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Sovereign Yachts development at Hobsonville

Hon Jim Anderton Speech Notes

Invited guests
Mayor Bob Harvey
Ministerial colleague Laila Harre, and other Parliamentary colleagues,

About a year ago the new Labour-Alliance Coalition Government launched the Ministry of Economic Development.

We said then that the New Zealand economy needs to be transformed.

We needed to broaden and deepen the export base of New Zealand. Create more successful exporting companies.

We needed to export more high-tech, high-skill, high-value products that the rest of the world wants to buy.

At the moment, among all developed countries, we are the lowest exporter of high-tech manufactured products.

Even Greece, which is the next lowest, exports three times more high-tech manufactured product than we do, as a proportion of its export base.

Hands-off wasn't working. Our economy wasn't changing fast enough to deliver the jobs and rising incomes New Zealanders need in the future. Our relative decline in the world has been felt especially in the regions of New Zealand.

We need more high-value products that rely on the creative skill of New Zealanders.

This country has enormous natural advantages. But we can't rely on our sunshine and rainfall alone. We need to create new advantages for ourselves. That is the future that the Jobs Machine has set out to create.

The Labour-Alliance Coalition Government set up the Jobs Machine to take a partnership approach. To work across the whole of government, in partnership with local authorities and the private sector. To seize opportunities.

Around the middle of last year, Tradenz heard about Sovereign Yachts.

Here was a high-tech export company owned by New Zealanders. It had a full order book and the next America’s Cup looming. If we could get that investment here, it would mean export orders worth hundreds of millions of dollars. More employment opportunities in a valuable high-skill industry.

There were one or two obstacles to overcome. The time required for the disposal of Defence Department land is often as much as five to ten years. Resource consents. The Public Works Act. The availability of sufficiently trained workers. And they had to fix all this in about six months.

Tradenz put this one in the hands of my Ministry of Economic Development.

We’ve worked flat out ever since. Defence made sure that the open process required by the Public Works Act was followed.

No special rights were conferred on Sovereign Yachts. Any other company could have come to the arrangement that it did. The Government's role was to open up the process and give it some urgency to ensure we took advantage of the opporutnity.

I want to pay tribute to Waitakere City for playing its part. Today's announcement affects only a small proportion of the Hobsonville Base area. I understand there will be an extensive consultation exercise over the future of the rest of the Base, in the best traditions of good local government.

As for this announcement, the Council ensured there was thorough consultation through the mayoral taskforce on Hobsonville. It has been meeting since last April to discuss ways to promote a boat-building cluster at Hobsonville, in an excellent example of a region focusing on its economic development potential.

The result is today’s announcement.

It’s a triumph for the Jobs Machine and for the partnership approach.

Today’s announcement is important for two reasons.

First, because hundreds of new jobs and export earnings of more than a hundred million dollars a year will be good for Waitakere.

It’ll be good for New Zealand.

Downstream benefits in increased demand for local services will multiply the overall benefit of this investment.

The commitment to develop and grow this business means the economic development benefits will come to New Zealand. Not go somewhere overseas.

The world market for super-yachts is rapidly expanding.

New Zealand's abilities in the industry are being showcased by Sovereign Yachts, as they are also being showcased by last year's decision by New Zealand Yachts Limited to invest in Whangarei.

The second reason this announcement is important is that it is an example of kiwis coming home – coming home to rebuild this country.

I would like to pay tribute to Bill Lloyd who went to Canada to build his business. Now he’s coming home. He’s bringing his success and his expertise with him. New Zealand needs that.

On behalf of the Government, I want to express my gratitude.

I can tell you that Industry New Zealand will continue to work with Sovereign Yachts and other New Zealand boatbuilders to expand this industry still further. It is a very high value export industry.

We have the America’s Cup, the Kendalls, the Hamilton Jet boat engine, Peter Blake and Grant Dalton, Sovereign Yachts. New Zealand has a future as the world’s leader in marine recreational equipment.

It’s an exciting future. High value, high-skill, job rich and export earning.

The Government will play our part in partnerhsip to help it grow.

I wish Waitakere City and Sovereign Yachts all the best with this venture. I know it promises a great future for all of you.


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