Ian Jackson, New Zealand Tree Grower May 2014.
Last month’s 58th conference of the NZFFA was a resounding success enjoyed by everyone that attended. Joint chairmen Chris Dawkins and Paul Millen and their team are to be commended for the superb event that the conference turned out to be. Even though the weather in sunny Marlborough did not co-operate, the entire conference was efficiently run and went off without a hitch. As always we are indebted to our sponsors for reducing the costs of attending conferences. Major sponsors this year were FMG insurance company and Laurie Forestry, along with the Chinese importing company Superchain Logistics. This company is a major importer of New Zealand logs into China and are actively seeking increased volumes of New Zealand wood.
The business meetings at the conference provided the venue to discuss the future direction of your association. In particular, discussion centred around the position of the action groups alongside branches, the “unbundling” of the subs so as to make the Tree Grower additional to a reduced head office subscription and the establishment of a Radiata investor’s action group. There is never enough time to discuss such important issues at conference, so it was decided to hold a special council meeting later in the year; this will take place probably in early November. It is the council that according to our rules is meant to formulate policy and make decisions to run this association.
As well as the meetings conference delegates got to see the variety of forest plantings and landscapes that make up this very picturesque area of New Zealand, which gave rise to the “Diverse Landscapes” theme. Optional day fieldtrips focused on the NZ Dryland’s eucalypt trials, steepland harvesting and a visit to the nearby high country. The Marlborough Sounds is indeed a wonderful tree growing area, but because of the isolation, fraught with difficulties in the harvesting phase.
Forest Growers Levy
For anybody that read my recent article in the “Farmers Weekly” where I stated that these are momentous times for the forest industry with the implementation of the compulsory forest growers levy, this also follows for the NZFFA, where we are now full partners alongside the Forest Owners Association in the levy decision making and implementation process. As part of the contract with the Levy Board the FFA will receive $75,000 to implement communication and extension to all the small scale forest growers that are levy payers, not just members of FFA. As the harvest from this sector increases in the next few years, our importance and power will also increase. NZFFA will need to step up and takes its place and assume its responsibilities within the New Zealand forest industry.
Changes in Head Office
Along with the changes that the levy has brought about, we are undergoing change in our head office. Susan Tsang has now left us to move to Auckland. We wish Susan well in her new life and thank her for the 12 years of dedicated service she has given this organisation. As well as Susan leaving, Bruce Bulloch has indicated a desire to reduce his role with the association and reduce the burden a bit. With these factors in mind your executive has decided to step up the head office role, improve communication and the interaction with members and branches, ramp up the web site, and enhance our relationships with the wider industry. With the forest growers levy in place our needs in these areas are now greater than ever. We are actively seeking a new person to fill the role in our head office. We have advertised the new role and will be interviewing soon. By the time of the next magazine, I will be able to report on our appointment to the new role.