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Opening of new Greenlane Public Trust office

Hon Jim Anderton
Minister in charge of Public Trust

Opening of new Greenlane Public Trust office
6 May 2004

I know when I first became Minister in charge of Public Trust, it was an organisation on the move.

After having experienced a long period of difficult conditions, it had introduced the distinctive new ‘Your Word is Law’ branding campaign.

There was a legacy of quite difficult business issues.

These had to be carefully managed and over the years there has been considerable evolution in the Public Trust.

A lot of work was needed to turn the organisation around and place it on a sound business footing.

New legislation was passed, improving the ability of the Public Trustee to run commercial Operations more competitively.

It also ensured the Public Trust’s social responsibilities were securely and transparently funded.

Throughout the last four or so years, I have always been impressed by the level of public confidence in the Public Trust.

I have a little notice on my wall about ‘credibility.’

It says credibility is something which needs to be built up piece by piece, over many years, and can be lost in an instant.

Public Trust has been building its 'public credibility' over more than century, through the integrity of its operations and the hard work of its staff.

Dealing in legacies is a ‘core competency’ for Public Trust, and it has amassed a legacy itself in the intangible strength of its place in our community.

There are not many public institutions – and fewer private ones – which can claim a store of trust and respect like that.

It is a record to treasure, and to be proud of, and one which all Public Trust staff can share in.

I’ve always felt a personal ministerial connection with Public Trust – however tenuous it may be:

Public Trust was established by the then-Premier Sir Julius Vogel.

It just happens that when I’m in Wellington I live in a state house, where the rent is not 'income related', called ‘Vogel House’ – built by the family of the Public Trust founder.

Vogel originally pushed for the Public Trust to be set up to prevent the exploitation of widows and orphans.

Over many years it has fulfilled that role, and taken on many important new ones.

It is our oldest and largest trustee organisation.

It works with many thousands of New Zealand families every year to protect and manage family assets and interests in both life and after death.

I’m delighted that demand is increasing for Public Trust’s services.

The creation of family trusts is a popular area – not always with finance ministers, of course.

But families are also coming here, in one convenient location, for investment advice and expert help to administer and protect their assets.

The new venue will be convenient for the 12,500 customers who live in the area.

Of course, Public Trust employs a significant number of lawyers and accountants.

I’m sure the suburb’s numerous car dealers will welcome their arrival in Greenlane, so that someone else can be the butt of all the jokes.

Public Trust is an enduring New Zealand institution.

It has a rich history and its role as an integral public service is as relevant today as it was in the late 1800s.

I can’t help wondering if today’s grand opening might have been rather different if one or two things had been different a few years ago…

As some of you may know, when I first became Minister of Public Trust in late 1999, I was determined to see a publicly-owned bank created in New Zealand

Back then, I felt NZ Post was the best place for a kiwi bank.

But I wasn’t Minister of NZ Post, and I was the Minister of Public Trust.

So there was a brief moment when the possibility of creating a kiwi bank in Public Trust crossed my mind.

As it turned out, we made a wholly different decision.

NZ Post turned out to be an excellent owner of a high quality bank, and secured a new income stream as a result.

Public Trust secured its business by focusing more strongly on its core competencies.

And the result is fantastic for all the organisations involved, as well as the taxpayer – and Peter Taylor is delighted that Jim Bolger doesn’t have his job.

I would like to wish you all a very pleasant stay in your new premises.

Congratulations to all those involved.

And best wishes for the future.


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