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Dalziel: World Congress for Total Quality Managemt

World Congress for Total Quality Management

Opening Address by Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel to 11th World Congress for Total Quality Management

Duxton Hotel, Wakefield St, Wellington

On behalf of the New Zealand government I would like to extend a warm welcome to overseas delegates to New Zealand; to the New Zealanders among you, welcome you to Wellington. To all of you welcome to the 11th World Congress for Total Quality Management.

I'd like to acknowledge the organisers of the Congress: Dr Robin Mann as local chair of the World Congress of Total Quality Management; the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research based at Massey University; the New Zealand Institute of Management; the New Zealand Organisation for Quality; the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation; SAI Global; and Professor Gopal Kanji, chairman of the World Congress and director of Kanji Quality Culture.

The World Congress for Total Quality Management has an established reputation as an international forum for practitioners in the field of business excellence and continuous improvement. You have a track record of attracting world-class speakers and delegates and this year is no exception. Your workshops and keynote addresses will offer a significant range of research and real-life experiences from around the world. This is an example of a truly global network at work and I know you have a fascinating few days ahead of you.

I understand this is the first time the Congress has come to Australasia and we are pleased to have been selected as the venue this year. I hope that you will find time to explore the many and varied recreational and cultural experiences New Zealand has to offer.
New Zealand is known for its stunning landscapes and its clean green image – 100% Pure is our brand. However it is our pioneering history and our distance from world markets, which has created a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs who dare to do things differently. New Zealand's edge lies in an independent spirit that celebrates fresh, creative and often unconventional thinking.

New Zealand is also the home of world-leading technology and manufacturing. In coming to this conference, you may well have filled your car from a petrol pump using New Zealand software; walked off your plane through a New Zealand-made air bridge; or collected your baggage from a carousel developed here in New Zealand by local company, Glidepath. And that is just the beginning of the inroads New Zealand companies have made on the world stage.

I am sure you all know that New Zealand is the home of the Lord of the Rings movies, which owe their success to a combination of the talent of Peter Jackson, our dramatic natural scenery, and the special effects skills of our homegrown Weta Workshops. With Peter Jackson having re-made King Kong here and with another Kiwi director, Andrew Adamson making Narnia, with I understand the sequel Prince Caspian to be filmed here as well, our reputation as a great place to make movies is becoming embedded as part of our national identity.

But as I have said, it's not just the scenery; it's the talent and the skills of the film-makers and the technicians as well.

The government is working to harness that creativity and pioneering spirit as part of our economic transformation agenda. Our small size and relative isolation in the world shapes our perspective and drives us to look outward to excel in the global economy.

We are a small economy but we have strong links with Australia and the Pacific, a common heritage with Europe and North America, and growing links with Asia.

As the New Zealand Institute identified recently a three-hour flight from New Zealand only gets us to 0.4 per cent of the world's population and to 1 per cent of its GDP. The same length of flight from Hong Kong embraces 42 per cent of the world's population and 32 per cent of its GDP.

Given the limited market in New Zealand, businesses must go international at a much earlier stage in their development. And this is a big step, both literally and figuratively, for businesses that are small by international standards.

This is why building business capability is so important in New Zealand. We know that we need more world-class businesses like the ones I mentioned earlier, in order to be competitive on a global scale.

And Congresses such as this, at which experiences and research can be shared, ideas and enthusiasm generated, and networks created and strengthened, provide us with an opportunity to achieve our goal in that regard.

Your Congress theme – "Developing management and organisational capability to improve business performance" – is very topical in the New Zealand context.

When I took on the Small Business portfolio a year ago, I listed my five priorities. Top of the list was "improving business and management capability". It remains my top priority for this sector. However, it is a difficult priority to deliver on, because those business owners, who know they need to lift their business and management capability, are already well on the road to doing something about it. My officials told me when I took up the job that I would be up against the 'triple B' syndrome – that is the business owners who don't want to lift their game, because they already have what they want – the bach, the boat and the BMW.

New Zealand however needs to grow internationally competitive firms if we are to make it in this globalised marketplace.

We have identified a less than optimum uptake of quality management systems as one of the obvious barriers to growth, and this has prompted government and business to collaborate in setting up a Business Capability Partnership, which you will hear about during the Congress.

Broadly speaking, its mission is to increase the understanding of and demand for high quality services aimed at raising capability in the business sector, and to ensure there is sufficient supply of appropriate and accessible capability-building services to meet the needs of all New Zealand businesses.

Its long-term vision is that New Zealand business, management and leadership capability is equal to – or, better still, leads – international best practice.

It is, I feel, an extremely valuable initiative with important benefits for New Zealand business. I don't need to persuade anyone here how important quality systems are for improving business capability and performance. But sometimes we need to take that message out to the business sector, which often does not see the benefit of quality systems, until they have them in place. The more that we can learn about how to communicate the benefits to the hard to get to SME sector the greater the rate of progress we can make. I hope that some of the answers I am looking for will be given during this Congress.

As I said earlier, the holding of such an important Congress here in New Zealand will enable us to gain the benefit of the expertise that you have attracted. Our Minister of Economic Development will be speaking to you in detail about our government's work in this vital area and I will return to join you for your dinner tomorrow night.

It is my task to formally welcome you here; to invite you to take this opportunity to explore all that New Zealand has to offer; and to be challenged, stimulated and excited by the thought-provoking and refreshing ideas that will be your 11th World Congress. And on that note I officially declare the Congress open.


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