Visits to Dunedin this week by Prime Minister John Key
and two of his ministers had proved an overwhelming success,
Otago Chamber of Commerce president Peter McIntyre said
Speaking after Mr Key had addressed more than 70 chamber
members at a breakfast meeting in Dunedin, Mr McIntyre said
many ratepayers did not realise the sorts of innovative
businesses which were operating in the city, employing local
Having the prime minister visit those companies and talk
about them at a national level was invaluable.
"We need to make sure the rest of the country knows about our
innovation, our education facilities and our exporters.
Having the prime minister coming to visit Dunedin means
national media focus their attention on our city and our
"But also, his visit shows that Mr Key is interested in what
Earlier in the week, Local Government and Primary Industries
Minister David Carter met the chamber and members.
Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley also visited the
city, meeting members of the Dunedin Wood Energy Cluster.
The cluster is made up of forest owners, wood-fuel producers,
boiler suppliers and large heat users who had made the switch
Offcuts from forest harvesting were turned into pellets and
chips by wood fuel producers who supplied them to local
businesses and other heat users like schools and hospitals.
"I'm impressed," Mr Heatley said after his visit.
"The cluster is a great demonstration of collaboration across
a supply chain with benefits for the local economy, heat
users and the environment."
Mr Carter said in an interview he was impressed with the
efforts made by the chamber and its members to present to him
success stories from the south.
Coming from Canterbury, Mr Carter was aware of the
nervousness the Christchurch rebuild was generating among
some in Dunedin, particularly about the potential loss of
skilled trades people. However, he believed there were
opportunities over a long period that Otago chamber members
could benefit from.
In his speech to chamber members, Mr Key urged business
leaders to remain positive about the future of the country
and its prospects of returning to surplus.
In a potted version of world events, the prime minister said
Europe was "stuffed, and that's the technical term", and that
while Germany was held up as the most successful European
country its debt to GDP ratio was 81% compared with New
Zealand's ratio of 25%.
Mr Key picked the United States to outperform most
He described Australia as "one giant mine" with a two-tier
economy - one booming and the other not.
Asia was set to keep growing.
"This is Asia's century. It has half the population living
there and China has a massive amount of cash. Even if the
global economy slows further, China will bring money home and
China was important to New Zealand on many levels, Mr Key
"We sold more to China in the eight hours you were sleeping
last night than in all of 1972," he told the audience.
Indonesia was another Asian country with a growing middle
class that was starting to consume more protein.
"They drink two drops of milk per person a week. Imagine if
they doubled that to four drops or pushed the boat right out
and had half a cup on their Weetbix.
"You should be optimistic about New Zealand's future. You
have companies right here in Dunedin to market to a worldwide
customer base," Mr Key said.