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Newsletter 59 January 2013

Newsletter 59 January 2013

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New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1122


Farm Forestry Newsletter
 January 2013  No. 59

In this issue

Proposed forestry commodity levy – referendum, March 2013

How to build roads in tiger country

Guest Editorial



Ian Jackson
-South Canterbury
-North Otago
-Sthn High Country (north)

Vice President

Dean Satchell
-Far North
-Mid North
-Lower North

Newsletter editor
Dean Satchell

National Executive

Angus Gordon
-Taupo & Districts
-Middle Districts
-Hawkes Bay

Neil Cullen
-Mid Otago
-South Otago
-Men of Trees
-Sthn High Country (south)

Hamish Levack
-Bay of Plenty
-Gisborne East Coast

Patrick Milne
-West Coast
-Central Canterbury
-North Canterbury


NZFFA website
The members only area of the NZFFA website is up an running. NZFFA members can access the members page by logging in with the email address this newsletter was sent to. If you don't have a password or can't remember it then enter your email address here and click "send me instructions". You will get an email with instructions. If it doesn't arrive then check your spam box. You can also subscribe online at the NZFFA website.

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association (Inc) 57th Annual Conference

“Back to our Roots – Growing a forestry future on a soundly based foundation”.

The Lower North Branch is proud to invite you to Orewa for the 57th Annual General Meeting and Conference of The New Zealand Farm Forestry Association -  April 20-23rd inclusive 2013.

The conference theme “Back to our Roots” acknowledges the very significant early forestry activity in the region (it is recorded that often up to 30 vessels at a time were loading Kaipara kauri logs and lumber for export to Australia and California), the early practice of plantation forestry (some of the earliest planting of the Woodhill sand dunes and Riverhead gumlands pioneered the use of radiata pine, eucalypts and redwood) and of course the formation of The Farm Forestry and Horticulture (Lower North) Association by Neil Barr, Hec Nicholls and Frank Bartlett in 1950.
This followed a discussion on the steps of the Helensville Post Office with shelter and the lack of durable timber for fencing, being major issues at that time. Neil was an enthusiast for trees on farms, and with Forest Service help, travelled around the country encouraging farm foresters to set up local interest groups which in turn led on to our Association as we know it today. Since those days we have certainly built a forestry future on the foundation created by those events.

Our conference sets out to revisit a little of the past, but particularly to consider the future and how farm foresters can benefit from and contribute to that future in the most positive way possible.

The conference will be held at The Orewa Arts and Events Centre, Riverside Road, Orewa. Accommodation will be in Hotels, Motels and B&Bs in Orewa and adjacent areas and details are set out in the registration information.

For more click here or download the flyer for this event.

This notice fulfills the obligation under our Constitution and Rules to advise you during January of the nominations for National Executive, and includes other information relevant to the Annual Meetings which most branches hold in February.

National President Ian Jackson (South Canterbury) commences the second year of his two-year term at the Orewa Conference in April 2013.

John Dermer (Middle Districts) completes his 1-year term as Immediate Past President at the Orewa Conference.

Under the amendment to the NZFFA Constitution and Rules passed at the last conference, the North Island and South Island must have two Island Representative Executive Members each.  If both islands have the required number, further Executive Members to make up a total of six are elected as Representatives-At-Large.

North Island Executive Members
The North Island Executive member retiring by rotation at the Orewa Conference is Hamish Levack (Wellington).  The remaining North Island Members are Angus Gordon (Middle Districts) and Dean Satchell (Far North).  Thus the North Island will continue to have the required two Island Representatives.

South Island Executive Members
The vacancy created by election of Ian Jackson to President was not filled and so there is no retiring South Island Member.  The remaining South Island Members are Neil Cullen (South Otago) and Patrick Milne (North Canterbury).  Thus the South Island will continue to have the required two Island Representatives.

Hamish Levack – Hamish was elected to the National Executive in 2010.  He is a member of Wellington Branch and has served the branch in various officer roles.  His involvement with forestry goes back to ranger training under the former NZ Forest Service.  Hamish has a particular mission to induce forest owners to undertake cooperative action to convert the predicted “wall of wood” into a sustained annual harvest volume.  He is a member of the Forest Growers Levy Trust Board which is managing the referendum on the introduction of a forestry commodity levy.

Peter Berg – Peter was a long-serving President of the NZ Forest Owners Association.  Having relinquished that role, he now feels able to take on greater responsibilities within NZFFA.  Peter is a member of Lower North Branch which he has served in various officer capacities, and he is currently chairing the Orewa Conference Organising Committee.  Peter held executive positions in the forestry industry from NZ Forest Service through its successor corporations.

