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Anderton: Opening of Kiwibank in Barrington Mall

4 July 2008 Speech

Opening of Kiwibank in Barrington Mall

I remember when Barrington lost its post office.

It was under a Labour government in the eighties and I was in the government caucus. There were plenty of post offices and banks closed all around New Zealand.

I was ashamed of those closures, and that is why I am very proud to be here today at the opening of this Kiwibank branch.

When branches here were closed I asked the minister responsible what he expected people to do. He said, the nearest branch would be in Columbo Street. They could go there.

I told him some of these people were pensioners on walker frames. How would they get to Columbo Street?

I noticed those ministers who were so brave at parliament when they closed branches were not brave enough to turn up to the closings.

I am very proud to turn up at openings. Openings of our bank.

Today there are over three hundred Kiwibank branches from Te Kao in the far north to bluff in the south. There is even a Kiwibank on Pitt Island in the Chathams.

We know where the Kiwibank branches are.

Where are the ministers who wouldn't come here when the branches were closed on their watch?

Where are they now? The ministers who said we couldn't run a bank in New Zealand and sold the BNZ and Postbank and the Trust banks and the Rural Bank. Where are those ministers who kept selling out New Zealand until we were the only developed country in the world that didn't own a single large financial instiutution?

Where are they now, those naysayers who predicted Kiwibank wouldn't be the success it has become?

Remember Rodney Hide? He said the bank would be a dog. On 30 January 2002 - before Kiwibank opened - Rodney Hide put out a press release saying he was reliably informed there would only be three Kiwibank branches in the whole of the South Island.

Well, this is one. Do you think there are more than two others?

This week, the government started another publicly owned business: Kiwirail. And Rodney called that a dog too. It's funny how all these dogs turn into great successes. And how we had to create them as public assets because when they were sold, they really did go to the dogs.

I noticed Kiwibank recently won the Sunday Star-Times Cannex Banking Awards.

The awards gauge value for money across all the main product categories.

As the newspaper said: "It provides proof that once again Kiwibank, which has been making a big deal of its New Zealand ownership through its advertising, has been leading the charge to provide value for money banking."

That tells me the bank is successful not just because it has been signing up two thousand customers a week, for six years.

It is successful not just because it is making a profit and growing its capital value.

It is successful not just because it is providing more branches and forcing the big Aussie banks to keep their branches open and moderate their fees.

It is successful not just because it's providing convenience and service to New Zealanders.

It is also successful because it is doing a good job.

Well done.

This new Barrington Post Shop in the heart of the Wigram electorate will make services more accessible to everyone. You don't need to walk to Colombo street.

I want to welcome the new Post Shop Kiwibank manager Alan Bush.

And I welcome your staff too, who are part of the fabric of our local community.

We're pleased to have you here and delighted at the full range of post and Kiwibank services that will be available.

I therefore have much pleasure in formally declaring the new Barrington Post Shop Kiwibank…open.


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