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Formway Launches their award-winning “life” chair

20 August 2002

Hon Jim Anderton

Speech Notes

Formway Launches their award-winning “life” chair

Formway Launch

Tuesday 20 August 2002

Te Papa

All the members of the Design Industry Taskforce have been invited (list attached) and Mark Pennington is one of the speakers

First, I’d like to congratulate Mark (Pennington) and the team at Formway for their achievements at the recent NeoCon exhibition.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Life Chair unveiled.

The NeoCon award proves something I’ve always known: New Zealand design ranks among the best in the world and excellence is becoming our brand.

Tauranga Industrial Motor Mower Story

John Deere/Germany/Auckland plasma cutter (as told to Design Taskforce this morning)

It’s not enough to simply stamp products with a kiwi or a fernleaf. If those products that are linked to New Zealand aren’t the best in the world, simplistic branding means little.

For example, Germany means Mercedes-Benz and high-tech machinery.

Nokia means Finland.

Nestles and watches? Switzerland.

And Toyota? Japan.

These examples illustrate New Zealand’s global market potential. I don’t know what flora and fauna Japan and Finland have, but I certainly know about their high-quality, state of the art products.

We are already known around the world for the All Blacks, the America’s Cup, Kiri Te Kanawa, Peter Jackson and the New Zealand dairy industry.

The world doesn’t know them because they come from New Zealand. The world knows New Zealand because of their achievements.

Formway is well on the way to joining their ranks.

Our innovative approach to design is becoming known around the world. Our reputation for creative solutions is allowing small New Zealand companies to brand themselves on the world market and compete against bigger players more effectively.

The creative industries in New Zealand have always been faced with many challenges.

We are a small country on the bottom of the world. Our companies have a low profile in the global market and are often undercapitalised.

Issues such as these mean that many businesses face difficulties in commercialising their innovative ideas.

Yet, with all these obstacles in the way, the creative sector, which includes such varied industries as the performing arts, film, televsion and video, design, architecture and software among many others, has still outstripped many other industries in New Zealand, generating 3.1% of GDP in the year to March 2001.

The creative industries also accounted for over $7 billion of domestic consumption in the same year.

In May of this year, the Design Industry Taskforce was set up to capitalise on the growth of the creative sector.

Members have been drawn from the design, architecture and fashion industries and represent some of the most innovative minds in New Zealand. Mark Pennington has played a key role in the taskforce’s work to date.

The Taskforce is focused on four main areas:

- To promote New Zealand as a leading centre of design

- To encourage New Zealand businesses to incorporate design into their manufacturing processes and in their research and development

- To develop closer partnerships between designers and manufacturers

- To investigate the feasibility of staging an international design conference in New Zealand

This Government is committed to policies that invest in the intellectual and creative talent of New Zealanders. We are committed to helping New Zealanders turn innovative ideas into marketable products.

Industry New Zealand has been at the centre of support for the design industry. Last year, Formway received a business growth grant of $100,000.

It was also assisted to participate in a World Class New Zealanders’ business exchange.

In turn, Formway has formed a partnership with Knoll, one of the five biggest furniture manufacturers in the United States. It is respected in the global design industry.

This partnership has added immense value to the New Zealand product and will allow Formway to enter the US market.

These partnerships and investments are paying off. Companies such as Formway demonstrate the ability of the creative sectors to contribute to sustainable economic growth and create long-term skilled jobs for New Zealanders.

Your success will help to enhance New Zealand’s reputation and help brand us overseas as world leaders in design and technology.

Your innovative work is an excellent example of using creative design to add value to a manufactured product.

Congratulations again on your achievements, for your international success and for the way in which you have incorporated design into your whole business model.

I hope other New Zealand businesses will follow your lead and that there will be many more such stories for us to celebrate in coming years.

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