Friday Offcuts – 5 March 2021

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In our lead story, a report released this week points to New Zealand manufacturers being left behind as other countries build up support for their own manufacturing industries. The report documents major interventions by NZ’s main trading partners who are upping the ante to kick start and support their recovery efforts during and post COVID 19. To reduce the risk of yet further mill closures and to ensure the country’s not left behind, the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association is proposing immediate interventions by the NZ Government are needed including accelerated depreciation, procurement measures to bolster domestic purchasing and a step change in R&D support.

In Tasmania, one Australian State that’s had more than its fair share of protestors disrupting forestry operations over the years (decades), it’s been another week and yet another protest. This time 27 protestors targeted McKay Timber’s operation near Hobart, locking themselves onto the mills entrance gates and machinery. The Managing Director of Britton Timbers, Tasmania’s longest running family owned and operated timber processing business, in an open letter to the media this week vented his frustration at authorities for not protecting forestry and timber businesses or prosecuting basic breaches of work safe laws.

With this latest disruption though, six of the activists were arrested. Forest & Wood Communities Australia also spoke out during the week on the ongoing emotional and financial stresses being felt by Tasmanian forest workers and their families. The actions of the protestors or professional activists continue to endanger Tasmanian forestry and timber workers, it’s impacting on the well- being of staff and contractors and their families, it’s preventing legitimate businesses from operating safely and it continues to disrupt all of the communities in which these businesses are operating. “Enough of this madness” says Shawn Britton.

The issue of trade sanctions between China and Australia has also been raised again. The AU$600 million a year log trade impasse with China still drags on (US hardwood manufacturers appear to have similar issues with trade sanctions being rolled over this week as well). Log deliveries into the Port of Portland for example have slowed to a trickle with the usual five shipments a month being loaded slowing down to about one shipment now every two months. With log shipments now on hold, the dust is now being blown off some of those earlier plans for a pulp and paper mill being sited in Victoria or South Australia.

And finally, we cover an opinion piece that recently appeared in the Australia media questioning what exactly we’re going to do with all of that treated timber in 20-40 years’ time that's currently being sent off to the landfill rather than recycled or safely reused in some form. Questions were also raised on just how H2 timber is being used out on the building site - meaning are the recommended building practices of resealing exposed cut ends and notches made on a timber frame with a suitable timber preservative being followed by the builders. And on that note, enjoy this week’s read.

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NZ manufacturers being left behind

New Zealand manufacturers are being left behind as other countries build up support for their manufacturing industries through COVID-19 and beyond, says the New Zealand Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA).

A new report released this week by the WPMA ‘International Manufacturing Policy and Programme Responses to COVID-19’ documents major interventions by New Zealand’s main trading partners. The report by MartinJenkins consultancy details that in 2020, around 200 countries introduced COVID-related economic support measures worth an estimated US$12-17 trillion, representing 13-19% of global GDP.

Countries like Australia, Singapore and South Korea have introduced major manufacturing strategies to grow the value of their manufacturing sectors and build resilient supply chains. Many other countries have used the COVID crisis to accelerate investment in digital and low-emission technologies to support productivity growth and the transition to a low carbon future.

“At a time when COVID support is being wound back here, our trading partners are upping the ante to kick start and support recovery efforts and, in some cases drive forward substantial industrial innovation strategies,” says WPMA Chair Brian Stanley.

“While New Zealand has rebounded well from the recession, GDP and production have not yet returned to pre-COVID levels. The immediate challenge is that COVID continues to change everything and we can’t sit back and rely on NZ’s traditional processes to respond to those challenges”.

“Our wood manufacturers are now up against international competitors receiving substantial and ongoing additional assistance. Furthermore, this is all happening within a trade environment where barriers remain high. We need to see urgent government efforts with the private sector to support the competitiveness of our manufacturers in global markets where there is now scant regard for WTO rules.”

Another factor is that the completion of New Zealand’s Industry Transformation Plans will be around mid-2021 meaning any initiatives are not likely be in place before the end of 2021 at the earliest.

