Chamber of Commerce

10.08.11

Good morning, nga mihi o te ata, and it's a pleasure to be here.

Thank you Jo (Bransgrove), and good morning to all the business leaders that are here today. And a special welcome to our ambassador from Mexico, who has been one of the most actively engaged ambassadors - you've only been here three weeks and I've seen you at so many different functions - well done.

And I'd like to acknowledge the importance of both business and leadership, your business and leadership, for the wellbeing of all Wellingtonians, whether it's the direct economic benefit or social, environmental and cultural. Because a really successful business, whether it's a private sector business or a public sector business, actually takes into account that quadruple bottom line.

And I'd like to acknowledge Councillor Jo Coughlan who's here in her role as the Economy Portfolio Leader and was one of my companions on the trip to China, which you'll hear a little bit more about later.

I'd like to echo your (Jo Bransgrove's) comments that Council and the Employers' Chamber of Commerce have got a good relationship and I think open discussion, debate, and occasional disagreement is the healthy way to go.

Now the pictures behind me are a sample. They're not there to lull you through into a peaceful sense of postprandial doze, they're there to remind you about what an incredibly beautiful city we have, and maybe jog your mind on some questions that you might like to have at the end.

One of the examples of a Wellington business that's doing some really successful things for the economy but also is doing some good actions is Healthcare NZ. Now you might have seen recently in the paper that they're starting on designing the pilot project for between one and two thousand people in Tianjin. And the idea is that at the moment, partly due to the one child policy in China, partly due to just urban migration, there are a lot of elderly people who, when they're not well, they end up in hospital. And the average stay for the elderly in hospital is 40 days in China, which is pretty miserable for them and pretty expensive for the Chinese Government.

So with Healthcare's expertise in community medicine and also in telehealthcare, they're proposing that those people would be able to really shorten that stay in hospital, then go back home and be able to do things like have their blood pressure tested or their pulse rate taken and things like that without actually having to go to the hospital. So it's a really good model for social wellbeing, but it's also going to turn Healthcare a healthy few dollars as well. So that's the kind of idea that business is not just good for business and the economy, but it's good for other things as well.

Now Jo alluded to some of my background, and I'm sure people know that I cycle - and yes, I did cycle here today. Lovely weather - pity about the traffic lights. I know that the traffic engineers are out to get me, whether I walk, cycle or drive or occasionally catch the bus, I know that the lights do turn red more than on average for me. It's not fair.

I've worked for a range of sizes of companies in the UK. And this is probably one of the most intelligent moves I made: at the end of university, at Nottingham, I wasn't sure what I was going to do and I said to a friend of mine at university, ''I'm not sure what they're going to change, but computers are going to be important.'' So I went and applied to join IBM, which I think was a better move than I could have even thought about in the late 70s.

Then in New Zealand I worked for Databank for a couple of years in the education area and then set up my own consultancy with my husband. Both the consultancy and the marriage are still going, so I think that's quite an achievement. And so I do know a little bit about some of the business pressures of not knowing where the next contract's going to come from and/or the paperwork of tax and ACC and things like that. We were not one that was undergoing huge growth: it was a consultancy just really for the two of us to get work around the world - everywhere from Lisbon to Dublin and Sydney. But that gives me a little bit of a background that people might not realise because you've known me since I've been more of a councillor and less of a businessperson.

And also the range of working for a really big company - you can't get much bigger than the Big Blue and then the smaller consultancies as well gives you a bit of a picture of the different capacities of the business to engage with their employees and to manage the multiple legislation that one has to manage with as well.

So I wanted to start with a few reflections on the Wellington economy and it was certainly interesting when Councillor Coughlan and I were in China. There we were sharing some of the data, some of the statistics about Wellington, and of course you can feel a little bit intimidated by the fact that you're talking to the mayor of 20 million and you're confessing that the capital's actually got 200,000 thousand people living in it. You don't say it's 197,000 - we've definitely made the 200,000. Somebody's been breeding somewhere I'm sure!

