Nov 24, 2017 - New Zealand structural log prices rose to the highest level in 24 years and A-grade export logs hit a record as local mills compete with the export market to secure supply for the domestic construction market amid strong demand from China.
The price for structural S1 logs increased to $130 a tonne this month, from $128 a tonne last month, marking the highest level since 1993, according to AgriHQ's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. Export log prices lifted between $2-to-$5 a tonne for the majority of grades, with the price for A-Grade logs touching $128 a tonne, up from $127 a tonne last month and the highest level since AgriHQ began collecting the data in 2008.
New Zealand is experiencing strong demand for its logs from China, which has clamped down on the harvesting of its own forests and reduced tariffs on imported logs to meet demand in its local market. AgriHQ said Chinese demand for softwood logs remains strong, lifting back to record levels in the latest data for September with Chinese imports of New Zealand logs currently tracking 10 percent ahead of last year.
"Those trading in the domestic log market are continuing to receiver near-record returns and there's nothing to signal that this situation will change anytime soon," said AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick. "Looking forward, all prospects will be determined by the direction the export log market takes."
Brick said wharf gate values climbed through October and early November and will likely hold high until the Chinese New Year period. Also known as the 'spring festival', the Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 16 next year, and the festival will last until March 2, about 15 days in total. As an official public holiday, Chinese people can get seven days' absence from work, from Feb. 15 to 21.
"Beyond that point, it's still a wait-and-see situation," Brick said.
He noted the latest situation and outlook report released by the Ministry of Primary Industries continues to shed a positive light on forestry's prospects over the next two years.
"They predict strong Chinese interest in logs over the short-medium term, underpinned by its ban of commercial logging of natural forests, falling Russian log supplies, and a 2 percent reduction on its imported log tax."
Brick said "the only proper negative" when it comes to the export market is shipping rates, which are rising faster than log values. However, this was being masked by a weaker New Zealand dollar, he said.
"There is still a level of uncertainty as to whether shipping rates have reached their peak or have a little more upswing to come," Brick said.
Still, he said "in terms of market fundamentals it is all still quite positive."
Nov 24, 2017 - SafePlus, a new Government developed and endorsed health and safety toolkit, is now available to all New Zealand businesses, and is set to help lift the health and safety performance in workplaces across the country. SafePlus currently consists of three products: Resources and Guidance, the market-delivered Onsite Assessment and Advisory Service and the Online Self-Assessment tool.
Malcolm MacMillan, SafePlus Programme Manager says, "New Zealand has an unnecessarily high rate of serious workplace accidents. The social and economic cost of this in New Zealand workplaces is conservatively estimated at $3.5 billion each year, and inflicts an enormous emotional toll on the people affected. We need a change in our workplace health and safety culture and SafePlus provides an important toolkit to achieve that change.
"SafePlus digs deep into a business to assess workers practices, behaviours, attitudes and culture towards health and safety, this behavioural approach helps them identify opportunities and strive for excellence."
The launch of the Onsite Assessment and Advisory Service includes the SafePlus Register of Independent Accredited Assessors so businesses will now be able to directly engage with assessors. The Accredited Assessors have been trained to deliver SafePlus and carry sector specific and generalist experience. This public register can be found at www.safeplus.nz
Mr MacMillan says, "SafePlus Accredited Assessors are an essential component of the SafePlus initiative. The services they provide during an Onsite Assessment and Advisory Service will change the way businesses view their health and safety in the workplace.
"Accredited Assessors use an approach that focuses on the people and their practices rather than written policies and procedures. They engage at all levels of a business, from senior leaders to front line workers, then use these insights to measure a business’s health and safety performance, and provide them with advice and guidance."
SafePlus is a voluntary performance improvement toolkit that defines what good health and safety looks like in the workplace, and sits above minimum legal compliance. It is a joint harm prevention initiative developed by WorkSafe New Zealand, ACC and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
SafePlus has been developed in direct response to the Independent Taskforce into Health and Safety, and the Working Safer Reforms. Working Safer is aimed at reducing New Zealand’s workplace injury and death toll by 25 per cent by 2020. The Act’s key emphasis is on everyone in the workplace being responsible for health and safety.
Nov 23, 2017 - Seven years after the Pike River disaster and after significant changes to legislation and regulations surrounding health and safety in the workplace, nothing has changed according to the Maintenance Engineering Society of New Zealand at their annual National Maintenance Engineering Conference in Hamilton.
Fronting a groundswell of opinion from industry, society Chair Barry Robinson stated “Prior to Pike River the Maintenance Engineering Society was a lone voice saying that workers were no safer. Pike River provided the opportunity to make major change which has indeed happened but our recent survey and field work confirms that key players have failed to grasp the need to do some essential things differently if we are effect change. Our recent interaction with industry is alarming and disappointing.”
