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Vodafone Technology Park - Jim Anderton Speech

23 October 2001

Opening of Vodafone Technology Park
49 Sir William Pickering Drive

4.00PM Tuesday, 23 October 2001

This is very positive day for Vodafone and for Christchurch.

Canterbury has the best rugby team in the NPC.

But our success as city won’t be judged on how well we do on the playing field at Jade Stadium.

It will be judged by our economic performance.

I want Canterbury people to cheer on our prosperity just as loudly as we cheer on Toddy and the boys in red and black.

We need to attract job-rich, high-value, high-skill industries.

Christchurch has some competitive advantages.

It is relatively easy to locate and attract highly-skilled staff here.

The Christchurch City Council has put a heavy emphasis on building clusters and networks.

There is a sophisticated infrastructure for high-tech companies.

The Vodafone Christchurch Technology Park will be an important part of the infrastructure that helps Christchurch to grow.

I would like to acknowledge the very important contribution that Vodafone is making.

It has invested $12 million investment in this technology park.

Six fulltime engineers will work at the park.

Vodafone plans to make the facility available for the development of new technologies that can be exported to the rest of the world.

This development is exciting for many reasons.

Obviously for Vodafone, and for the contribution its growth makes to jobs and to the local economy.

But it is also exciting because of its implications for New Zealand's high tech sector.

The telecommunications industry is vital to New Zealand’s development.

Developments such as this increase New Zealand's ability to produce high-tech, high-value, innovative companies.

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.

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.

New Zealanders need to do better at taking pride in our achievements.

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 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 – far more goods and services that rely on our unique creativity.

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

Christchurch City led New Zealand in developing its economy.

CWF Hamilton, Tait Electronics, Scott Technology and John Britten to name just a few.

Other success stories are becoming better known: Allied Telesyn, Trimble Navigation and GPC Electronics.

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.

Vodafone has achieved its success to date without needing support from Industry New Zealand.

But if we can help in a responsible way, then we will.

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.

I wish you well for the future.

We need companies like Vodafone to succeed in New Zealand.

The investment that you are making here is one example of the way your success produces positive benefits for Christchurch and for New Zealand.

It gives me great pleasure to formally open the Vodafone Christchurch Technology Park.


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