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Ngati Maniapoto Stand At The Threshold

Jim Anderton, Minister of Economic Development
5 December 2003

Speech to Maniapoto Business Development Summit

Waitomo Caves Hotel
5 December 2003.

Speech Notes

Tena Kotou
Tena Kotou
Tena Kotoua katoa

This summit is timely.

Ngati Maniapoto stand at the threshold of an exciting future.

Assets from various settlements are coming.

There is an increase in Maori business activity.

It’s time to unlock the future.

We need to prepare not only for the management of settlements.

We need to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of doing business in the 21st Century.

The economic outlook is positively vibrant.

Our economy was one of the fastest growing in the developed world over the last four years.

Unemployment is down to 4.4 per cent of the workforce -- lower than it has been since 1987.

We have 61-thousand more jobs than a year ago.

New Zealand has experienced sixteen consecutive quarters of job growth.
On Wednesday, the NZ Herald predicted a 'Jobs Bonanza' in its front page headline.

It said: "Nearly half New Zealand's companies expect to take on more staff next year in the strongest forecast of hiring intentions in five years."

The Maori unemployment rate is under double figures at 9.7 per cent.

That is still far too high, compared to the Pakeha unemployment rate of 3.3 per cent.

But it is under half the levels it reached in the eighties and nineties.

Maori experienced job growth of 3.6 per cent in the year to September.

Impressive job growth is being driven by the regions of New Zealand.

Every region of New Zealand is in positive growth mode.

I've always said that we can't have a strong national economy unless we have strong regions.

It's not that long ago, the regions of New Zealand were told that economic decline was inevitable.

Now jobs, people and the economic vitality that will sustain a lifestyle for New Zealanders are returning.

There is a virtuous cycle.

The stronger a region's economy gets, the more people return, and the economy picks up still further.

There are, of course, a number of factors behind the increases.

We have had favourable weather.

International trading conditions for our primary products have been generally strong.

We have benefited from excellent growth in the tourism industry, year after year since the late nineties.

But regions have benefited from more than the climate and trading conditions.

There is another factor that has been important.

Through the Regional Partnerships Programme, regions have been:
Setting their own priorities.
Identifying barriers to growth,
Identify existing advantages, and
Building strong local partnerships for growth.

Regions have been displaying confidence in their own future.

When regions publicly express confidence that they have a future, it sends a positive signal to investors and developers.

When regions sit down and work out where their unique strengths are, it must have an effect.

Twenty-three out of 26 regions have developed a detailed economic development strategy in the last two years.

That is 23 more regions with a clear sense of direction.

The coalition government has funded nine Major Regional Initiatives:

A wood processing centre of excellence in Rotorua, which I launched yesterday.
Hawke's Bay - Food Processing.
Waikato - Innovation Park
Marlborough -- Wine centre of excellence
Taranaki – Heavy engineering
Northland – Tourism
Nelson – Seafood
Southland – Broadband
And another to be announced in Wellington.

Each of these builds on the existing strength of the region.

Each initiative helps to lift the economic performance of the region.

Each project will lead to high-value, high-skill, job-rich development.

Once a region has adopted one regional initiative, it can come back to the well for another Major Regional Initiative.

Regions will get an accelerating boost as one initiative comes in on top of another.

Over time, the industrial base of each region will be broadened and deepened.

Regional growth is driving growth in the national economy.

Every region has to work with local Maori.

I have insisted on this.

When regions have brought me plans that have not included Maori, I have sent them back.

New Zealand’s economic development is Maori economic development.

In thirty of forty year’s time, 30 per cent of New Zealanders will be Maori or Pacific people.

Therefore, lifting the performance of the New Zealand economy, means lifting the economic performance of Maori.

Maori are part of New Zealand’s competitive advantage.

They are part of what makes us unique; Maori are nowhere else in the world.

It is critical for communities, local government, industry, and Maori to work together.

There have been a number of initiatives where local Maori have played a major role and been critical to the success.

Northlands MRI ‘Activate Northland’, is based around capability building for small tourism business in the region, many of which are Maori businesses.

