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NZ wants ICT to be second-highest GDP earner


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 21 June, 2018
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NZ wants ICT to be second-highest GDP earner

The New Zealand Government is pursuing a series of initiatives aimed at meeting its key goals of closing the digital divides by 2020, and making ICT the second-largest contributor to the nation’s GDP by 2025.

During a speech to the Government Information Systems Forum, Government Digital Services Minister Clare Curran said the government wants every New Zealander to embrace digital opportunities.

“We believe that New Zealanders must have access to technology, regardless of income or geography, and the skills to take the opportunities it presents,” she said.

“Every New Zealander needs to be on the journey with us; know how to access and use digital technology; and trust the systems we have to manage and protect our information. It’s about all of us, not just some of us. Digital is where the growth is and we have to get it right.”

The government is on the hunt for a new CTO that will provide independent and expert advice from a whole-of-society perspective and play a leading role in developing a nationwide digital strategy.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Ministerial Advisory Group will provide support and advice to the CTO, as well as advice for the government on how to build the digital economy and bridge digital divides.

One of the first tasks of the new advisory group will be to design a blueprint for digital inclusion.

“In order to thrive in a digital world, we need to take a collective approach and bring together the skills and talents of our innovative thinkers and leaders, community organisations and New Zealanders to define what the future should look like,” Curran said.

The government has also recently announced a tripatriate Future of Work Forum that will examine key challenges facing the economy including technological change, and help the government shape policies needed to equip workers and business to adapt to the fast-changing nature of work.

Another initiative is Marketplace, a planned ICT procurement portal that will play a similar role to Australia’s own Digital Marketplace. The first instance of the Marketplace will provide agencies with access to public cloud services, and will be open to all eligible agencies and public cloud suppliers.

Curran also used the event to announce that the government has fast-tracked the development of an All-of-Government Digital Service Design Standard. The standard will be a template for agencies to design, develop and implement digital services in a consistent fashion, and while putting the needs of citizens at the forefront of the development process.

Finally, the government is evaluating how agencies use algorithms and will use the findings as the basis for designing an ethical framework on maximising the benefits of the use of AI and algorithms while minimising risks and ensuring data is protected.

“The government is ensuring that core issues like digital divides, digital inclusion, digital rights and privacy are on the Cabinet table. No Kiwi will be left behind,” Curran said.

“In order to thrive in a digital world, we need to take a collective approach and bring together the skills and talents of our innovative thinkers and leaders, community organisations and New Zealanders to define what the future should look like.”

Image courtesy NASA.

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