One of the world's largest engineering companies has landed in Napier.
The new Napier branch of Zurich-based engineering company ABB was officially opened yesterday and has the potential to be "a very substantial part of the business", said the firm's New Zealand managing director Grant Gillard.
The Napier 6500 sq m branch of ABB, the first occupant of the 20 ha Hawke's Bay Airport's Business Park, was officially opened by Napier MP Chris Tremain and attended by politicians and business heads in Napier.
Commenting on the "parched pastures" visible on his trip from Wellington with Tukituki MP Craig Foss, Mr Tremain said it was a "tough time for our farmers right now so it is a good thing we have technology like this to drive the economy forward".
"The world has changed, and it is companies like ABB, who are at the forefront of new hi-tech manufacturing who are growing jobs, growing wages and reaching out to the world."
He said the company had created 50 new jobs in Hawke's Bay recently.
"We see a lot of the headlines about the job losses, because that's what the media tend to focus on, but we don't see the incremental gains."
The Napier branch of ABB was formerly Onekawa company Vectek. Vectek asked ABB to buy it in 2008, to help open doors for its niche power-electronic products.
The company's Hawke's Bay manager John Penny said the business had two main strands, including the enabling of ships to use electricity sources in various ports and ensuring consistent electricity supply for electronics manufactures.
"No matter how hard power utilities try you cannot produce perfect power," he said. "Companies like Samsung, LG, Toshiba - all customers of ours."
Mr Foss said this was a genuine case of how foreign investment could work for the country.
"Foreign investment has created a world-class investment right here - it has brought together five different plants together in a future-proof plant. Over 100 Hawke's Bay families are salaried and waged because of a partnership with foreign investment."
Mr Gillard said Napier might be considered "a crazy place to make an investment" from the perspective of ABB but the decision to build a facility bigger than needed was a big vote of confidence.
The Napier business, which started in a tin shed in Onekawa 21 years ago, was a new breed of company, Mr Gillard said.
"It is not just a matter of number eight fencing wire, a bit of good luck and a tail wind. Businesses like this are built on people's efforts over decades.
Mr Foss said there was no "big giant leap" solution for the economy.
"We do that with small steps of confidence and investment in the future. Exactly what we see here today: That's how we do it."