Mr Robinson pointed to health and safety professionals and management who continue to promote a downwardly driven rules based approach to safety (clerical safety) rather than an upwardly driven people based (actual safety) approach. “Health and safety in New Zealand has a major PR problem. You only have to ask a worker to get validation on that point. The opportunity existed to take a fresh approach to managing health and safety, taking heed of the learning’s and challenges of other countries. WorkSafe considered this too difficult and is instead focused on supply chain pressure, incongruous with our local content of 80% small to medium enterprises. Health and safety professional groups are more interested in who is “in” and who is “out” than improving the quality and direction of positive health and safety culture. We have yet to see a single piece of value from this sector after 3 years.”
As a follow up to their 2010 paper, “The Emperor is Wearing Fluro Clothes” in which it was stated that New Zealand’s statistics had worsened by 41%, the society surveyed 5000 New Zealand businesses. While 91% of respondents now have a health and safety system, the issues with staff attitude, culture and managing systems long term remain unchanged.
Maintenance Engineering Society health and safety spokesman Craig Carlyle points out that pivotal changes have been made that underscored the need for a step change, with new legislation, inspectorate, regulations and guidelines. Carlyle is supportive of WorkSafe who are unrecognisable compared with the former Crown Agency and the society is committed to continuing working alongside them. But he adds, “Worksafe are in danger of falling into the same trap as the health and safety professionals. Our survey and ongoing field work clearly shows there is no improvement momentum and illogical and imposed safety controls remain at the forefront. Worse still, small businesses blindly follow the big players, buying into their spin and spreading the illogical management. The answers are very simple and the PR message can be improved but it requires a level of humility that clashes with the ethos of protecting your patch. Health and safety should be a positive continuous learning component of any organisation. There are positive stories out there with organisations empowering staff by providing safety rather than requiring safety, but the mainstream remains occupied by corporate platitudes and health and safety fashion. While health is undeniably scientific, safety is about logic and man management and certainly does not require 3 letters after your name to manage effectively”.
Aside from the professionals, Carlyle pointed to the blossoming health and safety services and supply industries and capital investment in safety related assets. “These sectors continue to feed the smoke and mirrors for their own gain. While the safety theatre looks impressive, without a significant improvement in our statistics it must be judged as a colossal waste of resource. Companies are spending significant money on health and safety controls where no real risk lies.” In their presentation to engineering delegates from around New Zealand, the society offered alternatives to staff faced with safety rules that were not in fact keeping them safe, including using the directors due diligence requirements of the new Act to inform the business owners that the workers are NOT being adequately protected by the problematic management and professionals. They reasoned that downwardly-driven enforcement of illogical and unnecessary rules and actions could be challenged as breaching the requirements of the legislation. They key message is that workers must have major input into, and ownership of, decisions surrounding their own well-being.
Nov 23, 2017 - The Packaging Council of New Zealand is launching a new annual Scholarship program, in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), that will enable one packaging technologist, designer or engineer in New Zealand the opportunity to complete a Diploma in Packaging Technology to the value of $9,000.
“The association is extremely proud to be able to offer the scholarship to a New Zealand packaging professional each year,” commented Harry Burkhardt, President of the Packaging Council of New Zealand.
“The packaging industry is dynamic and diverse, offering career opportunities across a wide scope of disciplines. PAC.NZ has been representing businesses in the packaging industry in New Zealand since 1992 and recognises that investment in the packaging industry starts with investment in its people. We strongly encourage everyone in the industry to apply for this scholarship.
“The Diploma in Packaging Technology is a Level 5 qualification which is internationally recognised for those wishing to pursue a career in the packaging industry or for those who are already in the industry and who wish to extend their knowledge and expertise. The Diploma in Packaging Technology prepares students to take responsibility for packaging operations at any level through the supply chain. The qualification is comprehensive, and provides an opportunity to study the principles of packaging, packaging materials and packaging processes.”
Diploma in Packaging Technology students come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and are typically experienced practitioners or managers in technical, sales/marketing, QA, purchasing, engineering or design.
Completion of the Diploma in Packaging Technology demonstrates a commitment to your career and to the industry. Delegates who successfully complete the Diploma are equipping themselves for senior positions within the packaging industry.
Entries are now open with submissions closing on the 23rd of February 2018. The winner of the inaugural Packaging Council of New Zealand Scholarship will be announced at the 2018 Packaging & Processing Innovation & Design Awards; which will be held alongside of the prestigious international WorldStar Packaging Awards on 2 May.
| A NZ Packaging Council release || November 23, 2017 |||
Nov 23, 2017 - An Auckland waste removal company and its director have been sentenced today after one of the firm’s employees was killed in a workplace accident.
Jamey Lee Bowring, an employee of Salter’s Cartage, was killed in September 2015 after the fuel tank he was welding on exploded.
A subsequent investigation by police and WorkSafe found that the 100,000 litre tank had been labelled as a diesel tank when in fact it held a combination of fuels and gas.
The investigation also found "widespread non-compliance" across the worksite, which also had “high hazards" and the ability to cause "catastrophic harm".
Today, Judge Richard John McIlraith sentenced company director and business owner Ronald Thomas Salter to four and a half months’ home detention.
