FLETCHER CONSTRUCTION EXPORT COMMENDATION AWARD AND LAUNCH OF SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN GRANT

  • Jim Bolger
Prime Minister

Bob Hall, Mark Binns, Alan Brown, John Davies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

We are here to do two things today.

First, we are here to congratulate Fletcher Construction New Zealand and South Pacific Ltd on winning a Tradenz export commendation award.

Second, we are launching a $15,000 Fletcher Construction grant for senior students at the School of Architecture and Design in Wellington.

Both are important, but for the moment I will confine my remarks to the commendation.

The award was given to Fletcher Construction New Zealand and South Pacific Ltd for:

"successfully being involved in construction projects in the South Pacific area" and for achieving substantial earnings in the 1995 financial year, "all of which were derived from overseas contracts."

I understand that Fletchers have been involved in the South Pacific since around 1945 and that there are very few parts of the region where you have not been active.

To you I say congratulations on a job well done. I am sure the award is well deserved.

I think it is significant that this award has been given to a company who is exporting its knowledge, its building experience and its design capability.

A company that began in physical construction, but is today also at the cutting edge of the new knowledge industries of tomorrow.

Your long-standing involvement with the South Pacific region is an indication of your company's corporate foresight.

Last week I attended the annual meeting of the South Pacific Forum in the Marshall Islands.

My attendance reminded me yet again of New Zealand's important involvement in our South Pacific neighbourhood.

Through meetings of the Forum the nations of the South Pacific, while small in themselves, have an invaluable window on the world.

They also provide a small but useful market for exporters of both manufactured goods and the growing number of exports from the service and knowledge sectors.

The best way to keep unity and co-operation alive over the vast tracts of the Pacific, is through personal contact and trade. Mutual self-interest, if you like.

Fletcher Construction has been doing this for better than half a century now and are to be congratulated for their role and success in the region - acknowledged by the achievement of this Tradenz export commendation award.

It is now my pleasure to present the commendation to Mr Mark Binns, Chief Executive of Fletcher Challenge Construction.

Mark, and all your team, well done.

[PRIME MINISTER PRESENTS AWARD]

As I have already said, it is also my pleasure to launch tonight a Fletcher Construction grant of $15,000 for senior students at the School of Architecture and Design here in Wellington.

The path which today's students are taking in life is one which will leave a major and visible imprint on our nation - we all hope it will be an aesthetically pleasing one.

Yesterday I was at the old Stone Store in Kerikeri, New Zealands oldest building and which is in need of some refurbishment.

I went there to launch a new half million dollar scheme under which we will assist the owners of such buildings to keep them in good repair.

We have made this investment because architecture is a visible and important aspect of our culture.

A building, or any object for that matter, which is well designed and constructed, enriches us all sometimes, as in the case of historic places, long after the designer has passed on.

He or she continues to share their vision with us; and we continue to delight in it and gain an involved insight into the nation's formative years.

Our young designers are to be nurtured and encouraged because they may well be designers of the historic places of the future.

And thus Fletcher Construction who I guess will hope to do some of the building are again to be congratulated for financing this grant.

I must say that I enjoy functions like tonight - where the success stories of the past generate the success stories of the future, and we are all the richer for it.

I compliment Fletcher Construction and I wish the students well in their endeavours.