“We can’t wait till the end of the year while other countries are already implementing policy and programme support. Other countries are moving fast to bolster their value-adding industries and our manufacturers are seriously getting left behind.”

WPMA Vice-Chair John Eastwood and senior executive for the trans-Tasman engineered wood manufacturer XLAM, says the recent proposed closure of the Whakatane mill highlights the need for government to prevent further decline.

“It’s yet another casualty in a long line of closures in our domestic wood processing industry due to the failure of successive governments to address unfair trade environments and support the competitiveness of our manufacturers”.

“There are some key levers government can and must pull immediately to assist manufacturers.”

The WPMA is proposing the following immediate interventions:

Accelerated depreciation – enabling capital investment in digital, Industry 4.0 and greenhouse gas emissions reduction technologies to be fully depreciated in the first year. Peer countries such as Australia, Singapore and Finland have adopted or enhanced accelerated depreciation measures in response to COVID.

Government procurement – embedding domestic manufacturing in the pipeline of major infrastructure and housing projects being delivered over the next decade through improved pre-commercial procurement processes with industry, requiring partnerships with local businesses and adopting content requirements for projects such as local capability development or carbon neutrality. Several competing economies have adopted procurement measures to bolster domestic purchasing following COVID, including India, South Korea, Israel and states in Australia.

A step change in R&D support – significantly increasing the level and accessibility of R&D funding available to enable New Zealand manufacturing to transition to a low carbon future. This would be consistent with recommendations in the Climate Change Commission’s recent report. A range of OECD economies have introduced significant financial packages to accelerate the development and commercialisation of circular economy and low-emissions technology R&D as part of their recovery strategies.

Mr Stanley says New Zealand is missing an opportunity now and in the medium term to set policies that encourage higher levels of investment in our wood manufacturing sector.

“New Zealand’s post COVID economic recovery, particularly the infrastructure / construction pipelines and shovel ready projects are under threat because of shipping delays. Given the $129b infrastructure pipeline over the next decade, and the significant housing deficit, government needs to think differently and to act quickly.”

Source: WPMA

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Tasmanians say enough is enough

Open letter from Shawn Britton, Managing Director, Britton Timbers

As the Managing Director of Britton Timbers, Tasmania’s longest running family owned and operated timber processing business in the state today, I have seen my fair share of protest activity – and I have to admit to being a bit battle weary. With protestors locked on to the sawmill at McKay Timber today I feel for the employees and managers who are trying to resolve the situation. It really is time that Tasmanian’s said enough is enough to this madness.

Last week Planet Ark’s Make it Wood Campaign weighed in on the debate around sustainable forestry in Tasmania. It was a welcome perspective for Tasmania’s timber processors who have been under attack now for many years. The clear message from one of the world’s most trusted environmental organisations is that we need to increase the use of responsibly sourced wood as a building material, not reduce it, because as a low emission substitute for other materials, timber will help us tackle climate change.

The Planet Ark support followed the Federal Court of Australia ruling last month that Tasmania’s RFA is valid and the court dismissed the Foundation’s case against Tasmanian forestry. The world’s leading climate scientists the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have also weighed in. Their fourth assessment report states:

“A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”

Still not sure? What about Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation who promote sustainable forest management through independent third-party verification and who certify our forestry as sustainable.

So, the world’s leading forest certification body, the world’s leading scientists, the country’s leading legal minds and one of the world’s leading environmental organisations all agree. Surely this is enough to convince you. What’s more, 8 years ago when we signed the Tasmanian peace deal in good faith with the Tasmanian environmental activists and NGO’s, they agreed too.

I condemn the actions of the extremist radicals from the Bob Brown Foundation who have endangered the lives of Tasmanians by locking onto the sawmill of McKay Timbers at Bridgewater today and I implore the rest of Tasmania to do the same. The misguided ‘fly-in’ protestors employed and funded through the tax-free federal loopholes of the Bob Brown charity are not only endangering life but stopping a legitimate business from producing quality timber products that are required for Australia’s built environment.

