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Manifesto to Kiwi MPs: No heads in sand - our digital future is here now

By Sara Barker
Thu 25 May 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

What will New Zealand's digital future look like? Fast internet, cloud, big data and mobility are at the forefront of the next wave of technology change - what's more, they warn that the government must wake up and embrace it.

InternetNZ, NZTech and IT Professionals are at the forefront of a new manifesto put to key government officials and all members of parliament this week. The manifesto is a collaborative effort between major Kiwi tech organisations including TUANZ, Canterbury Tech, VR/AR Association, the New Zealand IoT Alliance and many others.

They state that technology will reach into every aspect of life. The manifesto breaks down sections into social future, economic future, government future and how it all ties together.

NZTech chief Graeme Muller says that this manifesto shows that New Zealand's prosperity is linked to technology and how Kiwis can take advantage of a new digital nation. He believes all political parties should use this manifesto as a guide to take best advantage of a digital future, particularly as the 2017 election approaches.

“The tech sector is now New Zealand’s third largest exporter and is growing fast. The tech sector contributes over $16 billion to GDP and employs 100,000 people. But it’s not just about the tech sector as new digital technologies are driving economic and social change," he says.

“In 1980, solar power cost $30 per kilowatt in the US, now it is as low as 4c per kW. In 2011, the sensors in an autonomous car cost $350,000; they now cost less than $1,000. These are just some examples of how tech is changing the world so rapidly. Tech is crucial to New Zealand’s future."

The report goes on to state that "The current pace of technology change is not expected to slow, with increasing data use, high speed internet access and mobility being enhanced by new developments in artificial intelligence, robotics, genomics and synthetic products. These new advances will require rapid responses from the government in terms of policy, education, investment and regulation."

To make the most of it, New Zealand must plan and prepare for unprecedented change today.

InternetNZ chief Jordan Carter points out that internet connection has fast become essential to everyone's business and personal lives. While there has been massive investment in better internet, there are still challenges ahead.

"The challenge in the next term of parliament is three-fold: continuing to boost rural and regional access; making sure there are cost-effective options for those who can't afford huge internet bills; and making sure that everyone can make better use of time online when they have access. This manifesto provides a route-map for New Zealand's success."

Here are the 12 manifesto tech goals:

  1. New Zealand develops world leading technology by increasing the proportion of digital tech related public research and improving indirect incentives for industry research and development.  
  2. New Zealand equips every child with the digital technology skills needed to be safe and successful in a digital world through comprehensive digital technology education.  
  3. New Zealand is recognised as a world leader in equipping its citizens for the changing economy, through in-work training, career transition support, and public sector leadership in the use of new technologies.  
  4. New Zealanders have affordable access to reliable, high-speed internet, coupled with the skills and equipment to use it. As part of this, there should be parity between urban and rural areas with regards to speed / quality and cost.  
  5. New Zealand is recognised as having one of the most digitally savvy economies in the world, with tech product and service exports being our top export sector. The majority of New Zealand businesses either sell or engage in business online.  
  6. New Zealand remains open for business, welcoming genuine skilled migrants in areas of strong need in the digital and technology sector while significantly improving the process of matching the skills of potential immigrants with areas of un-met need.  
  7. New Zealand continues to be a world leading nation to do business in and with whilst maintaining privacy and data security. This is achieved through a world leading approach to cyber security including education, policy and preparedness.  
  8. New Zealand develops a transparent framework for buyers and sellers through government wide prequalification standards and low cost, easy to use procurement processes.  
  9. New Zealand fully embraces open standards and provides a level playing field for technology in general, and IT services in particular.  
  10. New Zealand continues to be recognised internationally as a bastion for privacy, a country which values and protects the privacy of its citizens through policy whilst still allowing economic growth.  
  11. New Zealand embraces online digital tools to provide efficient, consultative and inclusive policy-making process or allowing for rapid updating of legislation.  
  12. New Zealand establishes a dedicated, Ministry for the Future, focusing on positioning New Zealand and all government agencies and society to take best advantage of a technologically enabled future.
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