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Launch of Fashion Industry NZ - Anderton Speech

5 September 2002

Hon Jim Anderton

Speech Notes

Fashion NZ launch

8:00 pm

Thursday, 5 September 2002

Launch of Fashion Industry New Zealand

Giltrap Prestige, Porsche Showrooms, Great North Road, Auckland

I want to congratulate all of you who have been involved in forming this new organisation which is to be called Fashion Industry New Zealand.

As Minister for Economic, Industry and Regional Development I have met with people from companies up and down New Zealand.

It is clear to me that that although New Zealand and New Zealanders have many competitive strengths, one of the least appreciated is our creativity.

- Deputy PM Singapore

If there is one outstanding characteristic of New Zealanders; pakeha and Maori, from regions or major cities, young and old, it is our ability to innovate.

- Bruce McLaren

This Labour Progressive Government is committed to working with our industries which capture kiwi innovation to grow and develop.

However, one of the first steps is to ensure that in working with industries there is an organisation that can reflect the views of all parts of each. In your case, this includes textile manufacturers and local apparel producers, retailers, designers and fashion media.

In my time as Minister I have seen new industry associations established for a range of industries from avocado, and olive oil to possums.

In each case the associations are working with industry members to build the industry and to brand their products, and in so doing, brand New Zealand.

It is not enough to simply stamp products with a kiwi or a fernleaf. If the products that are linked to New Zealand aren’t of excellent world class standard, logos mean very little. Quality is the real brand.

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

Finland is known for Nokia.

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, and the companies that produce them.

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 and New Zealanders because of our achievements.

I see your industry as an important way to identify New Zealand for our innovation.

Your creativity and skill are already world class.

From being virtually unknown, even within New Zealand, our clothing labels have received international acclaim from buyers and critics at prestige events like Sydney and London Fashion Weeks.

Our fashion industry presents New Zealand with a huge opportunity to be seen by the rest of the world as innovative and focussed on quality.

In the last two decades, New Zealand’s designer fashion industry has grown at a spectacular rate.

A recent Industry New Zealand report estimated the size of the industry as $159 million a year - and growing.

- Scott Boyd - 14 year old from Northland brand name EKATS. “thousandaire”

The establishment of this industry organisation paves the way for a positive partnership between Industry New Zealand and the fashion industry.

As chairperson of the Textiles, Clothing, and Footwear Taskforce for the last 18 months I have been very impressed with the determination, commitment and co-operation of the leaders of your industry.

Like other areas in New Zealand, the fashion industry faces common problems that can be overcome by better information and resource sharing. The new association and the Government can work to solve these problems which include skills shortages and the need for more export market information.

The report written by Paul Blomfield which identified these problems showed clearly that your industry is at a critical stage and we need to ensure your continued success through greater co-operation and partnership with the Coalition Government.

Paul’s report also identified the need for this new association.

I want to commit today to working with your industry and Fashion Industry New Zealand.

This an excellent starting point for getting more New Zealand fashion on international catwalks and in fashion stores around the world.

The study reported sales growth of around ten per cent during the last year.

Let’s work together to sustain that growth and to allow your quality designs to show the world how creative New Zealanders really are.

In two weeks I will attend the Wearable Art Awards again. A different type of fashion but I am always inspired when I see them. They embody to me a sense of fun as well as strong creative talent, and the awards themselves are a quality event.

These are the factors that in my opinion will ensure the New Zealand economy can grow at the rates we are aiming for.

Best wishes for an innovative and successful future, to you all.


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