The extremists are misguided as without Tasmania’s sustainable native hardwood industry, Australia would need to import over AU$100 million of timber product from overseas annually – where is the environmental sense in that? Tasmanian timber has been used in building, construction and internal fit-out for over 200 years and apart from importing timbers from countries with forest practices that are nowhere near the standard of Tasmania, the only alternative is plastic or steel products often imported from China – again, where is the environmental sense in that? These protestors are nothing but radical extremist thugs who should be condemned by all sides of politics.

The protestors are going from business to business across Tasmania, terrorising our employees, issuing death threats to our managers, endangering lives and crippling economic activity at a time following COVID when we can least afford it.

Our 114-year-old timber processing business at Smithton and Somerset are at real risk of now being invaded by these thugs and while we have the support of our local community who would stand with us and condemn these protestors, we now have no alternative but to employ 24/7 security to keep our workplace safe and our business operating.

We have previously been targeted by these protestors while trying to selectively harvest two truckloads of very high-quality special timbers and, as a business we had no support from the workplace regulator who failed in their duty to protect or prosecute basic breaches of worksafe laws, so we understand the pain McKay timbers are currently going through.

Shawn Britton, Managing Director, Britton Timbers

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20% production increase for Hyne’s Tuan mill

Recruitment is set to commence for 50 more jobs created in Maryborough as the member for Maryborough, Bruce Saunders MP and Hyne Timber CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt announce a AU$14.5M expansion project.

With demand for structural and engineered timber products on the increase, 139-year-old, privately owned Hyne Timber is investing for growth and increased capacity to supply quality products for the Australian construction sector.

Hyne Timber CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt said expansion plans had been accelerated following the commissioning of the company’s new Glue Laminated Timber plant in Maryborough last year which relies on the Tuan Mill for its feedstock. “Our first stage of expansion was the development and commissioning of a new Glue Laminated Timber plant with the support of a Queensland Government ‘Jobs and Regional Growth Fund’ grant.

“Now, we are in the next stage which addressing the feedstock bottleneck at the Tuan Mill by the installation of a Continuous Drying Kiln. “This means extra shifts and approximately 50 more people to join our team in Maryborough.

“The supply of softwood pine plantation is sustained and expected to increase over coming years from supplier, HQ Plantations. We have also notified our other local suppliers of the increased production and flow on growth for their businesses including Richers Transport, Log Management Solutions, Altus Renewables, Bassett Barks and Laminex.

“We look forward to working with all our suppliers and customers to grow their businesses, creating more jobs for the region and the increased, sustainable supply of softwood timber solutions for construction.” Mr Kleinschmidt said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the Palaszczuk Government is extremely proud that the initial investment has accelerated the project, which means jobs for the local community. “This is a Queensland company that is partnering with the government to create jobs for locals when they need them most,” Mr Miles said.

The Tuan Mill already employs around 210 people and is one of Australia’s largest suppliers of softwood framing, predominantly supplying the housing construction sector. Production will increase by 20% as a result of this investment which demonstrates Hyne Timber commitment to the industry.

Recruitment is set to commence this week with the first round of training commencing in April while the Continuous Drying Kiln development progresses in parallel. It is expected to commence commissioning in coming months.

Photo: Hyne Timber Tuan Mill Near Maryborough, QLD

Source: Hyne Timber

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Blue Sky finalists announced

The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) has released the list of 21 candidates from nine countries around the world who are contestants for the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Awards. Launched in 2016, the contest is a biennial effort to recognize, celebrate and promote some of the game-changing innovations being developed in the global forest sector.

The Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award collected proposals from aspiring scientists and young researchers who have conceived innovative solutions that could advance the forest-based bio-economy. Only three of the 21 candidates will receive one of three cash prizes and the opportunity to present their work to ICFPA’s Global CEO Roundtable discussion being held virtually on 29 April.