As the number of nominations is the same as the vacancies, the election of Hamish and Peter as Representatives-at-Large will be confirmed at the Council Meeting and AGM at the Orewa Conference.

No remits have been received but branches still have opportunities to propose Notices of Motion and Agenda Items for meetings at conference.  There are three available forums:
Branch Management Meeting – concerned with running of branches and internal organisation of the association.
Council Meeting – The governing body of the association and key link between the branches and the National Executive.  Where the Executive reports on its performance during the year, new policy is developed and recommendations are formulated for the AGM.
AGM – where the formal business of approving the financial statements and reports takes place.
Agenda Items and Notices of Motion must be sent to National Office before 25 March.

Branch (and Action Group) Membership Lists:
These will be sent out to Presidents, Secretaries, Treasurers and Councillors once the bulk of incoming subscription renewals have been processed.  If you want them earlier please advise National Office.  Lists can be either electronic or hard copy - let us know if you if you have a preference.  Early in the year the lists will include members who were financial for 2012 and members who have paid for 2013.  Around May we will advise you of those still unfinancial for 2013.  Treasurers can maintain their own membership records from this list and the monthly branch refund lists.  If you receive a list but are standing down from office, please pass the list on to the new office-holder.

Next Meeting of National Executive – 20 February 2013
The February meeting focuses on the budget and planning for the 2012 financial year and upcoming events like Conference.  Please advise your Executive member of any other matters you want raised.

Changes in Branch Officers
Please advise National Office of changes made at branch annual meetings.  Also who will be representing your branch at the Conference Council Meeting and Branch Management Meeting so we can ensure they get relevant documentation closer to the Conference.

Reports to National Office - Deadline
A reminder to send your branch’s annual Financial Statements and a report of your year’s activity (commonly the Branch President’s Report) to National Office.  Activity reports are required by 10 April even if your own annual meeting is later.

The 10 April is also the deadline for the Action Group, Research, Forest Health, etc. reports we usually bind in with our Annual Report document.

Proposed forestry commodity levy – referendum, March 2013

Leaders of the forest industry are proposing to introduce a plantation forest commodity levy later in 2013 or early 2014. The levy will apply to all products sourced from trees in a plantation forest. The levy would be collected at harvest; the initial proposed rate is 27 cents/tonne of all marketable forest products. The NZFFA Executive is in favour of the levy. It is confident that small forest owners’ views will be heard when decisions are being made about use of levy funds.

Why a plantation forestry levy?

Most forest industry-good work, such as research, advocacy, forest fire protection and forest biosecurity work, is currently done on behalf of all forest growers but only members of the NZFFA and NZFOA contribute towards the costs. A levy would provide a means of spreading the costs amongst all forest owners. An estimated 10,000 owners are not affiliated to either organisation.

Who will decide how levy funds will be spent? Who will represent farm foresters?

An interim Levy Trust Board has been set up to oversee the referendum. If the levy gets the go-ahead, a new Board will be elected. Of the seven members of the Board, two will be elected by growers with less than 1000 hectares.  Farm foresters therefore have a great opportunity to influence the choice of the two people who fill these positions.

What will levy funds be spent on?

Levy money will fund programmes specified in the ‘Plantation Forestry Work Plan 2013-2019’. This plan will be finalised by the interim Levy Trust Board following a successful referendum outcome.  Examples of work likely to be funded in the first six years include:
  • Research to increase forest productivity and sustainability. This includes breeding and genetics, wood quality, disease resistance and control, and steep-land harvesting.
  • Promotion of timber through the NZ Wood brand; activities including promoting wood as the material of choice for the Christchurch rebuild.
  • Forest health and biosecurity.
  • Policy development, codes of practice, and advocacy on behalf of all forest growers in areas including environmental compliance, forest fire prevention and management, health, safety and training, road transport, and forest health and biosecurity.
When will the referendum be held, and who can vote?

The Plantation Forest Referendum will be held between March  1st and March 22nd 2013. Forest owners with over four hectares of trees at least ten years old will be eligible to vote.

How do I vote?

Forest owners will first need to register – this will be possible on-line on the ForestVoice website  from the first week of February or by mail or fax.  Voting will also be possible on-line, or by mail or fax.
Where can I find out more?

  1. Visit the ForestVoice website: The website provides a lot of clear information on the referendum process and how the levy will operate. It also has an interactive Question and Answer facility.
  2. Contact:  Ian Jackson (03 689 5578, or Hamish Levack (04 476 6787),
  3. Freephone 0800 500168: for general information or to register and vote by post or fax.
Also, have a look at Ian Jackson’s article in the November 2012 Tree Grower (p18-19) for an initial overview of the levy.

