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Anderton: Young Designer Awards 2005

Hon Jim Anderton
Minister for Industry and Regional Development

Young Designer Awards 2005

8.45PM Wednesday, 12 October 2005
Christchurch Convention Centre,
Kilmore Street, Christchurch.


Awards chairman Tim McBrearty
Professor Thomas Bley (Professor of Design Studies, Otago University)
Young Designer Trust Board members
Other distinguished guests

I’m pleased to be back at these annual awards.

These awards recognise achievement by brilliant young designers.

While it’s a triumph for them, it is an inspiration for New Zealand.

In encourages design as a fundamental value in New Zealand’s industrial production.

I want to tell you why I am passionately convinced this is crucial for New Zealand.

I want New Zealand to become globally respected as a centre for design.

If we can increase the use of design in our production, we can increase the value of the goods we sell to the world.

We can make them more unique, more sought-after and capable of earning us higher incomes as a nation.

If we want to buy high value products form the rest of the world - complex products like cars, and ships and ipods - then we need to sell high value products ourselves.

I want to transform the New Zealand economy.

I believe we need to lock in low unemployment.

I want us to offer incomes, a lifestyle and opportunities as attractive as anywhere in the world.

We are going to build a secure economic future only by selling more high-value products to the rest of the world.

Most people can tell you we need to sell more.

What they can’t tell you is how to increase the value of what we sell.

It is our uniqueness that harbours true value.

People pay more for creativity.

Uniqueness can’t be copied and therefore it gives products an advantage.

Design is a process of incorporating unique value into production.

Traditionally in New Zealand we relegated the role of design.

Our economy relied heavily on commodities.

As a consequence our standard of living has been slipping backwards for three or four decades.

So we need to transform our economy.

We have some highly successful companies succeeding through their innovation and creativity.

We need more of them.

Companies like:
Fisher and Paykel - with the dishwasher drawer;
CWF Hamilton - the marine jet engine;
Formway – the LIFE chair.

The key to their success is the use of design.

It’s not just a matter of styling - it is the complete product planning, from the user interface to packaging.

These successful New Zealand companies stand out in the crowd and make their products more desirable through their use of innovative design.

They create markets and niches for themselves.

Who knew they wanted a dish-drawer dishwasher before Fisher and Paykel invented it?

We are lucky in New Zealand to be a resourceful and innovative people.

We are used to having to solve problems for ourselves.

We’re used to having the freedom to try things out.

We need to get better at using these qualities to meet consumer demand and to achieve excellence.

A couple of years ago I asked a Design Taskforce to report on the most important ways we could increase the use of design in New Zealand.

It set a target of at least 50 existing New Zealand businesses becoming internationally competitive through design leadership within five years.

The government believes we are well on the way to meeting that goal.

NZ Trade and Enterprise has been working closely with the industry to promote a design culture.

It administers a Better by Design programme.

The programme aims to increase the value of New Zealand’s exports by encouraging exporters to use world-class design.

It is raising awareness about design-led thinking and helping companies integrate design through all aspects of their business.

The process begins with leadership, strategy and research, and extends to functional and aesthetic design, branding, packaging and distribution.

The programme includes design audits and mentoring for approved companies.

There are educational components and funding for specific design projects and resources.

Fifteen companies have already been through the design audit pilot programme.

It tests the design awareness and capability of a company and helps find practical ways to use design to grow.

Companies involved have included successful examples of design-led enterprise like:
Outdoor equipment and clothing company Macpac;
Hockey apparel company OBO;
Bedroom furniture maker Design Mobel,
Phil and Ted's buggies; and
Kayak manufacturer Current Craft Perception.

Awareness of design is increasing among New Zealand businesses.

But we have a long way to go in revolutionising our industrial base and creating a genuine design culture.

Every revolution needs its vanguard, and young designers are to the fore of the industry here.

This award is a springboard of recognition for the importance of the work designers do.

A range of disciplines are covered - the built environment, communication, electronics, landscape design, fashion, product design and visual arts are all included.

The range of applications shows how much potential there is to exploit unique creativity.

We’re recognising excellence as well as uniqueness and creativity tonight.

These are the fundamental qualities that will secure a better future for New Zealand industry.

So I congratulate you on your achievement.

And I wish you all the very best for a design-led future.


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