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Williamson: Opening of the Viridian Glass Factory

Opening of the Viridian Glass Factory, Auckland
Speech notes

Hon Maurice Williamson

Minister for Building and Construction

Opening of the Viridian Glass Factory, Auckland

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Len Brown
Mayor of Manukau City

Brett Woods


I am pleased to be here to open Viridian's new glass factory. I represent a business-friendly Government that welcomes innovation and investment in our economy. Today's occasion celebrates Viridian's commitment to Auckland and to the New Zealand building industry.

Viridian's new factory is the only purpose-built, fully automated glass processing factory in New Zealand, and the only purpose-built glass coating factory in the world. The technologies and processes used at the factory will revolutionise glass manufacturing in New Zealand, improving efficiency and setting new standards of precision and quality.

I understand that here glass is handled just once - when it rolls off the line and is loaded for transport. This is a remarkable increase in efficiency and automation. Traditionally, it may have been handled as many as 50 times.

The factory is able to process 70 cargo containers of glass per day. This could supply the entire New Zealand market in 10 weeks, based on current demand. It is able to produce an insulated glass unit every 30 seconds. I was also impressed to hear that the off-cuts are recycled for use as road fill or in reflective paint.

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Viridian's new factory provides unique employment opportunities for diagnostic technicians, engineers and IT experts to ensure a top-quality product. I also commend Viridian for working closely with the Joinery Industry Training Organisation to resolve skills shortages.

This Government welcomes such initiatives to improve market conditions and to spark innovation. We are seeking to help the building industry by reducing regulations, cutting red tape and creating an environment in which business can prosper.

I want to tell you today about aspects of the Government's work programme that will be of particular interest to you.

Innovation and business assistance

We're looking at ways to improve the value of the Government's investment in developing new markets and products, in innovation, and in research and development.

Ultimately, this is about ensuring that employers and entrepreneurs are encouraged to make the most of smart ideas.

It's about ensuring our firms have the research and development edge needed to get good prices for their products, so they can grow, take on new workers and pay them well.

And it's about ensuring our companies are able to connect with overseas markets and sell their goods on the world stage.

Removing unnecessary regulation

Part of achieving this goal is regulatory reform. We want to ensure that red tape doesn't get in the way of good ideas, and that our laws and regulations make New Zealand a better place to work and live.

It's in this context that the Government is undertaking a review of the Building Act.

The review will examine ways to make building controls more effective by removing regulation that adds cost, but little benefit.

The review is being carried out by the Department of Building and Housing, and a reference group has been set up to canvass industry and consumer representatives, with the aim of improving the existing legislation and regulation through the benefit of a wider range of views and expertise.

The review will consider:

• streamlining building consent requirements and using smarter technology to improve the consenting process

• creating a fairer allocation of liability in the building sector

• providing more information about consumer rights

• creating greater incentives for professional performance by building practitioners.

Subject to Cabinet approval, sector-wide consultation will be carried out next year on the detailed options for regulatory reform, with a view to legislative change by the end of 2010.

Closing Remarks

Glass is integral to our buildings in New Zealand. We use more of it than ever before because it meets the preferences of modern living, and improves the appeal and amenity of our buildings.

I welcome the innovation shown by Viridian in establishing this new factory, and the cost efficiencies, high-quality products and employment opportunities that are resulting from it, along with its capacity to adapt to future opportunities.

The technological advancements being made in facilities like this one are of great importance to the overall quality of building stock in New Zealand.

I would like to extend my thanks again to Viridian for inviting me. I wish you well with this new venture. It now gives me great pleasure to declare this factory open.


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