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Anderton Speech: Int Connections & NZ Business

Jim Anderton Speech: International Connections and NZ Business

International Connections and NZ Business

International connections are vital to NZ economic development.

Closing remarks for seminar on 'International Connections and New Zealand Business' & Launch of GIF website

Since we are here to launch a website, I thought I should share a little story about how this site came into existence.

The story goes that God was looking down at the Earth one day.

And with the way things are around the world, it's not surprising that he was very concerned with what he saw, with all the wars, and killing and suffering.

So he sent down one of his angels to Earth to check it out.

Well she came along and interviewed Ministers in the New Zealand Government, looked around and reported back to God:

"Yes it is bad on Earth, 95% of the people are bad and 5% are good."

Well, He thought for a moment and said, 'Maybe I had better send down another angel to get both points of view.'

So God called another angel and sent him to Earth for a time.

When the second angel returned he went to God and told him yes, the Earth was in decline, 95% of the people are bad and 5% are good.

God knew he had to do something, so he decided to E-mail the 5% that were good and encourage them... just a little something to help them keep going.

Does anyone here know what that E-mail said?

...Oh, I see, you didn't get one?!!!

I can't promise you the GIF website will provide all good people with encouragement they need to keep going.

But I can thank today's speakers for their contributions: Simon Murdoch, Michael Stedman and Craig Norgate.

Our connections to the world are a vital economic development issue for New Zealand.

There are a variety of views about the best way to develop our links.

But some ideas are central to any view about lifting the performance of New Zealand companies in the world.

First we need to be open to ideas from around the world.

Even if we have a hundred times as many ideas per head as an average company we would have less than 99.9% of all the good ideas in the world.

We need markets.

I'm fond of comparing our domestic market to others.

If you draw a 2200-kilometre circle around Helsinki, you take in 300 million of the world's wealthiest consumers.

If you draw the same circle around New Zealand, you take in 4 million people and lots of fish and penguins.

A Wellington company growing to $100 million in revenue will almost certainly have to be internationalised.

The same company starting up in Los Angeles might not even need to leave its own city, and certainly not its home state.

So we need markets.

We also need to be responsive to global consumer demand.

We have found to our cost the consequences of being producer and commodity driven.

New Zealand needs to be better at producing and selling goods the rest of the world wants to buy.

We need to get better at creating demand for products we are uniquely able to supply.

We need our place in the value chain.

That means we have to work to be the best place for international companies to locate.

We need to be the right place for those activities where we have strength, with the mix of regulatory policies, skills, partners, taxes and networks.

We need to know our niche in the market - which doesn't mean we have to be a boutique provider of anything, but we do want to be a high-value provider.

Our isolation has some disadvantages for sure - our small size and scarce funds.

But it also brings advantages - resourcefulness and the freedom to try out new things, to innovate.

If we can build our international connections, we can have the best of both worlds.

The government sees our connections to the world as crucial for our economic development.

Budget 2004 will announce significant initiatives to build up those connections.

We have already announced our decision to support the Aichi Expo 2005 in Japan.

Japan remains an enormous economy, and a very wealthy market.

We think showcasing New Zealand at Aichi as a tourist destination and as a place to do business will be a worthwhile investment.

The Budget will announce initiatives to help both firms and entire sectors to break into new markets.

It will also take further steps to attract foreign investment to job-rich new enterprises.

If there has been a singular criticism of foreign investment activities in the past, it has been the tendency to direct investment towards purchases of existing assets.

What we need to do is use overseas capital to help unleash the potential of new investments, and the Budget will take further steps to encourage investment of this kind.

Research and development - like so much other innovation - is becoming increasingly globalised.

There are immense opportunities for New Zealand from this trend.

Budget 2004 will put in place several initiatives to improve collaborations between New Zealand and overseas researchers.

Overall, Budget 2004 will make a significant contribution to improving our links with the world.

There is an enormous amount of innovation in the New Zealand economy.

Most of it is the result of the incredible talent and creativity of New Zealanders.

The Government is committed to standing alongside them and playing our role in partnership to realise our potential as nation.

I am delighted the Ministry of Economic Development has developed this website

It will play its role by providing a resource of information to increase understanding of growth and innovation.

It will also link to the websites of NZ Trade and Enterprise, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and regional Economic Development Agencies.

The website will also be a resource of information about developments in innovation in sectors and regions around New Zealand.

Over time, the stories about innovation we can build up will help to give people a sense of the potential we possess as a nation.

The government's growth and innovation policies have stepped up the emphasis on individual businesses, sectors and regions.

Our approach to these matters will always develop as we learn.

We will keep doing more of the things that work, and stop doing those which don't work so well.

I'm always amazed when I say that because I invariably get a Parliamentary Question asking me 'what was the Minister referring to when he said something didn't work so well?'

Yet acceptance we can do better is at the heart of innovation.

Government needs to innovate as much as business.

I expect this website will reflect our development.

I hope that you and others will come to see it as a useful place for learning about our innovation work.

And that it will contribute to unleashing innovation, the talent and the creativity of all New Zealanders.

It's my pleasure now to formally launch the website and congratulate everyone who has worked to make it possible.

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