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Jim Anderton Speech: Clearwater Classic

Clearwater Classic

7:00PM Friday, 7 March 2003 Dinner Address Clearwater Golf Classic 2003 Clearwater Golf Course

John Derby Rod McKeoch Sir Bob Charles and Lady Charles. Lady Diana Isaac. My parliamentary colleague Clayton Cosgrove. Christchurch mayor Garry Moore and Councillor Paddy Austin. Ladies and gentlemen

This event is sanctioned by the US PGA, and as a golf enthusiast myself, I’m aware of the significance of that ranking in establishing the Clearwater Classic as a one of New Zealand’s premier sporting events.

Its international recognition is a tribute to the event organisers and to Christchurch.

It’s also a tribute to the Clearwater course and its designer John Derby and design consultant Sir Bob Charles.

New Zealand needs to develop and encourage premium venues and events.

If we want the jobs, prosperity and lifestyles of a developed country, it’s crucial that we develop our economy, and events and a fundamentally important factor in our economic development strategy.

Consider the value of the America’s Cup, not only to Auckland but to New Zealand.

I was a member of the Auckland City Council in the seventies when I used to campaign for the Auckland waterfront to be developed.

I remember arguing that it was potentially a world class attraction for visitors as well as for Aucklanders.

But it took first the Round-the-world yacht races and especially the America’s Cup to bring about the development of the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland.

A spectacular venue has been created that can never disappear to Switzerland.

Winning the Americas Cup for New Zealand and holding it here brought exposure for New Zealand talent and innovation.

The whole world now knows that many of the best sailors, designers and marine industry professionals are New Zealanders.

The Cup helped to position New Zealand as a source of brilliant high-technology innovation and world class – eco-friendly –manufacturing expertise.

Billionaires jetted into New Zealand from all over the world and asked to have their superyachts refurbished in Auckland.

I get politically attacked for trying to boost the superyacht industry, but by attracting superyacht building companies to New Zealand we have created jobs, as well as profile and marketing exposure for New Zealand.

New Zealand marine exports grew 34 per cent in the last year, going from $272 million in the year ended June 2001 growing to $365 million in the year to June 2002.

Currently the industry has a turnover of $750 million per annum this is expected to reach $1,000 million by 2005.

That is not trivial for the people involved.

I remember when a major Auckland construction firm collapsed three years ago with the loss of dozens of skilled jobs.

Some of them were able to travel almost straight across town and find work at superyacht facilities.

That is one example of the effect that major events have in real terms on the lives of New Zealanders.

When you look at those benefits, it explains why the government has publicly indicated we will make available some support to help to campaign for the Americas Cup again.

We’ll do it in partnership with private sector funders and the ordinary New Zealanders who dig into their own pockets to buy the red socks and the Team New Zealand merchandise.

The Clearwater Classic is not as big as the Americas Cup, but we are already seeing the positive contribution that the event makes to the New Zealand economy.

Major events bring not only investment and jobs, they also attract attention – and very positive attention that highlights New Zealand’s most appealing features.

There will be TV coverage of this event around the world – I understand that it will be seen through the Golf Channel in the USA, Canada and Japan, on CNBC in the UK, Europe and Asia, and Fox sports in Australia, while TVNZ alone is committed to sixteen hours of live coverage.

Those shows are watched by golf-enthusiasts and they will be seeing New Zealand as a high quality golfing destination.

The value to Christchurch of that international television exposure – if you tried to go out and buy it – has been assessed as being $11.2 million.

If you log on to the Internet and perform a Google news search for ‘Clearwater Classic’, there is vast coverage of the event in sports media and golfing websites around the world.

And although I personally spend more time playing golf than doing Google searches, I am assured that it is a reliable indicator of international Internet attention.

But the event is not only important because of its indirect positive effects on the Canterbury economy.

It is an enjoyable attraction in itself and it has been estimated that 25-thousand spectators will enjoy the Clearwater Classic this year.

In my view, that is one of the most important aspects of major events.

Economic development is not an end in itself, but a term for increasing social well-being.

It means more fulfilling lives and better opportunities – through the direct enjoyment of the event and through the indirect results of more jobs and higher incomes.

So I have no hesitation congratulating everyone involved on bringing this event to Clearwater.

It’s great to see golf of this quality being played in Christchurch.

It is a tribute to the organisers that such a prestigious event has been staged here.

And it is a tribute that such an outstanding course has been made ready in time.

I wish you the best of luck for the continued success of the tournament, and I wish all 160 competitors success – and it’s lucky for them that I can’t spare the time to contest the tournament over all four days myself.

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