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Anderton speech to ATRAX premises opening


ATRAX premises opening

Managing Director Kevin Maurice, John McDowell, Invited guests

I always enjoy the opportunity to return to Penrose to visit a successful manufacturing company.

I started my own manufacturing engineering company here in 1971.

Penrose has changed almost beyond recognition since then.

I never cease to be amazed at the number of innovative New Zealand companies based here.

I would like to repeat a few words I read about Atrax.

"Atrax is the world leader in the design, manufacture, integration and support of its product."

World leader.

I can tell you - I love hearing about New Zealand companies that lay claim to world leadership.

Every New Zealander should love it.

We need much more of it.

We want to enjoy the best lifestyle in the world here in New Zealand.

And if we are going to pay for it, we need far more companies to grow and create jobs and rising incomes.

The only way we can do that is to foster innovative companies producing goods and services that rely on the unique skill and creativity of New Zealanders.

Things the rest of the world wants to buy.

I'm very optimistic about the future because New Zealand seems to be capable of producing an amazing number of innovators.

From Lord Rutherford splitting the atom, to Weta Workshops' Academy Award winning brilliance on Lord of the Rings, to the latest New Zealander to win a Nobel prize - Alan MacDiarmid in 2000.

We produce pioneers and adventurers from Sir Edmund Hillary to Sir Peter Blake.

Designers and engineers like Bruce McLaren, John Brittan and Bruce Farr.

This is the creativity and inspiration that we need to unleash in every field - and we're doing it.

Every week I travel through the regions of New Zealand and visit companies doing extraordinary things.

- Aeroplanes are being designed and manufactured in Hamilton.

- Blokarts in Tauranga.

- HITLab in Christchurch.

These are just a few examples.

I wouldn't be earning my keep as a politician if I didn't assure you that the government is doing its bit to work in partnership with industry.

We're trying to remove the roadblocks to success and give things a push where we can make a difference.

As an example, I know that your entry into markets can be frustrated by the lack of international recognition for New Zealand weighing systems.

The Government will do its part.

I am expecting the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to report to me on upgrading our membership of the international measurement standards body.

It's apparently known as the International Organisation of Legal Metrology, which is the sort of thing you get to know when you have been the Minister of Consumer Affairs.

Involvement with the international body will - I hope -- ensure better market access for companies such as Atrax by improving recognition for New Zealand measurement activities.

Atrax has worked in partnership with Trade New Zealand in many of its successful export initiatives.

Atrax has also received help with a Technology New Zealand grant to develop its new system.

I understand it is regarded as the most advanced baggage handling technology in the world - and it has led to further export orders worth millions of dollars.

This is a fantastic success story.

The company started with a staff of two in 1986, and began exporting in 1990.

It is now exporting the overwhelming majority of its production - worth more than $5 million now.

Its products are in 45 countries and it is providing 24 high skilled jobs here in South Auckland - as well as many more in firms from which you source supplies.

Your success is also contributing to the growth and success of other New Zealand companies.

We're not much good at celebrating success in New Zealand, and we need to get better at it.

We need to cheer on our successful innovators and business people in the same way that we cheer success on the football field -- or these days, on the golf course and the Hauraki Gulf, too.

You're here today to do exactly that.

I would like to congratulate you on your achievements.

I welcome the expansion of this company and the contribution its success is making to the economic development of Auckland and New Zealand and I wish you all the best for your continued success in the future.

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