. We already had a significant issue meeting our workforce needs in forestry, so when business starts up again, we are going to be in a crisis situation with gaining back a skilled workforce.”

Contractors have reached breaking point where some have been off work for four weeks and can no longer carry their staff with wages that are eroding their own pockets. They are now regrettably reaching out to offer them deployment options into other industries. The solution isn’t a simple one, but more needs to be done by Government and Forest Owners to preserve and retain a skilled workforce.

Source: FICA

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More wood use in NZ would help

More wood use in New Zealand would help environment and reduce market pressure in China - The Forest Owners Association (FOA) says the government should be looking at more wood use in New Zealand, which would have environment and trade benefits. The Association President, Peter Weir says it’s time the government turned the negative log market situation in China into a positive outcome in New Zealand.

Lack of space in Chinese ports, due to cheap insect damaged logs flooding in from Europe and the coronavirus induced construction downturn, is looking to bring a virtual halt to New Zealand log exports to China. But Peter Weir says that creates opportunities here.

“All the government needs to do is introduce the wood preference policy that the Labour Party promised in the last election and at the same time it should target the worst fossil fuel users in New Zealand to encourage a transition to renewable biofuels.” The Labour Party manifesto in 2017 stated a Labour government would ‘Support wood manufacturing and processing by favouring wood for new government building projects …’

Peter Weir says the government has had plenty of time to introduce this policy. “It’s been promised for nearly three years now. All it requires is for wood to be considered first in all government contracts. Such a policy has worked well for Rotorua Lakes District Council in particular and it should be rolled out nationally. It would increase the consumption of New Zealand grown wood and would lead to less steel and concrete use.”

Peter Weir says that despite improvements in cement production worldwide, making a tonne of cement still emits almost a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and he says steel production is even worse.

“On the other hand, a tree sequesters carbon from the atmosphere and that carbon stays in the timber when it’s made into a building for the life of the building.” Peter Weir says the other measure the government could take is to put a tax on coal consumption.

“Coal is the worst fuel for emitting carbon dioxide. The government could put a carbon tax on coal of say $200 per tonne, and use the income to assist industries, schools and hospitals convert to biofuels, including wood chips. That would reduce New Zealand fossil fuel emissions and at the same time soak up some of the lower grade timber being produced at the moment that can’t find a home in China,” Peter Weir says.

Source: FOA

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Executive General Manager announced for GTFIH

The Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub (GTFIH) has appointed Liz McKinnon as its inaugural Executive General Manager. Ms. McKinnon, a resident of the region, is well known, having worked in economic development, tourism and communications for the Glenelg Shire Council since 2015 with prior experience as a media advisor to former Victorian Premier and Member for South West Coast the Hon Dr Denis Napthine.

GTFIH Chair Linda Sewell said Ms. McKinnon brought the Hub extensive experience in advocacy, communications and stakeholder engagement. “We are delighted to welcome Liz to the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub following strong interest in the role,” Ms. Sewell said. “We have an ambitious plan to meet projected local and global demand for wood and fibre products. Liz brings an expert understanding to the role the Hub can play in supporting vibrant and prosperous regions. She will ensure that the Hub achieves its goals, advances the key issues facing our industry in the Green Triangle and does so whilst remaining true to the GTFIH’s Statement of Commitment.

“All of the members of the GTFIH look forward to Liz leading the Hub’s engagement as we work together to ensure there is an industry in the Green Triangle regions for future generations.” Ms. McKinnon said she looked forward to joining the GTFIH. “There is no doubt that the Green Triangle forest and timber industries are critical to the economic and social prosperity of our region.” “I am looking forward to delivering the outcomes of this first of its kind plan and the opportunities to promote and grow the wood fibre sector across the Green Triangle. “The Hub is committed to working with the sector, government and key stakeholders over the coming months to set a path towards achieving long term social, environmental and economic success.”

