Jim Anderton Speech To Designindustry Workshops
9 February 2001 Hon Jim Anderton Speech Notes
Designindustry presentation of projects
Fine Arts School
University of Canterbury
Thank you for the opportunity to be here today.
I've spent most of today at the Christchurch Government-to-Business forum.
We spent the day looking at the ways Government and business can work in partnership. To build on New Zealand's strengths and overcome our weaknesses.
I'm here today for much the same reason:
„h To say that our country needs to do better at creating advantages for ourselves.
„h To say to you that the Government is prepared to work in partnership with the community and private sector to make the difference.
„h And to support designindustry as an example of the initiatives New Zealand needs to foster.
I'm an optimist. I still believe that New Zealand is the greatest little country in the world.
We have enormous natural advantages.
New Zealanders are quick to adapt to, and to use, new technology.
We have significant natural resources and an exciting natural environment.
We have a competitive cost structure.
It is time to acknowledge that we do need to do better -- at the local, regional and national level.
The only way we can do better is by producing more products and services that depend on the unique skill of New Zealanders. Products that the rest of the world wants to buy.
Products that depend on our skill command a price premium.
At the moment, our economy is still largely dependent on commodities for our export income.
We sell products to the rest of world that are largely undifferentiated from the products of our competitors. Although we are good at it, the real price of those commodities is falling.
At the same time we buy complex manufactured goods that command prices set by sellers.
New Zealand is the lowest exporter of high-tech products in the OECD. We import five times as much high-technology production as we export.
It's true that we have the luck to have significant natural resources. So a significant proportion of our exports will probably always come from natural resources.
But that does not mean that we cannot produce highly innovative products or services for the world market.
We need to do much more than hope the sun shines, the rain falls and the grass or trees grow.
If we want a sustained rise in our real incomes, we need more than inherited advantages. We need to create advantages for New Zealand.
That is why the designindustry initiative is important.
Design is a high-skill, high-value industry dependent on innovation.
It is a central component of differentiating New Zealand industry from the products and services of other countries.
New Zealand needs to develop a design culture. Outstanding design should be seen as being just as central to our success as outstanding manufacturing and engineering.
We need to develop a New Zealand design identity. We want the rest of the world to see things and say, 'that is from New Zealand. It must be good.'
Design as a process can open up new opportunities by exploring new materials. If we can add uniquely New Zealand production processes and materials to unique styling, then we will create the industries, business and jobs New Zealand needs.
It's not just a matter of stating that we need to develop the economy and create advantages for New Zealanders. It's a matter of doing it.
The Coalition Government is determined to play our part in making a difference.
We have recognised that hands-off didn't work. It didn't develop enough of the job-rich, high-value, high-skill innovative industries New Zealand needs.
We're taking a new approach.
We're saying to communities like this one that we are ready to work in partnership with you. We will support good ideas and remove the obstacles that prevent them from flourishing.
We have created two new major Government agencies, the Ministry of Economic Development and Industry New Zealand to be the vehicles for partnership.
It's their job to work with industry and with local communities to create advantages and unlock New Zealand's potential.
They won't accomplish it all on their own. They will be partners. The Government has been the missing partner in economic development in this country for nearly 25 years, and now we have a presence.
Industry New Zealand will help good ideas to get off the ground. Today I announced the hundredth Enterprise Award ¡V these are grants to innovators. It helps to bring people with good ideas and venture capital to fund those ideas.
A team of industry specialists within Industry New Zealand is working with high growth potential companies. They identify barriers to their growth and help find ways past them. For example, it will help businesses to find and to purchase design services.
One of the most important goals of the Ministry of Economic Development is to provide co-ordination and leadership.
On the East Coast of the North Island we identified constraints on wood processing capacity as a key economic development issue -- not only for that region but elsewhere in New Zealand. So we are working with the forest industry on a wood processing strategy. It's looking at issues like infrastructure development such as roads and ports, supply of skilled labour, and investment promotion and marketing. We need dozens of industry initiatives like this.
Last weekend the Prime Minister and I announced a major development at the Hobsonville Air Force Base in West Auckland. $600 million of new export earnings over five years, and 350-400 highly-skilled new jobs. The project required committed work from the MED, working in partnership with the local Government and the private sector and providing co-ordination across multiple Government departments.
These are examples of the way the Government can contribute in partnership.
And we recognise that New Zealand needs to produce, retain and attract the people we need.
That will require a strong, diverse economy. One where skills, talent and creativity can be developed and rewarded. Where working people can look forward to rising real incomes.
We need a country where there is security and opportunity for all New Zealanders.
We need a country that is confident in its own unique culture. One of the singular quality-of-life advantages New Zealand can offer is the physical beauty of our natural environment. That means using resources sustainably and protecting our unique flora and fauna. It means taking a balanced approach to development.
If there was one message that I took strongly from today's Government-to-Business forum, it was that we need to place more emphasis on education.
One way or another, we have to start encouraging young people to take up the skills New Zealand needs, instead of penalising them for it.
And we need to promote education and training in the industries we need.
Designindustry is a valuable example of the way that can be done.
It has networked with Canterbury industry, business, institutions and the arts. It is bringing together all the components that are needed to achieve new developments. It uses workshops, films and exhibitions to generate new ideas and promote new products.
Industry New Zealand has recognised the opportunity to support this initiative.
The workshops will help to realise the potential of concepts. It will provide hands-on model-making experiences. It will introduce international designers. The networks they bring will help to profile New Zealand culture and to promote and generate new research.
Industry New Zealand was created precisely to help to foster, support and develop positive initiatives like this one.
We need developments like this, for the reasons I have outlined tonight. It is crucial to New Zealand social and economic future.
This is a vital connection between industry and education. It promotes talent and skill and helps to keep it here in New Zealand.
I want to close by saying New Zealanders are the only people in the world who will secure the future for New Zealanders.
There is no shortage of innovation and good ideas in New Zealand.
There are many reasons why the economy has not flourished as well as it might have done. But it is indisputable that government has been a missing partner in economic development.
We are now attempting to ensure that the government plays its part in creating advantages for New Zealand. It's not a matter of the government doing it all. It is a matter of working together.
That co-operative partnership will be a powerful weapon as together we build a better future for all New Zealanders.
I would like to congratulate you on the workshops and wish you all the best for the future.