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Speech: Montgomery Watson Harza Global expands


Montgomery Watson Harza Global expands based on Christchurch ICT expertise

EDITED HIGHLIGHTS and background

Jim Anderton spoke at the opening of the refurbished Global Service Centre of Montgomery Watson Harza Global, in Christchurch this afternoon, and viewed practical demonstrations of the global IT infrastructure run from the office.

"The expansion of MWH here makes Christchurch one of only three MWH Global Support Units worldwide.

"This is fantastic news.

"It’s a mark of confidence in New Zealand’s information and communications technology sector.

"It’s an expression also of confidence in New Zealand as a source of innovative and cost-effective ICT solutions.


Expansion of Montgomery Watson Harza Global
Economic Development
08 July 2004
Topic: Jim Anderton's Speeches
Expansion of Montgomery Watson Harza Global

3.30PM Thursday, 8 July 2004.
Montgomery Watson Harza


Micki Charlton, Rob Earle...

It’s easy to feel excited about the level of innovation and technology success in Christchurch right now.

I’ve just come from a function at the Canterbury Innovation Incubator.

It was to farewell a firm, DataCol, which started there in 2001 with a handful of staff.

It’s leaving because the incubation has worked and it’s now grown to have 22 staff, 140 contractors and plans to take revenue up to $20 million a year.

The incubator is a fantastic example of high tech companies succeeding in Canterbury.

So it’s a delight to visit this company as well, and see a vote of confidence in this region from a global company.

This is a great time for Canterbury

Last week I welcomed the first Emirates flight to Christchurch.

It is partly establishing a base here because of our aviation technology strength.

There are many other examples of science-based and technology-based companies here in Christchurch.

They’re at many stages of development, from those starting out to established New Zealand companies and global giants seeing the potential of New Zealand.

The proliferation of technology companies in Canterbury proves to me that this region has a very positive future in technology.

The expansion of MWH here makes Christchurch one of only three MWH Global Support Units worldwide.

This is fantastic news.

It’s a mark of confidence in New Zealand’s information and communications technology sector.

It’s an expression also of confidence in New Zealand as a source of innovative and cost-effective ICT solutions.

There was a study completed last year by international research firm Gartner.

It looked at New Zealand’s ICT capability and rated New Zealand very highly.

One stand-out feature was our innovative capability.

I remember visiting an ICT research centre here in Christchurch a few years ago which had just been bought by a Japanese investor.

The investor also owned a very large development centre in California.

He told me his engineers there had spent years, and tens of millions of dollars, trying to develop a software solution.

The New Zealand software engineers solved the same problem in twelve weeks.

As our most famous scientist, Lord Rutherford said, ‘we don’t have much money so we have to think’.

Because we are small and isolated, we used to having to be resourceful and having the freedom to try out ideas.

It makes for an innovative culture.

Overseas analysts looking at our capabilities can see how innovative we can be.

We need to celebrate it.

The same Gartner report also identified New Zealand as a destination for outsourcing and for our strengths in software application development.

MWH is planning to work with a number of IT companies in New Zealand.

Together they’ll be active in technology development.

That is fantastic because it strengthens the positioning of the New Zealand operations of MWH in global value chains.

If we want the living standards of other developed countries then we need to be part of the global economy.

We need to back ourselves - that we are good enough to take on the world and succeed.

And we also need to accept we won’t always be the best place for everything - and so we need to work inside global value chains.

We need to focus on those things we are best at.

This expansion is an example of building on our existing advantages.

It is an extension of the contribution MWH New Zealand staff make to projects around Asia-Pacific and throughout the global MWH operations.

This puts not just MWH New Zealand operations into MWH’s value chain.

It potentially extends opportunities to other New Zealand high-tech firms.

I understand projects demonstrated by HIT Lab have generated a lot of interest.

MWH staff are looking at the ideas and ways of customising some of the concepts demonstrated by Hit Lab.

They are also prepared to introduce these activities to their strategic partners.

I hope MWH’s commitment to New Zealand technology and skills will be a signal to other international firms.

New Zealand is at the top of its game in this field.

Let the world know.

We’re not trying to compete head-on with ICT industries in India, China and Eastern Europe by imposing a low-cost structure.

We are in a niche at the top end niche, in a market for creative ICT solutions.

It is a market fed by innovative companies and people.

It can achieve results faster, smarter and more cost effectively.

We don’t ever want to be the cheapest - lowest cost to the consumer translates as the lowest profits for our businesses, the lowest wages for our workforce and lowest income for New Zealand.

We want to be the best.

Being the best translates as the highest premium for our work.

It means the most high-value jobs.

It means the best opportunity for New Zealand.

I would like to congratulate MWH on this expansion.

I want to say the government is committed to working in partnership with the business to ensure New Zealand has the best opportunities to expand.

I want to say I am very positive about New Zealand.

I believe we have the most creative and talented people in the world.

We need to unleash our creativity and resourcefulness.

In creative industries, like film and music, in our use of design, in our science and in our industry.

The excellence and creativity of the New Zealand staff, suppliers and partners of MWH have helped to bring this facility here.

So it is a tribute to you.

Congratulations to MWH for choosing Christchurch.

And I wish you all the best for the future.


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