Tech sector releases major manifesto ahead of election
A consortium of New Zealand's 20 leading professional bodies and tech associations today released a Manifesto for the future of New Zealand from a tech perspective.
The manifesto is wide-ranging and provides recommendations on Education, the changing world of work, Immigration and Skills, Connectivity anywhere, digital exports, cyber security, research funding for tech, government procurement, open standards, privacy and open policy development, and is intended to support political parties in the formation of their election manifestos and policies.
The tech industry represents 8% of New Zealand's GDP, not including the significant secondary contribution the sector makes (for example, in improving the efficiency and innovation of most other businesses in New Zealand). The sector also accounts for 9% of New Zealand's exports, making it New Zealand's third largest export sector.
IT Professionals NZ is very happy to have helped lead the initiative, and worked with others in the sector to speak with one voice. The number of leaders and organisations collaborating on the development of the Manifesto is significant and it contains a range of initiatives designed to drive greater growth and ensure New Zealand is best prepared for the digital future.
Amongst other things, the manifesto calls for:
- Digital technology education in schools to be expanded significantly, given more profile, and significant investment made in upskilling teachers to teach it
- The guidance around public research investment updated to focus investment towards areas that will lead to greater economic development (such as tech)
- Significantly increased indirect research funding (we are one of only 6 of 34 OECD countries that don't provide tax incentives for R&D)
- A more innovative, cost-effective government procurement system that explicitly allows for agile delivery and supports an even footing for smaller NZ-based providers
- A balanced approach to privacy and security
The manifesto also calls for a bold step - the formation of a Ministry of the Future to ensure that the NZ Government - and in fact all of New Zealand - is ready to take advantage of the changing world we live in. This would provide a joined up and NZ-wide approach and is similar to initiatives being considered in a number of other countries.
A digital copy of the manifesto has been sent to every member of parliament and to key government officials throughout multiple agencies as technology is far reaching - from health and education to regions, small to medium businesses and social and primary industries.
The group will reconvene in August and release a public summary "score card" of party policy viewed through the lens of the Manifesto, to identify which parties are most equipped to take advantage of our digital future.
You can view the manifesto at itp.nz/manifesto [pdf].
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