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Unveiling of the statue of John Turnbull Thomson

Speech notes from the Alliance Party
23rd February.

Speech notes for the unveiling of the statue of John Turnbull Thomson, At the Ranfurly Art Deco Weekend, Saturday 23rd of February 2002.

Kevin Campbell, Alliance Member of Parliament.

Thank you for inviting me here today to be involved in this great event.

My name's Kevin Campbell and I'm an Alliance Member of Parliament, here representing Jim Anderton, our Deputy Prime Minister.

In his role as Minister of Regional Development, Jim Anderton passes on his best wishes and congratulations on your achievements of bringing together successful local development initiatives and celebrating them in an excellent weekend full of art and entertainment.

Economic development is the key to getting our country moving and raising everyone's living standards. That is why it is so important to this government, we want to get people into jobs and to help provide the environment where businesses can grow and communities prosper.

That takes great ideas, planning, energy, and support. It means we must work together in government, communities and business to make the most of our people and resources. In many instances it will require education and training schemes, assistance with expertise and mentoring, planning together for the future. And often it will mean a little financial help to get the right sort of projects up and running.

Your vision of an Art Deco centre in the Maniototo is an excellent example of the innovation and passion needed around the country to help our regions flourish.

I am pleased to say that such drive and lateral thinking are qualities which Jim Anderton has found in communities all over New Zealand on his almost 50 odd visits to the regions to discuss economic development.

In the Otago region alone, Industry New Zealand, the government's economic development agency, has awarded 17 Enterprise Awards to Otago businesses. The businesses range from high tech internet information kiosks to producers of portable kayaks, from paua farms to onion growers. Anyone can apply for an award under this scheme, which will reward those with the groups with excellent ideas, thorough plans and the ideas that are most likely to succeed.

As a government we are keen to work in partnership with communities like yours, their businesses and local government to help people get their economies up and running again after years of 'hands off' treatment from previous governments. If the local people are keen to make it happen, we know such projects will work well and revitalise the community.

That is exactly what you done here, revitalised your community.

The commitment and creativity of the team working on the Art Deco project and especially the team leader, Edna McAtamney, deserves high praise. I believe your proposal to save the derelict milk bar has now grown into restoring 44 art deco buildings in the area, has led to 7000 tourists visiting, and helped at least 5 new businesses open. All that work with a little assistance from the Community Employment Group and your local paint shop among others.

This is an exceptional achievement. It would be good in a large town, and is even more exceptional in your small, though obviously vibrant, town.

In preparing to come to your Art Deco weekend I read a quote from Edna McAtamney - she said, "I walked the town and realised what we had". It is that positive approach and foresight, which will help all of New Zealand's towns, grow and blossom. That is, in a nutshell, what economic development is all about, making the best use of what you've got.

It is fabulous to see you are celebrating another contributor to your town's development, John Turnbull Thomson, who surveyed the area on horseback back in the 1850s.

By working together and utilising all the avenues available to you, you can make a community's dreams about the future become a reality.

You've shown us that you can do it. By working together with ideas, skills, organisation, financing and sheer hard work you have set a great example for communities looking to develop their assets.

I commend you again and wish you all the best for the future.


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