Official website of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association

President's comment

Neil Cullen, New Zealand Tree Grower November 2018.

In September I had the pleasure of attending the Timber Design Awards in Auckland. This event, organised by the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association, is a great showcase for the use of timber in buildings for an audience filled with architects and designers. The NZFFA has sponsored an award for the use of New Zealand specialty timbers for several years and it was pleasing this year to see the two prize winners were full sized houses.

The category winner featured native timber recovered from Northland rivers and the highly commended entrant was the new home of members Gabrielle and Andy Walton. This house built at Welcome Bay in Tauranga is largely built from wood grown on their Summerhill property and is a great example of how the different species we grow can be used to stunning effect. The fact that the Waltons had to get special consent to use their Eucalyptus regnans for framing emphasises the importance of having Dean Satchell battling for the place of alternative species in the building code.

The opening morning of the recently held Forest Growers Research Conference in Tauranga was devoted to an outline of how the Forest Growers Levy is administered and the work of the various committees which contribute to the work programme. This, along with the recently screened series of television programmes Forest Call, and a series of roadshows to be held around the country, are all part of the build-up to the referendum scheduled in the first third of 2019.

Under the Commodity Levies Act there must be an affirmative vote by contributing parties every six years for the levy to continue. In my opinion there is no doubt the Forest Growers Levy has been of benefit to tree growers of all scale and type and should be continued. If you have doubts or questions then be sure to attend a meeting in your area and have your voice heard and questions answered.

This issue of Tree Grower includes an outline of the programme for next May’s conference in Rotorua.The organising committee are initiating some different features to make best use of the region’s unique status as New Zealand’s centre of forestry and the current focus on enlarging the forest estate with new planting. To succeed we need to engage a new generation of farm foresters and this is part of the aim of the conference. Regular conference goers as well as newcomers should embrace this opportunity to come together in Rotorua and be part of the exciting future of small-scale forestry in New Zealand. There will be many opportunities to learn about the latest developments in forestry and engage with staff from Scion and Te Uru Rakau as well as visits to the region’s forests.

Four organisations representing forest owners, farm foresters, wood processors and forestry contractors have met regularly for many years as a pan industry body called Woodco. It came to life under Minister Jim Anderton and provided a single voice for the forest industry and government to engage through. In recent years for a variety of reasons there has been an erosion of enthusiasm for the concept especially from the processing side and doubts whether it would continue. A recent special meeting was held to see if it had a future and if so in what form. After considerable airing of grievances and discussion from all parties it was decided that there was more commonality than disagreement and that all associations would recommit to a reinvigorated body. A new name may eventuate and an independent chairperson will be engaged to represent the sector.

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