Ms. McKinnon said she would also be working closely with representatives of the wider industry. “Our industry has really come together and there are fantastic examples of collaboration, like the regional forest industry hubs across Australia. It is incredibly important that we work together and share our learnings so that together we can address the current challenges facing the industry and leverage new business and growth opportunities,” she said. Ms McKinnon will commence her role on 9 March 2020 – note this is a public holiday.

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In Memory of Grant McIntosh 1954 – 2020

It is with great sadness that TimberLab Solutions Ltd advises us of the sudden passing of their CEO Grant McIntosh. Grant suffered a heart attack on Sunday afternoon and passed away on Monday night surrounded by his family. Grant inspired a family culture at TimberLab and his passing is a huge shock to the team.

The unexpected passing of Grant brings to an end a three-generation involvement in the Glulam industry spanning a period of 60 years. In 1982 Grant joined Mcintosh Timber Laminates and in 1999 became Managing Director when his father Ken retired. Grant’s passion for increasing efficiencies in the production systems for Glulam saw him introducing many leading-edge developments - mechanical stress graders, NZ’s first 2metre wide beam planer and much other specialised equipment.

In a bold move, 2013 saw the emergence of the TimberLab brand resulting from the merger of McIntosh Timber Laminates with TimberBond Industries. Under Grant’s leadership, digital technology took Glulam manufacture to a new level. 3D computer modelling and CNC processing achieved efficiencies and accuracy not previously possible.

Over the past year, Grant had started to step back from TimberLab leaving the majority of the day-to-day running of the company to General Manager, Darren Stead. Darren is fortunate to have a team of experienced and dedicated administrative and production staff that will continue to drive the company forward, leading the production of engineered timber solutions that are gaining momentum in New Zealand and abroad.

Our heartfelt sympathy and thoughts go out to Grant’s wife Merilyn and the family. They have been part of the TimberLab family as well as the wider timber industry across this region and we’re very grateful to them for allowing us to have had the privilege and pleasure of Grant’s generous and inspiring leadership for so many years.

The funeral is to be held at Eastview Baptist Church, 559 Chapel Road, Botany at 11am, Monday 16th March.

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Myths on building with wood in bushfire-prone areas busted

A new episode in the Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) series of WoodChat podcasts was launched last week, sharing best-practice methods on building with wood in bushfire-prone areas to help educate the community. It focuses on the important work FWPA is doing to provide resources for the construction industry and consumers about building resilient homes with timber.

It’s a particularly pertinent topic considering national tragedies such as the Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday fires, and more recently, the unprecedented fires over late 2019 and early 2020. Hosts Sam and Georgia speak to Boris Iskra, National Codes & Standards Manager at FWPA, on the importance of building with fire in mind, focusing on the relevant building standards and how timber can be used compliantly.

Mr Iskra said many Australians want to continue living in these areas and also want to build with wood because of its environmental and aesthetic advantages. “There are no guarantees that a building will survive a bushfire regardless of the materials used in its construction. What we can do is build using the materials and methods we know will best protect the structure and its occupants. It’s all about what’s used, how it’s used and what it’s used in conjunction with,” said Mr Iskra.

“We can predict how timber will perform in specific circumstances and can therefore design properties using timber to help meet the performance requirements of the structure. “For anybody considering building with timber in a bushfire-prone area, my advice would be to talk to the Local Government Area, seek advice about the Bushfire Attack Level and any other requirements that must be adhered to.”

In addition to presenting educational workshops in bushfire-prone areas, FWPA offers a wealth of free resources on the topic via its WoodSolutions website. During the episode, the hosts also speak to Nigel Bell, Principal of ECOdesign Architects + Consultants who builds in bushfire-prone areas, to gain some insights into what concerns he tends to hear from clients, and how he responds.

You can listen to WoodChat on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Source: FWPA, Photo: Peter Bennetts

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WA Government puts 12-month halt on logging

The Western Australian Government has placed a 12-month freeze on the logging of "two-tier" karri forests in the state's wooded South West region.