And when we were talking stats and feeling a little intimidated, it was always very nice to be able to say, you think of New Zealand as a fairly small country and it's certainly got quite a modest-sized capital, but remember we're the fifth largest country in the world if you think about our exclusive economic zone. So being the fifth biggest maritime nation was quite useful, because people look quite surprised to know that New Zealand was actually quite big after all.

We're definitely not solely a government town, but the challenge for us is to change that perception. And while I think there have been a couple of thousand jobs cut from the public sector over the last couple of years, we have still had an increase in GDP of about 1.4%. So despite some cuts there already, it is not a disaster. Now I do hugely value the public sector, so to say that we need to diversify is not to put people down who are policy analysts and who work in the legal areas and so forth, but we're already a diversified economy.

There's a couple of interesting things. If you look at it in one way, 29% of our employment is government-related. On the other hand, only 14.5% of our GDP is government-related. Business services, communications, finance and insurance are all at least as large, if not bigger, than the government-related economy. We've also got the burgeoning film and digital sector, which has put Wellington on the international map, and every country and every city that we visited knew all about The Lord Of The Rings. They didn't usually know that Avatar had got anything to do with Wellington. And of course the Hobbit, now ramping up production, we're going to expect that industry to grow. In 2009, and I'm sure there are some later figures that somebody in this room has got, but the feature film industry was worth $429 million in Wellington, and of course there are so many industries that are ancillary to that, whether it's just something as simple as a catering business that's taking the food out to all the people who don't have time for lunch if you're working at Weta Digital.

Also I recently went to the International Film Festival. It was very funny. There I was, we'd arrived back from China, landed at nine o'clock in Auckland, gone to a meeting in Auckland, come back down to Wellington. I met Sarah and others at the NZ Art Show down at the TSB and then rolled in feeling a little dozy by this time to the International Film Festival opening, and what got reported? The fact that I'd said it was a 2012 Film Festival, not the 2011 Film Festival, but there you go. I managed to stay awake through most of the film.

But one of the things that we heard that evening was how many Wellington films are being made, whether it's Hook, Line and Sinker, which actually is an incredibly low-budget film, but very successful, with our own Rangimoana Taylor as the lead actor. Interesting connections with macular degeneration and getting all those optometrists and opticians on side to help sponsor it.

Those examples show, just as I mentioned healthcare increasing the social wellbeing of people, whether here or in China, those films increase our cultural wellbeing. They tell us stories about ourselves, but they also make money. So again, you've got that alignment: it's not one or the other, it's both.

But it's not all about the big screen, and I know Ken Harris was saying good things about the film sector, so well said. Increasingly Wellington businesses are finding opportunity in the smallest of screens too. So the local company Sidhe supplies computer games for consoles, PCs and handheld games and as of last year, they employed 120 people and turned over $17 million. And they were, at one point in the Business Incubator. The Grow Wellington Creative HQ Business Incubator is successful and I think it's going to be very important to look at whether that grows in size, whether it connects up with some of the other incubators around the world and so forth. They (Sidhe) are now working on the Android smart phone market and combining creative vision with smart technology there.

So while the world faces some financial and social instability - and I certainly don't envy Boris Johnson his job as Mayor of London at the moment - we need to be resilient to changes in the economy and well-connected to the rest of the world. We have our own challenges and this is something that particularly Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon and Councillor Coughlan led on some of the issues. We actually have to address the amalgamation in Auckland, and we also have to address the increasing demand for the rebuild of Christchurch and the danger that Wellington will get left out of the equation in some of the government investment, or just left out of the conversations. I hear too many times when there's an example of a great business in the South Island and a great business in Auckland, but our examples are not trumpeted. So if nobody else is going to do it, this room needs to.

