Speech to Business Opportunities Consultation ForumEconomic Development
Thursday, 13 December 2001
Speech to Business Opportunities Consultation Forum
Rangimarie Room, Te Papa
Being in Government presents many challenges.
Hard decisions are made every day by Ministers and MPs.
The purchase of Air New Zealand presented the Government with a number of difficult decisions, none of which was anywhere near perfect.
Every obvious solution created more issues.
However our approach of working through all of the options has saved the airline and created opportunities.
Making the hard decisions requires time and effort. We have to get all of the relevant information, and balance the issues.
We need to let the facts get in the way of our prejudices.
Climate change is a complicated issue.
However as part of the global community we must take action.
We are told that a number of our low-lying Pacific neighbours could cease to exist if the oceans continue rising.
That is one of the reasons that New Zealand has indicated we will sign the Kyoto protocol.
However the implementation of the protocol needs to be carefully considered.
While we need to act on and honour our commitment we need to ensure that our internal policies are not unnecessarily harmful to our economy, our environment or our community.
The issue is one of economic development. If we do not adapt we will lose the opportunity to capitalise on significant business opportunities.
This Government is committed to sustainable growth. We are firmly behind increasing our economic activity and promoting business and creating jobs but doing so in a way which ensures environmental and community considerations are taken into account.
The Economic Development goals of Government include providing vision, strategic leadership and ensuring policy is co-ordinated across all government agencies. That is why the Ministry of Economic Development is funding half of this joint business-government project to investigate the development opportunities of climate change.
Economic development involves identifying barriers to sustainable growth and removing barriers to industry and regional development.
Economic Development also includes assessing the economic cost of policies and regulatory regimes.
While the exact legislative framework around climate change is still to be determined, it is almost certain that business will be operating within a carbon constrained economy within the next few years
This is creating, and will continue to create, new market opportunities.
There will be increased demand for climate friendly products and services arising from consumer consciousness and/or regimes put in place to meet Kyoto Protocol obligations.
Business leadership on these issues is essential. I am pleased that the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development is taking steps to ensure it will help to maximize the benefits.
There will be demand for methods to implement the Kyoto Protocol.
There will be demand for products and services to prepare for and/or mitigate the impacts of climate change itself.
These are areas where the inventiveness and expertise of New Zealanders can give us a global edge.
If any nation can make the most of climate change and create economic development opportunities out of the Kyoto Protocol, then it is New Zealand.
One of the issues I have been promoting recently is innovation.
I was recently shown some remarkable public opinion research.
It asked New Zealanders what they wanted New Zealand to be most known for internationally in five to ten years' time.
Two per cent opted for the best sports teams per head of population.
One in five said 'a clean environment.'
Nearly a third said 'a fair and tolerant society.'
And half of all respondents selected 'a society which thrives on knowledge, creativity and enterprise.' A very significant result in my view!
We are proud of our clean environment and we desire a fair and tolerant society.
And so we should.
But above all, New Zealanders are accepting the challenge of building a society where we are known for our knowledge, our creativity and our enterprise.
In March next year the Ministry of Economic Development and Industry New Zealand will host an event in Christchurch to showcase New Zealand as a creative and innovative society.
It will be an opportunity for innovators to come together, and for us all to learn how we can turn great ideas into successful businesses.
New Zealand’s future lies in our ability to be innovative.
I would like to see us as a community urge New Zealanders on not only in sport, but in everything we do, and to take pride in the achievements of all New Zealanders.
We need to harness our creativity and unleash it in every industry, in as many firms and individuals as possible.
As I said at the beginning, some decisions are hard. But it was an easy decision to approve the MED's financial contribution to the research Project being undertaken by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.
In partnership with business, we need to now see if we can:
·Identify business opportunities that are likely to arise out of a carbon constrained economy; and
·Understand and work to minimize their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions footprint.
Wherever I go in New Zealand, there are creative people doing incredibly innovative things.
I hope to see more of that today and in future workshops of this sort.
Our future depends on it.