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Hon Jim Anderton: Speech at Thrive Pacifika

Hon Jim Anderton Minister of Economic Development

Thrive Pasifika

Auckland Town Hall 3.40pm, Thursday, 15 July 2004.


Talofa lava, kia orana, malo e lelei, ni sa sula, fakaalofa atu, malo ni…and kia ora!

I’m sure many here would have seen at least some of the NZ Idol contest on television this year.

Some of you probably even spent a bit of money texting for your favourite performer.

(How many voted for Ben?)

Anyone watching the final of Idol had to be impressed at the very significant representation of Pacific talent.

What we saw there – in that celebration of New Zealand’s young talent – was the face of the New Zealand of the future.

In two generations the pacific population in New Zealand will be greater than six hundred thousand.

That’s a forty per cent increase on the Pacific population today.

One in five children in New Zealand will be of Pacific descent.

Their talents, their skills and their successes will determine the success of New Zealand.

The economic development of New Zealand is also the economic development of Pacific peoples.

Unless we ensure Pacific peoples succeed economically, then New Zealand’s economy cannot achieve its full potential.

We are seeing today the emergence of Pacific leaders who are an inspiration to all New Zealanders.

Many have been here today…Pat Lam, and Linda Vagana for example.

There are many others and its easy to think of them.

Many of the stars of NZ Idol.

When was there last such a universally popular, articulate and skilful All Black captain as Tana Umaga?

But while we welcome the successes and the example set by brilliant talents like Tana’s the future of pacific New Zealanders will be determined by success in all our walks of life, not just in sport.

We need Pacific New Zealanders to succeed not only in sport and music, but in science, in industry and in business.

A few years ago the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs surveyed New Zealand’s pacific population.

The top priority for Pacific people was education.

This is an aspirational goal.

It is a goal that says, ‘we are ambitious for our young people. We know what they are capable of, and we want them to have the opportunity to succeed.’

It’s good to aim for success.

It’s good to celebrate it.

This event is about recognising and celebrating Pacific people’s success in business.

It’s about inspiring renewed success and unlocking the entrepreneurial potential of Pacific people.

I’ve stood alongside the Pacific community in New Zealand for many years now.

I remember when New Zealand brought in many thousands of Pacific families as a source of cheap labour.

And I remember how New Zealand then told those same people they were no longer welcome.

I’m proud to have stood against that divisiveness then and I’m against attempts to scapegoat parts of our population now.

And I also know the best way to protect against it is to develop a strong economic base for Pacific New Zealanders, locked into the wider New Zealand and global economy and successful within it.

I’m delighted there are positive signs in the economic development and success of Pacific peoples.

Younger, New Zealand-born Pacific people in particular are flourishing, according to the statistics.

Pacific people are more likely to run their own businesses than in the past.

More are employers or self-employed.

The proportions are still too low, but they are growing.

Opportunities for Pacific people in business are growing.

It is essential to harness these positive opportunities.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is working with the Pacific community to unleash its potential in business.

For several years, NZTE and its predecessors have worked with the Pacific Consultancy Network.

It’s currently supporting the Network's activities in offshore markets.

The Pacific Business Trust does magnificent work throughout New Zealand for Pacific Business people.

The Trust is contracted by NZTE to provide training programmes in pre-business skills.

One of the keys to achieving greater success is to develop a Business Plan.

With a clear path for the business it also makes sense to work together in groups of three or more.

This may make it possible to apply to NZTE for a variety of funding.

NZTE is funding programmes providing training and ongoing coaching to Pacific business people in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, through the Pacific Business Trust.

The programme includes workshops and advice to people looking to start a business, or operating a small business.

The long-term goal is to increase management capability and productivity of Pacific people’s businesses.

During the first four months of its operation the Pacific Business Trust delivered fifty workshops to around 450 attendees from Auckland to Southland.

This was followed with over 620 hours of follow up coaching to approximately 300 clients.

This pilot programme has been a resounding success.

It’s been eagerly received by the Pacific Community.

Course evaluations have shown excellent results.

I’m very positive about the future in business for Pacific people.

This is a good time for New Zealand.

The qualities that make countries more prosperous in the coming decades are creativity and talent.

I believe we are a talented and creative country.

We will prosper by creating demand and markets for our unique creativity in places where they don’t even yet know they want the things we can make.

Our Pacific heritage is a unique part of that.

No other country can commercialise Pacific creativity the way we can.

If we can unleash more young Pacific talent in our businesses, we can only do better, for the good of all New Zealanders.

We must unlock the potential of our Pacific people.

We must ensure everyone fully participates in our economy.

Our jobless rates for Pacific people –and all New Zealanders -- are lower than they’ve been since 1987.

The numbers of Pacific people in tertiary education are at record levels.

We have a strong, sound economy and conditions for business are better than they have been in generations.

As you go from here to strengthen Pacific businesses, you have very reason to succeed, and many advantages to be positive about.

I wish you every success.


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