We're going to play to our strengths to address those challenges. We do have a knowledge economy in the sense that more than half of our employees are in a knowledge-intensive sector, and that means jobs that require a degree or higher qualification. We're also - and I'd like to acknowledge PWT here - we're also New Zealand's most popular domestic tourism destination. I mean who would have thought that 20 years ago, that you'd actually want to come to Wellington, rather than be sentenced to coming to Wellington. So that's terrific. And I have to say there's a few of us around this room that come from other places and have chosen to make Wellington our home. And probably business people that have been born here have also travelled a lot, so we realise just how lucky we are. Whereas some people that seem to have been born here and never moved away and probably never had a passport, don't realise quite how good Wellington is. So I think that there are a few knockers that don't know how good we've got it.

We're also, as you know, a very compact city with great cycling - well medium cycling and excellent walking networks and public transport that's second to none in New Zealand, although I'm sure aspects could still be improved, as I had a conversation with Zane (Fulljames) in my office recently talking about simplifying some of the planning. There's the real-time information signs going up, thanks to Greater Wellington, but occasionally they go up in very odd places, like behind a tree, which is not the best bit of infrastructural planning, and maybe we could actually have the real-time information where you could see it. That would be a really good idea.

And we also have a CBD that is the heart of the city, the heart of the region. And I think that's been one of Auckland's problems, is that their region doesn't really have quite the identifiable centre and heart that we do.

So we're planning both for the short term and for the long term, and as I mentioned earlier, that idea that we need to do things in the next two to three years, and not even wait for that - the next day or two would be good - to improve the economic outcomes for this city. But the decisions we make today do have a long-term effect. If you look at something slightly unglamorous as the size of a sewage pipe or the size of a stormwater pipe, your decisions as to the diameter of that have to take into account what you're expecting in terms of rainfall. Where the outfall is has to take into account what you're thinking about rising sea levels, and so we have to plan long term for things like that. Now that's a fairly obvious infrastructural example, but actually issues of urban planning, limits to the city edge and all the things that goes in the District Plan also have an effect long term. So that's why we're looking - and I'll mention a little bit more about Toward 2040. It doesn't mean you wait until 2040 until everything happens. Of course all of you here will still be having breakfast in this room in 2040 - I wish you a long and healthy life!

On the economic front we've got an Economic Priorities Paper coming in September and while I haven't seen the paper yet - so I'm just assuring my colleague that I haven't seen it either yet - [laughs] - staff have alluded to some of the things that are going to be brought up. So you're the first public audience to hear about some of the things that are likely to come up, and I suspect they won't be a great surprise to you, because some of them are things that you've been asking for.

We're certainly going to be continuing and increasing our commitment to fast-tracking those long-haul flights to Asia. Now I know PWT and the Wellington Airport have done some work in this area, but we think that there needs to be more done. And we've had business feedback from chief executives that they'd quite like to be in Wellington, but because there's not a direct flight, it's just too long-winded. If they're going to go anywhere, whether it's Australia or whether it's further afield, they would like to do in one flight rather than two or three.

I've already said that I think we should consider the runway expansion to the north. So just as we've got at the south end of the airport, there's a tunnel with a road under it - it hasn't actually gone out into any precious marine ecosystems - I think we should have a look at doing that to the north. Now there are arguments that the new generation of planes can land and have landed, but the question is, are those new generation of planes going to be the ones that airlines put on the route to Wellington. If that's what happens, fine, but some of us have our doubts.

One of the reasons that we went to Guangzhou, which is not a sister city or a partner city was that I met and jointly hosted a dinner with China Southern Airlines, who have gone direct from Guangzhou to Auckland. And they cheerfully said to us, ''Oh come and see us if you're ever in China.'' So we took that slightly general invitation up with alacrity and turned up on their doorstep. And one of the wonderful things was that they commented that if the Auckland route proved as successful as they thought it would - and they're moving to daily flights in October - that Wellington would be the second destination they'd look at. So that was a real achievement, because I'm sure they would have been looking at Queenstown and Christchurch and other places as well. So yes it's not been signed, sealed and delivered yet, but it's another step on the way.

