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Mallard: Opening of L Hutt Contact energy centre

Opening of Lower Hutt's Contact energy retail service centre

Speech at the official opening of Contact Energy's new retail service centre in Lower Hutt.

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Good afternoon and thank you for inviting me to the opening of your new premises today.

It's rare that I have the opportunity of wearing both my Energy Minister's hat and my local MP's hat on the same occasion.

First of all, I'd like to welcome Contact into my electorate. The establishment by the company of its retail services centre here is good news for Hutt City.

Contact is a significant business and employer for the city, and an important addition to the major enterprises that have recently set up shop in the city, or are in the process of doing so.

It's been a long time since we have seen so many cranes on the skyline, and such a level of building activity in downtown Hutt City. Mitre 10's impressive new hardware megastore has recently opened, the major revamp of Westfield's Queensgate retail complex is moving purposefully towards completion, and just across the road construction of the new Pak 'N Save supermarket is making good progress.

And there are many more new enterprises that I could list. All of this relatively recent activity is a great credit to the city's initiatives in attracting businesses, with the resulting employment and the generally enhanced economic boost to the area.

And so we are all very happy that Contact Energy has chosen this location to set up its retail services centre - it further confirms that Hutt City is indeed, as the motto goes, "a great place to work, live and play".

Contact Energy is one of the country's major generators and retailers of electricity, and in my relatively short time in the energy portfolio I've enjoyed getting to know the company and its scope of operations.

It has nine generating stations that stretch from Auckland to Central Otago and a retail electricity business which covers both the North and South Islands. It is also the country's largest wholesaler and retailer of natural gas, with retail gas sales in significant sectors of the North Island.

Contact has been doing some good work in helping small to medium sized businesses save on their power bills. I was at the launch last month of Energy Challenger - an internet based energy management tool, designed to help SMEs identify and implement actions to reduce unnecessary energy use.

The programme creates an energy management action plan for each business to reduce energy costs. This includes not only technical improvements that the business can make, but also recommends changes to management practices to ensure the energy savings are sustainable.

I commend Contact on its commitment to continual improvement in customer service, and on providing a modern complex in which its staff can manage and operate a business of some size and complexity.

I was also very pleased to learn that Contact required its service centre to be designed with the latest energy-saving features, which will both save the company money and minimise the drain on the country's electricity supply.

This is an example which I hope many others who are involved in providing commercial accommodation will aim to copy over the next few years.

As a country, we need to take every possible opportunity to make energy conservation gains if we are going to achieve the long-term security of our electricity supply, which is so essential to our way of life. It's a goal this government takes very seriously.

This is a message that every one of us must hear, understand and act upon.

And so - congratulations to the company on its foresight and enterprise in establishing this facility in Hutt City.

I'm now delighted to declare Contact Energy's new retail service centre officially open.

ENDS

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