Launch of new Pacific Aerospace aircraft
Hon. Jim Anderton
19 July 2001 Speech Notes
Launch of new Pacific Aerospace aircraft
Embargo: 8.00PM Thursday, 19 July 2001
Thank you for the opportunity to be here tonight.
It's not every day that a New Zealand-designed and built aeroplane is produced.
Pacific Aerospace has a proud record from its beginnings in the 1950s.
Planes like the Fletcher top-dresser are almost as much a part of New Zealand's rural identity as Number Eight fencing wire.
And the company has worked on componentry for companies like Boeing and Airbus, as well as for the ANZAC frigates and even the US Marines.
Pacific Aerospace is a successful New Zealand high-technology company.
I pay tribute to you, because New Zealand needs more – far more – high-tech, high-value, high skill exports that the rest of the world wants to buy.
We don’t have enough exports of complex manufactured products that rely on the unique skills and talents of New Zealanders.
We are the lowest exporter of complex manufactured products in the OECD.
As a result, we haven’t paid our way in the world for twenty-eight consecutive years.
Our average incomes have been falling behind those of other developed countries for thirty years.
If we are going to turn that around, then we need to transform the industrial base of the economy.
And we can make the changes we need to make.
We can be world leaders as so many New Zealanders are.
If we are capable of producing world class aeroplanes here in Hamilton, then we are capable of producing anything.
For example, New Zealand is becoming an international centre for excellence for the super yacht industry.
There are young Maori kids working at New Zealand yachts in Whangarei, who have found highly skilled work.
There are world class sailors, designers, canoeists and windsurfers.
A few weeks ago, I visited Naiad Inflatables in Nelson, who produce a world-class, innovative product and they currently have more orders than they can fill.
The Hamilton Jet was invented here in New Zealand.
New Zealanders are the most creative and innovative people in the world.
I'm told that the new aeroplane was designed by adapting ideas coming up from workers on the shop floor.
That is a typically New Zealand story, and it is part of the secret of our innovation: Practical people, prepared to give things a go.
I went to school with a kid who used to build racing cars in the metal workshop.
His name was Bruce McLaren, and he turned his metal shop practicality into a world beater.
We need to celebrate our success.
I would like to see us as a community urge New Zealanders on not only in sport, but in everything we do, and to take pride in the achievements of all New Zealanders.
Early this month I visited the set of Lord of the Rings in Wellington.
This film is ultra-high technology, with special effects the equal of anything that’s ever been done before.
And it’s all being done on kiwi ingenuity.
I met Peter Jackson and the Los Angeles movie moguls who are under-writing the film.
And they told me that Hollywood would not have been able to make a movie anything like the one Peter Jackson is making in Wellington.
There are more than 140 people in an old factory making the props and costumes, and most of them have never worked on a feature film before.
One of the Americans said to me, ‘The concept of "impossible" is unknown to New Zealanders.'
We need to harness that creativity and unleash it in every industry, in as many firms and individuals as possible.
We will see the new aeroplane shortly.
As I understand it, it has been built to be rugged, simple and practical.
That sounds like a description of New Zealanders ourselves.
I congratulate you for your success in creating this aeroplane and I pay tribute to the innovation and perseverance that has brought it about.
I want to close by assuring you that the Labour-Alliance Coalition Government is here to work in partnership with you in developing further opportunities.
The Government welcomes innovation and business success, and the jobs and export earnings that success will bring.
I am passionately committed to this country's success and the Government will play its role in helping you to succeed.
I wish you all the best for the success of this new aeroplane, and I am very proud to formally launch it.