Salter was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine while the company was penalised a total of $258,750 for the death of the 24-year-old. The fine includes $110,000 in emotional harm reparation to Bowring’s family and more than $15,000 to a neighbouring business.
Judge McIlraith also noted that it was hard to find a case with a more catastrophic safety breach, and that punitive punishment for Salter was necessary.
Since the explosion, Salter's Cartage has spent $1.5 million to repair the site and bring it up to a higher level of safety compliance. Director Ronald Thomas Salter also established a welding scholarship in Bowring’s name.
| A HRD New Zealand release || November 23, 2017 |||
Nov 23, 2017 - Four in ten business leaders believe there will be an increase in casual and contractor employment over the next ten years, according to the newly-released Future of Talent report.
“It is about how businesses are looking to find different ways to utilise workers across their lifetime,” said Geraldine Magarey, leader of policy and thought leadership at CA ANZ – the organisation which conducted the recent report.
“It’s a great sign for older workers who would prefer part-time retirement, students with study commitments and new parents who don’t yet want to go back to a full-time job.”
The challenge, she added, is to strike the right balance with employment regulation, to allow the widest variety of working patterns, including casual, contracting, part-time and project-based or seasonal work.
The report also highlighted the need to ensure that vulnerable workers are protected from unscrupulous employers.
“Flexibility must still provide decent work and remuneration.”
The paper launched Tuesday night in New Zealand also surveyed what attributes business leaders felt to be very important for the future: There was an overwhelming response for communication skills (90 per cent).
Other qualities deemed important are problem solving, adaptability and agility, collaboration, quick building of relationships, resilience, creativity and innovation, the making of good designs even with incomplete information, leadership and empathy.
“These are difficult to replicate with technology,” Magarey said, pointing out that business leaders still feel a human touch remain crucial at work even as technological advancements influence the workplace.
And while agility and adaptability are crucial for workers, “it’s crucial for workplaces too,” Magarey said.
“Businesses need to be flexible in relation to hours, locations and where employees can work. These initiatives help to increase the talent pool and the employees they can attract.”
The paper surveyed 400 leaders from all sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, logistics, IT, professional services, accounting, finance and healthcare.
| A HRD New Zeal;and release || November 23, 2017 |||
Nov 22, 2017 - Scott Technology outbid an overseas buyer when it bought Dunedin-based engineering firm DC Ross out of receivership, a six-monthly report from the receivers shows. DC Ross, which supplies precision metal formed parts, was tipped into receivership in September 2016 and in June this year Scott Technology said it had entered an unconditional agreement to purchase all the assets of the company for a total purchase price expected to be less than $500,000.
In its annual report, Scott Technology, also based in Dunedin, said it paid $375,000 for DC Ross, and its tool room and tool design capability has already enabled it to undertake significant work for an appliance manufacturer in Australia.
It also noted the inventories, plant and equipment of the DC Ross business were purchased from DC Ross’ receivers for an agreed total value which was less than market value, resulting in a fair-value gain on acquisition.
In today's report, DC Ross's receiver Malcolm Hollis of PwC said they had corresponded with multiple interested parties and attracted an overseas buyer. He did not identify the company and was not immediately available for comment. However, prior to settlement, it received a "large offer from a third party," he said in the report. "We consulted with our appointer, who agreed this was the best possible offer received to date and retained employment for all staff," said Hollis.
Hollis also said the receivers are in negotiations with third secured creditor Fletcher Steel regarding the quantum of its purchase money security interest claim - which gives it the right to receive debtor proceeds up to the value of steel contained in the part sold. According to the report, Fletcher Steel is owed $609,670.
"Once we have undertaken a review of the calculations we intend to make a final distribution to Fletcher Steel," said Hollis.
The first secured creditor is Bank of New Zealand, which is owed $4.3 million while the second secured creditor is Aorangi Laboratories, owed $13.8 million. According to Hollis' report "based on the realisations to date there will be a significant shortfall to the secured creditor and therefore no funds available for a distribution to unsecured creditors."
Scott Technology shares last traded up 1.4 percent at $3.70 and have gained 70 percent this year.
Nov 22, 2017 - The number of online job advertisements rose slightly with an increase of 0.1 per cent in October 2017 and 8.2 per cent over the year, according to the latest Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Jobs Online report. “Job vacancies increased in five out of eight of the industry groups, with the largest contributor being the medical and healthcare industry, with an increase of 1.1 per cent. Other significant increases were a 2.2 per cent increase for machinery drivers and a 1.6 per cent rise for labourers,” says Stuart King, MBIE’s acting Labour Market Trends manager.
“In October, low-skilled occupations grew the fastest with a 1.0 per cent increase, with semi-skilled and highly-skilled occupations also increasing 0.5 per cent.”
Over the month, the strongest regional growth was in Otago/Southland with a 1.5 per cent increase, followed by Waikato and Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough/West Coast which all increased by 1.2 per cent.
“Over the year, the number of vacancies increased in all ten regions,” says Mr King.