7 November 2000 Speech notes
New Regional Development initiative
TriStyle Homes, 286 Mt Wellington Rd, Auckland
Thank you all for coming today.
This is another important step in the new regional development focus to government activity.
In the past few months this Labour Alliance Coalition Government has: created the Ministry of Economic Development, so
that the Government of New Zealand can do here what Governments do in most other modern nations. That is actively work
to promote and foster business and industry while supporting regional development.
We have created Industry New Zealand and appointed a talented and experienced board to oversee its work in making
regional development happen.
We have launched through Industry New Zealand a programme to support small enterprises that can grow and create jobs.
I have announced the second round of the Enterprise Awards Scheme today.
Seventeen more ventures supported, more jobs, more exports.
We have also launched the Regional Partnerships Programme through Industry New Zealand that gets regions working
together to develop plans and programmes. Industry New Zealand is now sorting through 137 proposals to decide which
partnerships to develop.
The Government, again through Industry New Zealand is already improving small businesses and entrepreneurs’ chances of
raising development finance. This programme is also running investment readiness seminars.
Tomorrow I will announce another two programmes, targeted at other market failures that will complement the range of
tools that Industry New Zealand has to develop jobs and economic infrastructure.
Later this month we will have the report of the Tairawhiti Development Task Force, a major regional initiative, where I
have worked closely with all the local councils, runanga and business to develop a co-ordinated and integrated strategic
plan for the social and economic development of the East Coast region.
Like Northland, Tairawhiti has a lot of forestry, to little employment and an under-developed infrastructure. It too is
looking for economic development options and this TriStyle initiative is one example of what can be done.
TriStyle represents the first sector initiative in the Industry Development programme, the latest part of the range of
programmes we have available. This is the first in-depth example of using business advisers to develop ways to help
regional development by expanding a major industry. Although we are here today in Auckland this is, in reality, a
Northland forestry project.
The idea is to create jobs and exports by adding value to raw materials.
New Zealand has become very good at producing simple commodities – meat, wool, milk and trees.
We can and we must do better – at a local, regional and national level.
The economy is too dependent on commodities alone for our export income. We have to import too many of our capital
We sell products to the rest of world that are largely undifferentiated from the products of our competitors. Although
we are good at it, over time, the price we can achieve for commodities is slowly falling. At the same time we buy the
complex manufactured goods that command prices set by sellers.
If we want rising incomes and more good jobs then we must produce more – far more – products and services that depend on
the skill, imagination and creativity of New Zealanders, and not just on our sunshine, rainfall and clean soil.
TriStyle homes is just such an example.
Over the years, New Zealand has planted large areas of commercial forest. Log exports and wood processing’s contribution
to the economy will, over the next decade, significantly increase.
Many forests are coming to maturity and New Zealand will have a generous supply of raw logs. We need to work with
industries to remove barriers in order to maximise value added opportunities and ensure we reap maximum benefits from
our timber resources.
TriStyle is making houses with this timber, creating attractive and sturdy prefabricated homes, which are energy
efficient, and great to live in. And they are exporting the houses to Japan!
Industry New Zealand has worked with TriStyle to improve the infrastructural links between forestry harvesting and
businesses that manufacture timber products.
TriStyle is also working closely with Trade New Zealand.
TriStyle has a great product with huge potential that Industry New Zealand can help realise; it adds value to our
forestry products; its administration centre, timber processing plant, kiln and storage is in Awanui in the north
–making it a valued employer in an area where jobs are scarce.
This Labour Alliance Coalition Government is clear that the future of New Zealand lies in the hands of New Zealanders.
If we need to, we can put together international partnerships, attract foreign investment, and work with technology from
overseas, but Kiwis are our major asset and that is where our future lies.
I want to commit myself to continuing to work in partnership with business and local communities to promote regional
development programmes and industries such as this that have great potential for our regions to create work for our
people and our towns.
Thank you again for inviting me. I love to share good news and also to share your hospitality.
I want to conclude by saying that New Zealand's economic development is a journey. It's one that is never over. We will
never be able to say that we have done enough.
But it is a journey that we are committed to embarking on in partnership with the business community, local communities,
industries and regions. It is a New Zealand journey and one to which we should all look forward with enthusiasm. It’s
going to be an exciting trip.