Questions and Answers
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 Levy Order 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 2003) 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.
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.
There are two categories of Board member.
- Voted on by members with greater than 1,000 ha net stocked area – 4 Board members in this category
- Voted on by members with less than 1,000 ha net stocked area – 2 Board members in this category
The nominator must specify the category in which the nominee is standing in.
Who can be nominated?
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 15 November 2013.
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, send a detailed explanation of the circumstances to the Board, so it is received by 5 pm 15 November 2013. 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 19 November 2013.
How many votes do I get?
There are four positions to fill for Trustees voted on by members with greater than 1,000ha.
There are two positions to fill for Trustees voted on by members with less than 1,000ha.
A voter declaring greater than 1,000ha net stocked area is voting for four positions and can vote for up to four 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.
A voter declaring less than 1,000ha net stocked area is voting for two positions and can vote for up to two persons nominated in the less than 1,000ha category. Their vote is recorded as one vote per person voted for.
How do I vote?
Voting will open on 5 November 2013 and close at 5 pm 22 November 2013.
What safeguards are in place to ensure the integrity of the vote?
Before you vote in the board election, you must formally declare that you 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. 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.
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.
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.