So we may be working with businesses to create a business case for how we move forward on that, and again that's not to discount the conversations and the work that's been happening already to give a bit more of a boost.

And as you know, I'm pretty passionate about issues of climate change and so on, but this recent visit to China confirmed to me that just like there's a Maori phrase ''kanohi ki te kanohi'', face-to-face, that you actually have to make those relationships first. Then you can follow up with the video-conferencing or the Skype or different things, but you actually have to meet, you have to get to know each other, you have to learn that kind of business trust. So the direct flights are certainly not inimical to my vision of a smart, green Wellington.

So we're also looking at the idea of a CBD board, which again has been raised to have a big focus on the CBD, which is after all the engine room of our regional economy. Fifty-two percent of the whole region's GDP comes out of this compact city centre. Also it's 40% of the region's employment, so obviously those are the high-value jobs. While tourism is important, both direct employment and also keeping our cultural institutions and giving actors a bit of work in between the time that they're acting at the theatres, it's actually relatively lowly paid, the average being, I believe, about $30,000 per employee, whereas jobs in the software engineering area etc are in the $100,000 plus. So we need both, but we can't rely on only the tourism area.

I was actually at the opening of the refurbished Alcatel Lucent Building in Manners Street fairly recently, and that was really interesting. It adds to our stable of rather good environmental buildings, and I see Ian (Cassels) here, so I'm looking forward to the new Telecom Building being opened, but also the way you've done the refurbishment of Conservation House and they've got the five stars for that. Alcatel Lucent was trialling some very interesting ways of doing things. They do a whole hotdesking thing where their staff sometimes work from home, they sometimes work in little pods, they sometimes work at a particular desk, they have lockers where they put all their stuff. And I thought that the staff might not like that very much, but they love it. They love the opportunity to work in different places in the building and work from home and come in - not necessarily the standard 8.30 to 5.30 by any means. And in that whole building I think they've got about something like 450 staff. They've got 20 car parks in the building. So I mean obviously they may lease other ones in other places, I'm not saying they only have 20 cars for that number of people, but that that was an attraction to them rather than a problem, and I think that's seeing quite a change in how people want to do business.

So the CBD board would focus on issues for the CBD. And again the construction of that: the governance arrangements, the responsibilities - there's probably quite a lot of working out to be done there.

We want to continue with a strategy of promoting Wellington, but whereas it's been largely a tourism strategy, we want to be attracting talented people, and that will be building on things like the Kiwi Expats' Association that this council through the previous mayor and staff have had a close relationship with. Rather than think, ''oh they ought to come back, they ought to come back'', let's face the fact we've got some of our brightest and talented Wellingtonians and other New Zealanders live elsewhere and let's use them as a channel for telling the Wellington story. So that's going to be important.

We also have a commitment to the digital strategy. I didn't bring my copy up here, but that's your black and white document. Now how many people have got the QR recognition application on their phone? Okay. For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, that black and white pattern is a 2D barcode and if you download the right application to your Smartphone, you take a photo, click on that, and it takes you off to the website. When I first saw it, I'm afraid to say I didn't know what it was either, and I said, that's a really boring front page, but then I understood what it was and you can take a look at the picture.

Now the digital strategy is about attracting people with digital talent to Wellington. It's about promoting our infrastructure, the ultrafast broadband that's coming, the fact that we're already, thanks to CityLink and Council's work in the 90s, remarkably well-connected with dark fibre. We've got the wi-fi on the waterfront, thanks to Trademe and a bit of support from Council. We're about to have wi-fi from the Embassy at the end of Courtenay Place all the way through to the Stadium. That's the first stage, and then it will be added to in a number of nodes around the city.

