Anderton Speech: Timaru DVD/Booklet/website launch
5:25 pm Monday, 25 November 2002 Launch of South Canterbury regional profile booklet/DVD/website Caroline Bay Hall, Timaru
Mark and Di Cleverley Mark Rawson Members of the Aoraki Development Trust
The New Zealand economy is growing at around 4 per cent.
Throughout New Zealand businesses and regions are developing and making the most of positive economic conditions.
We have gone from job shortages to skills shortages.
Unfortunately we still have unemployed people while we have vacancies we can’t fill. As an example in Aoraki, as in many regions, there are shortages of skilled trades people.
In the 80s and 90s we had regional decline but in the last three years all of our regions have begun growing, most at over four per cent and Canterbury at 4.2 per cent.
Consumer confidence has risen the fastest in Canterbury of all our regions and is now at a three year high.
The Port of Timaru has a year on year growth for August of just under 30 per cent.
I understand from provisional local statistics that the Timaru District’s economic activity leads the national average and builders are in short supply.
We have gone from pessimism to optimism.
I cannot remember a time in the last 40 years when the economy or our confidence was so strong.
All of our regions are in positive growth mode and most of them at over 4 per cent annually.
Of course we have a long way to go.
The NZ Institute of Economic Research issued a report some weeks ago that noted that the economy was ‘going like the clappers’.
However it noted that we are running into ‘capacity constraints’.
These capacity constraints are barriers to growth and include problems such as a lack of skilled workers and a need for better infrastructure including transport, communcaitons technology, skills training and venture capital investment..
The immediate challenge we face is to maintain growth while addressing these constraints.
I am pleased to see initiatives up and down New Zealand making the most of the favourable economic conditions and to create stronger regions and communities.
It is also good news that New Zealanders are making the most of new technology which is available to us.
New Zealanders are early adapters.
Access to the internet in our regions is a significant issue as businesses, individuals and schools work to ensure that they have similar access to the world wide web as those in major centres.
The Government has initiated regional tenders with telecommunication companies to ensure that all schools and communities have broadband access by the end of 2004.
In keeping with using the best and most up to date solutions, a key feature of the tender process is that the Government is not requiring a particular technology or type of technology. Decisions on successful bids will be made on a range of criteria including price, coverage, service quality and future upgrade capability.
Regions will be consulted on these criteria and regional requirements will be built into them where possible. In some instances where a region’s requirements exceed central government’s requirements these will be initially identified in the Probe Request for Proposals, but separate specifications may be issued by the regions for suppliers to bid for at a later date.
The demand for broadband internet capability shows that the regions and communities of New Zealand have identified the importance of this technology.
We have one of the highest rates of cell phone usage in the world, and we have among the highest rates for computer ownership and internet access.
Only a few years ago I remember we used to launch brochures, books and buildings.
These days the requests are for website launches and DVDs.
I think the starting point that New Zealanders have, perhaps more than people from other countries, is that we ask fundamental questions about how we can do better.
The launch of this website, DVD and booklet shows that people in South Canterbury are prepared to use the latest technology to market your region and to encourage investment, workers and businesses to improve your economy.
What continues to impress me though is the seemingly endless supply of new ideas that New Zealanders have.
We have a proud legacy of innovative products and ideas. Refrigerated ships Sir Ernest Rutherford Richard Pearse (South Canterbury success) Sir Edmund Hillary CWF Hamilton Sir Alan McDiarmid Bruce McLaren Weta workshops America’s cup design Formway chairs
The challenge we have is to harness local ideas and ensure we create as many jobs and new opportunities from them as we can.
When I travel overseas I am always proud to be a New Zealander.
Our pioneering spirit and our ability to innovate make New Zealand a world leader.
The challenge however is that when we go overseas in future we don’t want people to say ‘ah New Zealand – you have a lot of sheep’ or ‘New Zealand has a fern leaf or kiwi as its symbol.’
We want them to say, ‘New Zealand is a world leader in innovation – You have great ideas’.
If we can achieve this then our future will be a lot more secure.
We will be able to sell even more of our products, enter useful partnerships with overseas companies and attract investment and skills much more easily then we can today.
I look forward to seeing Aoraki’s continued development using your local strengths combined with an innovative approach to attracting and supporting business in your region.
I am sure this website, DVD and booklet will help play a role in your continued prosperity.