There will be more information in the February 2013 Tree Grower

Ian Jackson

How to build roads in tiger country

....Essential guide for earthworks in tiger country....
For more information, please ring Brian Pritchard, Tel 021 900 201 or 06 835 9283

Forest owners and farmers now have access to detailed information about carrying out earthworks on steep hills that are often prone to erosion -- the tiger country where New Zealand’s plantation forests are increasingly grown.

To harvest those hills, you need highly skilled roading engineers and operators who can construct low-cost, fit-for-purpose, roads, culverts and landings that meet high environmental standards. They in turn need a source of reliable information about what works and what doesn’t work in difficult terrain and across a wide range of soil types.

Launching the New Zealand Forest Road Engineering Manual and associated Operators Guide, associate minister for primary industries Nathan Guy complimented the Forest Owners Association for taking the lead. Principal editor Brett Gilmore was praised for putting a huge amount of work into the project.

“The purpose of the Forest Road Engineering Manual is to provide a one-stop shop for information on all aspects of the planning, design, construction and maintenance of unsealed forest roads,” said Mr Guy.

“Road engineering is one of the most technically challenging and expensive parts of forestry. This manual documents best practice and provides all forest owners – large and small – with access to important information."

He said the publications were well-timed, because many owners who established forests in the 1990s are starting to make plans for developing their infrastructure. Many of these will be smaller owners harvesting for the first time.

The annual harvest is forecast to climb to a projected 35 million cubic metres a year from the early 2020s. This could equate to 14,000 km of new harvest access roads in the next 10 years, at a cost of around a billion dollars.

“The guidance on sediment control and erosion will be of particular value to these owners, and links nicely with the National Policy Statement for freshwater with a wider environmental impact view,” Mr Guy said.

FOA transport committee chair Brian Pritchard said building roads through the bush was a core forestry skill, but in recent years harvesting crews have found themselves working more frequently in steep hill country.

“This has tested the roading and landing making skills of forest owners and contractors at a time when council water quality plans have been paying greater attention to the run-off of silt and other debris.

“But to their great credit, forest owners and contractors have risen to the challenge. They have identified practices that have performed well under storm conditions in very difficult country. They have also identified those practices that don’t perform well.

“The Manual and Operators Guide is the end result of this collaboration. It is also a beginning – an essential starting point for anyone, not just forest owners, contemplating building unsealed access roads in the New Zealand back country.”

22 November 2012


Guest Editorial - the Pure Advantage Green Growth Report, Nov 2012

The forestry section of this comprehensive report (Section 4.7, p 134) draws heavily on what we already know from the Woodco Strategy work, but some of the perspectives and comparisons, in particular with Finland, are instructive.

One flaw is that it incorrectly converts NZ’s competitive advantage in growing softwood (radiata) as a competitive advantage in biofuels, biochemicals and bioplastics.  This link is weak.  Radiata does not grow as fast as hardwood in the tropics or South America so those places, as well as places with plenty of God-given free raw fibre (Russia, Canada)  will hold the advantage for any product that can be made from breaking a tree down to raw fibre and reprocessing or reconstituting that fibre (our geothermal energy advantage aside)...  Where we do hold the advantage is in growing wood that is easy to convert into useful solid wood products such as ply, solid clearwood and engineered structural wood.  These are currently, and will always be much higher value products than broken down fibre fed into a re-constituted fuel or bio-material.  With R&D we should be able to displace lots of polluting and energy intensive concrete and steel in the built environment..  If we can get that part working, then a lot more low-grade fibre will be generated as a by-product, and the pulp and paper / bio-materials / bio-chemicals / biofuel guys will have the low cost feedstock they need to make their products economically viable.

The other wrong assumption is that we can profitably add 1.75 million ha to the plantation estate.  This myth was spread as a result of a Scion report that identified that amount of marginal farmland “suitable” for such conversion, conveniently ignoring ownership or cost.  The reality is that the drystock farming alternative use values that land at a level that no present day forestry economics can support.  It may be “suitable” but very little is “available”.  Only either planting incentives or a >$15/unit price on Carbon will change that.  More equal treatment of pastoral farming under the ETS and RMA would help a bit.

However it does support the case for industry leaders to get serious about supporting R&D, in particular in the wood processing and building systems space.  But in the case of forest growing as providers of a superior feedstock to wood processors and as a catalyst to getting the Government’s attention that we are serious as forest owners about our own future profitability and contribution to NZ’s GDP, that in turn will be linked to R&D in the wood processing and building systems space.

Peter Clark, CEO P.F. Olsen ltd

Disclaimer: Personal views expressed in this newsletter are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the NZ Farm Forestry Association.

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