Two-tier karri forests are defined as mixed-age forests comprised of mature trees and younger regrowth trees. The Forest Products Commission (FPC) manages the logging of WA's native forests and has excluded two-tier karri forests from its native-timber harvest plan for 2020.

The decision has been met with celebration from conservationists and a backlash from the local timber industry. WA's Forestry Minister David Kelly said the decision was focused on "customer demand". "Given there is some community sensitivity around some of these two-tier karri coupes, if there's no customer demand then there's no need to harvest from those areas," he said.

Mr Kelly said many native timber processors and manufacturers supplied by FPC were moving away from the use of older native-timber resources. "Many in the industry are moving towards accessing smaller timbers and making use of logs that would otherwise be considered waste," he said.

Mr Kelly said the decision only applied to harvest plans for 2020, and a decision on future access to two-tier karri resources was yet to be made. The 12-month freeze on the logging of tier two karri has drawn criticism from the local industry. Matt Granger, acting CEO of the Forest Industries Federation WA (FIFWA), said the move was "unnecessary and unwelcome".

More >>.

Source: ABC

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Forestry road permit declined in Environment Plan

Plans to police forestry trucks on highways in Marlborough are "not appropriate", say the commissioners who declined the proposal. The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) made a submission in the Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan suggesting commercial forestry trucks need a resource consent to drive on or cross state highways.

NZTA hoped the new rule would allow it to better judge the potential damage that forestry trucks might cause, then manage effects. "The carting of loads on unsealed roads after rain can cause significant damage to these roads. A permitted activity standard has been suggested to address this," the agency said in its submission.

But the plan's panel of commissioners said it was "not appropriate to single out the weights and effects of trucks servicing a single industry". "The forest industry stressed to the panel that quarry trucks, dairy tankers, stock trucks, grape trucks at vintage, fertiliser trucks and numerous other heavy vehicles ... all use the roading network," the panel said in its decision document.

The panel instead decided to add a few lines to the plan, highlighting the powers it could use under the Land Transport Act to manage the potential damage caused by heavy loads, "including harvested logs and quarried rock" on both state highways and local roads.

Heagney Bros owner and operator Peter Heagney, whose company owned forestry trucks, said NZTA's request seemed a "bit bizarre". “It [a resource consent] would slow everything down," he said. "They don't come very quickly, no matter what you try to do." The new rule could have forced the company to have declined or postponed job requests that were short notice, had it been approved.

"Then there would of course have been a charge. I don't know what the cost of a consent application would be, but there's even additional costs for our own time doing it. It's not a five-minute job." He said the company currently paid road user charges on all carriers it owned, including logging trucks, but chose not to pick up forestry jobs that involved a road levy. Marlborough Roads said last week forestry companies in Port Underwood had paid road levies in the past.

Heagney said he thought forestry trucks were "targeted" by the public. "If you're a forestry farmer, you grow your trees for 30 years, and you don't use that road. But then after 30 years you might have a lot of movements in a 12-month period. From the people's perspective, that's a lot going on in short period of time," he said. "But when you look at a farmer or a grape grower's use over 30 years, you'll find they cart a similar amount of tonnage over the same period."

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association Marlborough brand secretary Graham Cooper did not understand the reason for NZTA's request. "NZTA know they can tap into each logging company's computer base to see where they [forestry trucks] were at what time ... It points out places that could be monitored anyway, without a resource consent. It doesn't make sense. Would it be the whole company that would have to get a consent, or does it have to specify which truck each time?"

NZTA top of the south system manager Andrew James said last week the agency was looking over the decisions made on the environment plan, and had not yet formed an opinion on them. "Commercial forestry causes significant damage to roads and can contribute to safety issues due to the location of their access. The rule framework did not enable control over [their] access," James said.

The plan brought three major management plans into a single document and defined what activities were appropriate in Marlborough's urban, rural and coastal environments. The tracked changes version of the PMEP went on the council website on Tuesday, showing all additions and deletions to the notified provisions of the PMEP as a result of the hearing panel's decisions. Appeals had to be lodged by April 16.

