Ian Jackson, New Zealand Tree Grower August 2014.
Welcome to the winter edition of Tree Grower. What a difference three months makes in the forest industry, back then log prices were at their peak, however a basic lesson in economics has seen prices tumble. The supply increased to such a level, coupled with a small decline in usage, that there quickly became a glut of logs in our main Chinese markets. The increase in supply mainly came from the small scale forest sector in response to the very good prices. Next time prices are high there will probably be the same reaction and a resultant collapse in the market. The corporate forest sector did not increase their production to any great extent and even now continue to cut as per their programmes, so as not to loose logging crews when prices improve.
On a more positive note it would appear that we have, at least for now, halted the decline in membership numbers with a slight increase in member numbers to just under 1900.
New Association Manager
In my last column I reported that we were in the process of selecting a person to manage the Association business in our Wellington office. It gives me great pleasure to inform members that in May we appointed Glenn Tims to the role of Association manager. He is engaged for 30 hours per week, working five days till 3.00pm each day. Glenn is a professional architect, but was looking for a change of jobs when he applied for our position. Glenn, some years back worked for the Building Standards department in Government and currently is a technical writer for the Water Membrane Association; the ones that keep water out of houses. Glenn brings a lot of skills to the FFA, he has a sound knowledge of the end use of wood. In his application for the position he stated he was a people person and that he loved wood, so was a front runner in our selection process. He has already met or talked to many members, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact Glenn and check out his efficiency in responding to you.
Health and Safety
The H&S space has been uppermost in Association dealings over the last few months. Alongside FOA and the Contractors Association, the NZFFA is a sponsor of the Independent Forestry Safety Review (IFSR), where we have been involved in making submissions and in the consultation process. The panel have put out an initial Public Consultation Document with a number of questions and propositions, which we have recently responded too. All the panels’ writings so far are available on their website www.ifsr.co.nz . Our submissions on the H&S process are also available on our website. The panel members, experts in the field, have so far got to grips with the issues and it would be fair to say that whatever they recommend will be considered very seriously by government. Because of the importance of this process it is paramount that the FFA be involved and has our say and influence in the final recommendations. The review will be concluded in perhaps another two months.
Alongside the H&S Review your executive has been getting to grips with the impending H&S review Bill, presently being drafted up by MBIE. At our last meeting we met with MBIE and Worksafe personal to get a briefing on the objectives and implications of the Bill for forest growers. The bill will cover contractual obligations and liabilities for employers. If you run a business you will be affected! The concept of a PCBU (Person conducting a business or undertaking) will become a part of your vocabulary and the fact that, no longer will you be able to contract yourself out of obligations and liabilities will also be a reality. We were assured that the Bill will be based on the concept of “fair and reasonable” actions and conduct of your business.