Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


100% Pure Horowhenua - Lockwood Speech

Embargoed Until Delivery
An Address by
Hon Lockwood Smith PhD
Minister of Tourism
100% Pure Horowhenua
Raewyn’s Restaurant
0715 hours
17 November 1999

Roger Sowry’s very positive about the Destination River Region and he’s been wanting me to visit for some time.

It’s great to be here and to see for myself what tourism has to offer the region, and how you contribute to the nation-wide tourism effort.

It’s election season and I guess what you’re expecting me to do is to claim all the credit for the record visitor numbers the industry has achieved this year.

I can’t really do that because what I set out to do when I became minister was take the politics out of the industry.

Before being Minister of Tourism, I was Minister of Agriculture, working with industries nearly as big and as valuable as tourism.

But, over the last couple of decades, none of them have grown as fast as tourism.

And one of the key reasons for that is that they are so dominated by industry politics.

So much time and energy is put into thinking about what’s happening in Wellington rather than what’s happening in the international marketplace.

And, of course, at the beginning of this year, there was a risk of the same thing happening in tourism.

And, you know what?

As a result of all that time and effort going in to worrying about who said what to whom in Wellington, not one more tourist is in New Zealand today, or extending or upgrading their holiday.

The industry has achieved the record number of visitors, despite the politics, not because of it.

The four goals I set as Minister were designed to be market-orientated:

 A sustainable flow of tourism earnings, through the global marketing strategy

 Removing barriers for tourists – visa issues, air services and so forth

 Removing barriers for the tourism industry, such as improving RMA processes

 Increasing investment in our tourism industry – from central and local government, and from the private sector both domestic and international.

Those are the four big, common sense issues we need to focus on as an industry.

And when it comes to tourism-specific issues, I have to give some credit to the other parties, because they’ve generally endorsed them and the point scoring has stopped.

My differences with those parties are on broader economic issues.

Today, I want to talk to you about my fourth goal, investment, because I think it’s probably the most important for this region.

I guess you’d have to say that, right now, the Horowhenua is still an emerging tourism destination.

It’s not yet on the standard international tourism map of New Zealand.

And even domestically, you have strong competition in the southern part of the North Island.

But you have extraordinary potential to grow.

First, there’s a large domestic market as a strong base for further growth.

I’m told there are well over half a million people who live within an hour’s drive from Horowhenua.

There’s strong tourism growth in Wellington that you can leverage off.

And, of course, tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.

Throw into the mix the global marketing strategy, which will deliver more tourists to New Zealand, who’ll spend more, stay for longer and come back.

We’re expecting over 2.2 million visitors by 2005.

The fundamentals are in place for you to grow here in the Horowhenua.

The question is how best to take advantage of the opportunities ahead of you.

The answers all involve investment.

At the top of the list, of course, is brand investment.

Let’s put the recent controversy about funding for Tourism Horowhenua to one side for the moment.

Wherever the funds come from, it’s vital you agree on your unique points of difference, while being consistent with the overall 100% Pure message.

As a regional industry, you have to agree on how you want to present yourself and how you’re going to go about it.

You’ve got to make those fundamental strategic decisions collectively, and stick to them.

I’m pleased you’re all working on that.

That brand investment – time as well as money – is vital.

Other investment is perhaps more down to earth.

Some needs to come from central government, for vital infrastructure such as roads.

I know that Roger’s been a big advocate in Wellington for Transmission Gully.

There’s other vital infrastructure investment that needs to come from local government.

These things are fundamental, but my main focus is on greater private sector investment.

I could be wrong, but I think it unlikely that there are sufficient investment funds in this region alone to make the Horowhenua the tourism destination it could be.

If you are going to reach your potential, you will have to look elsewhere in New Zealand, and probably to overseas.

I acknowledge that overseas investment can be controversial.

The Alliance and the Greens are very much against it.

The irony is that many of those same people were in the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement.

One of the things they argued for was the investment boycott against South Africa.

They knew that if South Africa didn’t have access to foreign investment it’d be forced to change.

And it worked!

Why now are they arguing we should use the same weapon against ourselves?

The truth is that inward investment means jobs.

And we saw very graphically at Bendon what happens when investment moves the other way.

Right now, New Zealand is a reasonably attractive destination for investment.

Our company tax rate is currently below Australia’s.

Our cost structures are reasonably competitive – the ACC reforms have helped that a lot, and there’s still more to do.

Industrial relations are also reasonably civil.

The Ansett strike was a huge issue, and so it should have been.

But, in the old New Zealand, strikes like that were a dime a dozen except that they went on for far longer and the unions always won.

On these broader economic issues, I am prepared to be political; very political.

Why on earth would a political party want to raise taxes, reverse the ACC reforms and give unions more power?

The only motivation I can think of is if you were beholden to an interest group in Wellington to whom these were matters of ideological dogma.

The big political debate in New Zealand should not be whether we should raise tax, but what we need to do to stay competitive with Australia when they cut their company tax rate to below ours.

We shouldn’t be talking about reversing the ACC reforms.

We should be asking ourselves what other reforms we need to achieve similar cost savings for business.

And with industrial relations, our focus should be on how we can encourage even greater co-operation between employers and employees in the workplace – not whether unions and big employer groups in Wellington should have more power.

No one would claim that the last three years have been plain sailing, politically or economically.

Political machinations spawned by MMP have held us back as a country.

But that is not a reason for taking the catastrophic step of electing a Labour/Alliance/Green Government, depending on Winston Peters for support.

Nothing could be worse than that.

What we need from this election is a clear result.

With a clear result, Roger and I can get back to work.

We can deliver to you a sound business environment so that your industry and your region can grow.

That’s our commitment: give us a clear result and we can deliver.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Commerce Commission: Retail Fuel "Not As Competitive As It Could Be"

The Commission has outlined some options it considers could improve competition. There are two broad sets of options it thinks may have the potential to help create a competitive wholesale market. These are:

• Greater contractual freedom to make it easier for resellers to switch between suppliers; and
• Enabling wider participation in the majors’ joint infrastructure, notably the shared terminals and supporting logistics involved in their borrow-and-loan system.
Further options, including improving the transparency of premium petrol prices, are discussed in the draft report. More>>


Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>


School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>


IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>


Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

PM's Post-Cab: Bad Mail

Cabinet was updated on the process around prisoners sending mail, following the accused Christchurch gunman sending letters that "should have been stopped". All mail of "high concern prisoners" will now be checked by a specialist team and a changes to the legal criteria for witholding mail are expecting to go to a cabinet committee in this parliamentary session. More>>

Welfare: Ongoing Drug-Test Sanctions Contradicts Govt’s Rhetoric

Reports that two-thirds of beneficiaries who fail drug tests are still having their benefit sanctioned contradicts the Government’s so-called health approach to drugs. More>>


Welfare: More Measures To Help Those Facing Homelessness

Ministers have announced $54 million in Government funding for initiatives which will support at-risk individuals and whānau to stay in their existing tenancies. The funding will also provide additional wrap around services. More>>


Corrections: New Strategy On Māori Reoffending And imprisonment

Authentic co-design with Māori, incorporating a Te Ao Māori worldview, and greater connectedness with whānau are key elements of Hōkai Rangi, Corrections’ new departmental strategy designed to address the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending and imprisonment. More>>





InfoPages News Channels