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Anderton Speech: Manukau Business and Enterprise

Manukau Business and Enterprise Culture

12:00 pm Friday, 29 November 2002 – Meeting with Mayor and key business people Totara Room, Manukau City Council, 31-33 Wiri Station Rd, Manukau City

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis, City Manager Colin Dale Manukau Business leaders

I used to say that one bad day in Government was worth about 1000 good days in opposition.

I think that three years in ministerial office has been worth almost all of the years I spent in the political wilderness.

I can remember thirty years of going up and down the country meeting people, seeing their very real pain and hearing their concerns about where New Zealand was going.

There was persistent and high unemployment.

Everyday it seemed that medium and large businesses went to the wall or shifted overseas.

Small businesses either stayed small or disappeared

Many of our school leavers went straight onto the dole.

For a good many of our young people if you left school between 1975 and 1999 your choices were limited

If you were over 50 and you lost your job then your chances of finding new employment were significantly less than for younger workers.

In nearly all of our regions business and employment was declining.

Gisborne and the East Coast had an economic performance almost as bad as that of Fiji after three military coups.

Then in 1999 things changed.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I haven’t dreamt it all.

In a very short space of time it seems like the world has turned upside down.

Many of the problems we face today are different from those I listened to New Zealanders talk about in community halls from Kaitaia to Gore.

Previously, when I was in both government and opposition, one of the major problems facing the regions of New Zealand was a shortage of jobs.

Today, less than three years since this coalition government was elected, we have the lowest level unemployment in 14 years and a desperate shortage of skills – Ashburton 462

We have unfilled jobs and unemployment sitting, ironically, side by side while we have had to rebuild industry training and apprenticeship system.

Increasingly, employers will need to value both knowledge and experience and hire older workers.

Companies will need to make the commitment to train young as well as unemployed people whereas before they had the luxury of simply hiring employees in a ‘buyers market’ for labour.

Recently I heard a prediction from a bank economist that wages will have to go up and employment conditions will need to improve – shock horror!

I am pleased that we now have comprehensive industry and regional development programmes that I remember proposing in the 1980s.

Things have changed almost beyond recognition.

I have visited all of the regions in New Zealand many times in the last three years and the growth and optimism is unlike anything I have seen in the last 40 years.

The regions of New Zealand are all in positive growth mode and the main problem on the horizon is infrastructure and skill bottlenecks.

There have been over 116,000 new jobs created in the last three years.

There are at the same time, as I’ve said, significant skills shortages.

There are now 3,800 new apprentices, and 68,000 people in industry training.

The Labour Progressive Government has made a commitment to return New Zealand’s GDP per capita to the top half of the OECD and maintain it there.

I see successful businesses wherever I go in New Zealand.

There are many strong enterprises in Manukau, such as Jack Links, Argent Metals, and Marshall Software.

Over the last three years across New Zealand 116,000 new jobs have been created.

We have moved from job shortages to skills shortages up and down New Zealand.

All regions are in positive growth mode.

Business confidence is stronger than I have seen in 40 years.

I am pleased to see that Manukau City Council’s determination to encourage economic growth and employment in Manukau.

This commitment in Manukau has contributed to the 15 per cent growth in the number of businesses in Manukau City since 1997.

The Manukau City Council has adopted the ‘Think Smart – Think Manukau’ strategy to change the direction of the City and transform it into a ‘knowledge society’.

Manukau City is the third largest and fastest growing city in New Zealand, and with just fewer than 30,000 people behind Christchurch, and will soon become the second largest city in the country. Manukau City is a young and vibrant city - 27 per cent of the population is aged under 15 years. And over 160 different ethnic groups call Manukau home.

Manukau as a community with diversity is in an excellent position to capitalise on the arrival of migrants and to show the rest of New Zealand how a culturally diverse community can function effectively.

Economic growth in your city over the year ended March 2002 was 4.6 per cent which was well ahead of the national average of 3.1 per cent and the regional average of 2.5 per cent.

Job creation in Manukau City has been at a faster rate than the rest of the country. For the year ending February 2002 employment in Manukau increased by 5.6 per cent or nearly 6000 full time and part time jobs. This was well above the growth in the Auckland region of 3.4 per cent or in New Zealand as a whole of 4.9 per cent.

As in other cities and communities when I visit Manukau I see new ideas.

Innovation is part of the fabric of New Zealand.

Refrigerated ships Sir Ernest Rutherford Sir Edmund Hillary Professor Alan McDiarmid Jet boat engines and CWF Hamilton America’s cup cutting edge design and winning team leadership

The Labour Progressive Coalition Government has made innovation a priority and we have established industry taskforces with key industry leaders in biotechnology, Information and Communication Technology, the creative sectors, wood processing, textile, clothing and footwear.

Success in these industries will support success in other sectors.

This Viaduct / America’s cup is a powerful statement to New Zealand and the world that as well as being clean and green, we are a smart, innovative and ideas based nation.

The more new innovators and entrepreneurs who turn their dreams and ideas into businesses and jobs, the more likely it is that living standards for all New Zealanders will rise.

This Government is here to work with you.

Success depends of all of us playing our role.

We need to do what works and to ensure that we are supporting the future of our communities.

Thank you.

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