Questions and Answers

Why is an election required?

Under the rules of the FGLT it is required that one half of the elected Board Members shall retire in order to continue the rotation policy contemplated in the rules. Such retirees shall be eligible for re-election. The retirements and elections shall occur to maintain the same balance of Board membership as provided for in the rules 4.3. Those Board Members who are elected at this 2017 election shall be elected until the expiry of the levy on 17 November 2019. The Board consists of:

  1. Two persons elected by Forest Owners each having less than 1,000 hectares of plantation forest. Voting shall be counted on the basis of one vote per Forest Owner.

  2. Four persons elected by Forest Owners each having more than 1,000 hectares of plantation forest. Voting shall be counted in proportion to the voter's Forest Production for the previous year.

  3. One person appointed by the six persons elected in accordance with Rules 1.1a and 1.1b.

For this election there are two categories of Board member who will retire under which eligible forest owners are able to vote.

  1. Forest entities with less than 1,000 ha net stocked area - one Board member.

  2. Forest entities with greater than 1,000 ha net stocked area - two Board members

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Who can vote in the election for the FGLT Board?

The intention is that anyone who potentially will pay the levy during the six year life of the current Levy Order (2014 – 2019) will be entitled to vote. Forest owners who will not be liable to pay the levy will not be eligible to vote.

Each forest owner who owns a Qualifying Forest will be eligible to vote. There is one vote per forest owner regardless of the form of that ownership or the number of forests held by that owner.

A qualifying forest is a forest that has a Stand or Stands of trees of 10 years or more in age (or, for the purposes of this election, planted before 1 October 2007) totalling at least four hectares in area.

A Stand means a contiguous area that contains a number of trees that are relatively homogenous and have a common set of characteristics, normally managed as a single unit. This definition applies to all species, wildings, and regeneration of a planted stand of trees grown for eventual harvest, but excludes Christmas trees and trees grown for domestic firewood.

The forest age restriction is designed to ensure that everyone who is growing trees that might be harvested and sold in the 6-year levy period has the right to vote.

Forest owners who will not be liable to pay the levy will not be eligible to nominate board members, or vote in the Board election.

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Who can nominate a person for election to the Board?

It is the intention that anyone who potentially will pay the levy can nominate Board members.

An eligible person to nominate a Board member can be the forest owner of a Qualifying forest or a person who represents the forest owner of a Qualifying forest where that owner is not a natural person.

An eligible person can make more than one nomination.

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How many positions on the Board are available?

There are two categories of Board member.

  1. Voted on by members with less than 1,000 ha net stocked area - 2 Board members in this category. One position available at this election.

  2. Voted on by members with greater than 1,000 ha net stocked area - 4 Board members in this category. Two positions available at this election.

The nominator must specify the category in which the nominee is standing in.

If a person is nominated for both categories, they will be asked to opt for a particular category for the voting. No person may stand in both categories.

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Who can be nominated?

There are no restrictions on who can be nominated, other than they are a natural person.

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What is the definition of a forest owner?

A 'Forest Owner' is a person having legal ownership of the standing trees in a plantation at the date of the election. This person may have direct ownership, a registered forestry right, a Crown Forest Licence, or similar interest in the trees.

Land owners are eligible to vote only if they have legal ownership of the trees on their land. Owners of cutting or similar rights are not normally the legal owners of the standing trees and therefore are not eligible to vote or nominate.

A 'Person' may be a private individual, or an entity such as a partnership, limited liability company, body corporate, an unincorporated body or the trustees of a trust.

Where more than one person has legal ownership of a Qualifying Forest, they will be treated as a partnership. The partnership will be eligible for one vote.

Where more than one person is recorded as having legal ownership of a Qualifying Forest, the person whose name appears first on the legal record will have the voting rights. If the owners want someone else to vote on their behalf, they must all sign an instruction to be received by the board no later than 5pm 20 October 2017.

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What if it is unclear who should be voting?

Where it is unclear who qualifies for the right to vote in the election on behalf of a Qualifying Forest, a ruling may be sought from the FGLT Board. To apply, a detailed explanation of the circumstances will be sent to the Board, so it is received by Monday 9 October 2017. The Board will make its decision with regard to the terms of the Commodity Levies Act. This decision, which will be final, will be released no later than 5 pm Friday 13 October 2017.

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How many votes do forest owners get at this election?

There is one position to fill for Trustees voted on by members with less than 1,000ha.
There are two positions to fill for Trustees voted on by members with greater than 1,000ha.

A voter declaring greater than 1,000ha net stocked area is voting for two positions and can vote for up to two persons nominated in the greater than 1,000ha category. Their vote will be recorded proportionate to the declared harvested volume for the last calendar year, specifically the 12 months to 31 December 2016.

A voter declaring less than 1,000ha net stocked area is voting for one person nominated in the less than 1,000ha category. Their vote is recorded as one vote per person voted for.

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How do I vote?

Voting will open on 9 October and close at 5 pm 20 October 2017.

Voting will be via the forestvoice.org.nz website.

A hard copy voting form may be requested from Research New Zealand.

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What safeguards are in place to ensure the integrity of the vote?

Before voting in the board election, voters must formally declare that they are legally entitled to vote. When voting has closed, a sample of votes will be independently audited to check that they were cast legitimately.

The entire nomination and voting process is being managed on contract by Research New Zealand, a business that is experienced in conducting elections and who conducted the referendum and first board election. Research New Zealand has no vested interest in the forest industry. All information supplied as part of the voting / nomination process is held by Research New Zealand for the election process only.

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What if a vote appears to be invalid?

The FGLT Board has absolute discretion as to whether a vote has been validly cast on behalf of the owner of a Qualifying Forest and in determining who has the right to cast that vote.

Where more than one vote is cast on behalf of an owner, all votes cast by that owner shall be null and void, unless the Board determines that in the interests of fairness more than one vote should be recognised or that one vote should be recognised and the rest ignored.

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How is my privacy protected?

The information you provide during the election is covered by the Privacy Act 1993. This entitles you to have access to, and correct, this information.

It is your choice whether to supply this information, but it must be supplied if you wish to exercise your right to vote.

Other than data that are already in the public domain, information identifying you or your forests is confidential to Research New Zealand, the company contracted to conduct the election. It will not be provided to any other organisation or person without your express permission.

Voting returns will be destroyed by Research New Zealand following the declaration of the election.

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