It's hard to say Winston Peters deserves any kudos for his policies, but with his position as kingmaker after New Zealand's election this weekend, we should all prepare to see (and hear) a lot more from him.
One of his outrageous ideas may not actually be a bad one: build Christchurch's new stadium out of wood. A sports and concert stadium constructed from New Zealand grown timber would help New Zealand First's populist ideals by injecting support into New Zealand-made products and encourage Kiwi workers.
It's interesting to hear that Canadian project manager Karla Fraser, who worked on the world's tallest timber building (Tallwood House, in Vancouver) is currently in New Zealand urging the Kiwi building industry to start making high-rises out of wood.
Like Canada, New Zealand has an abundance of timber as a natural resource but it's probably being underutilised. Should we be making more wooden buildings?
TIMBER IS MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
There's less material wastage when using a wood product than some other kinds of construction material, as a lot can be re-purposed. Manufacturing of timber is far less intensive on the environment than concrete – which ranks third in the world of man-made CO2 emission production after transport and energy.
TIMBER IS GOOD IN EARTHQUAKES
Wood is flexible and holds up well during seismic movement. It has a relatively low damage risk, as timber-framed structures contain load paths that can sustain earthquakes by providing both diaphragm and bracing actions.
TIMBER ISN'T A FIRE RISK ANYMORE
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction has alleviated fears around wood buildings as a fire risk, particularly medium- and high-density projects. With strict protocols being adhered to, Australia is now seeing up to 10 stories built in timber while Europe and the US are seeing even higher construction.
TIMBER IS LIGHT
A construction material that is lighter than others comes with many benefits, including increased offsite prefabrication, ease of use in cutting and fixing, quieter and safer building sites, fewer truck movements, and faster construction times. The timber Forte building in Melbourne, for example, was completed 40 per cent quicker using 90 per cent fewer truck movements than usually expected for a project that size.
TIMBER IS MORE EXPENSIVE
One downside, however, is that a timber building like a high-rise will be more expensive than the same structure made out of other materials. Vancouver's Tallwood House, for example, cost around five per cent more to build than it would if made with concrete and steel.