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Anderton: Converge '05 Conference Speech

Hon Jim Anderton
Caretaker Minister for Industry and Regional Development

Converge '05

Monday, 10 October 2005
Hall A, Christchurch Convention Centre


Paddy Austin
Anna Chrighton

I’m delighted to be here to open this event.

From this week’s discussions will come new ideas to help to shape New Zealand’s future.

This is surely an exciting threshold from which we can look out at what we can become.

There will be new tools developed here, expanded networks, shared knowledge and new professionalism to help burnish ideas and commercialise them.

Successful new ideas are essential to New Zealand’s future.

Knowledge and ideas are the real energy behind successful businesses.

Jobs and wealth are the results you get when you bring together ideas, creativity and energy with a business approach.

Take a moment to look out into the future.

What do we want New Zealand to be?

I want ours to be a creative country, known throughout the world for our innovation and new ideas.

Already we know ourselves as a creative, resourceful nation.

So we need to learn more about how to show the world how creative and innovative we can be.

When I look at the future for New Zealand, I want a place where everyone has security, and the freedom to maximise their their talents.

It’s a virtuous circle.

The more we develop opportunities for people to grow and contribute, the more prosperous we become as a nation and the more secure as individuals.

Successful enterprise is not just the fruit of talented people, but the means by which we can harness individual skills.

We should imagine the way we want New Zealand to be.

We also need to plan for influences that will shape New Zealand in their own way.

The chief influence on our economy in the future will be changes brought by the global economy.

Though the shape of the world economy is ever-changing - there is nothing new in the challenge to us of needing to adapt to it.

We have always been a trading nation

What is new is the evolution of global value chains.

The production of goods and provision of services around the world is rapidly being revolutionised.

Few if any companies or countries now control manufacturing processes all the way from design to distribution, for example.

In turn, there are new niches opening in global value chains, even as change closes some doors.

Production runs are getting shorter as consumers demand ever more personalised and creative products and services.

We need to be part of global value chains to access these niches.

We need to maximise our investment in creativity, in research and development, and in science so that we can meet the demand for innovation and uniqueness.

We need to be connected to the world to fully understand consumer demands and the distribution channels available to reach them.

Fortunately, the more successful we are in fostering creativity, design, technology and skills, the more we will create the kind of New Zealand I want to see - where the talents of New Zealanders are valued and individuals have the opportunity to flourish through their own uniqueness.

The value of Converge is its aim to link our creativity with the opportunities provided by global markets and value chains.

For example it draws on the linkages of HITLab with Fortune 500 companies.

HITLab is an exciting local project I have watched grow and develop here in Christchurch over the last five years.

It’s an example of the way our best and brightest talents can be unleashed through partnerships with enterprise around the world.

New Zealand is an exciting country, but we are small.

Global incomes will come our way only if we access the global economy.

We need those incomes to sustain and improve on the standard of living we have already shaped.

There is immense potential to earn premium incomes as we learn more about how we can participate in global markets.

Not everyone wants to think about new ideas.

We can all grow comfortable with where we are.

It takes inspiration to see the future, to imagine how good we can be and to commit to overcoming the obstacles to realising our dreams.

Converge aims to inspire you.

Ideas, with networks, skills and leadership, are the engines of success.

Here you will hear from those who have taken on the world.

You’ll find out what it takes to succeed and learn from their experience.

‘Experience’ is the respectable name we give our mistakes.

As we learn from the mistakes of others, we can be inspired to emulate them, in the knowledge the obstacles can be overcome.

We can make smarter decisions and bring our future closer within our grasp.

The government has spent the last six years working quickly to increase innovation, skills and networks in our economy.

And when we look around at the sectors with the greatest potential to facilitate accelerated growth, the creative sector is at the heart of our economy.

Economic development professionals recognise the value creative entrepreneurs can add to the economy, both regionally and nationally.

The creative sector is growing rapidly.

But the success of the creative sector is only one part of the story.

It also has a unique role in helping change perceptions about New Zealand overseas.

It helps to position New Zealand as a source of new ideas, of people who have a fresh way of thinking.

The goal for our creative sector’s growth is to position New Zealand in global markets as innovative, talented and unique.

So I wish this event luck in helping to grow our creative sector.

I wish you luck in developing ideas to better take creative ideas to the world.

There is a world of opportunity for smart, innovative companies.

I hope this event inspires you and other New Zealanders to make the most of the opportunities available.

I wish you the best of luck and I have much pleasure in declaring Converge '


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