Festival for the Future

16.11.12

Welcome everybody to a truly inspirational festival.

This is an opportunity to share ideas, grow your thoughts and set a course for your own personal future while also growing a future for Aotearoa New Zealand.

I'd like to welcome you all to Wellington - wonderful to have you here in the Coolest Little Capital City in the World, the only Fairtrade Capital of the southern hemisphere and, soon, the Middle of Middle-earth!

You will enjoy workshops, seminars, keynote speakers, mentoring sessions, screenings and just networking with like-minded, creative young people. It's great to know there are many young people who want to make a difference. And it's here that you can germinate ideas that have the potential to change New Zealand.

Ideas can be sparked by all sorts of experiences, so I suggest that you avail yourself to Wellington's world-class hospitality in our many cafes and bars. You may draw on the rich history of Aotearoa at Te Papa, or the local ingenuity on display at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, further along the Waterfront.

Our Waterfront presents a stunning vista for contemplation, recreation and socialising. As do our many hills, which have the added advantage of a good cardio-vascular workout, should you desire a panoramic setting to inspire yourself.

I'm excited to welcome people to the Festival for the Future for a second year.

It fits perfectly with our vision for the city, which we agreed last year called Toward 2040: Smart Capital. We want to attract talent, be a place where talent wants to live, and create a strong economic future for our city and country; We want to build on innovation and existing talent and our creative businesses, whether that's the brains and talent behind The Hobbit or sustainable fabric companies that are going to turn ricestraw into upholstery - not have it burning up in the Chinese atmosphere - with local and global consequences.

Council is committed to supporting businesses that are looking to the future. Big changes are possible with great ideas and the commitment to see them through. And with the possibilities for growth in the weightless, digital economy and the rapidly growing Green Economy of sustainable solutions, it's easy to see that the future leaders of our economy are likely to be sitting among us today.

I hope you've been as excited as I am about the Pure Advantage launch of the opportunities for NZ in the green economy - exports and imports, products and services - smart grids, geothermal, sustainable agriculture products. A particular exciting opportunity is to build on the strengths of our unique biodiversity - biophilic cities - value to us of being connected with nature. Cities are often built in biodiversity hotspots.

We want to tell our story to the world, and you will be the people who write each chapter as we progress.

As Mayor, I'm committed to an exciting and sustainable future where we use smart technology and equitable access to resources, where demand management means access to real time information on smart phones for all, not more concrete flyovers.

When I got back on a bike 25 years ago, it wasn't meant to be revolutionary - but cycling to meet Hilary Clinton, or fighting for the Great Harbour Way instead of all the money going to roads is significant.

Be yourself, use your talents, your individuality, for the common good of our future!

Kia ora.

The speech delivered may vary from this text.