First, I enjoy the opportunity to celebrate progress. Travel accommodation has been hit hard in Christchurch, so these will be welcome additional beds within the central city.
Second, this is not just any accommodation – the Eco-Villa is the way of the future. In our invitation here, we have been told that the original building has been radically up-cycled and freshly renovated with heaps of love and craftsmanship.
I despair of the central city buildings that could have been repaired and renovated that were demolished simply because they weren’t in the right place. It’s important to always remember that the greenest building is the one that’s already standing.
And third, tonight speaks to who we are as a city. We were New Zealand’s first city established by Royal Charter in 1856. So we are New Zealand’s oldest city and we are becoming its newest city.
And this event represents not only pride in our heritage, but also the application of modern techniques, which will equip us for the future.
I went to a 100th birthday party on Sunday and talked about the changes the gentleman concerned had seen in a century and how the rate of progress he would have observed had increased exponentially over the past two decades. That rate of increase will continue on that exponential curve.
Unless we understand the importance of our environment and take steps such as this to create opportunities from existing resources, then we will miss the opportunity to become a beacon for sustainability.
So that’s why I came. I came to say thank you for reminding us what’s important. And that’s what I’d call real progress.