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Anderton Address to: Refurbishment of CWF

Anderton Address to: Refurbishment of CWF Hamilton factory

I'm delighted to have the opportunity to open the refurbished Hamilton Jet factory.

You may not know this, but Hamilton jet is a firm I speak about a lot throughout New Zealand, as an example of the potential of New Zealand innovation.

The CWF Hamilton story is inspirational because it is a story that perhaps could only have happened in New Zealand.

CWF Hamilton had a problem with his propellers getting broken when he took his small boat up rocky South Island rivers.

He responded to the problem the way so many innovative New Zealanders do: by developing a local solution.

He developed the Hamilton jet engine that doesn't use propellers.

In contrast to many New Zealand innovators, he didn't stop there - he went on and successfully commercialised his idea.

Now, I understand, Hamilton Jet is building waterjets for ferries and supply boats in Europe and the US.

In places like New York where 66,000 commuters a day take ferries through the New York river system, the ferries will be powered by New Zealand engineering genius.

Hamilton Jet is a New Zealand story because it shows how our particular conditions have bred a resourcefulness, which in turn is the key to our future prosperity.

We have had to develop a culture of coming up with our own creative solutions because of New Zealand's isolation and our small size.

We can't just throw money at problems.

But we do have the confidence and freedom to try things out.

These factors together with our geographical isolation and small size - and our confident resourcefulness have combined to create an attitude of thinking about problems differently.

Possibly one of the most attractive things about New Zealand is that we give things a go.

It's the attitude which has led in turn to brilliant scientific and engineering achievement.

Hamilton Jet is one, and there are many others - Our America's Cup winners, Formula One engineer Bruce McLaren, Academy Award winner Richard Taylor of Weta, and bungy-jump pioneer AJ Hackett.

All have also successfully commercialised ideas born from uniquely New Zealand conditions.

As a small country, far from most other developed countries, our major advantage in the world is our creativity.

If we want the living standards of other developed countries, we need enterprises like Hamilton Jet to succeed.

It's not enough any longer to hope that the sun shines, the rain falls and the grass grows.

We need to produce more goods and services that the rest of the world wants to buy, and which are based on uniquely New Zealand creativity and talent.

It's those products that command a premium in markets through out the world.

They give us an edge that other countries can't easily emulate.

It's important for all of us, because we will only be able to afford the standard of living we want if many more of our innovators are commercially successful.

Their success provides the jobs that help pay for the first world heath and education services we all like to see our country provide

So we need to create a culture that celebrates success.

New Zealanders are rightly proud of our successful sports people.

Well, perhaps the Black Caps are getting a hammering at the moment.

And maybe Canterbury has had less than usual to cheer about on the football field.

But we always seem to come together as a nation to celebrate our sporting success.

We need to learn to celebrate that success in every field of endeavour.

New Zealand needs to show the same passion for innovation that we show for sporting success.

We need to celebrate businesses that develop new ideas and turn them into world class successes.

Fortunately, we're beginning to see more of those companies emerge.

Across Christchurch a new institution has just opened, called the Human Interface Laboratory.

There, a brilliant young New Zealand computer engineer is leading a team working on virtual reality- their technology allows you to move computer generated models around a real room as if they were the real thing.

In Tauranga, a young company that only started out three years ago is exporting Blokarts - state of the art land yachts.

Every time I visit one of these firms I talk about enterprises like Hamilton Jet - the pathfinders for New Zealand engineering creativity.

I congratulate you on the achievement of CWF Hamilton to date, the progress represented by the refurbishment of this facility, and above all, I wish you all the best for the future.

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