Dr. Lyndall Bull, Forestry Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, part of the international judging panel, offered her praise and support for the awards. “On behalf of our international judging panel, I would like to congratulate all the finalists for the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Awards. Each of the entrants offers innovative solutions to help maximize the contribution that sustainable forest products can make to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

“In face of the biggest health and economic crisis of our lifetimes, we are reminded that the global forestry sector has the potential to address some of our most urgent social, environmental, and economic challenges,” noted ICFPA President Derek Nighbor. “Forestry workers and forest products are in the unique position to drive our move to a lower-carbon world through sustainable forest management, mitigating pest and wildfire risks, advancing the forest bioeconomy, and building more with carbon-storing wood products.

Today we recognize and celebrate the brilliant young minds whose disruptive ideas and breakthrough innovations will pave the way forward,” added Nighbor, who is also President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

A full list of 2020-2021 National Finalists can be seen here.

Nominees from AFPA (Australia) include Michael Darveniza and Michelle Balasso and from NZFOA (New Zealand), Campbell Harvey (pictured) who will be presenting as part of the upcoming HarvestTECH 2021 event being run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 13-14 April.

Source: ICFPA

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Carbon forestry - to harvest or to leave?

Since 2019 we have seen a dramatic rise in the price of NZUs in response to various government policies and regulations. Along with the Billion trees incentives, this have driven an expansion in the New Zealand forest estate not seen since the early 1990s.

Much of this new establishment will be entered into the ETS under the averaging accounting method. However, the government has delayed compulsory entering under averaging until 2023, so forest owners with new establishment from 2019 through to 2023 have the option of entering under the ‘old’ stock change system, or the new averaging accounting method. The averaging scheme results in a much higher rate of return than the stock change ‘safe carbon method’ for standard rotational forestry. Given this fact, and with the increase in NZUs prices, predictions for continued long term strong NZU prices, and increasing uncertainty regarding long term log export prices, is there the possibility that a ‘plant and leave’ regime may be more economic?

Margules Groome has constructed a model forest on the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, using yield and costs benchmarks from Margules Groome’s extensive database the AgriHq December 2020 Prices for log pricing. The MPI lookup tables were adjusted by 10% upwards to compensate for some of the conservativeness inherent in the generic tables. Land price was assumed at NZD6 500/ha, to reflect the high prices being paid for unforested Post 89 land currently.

The results of this specific modelling exercise were surprising. Click here for more >>

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Tasmania’s forest families tired of being targeted

Tasmania’s forest workers, their families and communities are tired of the emotional and financial stress caused by professional activists who continue to disrupt their workplaces, says Forest & Wood Communities Australia.

At yet another protest action today by the Bob Brown Foundation, which has ramped up its fundraising activity to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars from its failed Federal Court action, regional Tasmanians were subjected to another attack on their mental wellbeing.

“The impact of this relentless assault on the mental health and wellbeing of the people who have been targeted by these eco-terrorists cannot be underestimated,” said FWCA director Kelly Wilton. “They lose income, worry about the future of their careers and are sick to the back teeth of being abused and made to feel guilty for actually doing something positive for the environment by helping to provide renewable wood products.

“Corporate activists only conduct these actions to generate outrage and income through donation streams. “You only have to look at their campaign appeals and financial reports to see it’s all about the money. When you see how much money they need to pay their executives, campaign directors and professional activists it goes way beyond the spirit of charity.

Ms Wilton said timber production in Tasmania had Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), which is the world’s most highly rated environmental standard. Leading climate scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have also recognised forest management as critical to mitigating carbon stocks.

“The BBF and other corporate activists fail to acknowledge these facts as well as the simple truth that the six trees in 10,000 used to provide natural wood products are regenerated and have additional environmental benefits as they regrow,” Ms Wilton said. “Instead, they continue to abuse their charity status privilege and attack hard-working regional Tasmanians who just want to get on with the job without having to tolerate money-hungry activism.”

