John Dermer , New Zealand Tree Grower May 2010.
My first duty as the incoming president is to thank Patrick Milne - our previous president for all the work he has done for the NZFFA over the last three years. He has worked tirelessly for us and his knowledge of the forestry industry has been a great help. Not just to the executive but also to the Neil Barr Foundation, where he has served as a trustee for the three years. Yours will be big shoes to fill Patrick, thank you very much.
As a new President I feel I need to introduce myself to all those members who do not attend the national conference and may not know where I have suddenly sprung from.
Diny and I farm at Cheltenham, 15km north of Feilding in the Manawatu. We run a 186 hectare farm which is mostly a finishing property – bulls and lambs with a bit of cash cropping. I am very much a farmer with trees, and have been a member of this organisation for 14 years. This is not very long when you talk to people who have attended 37 conferences consecutively.
Well done Ian Findlay and your team for the excellent conference you have run. It went really well and with the most notable thing for me being the way everyone mixed and enjoyed each other’s company. The field days were well organised and good and the weather did not live up to Southland’s reputation for rain. What struck me as a farmer was the incredible lushness of the countryside.
The cost seemed to deter many people, but when you look closely at the programme and realise that the price includes two breakfasts, with good speakers, it is in line with other conferences.
I would encourage everyone to attend a conference as they are really worthwhile events. You see parts of New Zealand you just will not see in any other way. All in the company of people with a love of trees and an appreciation of this wonderful country we have the privilege of living in.
Next year’s conference is in Masterton, in the Wairarapa. The committee is well on with their preparations and have a good programme already in place.
Climate Change and the ETS are still high on the agenda, but with government seemingly content to leave the amended Climate Response Act alone, this gives some certainty to those wishing to sell the carbon in their forests.
The Afforestation Grant Scheme is probably the best one ever produced by government, although the past is littered with others. If the government wants trees in the ground to help meet their climate change obligations, this scheme needs to have more funds allocated to it. The executive will be trying to accomplish this.
The AGM approved a resolution from the Wellington branch for the executive to lobby the government to remove the cost of bush taxation, as long as we do not finish up with something worse. This is high on the agenda of the Forest Owners Association as well.
With regard to Federated Farmers, we received an invitation from the President Don Nickelson to work more closely together in future. So we will accept this and see where it leads.
On communication, unfortunately it seems that electronic newsletters do not seem to be the only answer, so more snail-mail will have to be used in future. Please talk to the executive member allocated to your branch, or to me, if you have anything relevant to discuss.
We have two new members on the executive – Hamish Levack and Angus Gordon. With these two, along with Ian Jackson, Neil Cullen and Dean Satchel, our website administrator - his e-mail address is at the bottom of the page; and past president Patrick, we have a good team. I am looking forward to the challenges the presidency will throw up.