Tainui have been a crucial partner in the Waikato Innovation Centre MRI, with the centre being built on Tainui land.

Whakatu Incorporated is involved in the Marlborough Wine Centre of excellence.

Ngati Kahungunu are on the governance board of Food Hawke’s Bay.

Ngai Tahu have been vital to the development of the Nelson Seafood cluster.

The Wanganui, Rangitikei, Ruapehu Regional Partnership is also a pleasing example of collaboration.

Twelve 12 hapu and three councils have been able to forge strong relationships.

The coalition government has also assisted individual iwi with specific regional development initiatives.

Te Uri O Hau received assistance in May 2003 to help develop assets from the Treaty settlement.

Similarly Ngati Whatua have received assistance to develop a major tourist attraction at Bastion Point.

Currently the Maori economy accounts for 1.4 per cent of the New Zealand economy. It contributes:
$700 million, or approximately 7.4% of New Zealand's total agricultural output;
About $299 million or 37% of New Zealand's domestic fishing quota; and
Maori are estimated to control 10% of New Zealand's forest holdings.

Local Maori involvement has been a requirement of the RPP programme from the start.

But there have been varying levels of Maori engagement.

One of the biggest challenges has been developing representation where numerous iwi fall within the same area.

At the moment, the government is looking at ways to improve Maori involvement in regional development.

What we know about the Maori economy is that there is a considerable entrepreneurial base to build on.

A recent study (by NZIER) found the Maori economy is more profitable than the rest of the New Zealand economy.

The Maori economy has a higher savings rate than the rest of New Zealand.

And while Maori households receive $2.3 billion from the government, they also pay $2.4 billion in tax.

But the Maori economy is more volatile because it is based on primary production.

We need to move the Maori economy up the value chain.

We need more successful business based on the unique advantages of Maori.

One advantage is entrepreenurship.

One global research report found that if Maori were ranked as an individual country, they would be the world’s seventh most entrepreneurial country

We need to unlock that potential.

But we need to focus on growth and opportunity.

Maori and economic development go together.

We need to look forward and set high targets for achievement.

As leaders and key players in economic development, you are critical in driving forward this agenda.

The focus needs to be on Maori economic development – not grievance.

I don’t say that to be critical of the Treaty process.

Settling injustices is a matter of justice.

But even if every Treaty grievance were settled tomorrow, it would not secure Maori economic development.

We need to do much better.

How much better?

On the basis of income per head of population, New Zealand currently ranks between Cyprus and Slovenia.

If we had grown at one percent faster each year for the last thirty, we would now have a living standard equal to Australia's.

How would things have been different?

Incomes: 1% higher growth since 1970 would mean that the average worker would now receive an additional $175 a week.

Health: An additional 1% growth would have meant we could invest $3.7 billion a year more on health.

Education: $4.2 billion more would be available per year. That's roughly an additional $3,500 per student. In one year it would almost wipe the current student debt of $5.4billion.

If our GDP had grown at the same rate as Australia we could have invested twice as much on roading over the last 30 years.

This is a crucial issue for Maori.

Maori have born a heavier share of the burden of our poor economic performance.

The more creative our businesses are, the more jobs there will be.

The more global New Zealand business is, in its reach and aspiration, the more sustainable and fulfilling the jobs they create will be.

We all have a role in fostering and growing more successful businesses that generate jobs.

We need to look forward and set high targets for achievement.

As leaders and key players in Maori economic development, you are critical in driving forward this agenda.

I am very optimistic about Maori and regional economic development.

We live in a moment of immense opportunity.

We can push on to a future where every region of New Zealand is thriving.

Many regions have now set out a vision for their economic development.

Like King Country, they are driving hard towards fulfilling it.

We can achieve a vision where every young person has a vibrant future in their own hometowns if they choose to.

A vision where every family can enjoy a standard of living and quality of life better than anywhere in the world.

We can achieve a vision where every part of New Zealand is strong, resilient and growing quickly.

This is the vision I have.

Each of us is a custodian of the future.

We hold the promise of tomorrow in our hands.

It is up to us all to be ambitious for New Zealand.

It’s time to go forward now and unlock it.


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