Source: Forest & Wood Communities Australia

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Insurance struggles with bush fires increasing

After wildfires burned through his timber plantation on southern Australia’s Kangaroo Island, Keith Lamb gauged what could be saved and called his insurer. The conversation didn’t go well: The insurer declined to renew his policy.

As the forestry industry faces increased fire risk amid a warming climate, companies around the world, including in the U.S., are more exposed to losses from blazes than ever before and are struggling to get insured. Some owners, such as Mr. Lamb, are paying sharply higher prices to stay protected. Others are buying insurance for part of their landholdings, while others can’t get coverage at all.

“We got a very, very slim offering,” said Mr. Lamb, 54 years old. “We were successful in obtaining coverage, but it was much more expensive.” Around 95% of Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber’s 14,500 hectare plantation had been ravaged by fires over a year ago, cutting its value to around $5 million, from $87 million beforehand. When Mr. Lamb, KIPT’s managing director, found a new insurance policy, fewer insurers were offering coverage for forests.

Fires have been growing more intense around the world, and the blazes in Australia in the 2019-2020 summer were unprecedented in scale, devastating an area the size of Arizona. In New South Wales state, home to Sydney, more than a quarter of timber plantations managed by Forestry Corporation NSW on behalf of the government were damaged. The industry, which typically generates more than $3.6 billion in annual revenue and is a major exporter to Asia, will take years to recover.

In California, wildfires burned through 1.7 million hectares last year, including 60,000 hectares of commercial forests, according to data from Calforests, which represents the state’s timber industry.

“Most insurance companies are currently writing ‘wildfire exclusions’ into any liability coverage, so this insurance has become very difficult to get,” said Rich Gordon, Calforests’ president. “When such insurance is available, the coverage has gone down and the price has gone up.”

Mr. Gordon said U.S. timber companies are absorbing the additional cost of insurance without laying off workers, but are fearful of the future if the price of coverage continues to rise.


Source: WSJ

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NZ$30 million biomass boiler on track

The first steam from Danone Nutricia NZ’s innovative new biomass boiler plant in South Otago is expected in August. In 2019, the French food giant announced a NZ$40million investment in its spray drying plant at Clydevale as it looked towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2021.

It was driven primarily by the installation of a NZ$30million biomass boiler that would reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year. The plant processes raw milk from local farms into powder used as the base for production of infant milk formula brands including Aptamil and Karicare.

Boilers played a central role in spray drying — the process of converting milk into a dry powder through the application of heat. About 85% of the entire plant’s energy needs come from steam production.

Unlike gas or coal-fired boilers, Danone’s biomass boiler will be powered by sustainable wood fuels, which will be sourced locally. The 35,000 tonnes of biomass hog fuel required will create 136,000 tonnes of steam annually. Full commissioning of the Clydevale plant is expected early in the fourth quarter this year.

Source: ODT

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Views sought on ETS Forestry Regulation amendments

Te Uru Rākau - Forestry New Zealand is seeking feedback on proposed amendments to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Forestry Regulations that it hopes will encourage new planting of both indigenous and exotic forest.

These latest proposals follow an initial round of public consultation on amendments that was held from November 2019 to January 2020. Director Forestry and Land Management Oliver Hendrickson says Te Uru Rākau has been considering feedback and worked with forestry experts to refine the proposals relating to the approach to carbon accounting for forestry.

“The proposals provide options for how the new ‘averaging accounting’ method will work for new post-1989 forests that register with the ETS," Mr Hendrickson says. “They will determine how flexible or precise carbon accounting will be for future forests in the ETS. This will in turn impact how easy it will be to harvest at different times or change species on a second rotation (for example, changing from radiata pine to indigenous forest). They will also impact the level of administration required by participants and when carbon credits will be earned.

“Ultimately we are trying to make the system simpler for all participants as undue complexity has been a barrier to participation.” Mr Hendrickson says Te Uru Rākau was keen to understand how people felt about the trade-offs and likely impacts of various options for how averaging accounting will work in terms of the flexibility they offer participants versus how complex they are.