Now people have said to me, ''Why are you ahead on that? Why are you doing that and we can't get that in Melbourne or we can't get it in Sydney or apart from a few hotspots, we haven't really got it in Dunedin.?'' One of the reasons we can do it is because we are compact, and to be able to have that kind of coverage isn't prohibitively expensive. At the moment it's somewhere in the order of $200,000 per annum, and we're hoping that with sponsorship deals and so on we'll be able to get the costs to the ratepayer down. But it also says quite a lot. I see all those poor students freezing to death on the waterfront, huddled up - I haven't seen them in their sleeping bags yet, but I've certainly seen them in a few jackets and woolly hats doing their assignments on their laptops down by the waterfront. It obviously appeals to people.

And if we want economic growth, it's not going to come from a market of 200,000. It's not going to come from the regional market of 400, 000. And certainly we were reminded that 4.2 million is actually a pretty small market in the scheme of things. So if our market is going to be overseas and that market is going to be China, then what are we going to be able to export? We're not an agricultural city - I mean obviously not. We're not really a manufacturing city, so it's going to be the city of ideas, whether they're programmes, whether they're things like Xero's accounting and cloud computing or whether it's film. All of those things, you can sell 10 times as much without making 10 times as much negative impact. So it seems to me that that's where we want to go. So just because I like cycling and I don't want pollution of our waterways, doesn't mean that I'm against having growth in the economy by any means.

The digital strategy of course is not just about ICT, it's about enabling many business opportunities, whether it's ticketing for theatres, selling artisan products or financial services.

Now another upcoming event that some of you will know about is BIG: the Business Innovation Growth Expo. Jo Coughlan's been doing a lot of work in encouraging businesses to be part of this and we've got space booked at Parliament for the 14th of September, and many of you will have been invited to that. And the idea came out from some conversations that (The Hon) Bill English had with the Hutt Chamber of Commerce - see it's all the fault of the Chamber of Commerce, Jo - and also more recently (Minister) Steven Joyce commenting on was Wellington ready for the public service public sector cuts. We went and had a chat and it became apparent that some of the misperception was because a lot of the MPs are, of course, from elsewhere. When they're here in Wellington, they're very busy in the Beehive, so they see an awful lot of people in the public sector, and Molesworth Street and Hill Street and so on are perhaps not the liveliest focuses of the city, so we could understand why the changed both physical and economic situation of the capital city hadn't altogether come home to them. So this is one of many ways that we're going to be promoting a diverse range of businesses. We're going to have over 50 leading business success stories and we're inviting government ministers and in fact all MPs. I was talking to Katrina Shanks the other day and she said, ''I'd love to argue the case for Wellington businesses more strongly, I need more data…'' - from this area or that area. And we're happy to provide MPs of any colour with the information they need to promote Wellington, and that's going to be really important.

It's also about saying that the capital city is a great place to do business, and we have an amendment to the original outcomes for the workshop that said we want to show that we are a business-friendly capital. We're not going to bend rules, but what we want to do is show people how to do things. So, for example, if a restaurant grew to a certain size that would require two extra toilets, rather than saying, ''Oh well you need to put in two extra toilets if you're gonna have 55 more seats,'' we might say, ''Well if you only had 50 more seats, you wouldn't need that, so why don't you do that.'' That may not be the best example, but the idea is that we help people find out how to do things rather than tell them what they can't do.

And I was actually a little bit disappointed to read some of the comments about Rugby World Cup planning, because I actually think that our director and the team at Council have been working pretty closely with the hospitality industry and others. It's certainly going to be an incredibly busy time. We've got the World of Wearable Art leading up to it, we've got Wellington On a Plate. I'm particularly excited by the opening of the Chocolate Festival. But who would have thought that these events would have been taken up with such great enthusiasm by Wellingtonians? Also, for the people that are coming to Wellington for Rugby World Cup, there's only 90 minutes of rugby a week in those quarter-final and pool games and so on. There's a lot of other time where we should be persuading them that Wellington is a great place to do business, that it is a good place to establish an office. A friend of mine has just been employed by an American company to establish their first regional office here, in Australasia. That shouldn't be an exceptional situation.

