Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to Antarctica and there I believe I truly witnessed the gold standard in Health and Safety policies and practices led by Antarctica NZ.
From the moment we touched down we were made aware of our H&S responsibilities - to look after ourselves, to look after others and to look after the environment. The commitment to this was unquestioned - there too, lives depended on it.
The slogans on your billboards are much more than slogans when you see they are the difference between life and death - 'On this site, we've got each other's back' and 'We compete for business but we're united in safety'.
In 2012 the Canterbury rebuild was estimated to involve one or two construction fatalities for each year of the rebuild. The idea that a certain level of fatalities is acceptable is not acceptable at all - one death would be one too many.
I reflect on the building of the facilities for the London Olympics - a daunting task but one achieved with zero fatalities.
I'd like people to say the same about the Canterbury rebuild; that it was achieved safely, creating a legacy of which we can all be proud.
I know we can we can do it here and your commitment will make it happen.
Finally I wish to offer my congratulations to the first recipients of the Safety Charter Champions Awards! You are outstanding role models to the industry and to our region and, if we get this right, to New Zealand.