“These options will shape the future of new forests in New Zealand and how they are managed. However, this consultation doesn’t cover existing forests moving to averaging. The decision about whether registered post-1989 forests can transition to averaging will be made by Cabinet by the end of 2021.

“These Regulations implement the decisions and improvements to the ETS which were passed last year while also setting the groundwork for future decisions New Zealand will make to support our climate change strategy. When the Climate Change Commission's final recommendations are published, we will be in a good position to respond.”

Mr Hendrickson says 333, 000 hectares of land were currently registered in the ETS, for which around 6.9 million carbon credits were claimed last year. This is equivalent to the carbon emissions from approximately 2.3 million cars in a year. “The ETS plays an important part in helping New Zealand meet its international climate change obligations so it’s important that we take the time to get feedback and ensure people understand the changes we are trying to make.”

The deadline for submissions on these proposals is 5.00pm on Friday 9 April 2021. Find out more about the consultation and have your say.


The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is the Government’s principal policy response to climate change.

The ETS is established by amendments to the Climate Change Response Act 2002 made in 2008 to help New Zealand meet its international climate change targets.

The Regulations will provide the detailed rules and settings to implement the policy changes to the ETS made through the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Act 2020.

The final NZ ETS Forestry Regulations will apply to participants from 1 January 2023. This is when most of the forestry changes from the Amendment Act also apply.

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Forestry operations & bushfire severity report outcome

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the University of Tasmania’s investigation into the publication of a flawed study last year that linked forestry operations and bushfire severity, with UTAS to require academic staff undergo training on the importance of research integrity and the disclosure of conflicts of interest.

Last year the Australian Senate passed a motion condemning the flawed study and its misuse by the Australian Greens. The motion noted “that the withdrawal of this paper was required because of the number of significant errors and wrong conclusions and that it did not meet the standard for ‘high-quality scientific works as required by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)”.

AFPA Deputy Chief Executive Victor Violante commended the University for investigating the matter and taking steps to ensure that all academic staff are mindful of the need to disclose conflicts of interest and to ensure their work is scientifically sound and meets the university’s high standards.

“AFPA wrote to Vice-Chancellor Rufus Black last year expressing concern that a scientific paper co-authored by UTAS academics had been withdrawn by the publishing journal due to significant errors, and that one of the authors, Dr Jennifer Sanger, had subsequently disclosed that she was employed by the Bob Brown Foundation (BBF) to run its campaign to shut down Tasmania’s forestry industry,” Mr Violante said.

“The investigation confirmed there were shortcomings in the academic process, and I commend UTAS for committing to ensure academic staff are aware of their responsibilities and undergo training to better understand their obligations.”

Mr Violante said that while the review found that the conduct of the academics did not meet the high threshold required to amount to “research misconduct”, the University advised AFPA that the investigation highlighted “the need to support process improvement by providing further training and guidance”.

Mr Violante said the scientific consensus is that reducing fuel loads in the forest through a combination of mechanical fuel reduction and controlled burns play a vital role in bushfire mitigation, and that forestry operations do not increase bushfire severity.

“Research has found that in the eucalypt forests of south-eastern Australia, an annual reduction program of 5 per cent of the landscape could reduce the extent of bushfires by as much as 50 per cent,” Mr Violante concluded.

Source: AFPA, miragenews

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Is treated H2 timber framing a time bomb?

The near-universal use of H2 blue, green or red framing timber in construction is now a time bomb for landfill in 20-40 years’ time. It cannot be composted nor recycled, and thus is sent to landfill. In an ideal world, buildings would be carefully deconstructed and every skerrick reused, but in the Land of Oz, where labourers are paid $55 per hour, and landfill rates are less than $200 per tonne that is just a pipe dream.

H2 timber is marketed by leveraging the not unreasonable fear of termites. How can something so small cause so much fear? Yet the misunderstanding in the general public’s minds is probably second only to that of the great white shark. Without termites, it has been calculated that we would be smothered under three metres of rotting timber. How that was calculated would make interesting bedtime reading.