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Government intervention needed to save timber towns

The Victorian Government must urgently intervene to save the Victoria’s native timber industry and the thousands of jobs it supports, industry peak bodies have urged. Last week’s court decision to extend an injunction preventing timber harvesting in 13 coupes is the latest setback for the industry, which was already reeling from the bushfires, the Andrews Government’s plan to phase out the industry from 2024 to 2030, and bureaucratic inaction that’s preventing the harvesting of burnt coupes.

While we’re still assessing the assessing the ramifications of the court decision, it is clear that the ongoing uncertainty and the lack of security is devastating for workers and businesses across the native timber industry. Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) CEO Tim Johnston said that without immediate action from the Victorian Government to get harvest and haulage contractors working again and getting timber flowing into mills, the industry will grind to a halt and even more workers would be stood down.

“The government’s so-called Victorian Forestry Plan appears to be in disarray. It is critical that the government now sit down with industry – workers, contractors and processors – to deliver a workable and sustainable future,” Mr Johnston said.

Australian Forest Contractors Association General Manager Stacey Gardiner said harvest and haulage contractors in East Gippsland – who were on the frontline fighting bushfires and making roads safe again by the removal of burnt and dangerous trees – are now at breaking point after months of no or little work.

“Many contractors have been out of work or operating well below capacity since the fires, which is untenable. Without immediate financial support or an immediate resumption of full operations for forest contractors and their crews, many of these businesses will fold, and the rest of the industry will follow.”

AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said the premature closure of the industry would be on Premier Andrews’ head if he failed to act now. “This is a sustainable industry employing thousands of people in regional Victoria – it is too big to fail. If the Premier is serious about supporting timber workers and regional communities, then he must do everything he can to get the industry working again.”

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MD for Nelson Pine Industries steps down

More time with the grand kids is on the horizon but Murray Sturgeon insists his "semi-retirement" won't mean a cutting of ties with the company he has helped grow.

After 35 years at the helm of Nelson Pine Industries and 57 years' experience in panel manufacturing, the former managing director announced as of 1 January he had reached a decision to "ease back" and would now be assuming the role of chairman and executive director for Nelson Pine Industries Limited, Tasman Pine Forest Limited and Sumitomo Forestry New Zealand Limited.

Former chief operating officer Kai Kruse has taken over as chief executive officer for NPIL. "It's about giving Kai a bit of distance to run the facilities," he said. "He will lead a very experienced team to maintain the reputation that the company has developed world-wide for producing first-class quality MDF and LVL."

As well as keeping the office he's sat in since NPI's founding in September 1984, Sturgeon will still maintain an interest in the company, approving capital expenditure and maintaining the community involvement that many have benefited from, including schools, sports and hospice.

"I think it's important to identify with the region and I think the community benefits from everything you see with the name Golden Edge on it." Nelson Pine Industries produces GoldenEdge MDF and NelsonPine LVL from radiata pine grown in the plantation forests of Nelson.

Production of MDF began in 1986, and the LVL plant was commissioned in 2002. Under Sturgeon's leadership, the company is one of the world's largest single-site producers of MDF, which is exported to markets around the world. Since 1993 NPI has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sumitomo Forestry Company Ltd.

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Source: Nelson-Mail

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... horse painting

A small diminutive Cowboy arrived back to where he had left his horse tied to a railing outside the town's Public House to find its entire hindquarters had been given a coat of bright red paint.

Hearing much laughter coming from inside the Bar he angrily stormed inside to dish out some retribution and loudly and angrily shouted "which one of you ornery gunslingers painted my horses rear?"

From the back of the crowd at the Bar a huge and particularly mean looking dude sporting two .38 pistols at his side stepped forward jammed his thumb into his chest and said, "I did, so what are you going to do about it???"

A little taken aback with the enormity of the risk he now faced our brave little cowboy quickly replied, "Nothing Sir, I just wanted to tell you that the first coat is dry".

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:

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

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