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NZ widens search for new CTO

By Jonathan Nally
Wednesday, 14 February, 2018

NZ widens search for new CTO

Despite receiving more than 60 applications for the position, the New Zealand Government has so far been unable to find the right person for the role of chief technology officer (CTO).

Broadcasting, Communications, Digital Media and Government Digital Services Minister Clare Curran said she was heartened by the response to the search, but after careful consideration has decided not to make an appointment at this stage.

“This is a vital role to ensure we can use and develop digital technologies for the benefit of all New Zealanders. While the candidates we looked at have an impressive range of skills and backgrounds, I am not confident that we have found the right person yet,” Minister Curran said.

“We always knew it was going to be extremely difficult to find one person with all the skills we want so I’ve decided not to appoint anyone to the position at this time and to seek input and perspectives from a new digital advisory group which is being set up.”

The CTO will be accountable to the Prime Minister and to the Minister and will provide independent expert advice to Ministers and senior leaders on digital issues.

The CTO will be responsible for preparing and overseeing the country’s national digital architecture for the next 5–10 years.

New Zealand intends to ‘close the digital divides’ by 2020 and make ICT the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025.

“As I’ve said previously, this is a role for someone who has a high level of expertise in the digital technology industry, who is passionate about the issues, who carries the influence needed to stimulate public discussion,” Minister Curran said.

“It’s also a position for someone who wants to work with government and other stakeholders to deliver and support meaningful change.

“Even though I am very keen to establish this role, I’m not prepared to make a decision in haste.

The Minister said that she wants the CTO to “work on issues such as improving digital equality, protecting citizens’ rights online and building a connected nation”.

“They’ll do that alongside the Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Advisory Group and the two other Advisory Groups that I have already signalled I will be establishing,” she said.

“More than three hundred people have expressed an interest in being on the Digital Economy Digital Inclusion Advisory Group and we are in the process of selecting,” she added.

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