The timber industry sells H2 as added termite protection, and a value-add. Quizzing a few suppliers, I have been told the scale of production is such that it adds 20c per lineal metre to the cost, but I suspect that is optimistic. The building industry then on-sells it as added peace of mind for homeowners, but if we look more closely at the details, that’s often misleading, and unnecessary in any case.

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Source: thefifthestate

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Trade sanctions renew discussions for pulp mill

The Australian forestry industry says the only silver lining in trade sanctions that have shut down the AU$600 million a year log trade with China is that it strengthens the case for a pulp and paper mill in Victoria or South Australia.

It is pushing for tax incentives and a clear path to approval for such a mill as the log trade out of Portland, in the south-west corner of Victoria, dries up and the Morrison government grows more concerned about the future of the aluminium smelter there.

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) chief executive Ross Hampton said China had been buying about 95 per cent of plantation logs unsuitable for sawmilling and the trade ban threatened the viability of the timber industry in a “green triangle” across south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia.

“There’s a lot of sawmills there and they take all of the saw logs but the whole industry is at risk of coming to a halt because, like an abattoir, we have to be able to manage the sausage meat to get to the steak,” he said. “So, if we haven’t got an outlet for those products, then the industry will slow down and it could even come to a halt.”

Billionaire Anthony Pratt, whose private company Visy is one of AFPA’s biggest members, operates a pulp and paper mill at Tumut in NSW, but despite years of noise about a site at Mount Gambier the stars have never aligned for a pulp mill in southern Australia. And investors have long and painful memories of the Gunns plan for an AU$2.6 billion pulp mill in Tasmania that fell apart after strong opposition from green groups.

More >>

Source: AFR

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China extends tariff exclusions for US hardwoods

China will extend tariff exemptions on 65 imported products from the United States. Hardwood lumber and logs made the list. China's Ministry of Finance announced the decision Friday. The new extension goes until September 16, 2021.

"Apparently, U.S. hardwood logs and lumber were the only agricultural products included in the extension," writes the National Hardwood Lumber Association in a note to its members. "The American Hardwood Export Council is working with the Embassy to clarify all HS codes involved, but they believe it includes most, if not all species, that were originally hit with tariffs."

China first placed these tariffs in May 2019 as a retaliatory measure. In February 2020, it announced exclusions.

Source: Woodworking Network

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... wrong place wrong time

The first applicant of the day at the Pearly Gates explains that his last day was not a good one.

"I came home early and found my wife lying in bed with very little clothing. She claimed she had just got out of the shower. Well, her hair was dry and I checked the shower and it was completely dry too. I knew she was into some hanky-panky and I began to look for her lover. I went onto the balcony of our 9th-floor apartment and found the guy clinging to the rail by his fingertips.

I was so angry that I began bashing his fingers with a flower pot. He let go and fell, but his fall was broken by some awnings and bushes. On seeing he was still alive I found superhuman strength to drag our antique cedar chest to the balcony and throw it over. It hit the man and killed him. At this point the stress got to me and I suffered a massive heart attack and died.”

Saint Peter thanked him for his story and sent him on to the waiting room.

The second applicant said that his last day was his worst.

"I was on the roof of an apartment-building working on the AC equipment and I stumbled over my tools and toppled off the building. I managed to grab onto the balcony rail of a 9th-floor apartment but some idiot came rushing out on the balcony and bashed my hands with a flower pot. I fell but hit some awnings and bushes and survived, but as I looked up I saw a huge chest falling toward me. I tried to crawl out of the way but failed and was hit and killed by the chest.”

Saint Peter couldn't help but chuckle as he directs the man to the waiting room. Saint Peter is still chuckling when his third customer of the day enters.

He apologizes and says, "I doubt that your last day was as interesting as the two fellows that arrived here just before you.”

“I don't know," replies the man. "Picture this, I'm naked, hiding in this cedar chest...”

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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