So Toward 2040 is looking at the megatrends of resource scarcity, aging population, increasing technology, so those are global trends. Then it's looking at Wellington's strengths and building on those, also addressing our weaknesses. We are a capital city of 200,000. Whatever your feelings about amalgamation, the region's still half a million or less. We have got to collaborate with bigger cities, we've got to partner with other cities in New Zealand and take a collaborative approach. We're going to waste our time if we argue with Auckland and Hamilton. It's much better to see where the comparative strengths are and take a NZ Inc approach. So when I went to Guangzhou, I made very sure that we contacted Mayor Len Brown, because Guangzhou is Auckland's sister city, and let them know that we were going to do that and got a letter of introduction from him. I mean it's only a small thing, but it's about being respectful of other people's relationships there.

So we did a bit of analysis - this was including our own preconceptions and anecdotes of course, as politicians do like to include those. But it was also research into why people live here, why people who have come over for a three-month contract with Weta Digital actually stay. And we decided it was the combination of having a dynamic CBD - if we have an International Arts Festival in Wellington, you certainly know it's on. Auckland might actually nominally have more events, but because it's spread out and not so many people are in the CBD, you don't know so much about it. But it's a connected city - very well connected. And again when I went to Sakai, I was struck by all sorts of interesting things, but amongst them how monocultural it was. We have got huge advantages in the diversity of our ethnicities, and if we can get a range of people into boardrooms and into the workforce, then first of all you have that creativity from different backgrounds and different ideas, but you will also have direct connections too. If you want to work in the Mexican market or if you want to work in the Hong Kong market or if you want to work in the Vietnamese market, how good it is to have people from those countries actually working and connected here. And those connections do include getting out to the airport, and they do include getting from the airport directly to Asia.

We also want to be a people-centred city. One of the other reasons that people stay here from Weta Digital is because their kids can walk to school. It's a safe city. We've got one of the few capitals, if not the only capital, that's got World Health Organisation Safe City Status. We've got the Wellington Free Ambulance. Now coming from the UK, I had no idea that a free ambulance service was a really important thing, because I just assumed most places had some sort of free ambulance system. That is not the case. Apparently we're about the only city in the Southern Hemisphere with a completely free ambulance service. If your kids like to indulge in the kind of crazy sports my teenagers like to indulge in, the idea that you've got a free ambulance service is a pretty attractive boost. So it is about looking at the people side of things too.

The Toward 2040 Plan came from the fact that we've got to do our 10-year plan next year - 2012 through 2022. The best thing that Rodney Hide ever did was stopped us calling it the Long Term Council Community Plan, and now we can call it the Long Term Plan. It saved the local government a lot of money in ink at least by doing that. We have to do that 10-year planning, but you don't just look at what's going to happen by 2022, you look at how those decisions are going to affect the city and how they're actually going to impact the region as well.

One of the other things that led our development of strategic planning as well as the 10-year plan was looking at the central city, and there are some things that are really good about the central city and there are some things that don't work as well as they might. And probably people know, particularly in the retail sector, that Lambton Quay has got the highest pedestrian count anywhere in NZ, but there are some parts of the city that are not reaching their full potential. And we had some people called Space Syntax who actually did a bit of an analysis about destinations and connections and distances and so on, and where we could, with some relatively simple interventions change that. So you've got about nine different, what I call urban design central city projects there as well. And some of you will have seen the Miley Cyrus picture walking down Cambridge Terrace: the idea that we make those boulevards a lot more attractive and rather less bleak would be one idea. Connecting up across from the city centre to the waterfront. Having our laneways more like Melbourne's Little Collins Street and those little lanes, rather than somewhere where you take a quick leak because it's too far to the nearest public loo, would be a great improvement. And one of the larger and more expensive but possibly most valuable project is actually implementing the Capital Precinct.

