PM's Address: Westpac Manukau Business Awards
Rt Hon Helen Clark Prime Minister Address to the Westpac Manukau Business Excellence Awards at Telstra Clear Pacific Centre Manukau City
9.45pm Thursday, 18 August 2005
Thank you for inviting me to be part of Manukau’s Business Excellence Awards once again.
I know Manukau as a very progressive city – progressive in its work to build strong communities drawing on the talents of all the people of Manukau; and progressive in its economic development strategies.
What happens in Manukau matters to New Zealand.
This is our third biggest city.
It is one of the fastest growing cities in New Zealand.
It is highly multicultural. Manukau’s work for social harmony and tolerance is a model for New Zealand.
For Manukau to meet the aspirations of its people, Manukau needs business successes. It needs strong economic growth and strong job growth.
In the year to December 2004, the city’s economy grew by 5.8 per cent, and employment in terms of hours worked grew by 3.5 per cent.
Manukau’s 19,000 businesses are making a huge contribution to the vibrancy of this city.
Manukau’s leading business successes are recognised in tonight’s Awards, and it is fantastic to see this ceremony attract such huge interest. And for the first time, Manukau is able to celebrate its business success in the Telstra Clear Pacific Centre. This Centre is a visionary project and a symbol of Manukau’s growth and development.
Indeed, Manukau’s growth and development brings me to Manukau City many times each year.
There are new communities, schools, fire stations, shopping centres, businesses, and amenities of all kinds springing up in this city.
Manukau has also benefited from New Zealand’s strong economic and job growth over the past six years. Our economy has averaged close to four per cent growth, well above that of other developed countries.
And we lead the world with our low unemployment. Unemployment has halved over the past six years, with more than a quarter of a million more people in jobs. That’s been a huge boost for Manukau City where too many of our people had been missing out for years.
Our government has worked closely with Manukau in many areas.
Many of our policies have helped lift the living standards of Manukau people: The big increase in the numbers of people in work. The big investments in health and education in the city. The fair rent policy for state housing. And the big extra tax relief for families which I announced today will help our families on low and middle incomes with children get ahead.
As well, the huge investments we are making into Auckland’s transport infrastructure will relieve the pressure on Manukau.
Only last week I was able to announce another $280 million for Auckland’s state highways, which brings forward the work on the Western Ring Route – the alternative to State Highway 1 for getting from Manukau to Albany.
And another $50 million was announced for Auckland commuter rail as well.
Our goal, and Manukau’s goal, is to keep this city moving ahead.
Successful businesses in New Zealand today commit to: upskilling their workforce, investing in innovation, through research and development, design and technology, lifting their productivity, and improving their branding and promotion.
All these factors characterise the success of the award winning businesses of Manukau City, and I congratulate each and every one of you on the recognition you are receiving through these awards tonight.
Sir Barry, your city without question is an important contributor to the New Zealand success story.
Your Council and its economic development agency, Enterprising Manukau, have provided strong local leadership, and the businesses of your city are making a strong contribution to our nation’s growth.
I thank Manukau City for its leadership; I thank Manukau’s businesses for their contribution to Manukau’s success; and I congratulate tonight’s winners on their success in these awards.