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Opening of GPC Electronics facility

Hon Jim Anderton
26 September 2001 Speech Notes

Opening of GPC Electronics facility

Opening of GPC Electronics manufacturing facility
10 Sonter Road,

2.20PM Wednesday, 26 September 2001.

GPC General Manager, Murray Lynn
Your Australian CEO Christopher Janssen
Mayor Garry Moore,
Staff and guests of GPC Electronics.

This is very positive day for GPC and for Christchurch.

The city of Christchurch has been a leader in establishing a high-tech electronics cluster. The future of the city is dependent in many ways on achieving some success in attracting high-skill, high-value, high-tech enterprises.

High tech new businesses find Christchurch attractive because it has some competitive advantages.

It is relatively easy to locate and attract highly-skilled staff here.
„h There is a sophisticated infrastructure for electronics manufacturers.
„h The support and service networks have been helped along by the emphasis that Christchurch City has placed on building clusters and networks.

GPC is a successful example of the companies that are beginning to flourish here. I am delighted that it is providing jobs for 75 highly-skilled staff.

GPC can take a lot of pride in its rapid success in New Zealand. After just a year it is the largest contract electronics manufacturer in the country. The facility we are opening today underlines GPC's confidence that it will continue to grow.

The expansion of this company is exciting for many reasons. Obviously for the company itself, and for the contribution its growth makes to jobs and to the local economy. But its growth is also exciting because of its implications for New Zealand's high tech sector. The increased manufacturing capability here will allow other companies to increase their production in New Zealand. It increases New Zealand's ability to provide the entire value chain of production here in New Zealand ¡V from design, through to completed manufacturing.

New Zealand needs many more successful high-tech, high-value businesses like this. And not just here in Christchurch, but throughout New Zealand.

I was recently shown some remarkable public opinion research. It asked New Zealanders which factors they wanted New Zealand to be most known for internationally in five to ten years' time. Two per cent opted for the best sports teams per head of population. One in five said 'a clean environment.' Nearly a third said 'a fair and tolerant society.' And half of all respondents selected 'a society which thrives on knowledge, creativity and enterprise.'

The results of this survey are enormously encouraging. Yes, we are proud of our clean environment. And, yes we want a fair and tolerant society. And so we should. But above all, New Zealanders are accepting the challenge of building a society where we are known for our knowledge, our creativity and our enterprise.

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.

Recently I visited the set of Lord of the Rings in Wellington. There were more than 140 people in an old factory making the props and costumes, and most of them had never worked on a feature film before. It was all being done on kiwi ingenuity. One of the American movie moguls 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. Wherever I go in New Zealand, there are creative people doing incredibly innovative things.

We need them to succeed, because our average incomes have been falling behind those of other developed countries for thirty years. New Zealand is the lowest exporter of complex manufactured products in the OECD. Only 8,500 businesses out of 259,000 in the whole of New Zealand are exporting. Just thirty companies earn half of our entire foreign exchange. As a result, we haven¡¦t paid our way in the world for twenty-eight consecutive years.

New Zealand needs to sell far more high-tech, high-value, high skill products that the rest of the world wants to buy.

Until the Labour-Alliance Coalition Government was elected, the prevailing view was that the Government should sit on the sidelines, hands off. That view is changing, because it is being recognised that we have to reduce our reliance on the export of raw commodities.

We need to produce and sell more ¡V far more goods and services that rely on our unique creativity. We need to do much more than hope the sun shines, the rain falls, and the grass and trees continue to grow.

We are beginning to do that. We are beginning to succeed.

The successful growth and expansion of GPC is one example.

The New Zealand economy is beginning to secure its future with more high-tech, high-value, high-skill companies.

Christchurch City led New Zealand in developing its economy, and attracting business. CWF Hamilton, Tait Electronics, Scott Technology and John Britten to name just a few.

Its path-finding is something of a model for the New Zealand Government.

As Minister of Economic Development, it's my job to work in partnership with industry and with local communities to bring about the economic transformation New Zealand needs.

I'm pleased to say that GPC has achieved its success to date without needing support from Industry New Zealand.

If we can help, we are here to assist successful companies like this to grow to the next level. For example, support is available to assist with research and development. And the Government is providing scholarships and fellowships to bring in high-tech experts.

In short, the Government is ready to work in partnership with you to ensure your continued growth and success.

It's a pleasure to be here for the opening of GPC Electronics' new manufacturing facility. I congratulate you on all you have achieved to date. I welcome the contribution you are making to Christchurch and to New Zealand. And I look forward to your increased prosperity in the future.


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