I think because we were worried about being a grey civil service city for a long time, we almost avoided using the word 'capital'. But as we lead up to 2015, which is the 150th anniversary of Wellington being declared the capital, I think we need to promote the fact that we're a capital. We're not a capital like Canberra. We're the coolest little capital in the world. It would be great to start getting a visit to the capital city part of the school curriculum, so that we get people coming to Wellington. Now in order to make that an attractive proposition, linking up the Capital Precinct where you've got the parliament buildings and the Beehive down to the waterfront more effectively and then up Taranaki Street to the National War Memorial and potentially some kind of reuse of a bit of the Buckle Street building as potentially a war, or war and peace museum. You know, those sorts of ideas that you can only really do in the capital when you've got Te Papa the national museum, you've got the national parliament, and you've got the national war memorial. Those are things that we could be promoting a lot more.

So I'm going to finish off with a couple of things from the China trip, which was a real eye-opener. I've been to Hong Kong and Japan before; I've never been to mainland China. And it was incredibly formal. We were well-prepared by our staff, who have been a number of times before and they organised lots of meetings for us. Some of them were new meetings. Yes, we had Healthcare going that we'd been before. We had excellent support from the ANZ with Chris Mouat who spent I think three years in Shanghai, so he really knows his way around over there. But I also wanted to do some different things, because you don't elected to be mayor to do exactly the same as what's happened before. So we actually took somebody from the Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association with us, because I wanted to promote the idea that Wellington would be a good place for some marine energy testing. We've got again a big sea, but also some of the best tidal and wave resources in the world. So we went out, we saw the National Ocean Technology Centre, the State Oceanic Administration, things like that that probably never had a mayoral delegation darken their doors before, but were great connections for John Huckerby and his group. So again, an opportunity potentially for some Chinese investment in Wellington and letting them know that we are a science capital as well as an arts capital. People forget that with the Malaghan Institute, NIWA, GNS, all of those things we've actually got, whether you commercialise it or not is a separate argument, but we're actually a science hub and again that's part of being a knowledge city here.

The Gibson Group went with us, and they also have been before, but they look like they're going to sign up with Tianjin TV and Xiamen TV to do some mini-series with them. Again there's the whole theme of money and culture, culture and money, they had some great conversations with the National Museum, the People's Museum, various other museums when we were over there. They're the people that have done the floor in Te Papa, the map with the interactive connection. They've also done an interactive touch screen wall in Copenhagen. People got very excited about seeing that technology. We had somebody from Te Papa, and it's really interesting that so many people in China don't know that we've got a jade culture here too. Again that was a real point of contact and I tried to wear my jade earrings fairly often to make that point, and just that we could actually have some joint exhibitions, whether it's the materials being taken from one place to another, or that you might have Beijing and Wellington could both have half of the exhibition, and the other half is shown digitally in some way. So all sorts of exciting conversations to have.

It was really important to do that visit to our sister cities, our partner cities, in my first year as mayor. I'm not sure how soon I'll go back, but at least we've more than kept the door open. And we also injected a little bit of a specifically New Zealand way of doing things. We had the delegations where the mayor of Beijing and I sit there and the delegations sit opposing each other, all very politely and quietly and then we do the gift-giving and yes, I've got a number of more vases to put up in the mayoral office. And then because we had Bill and Donas Nathan from Ngati Pōneke, we break into the glorious waiata of E Hara i Te Mea! Now the first couple of times we did that, it was just me and Bill and Donas, and then Jo and Teena joined in. And by the end of the trip we had the whole business delegation and they'd started to practise in the hotel lobby. So that created a certain visibility of the Wellington contingent, wherever we were, which is I think an altogether good thing.

So I'm looking forward to Rugby World Cup. Thirty sleeps to go. Looking forward to, I have to say, seeing the All Blacks in the final as well. So I may be as inclusive and as welcoming of all other cultures as possible, but let's face it, we want New Zealand to win, whether it's on the sports field or in the economy. Thank you.

The speech delivered may vary from this text.