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CTO choice delayed

Paul Brislen, Editor. 13 February 2018, 6:50 am

The government had hoped to appoint its new Chief Technology Officer before the upcoming D5 meeting of digital nations but that appears to be off the cards for now.

After closing a lightning round of submissions, with a short-list of 60 would-be Digital Tsars (including the editor of this blog), the Minister of Communications and IT Clare Curran has decided to extend the search.

"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," says Curran.

The role requires the newly anointed CTO to come up with a digital strategy for New Zealand as a whole, one that encompasses all that is implied by the title CTO and has an element of futurist about it as well. While the role has no authority to impose its will on the rest of government, the CTO should be able to make strong recommendations that are hard to ignore. 

However, the role has no budget or staff so finding the right person becomes of paramount importance.

"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. 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," says Curran.

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


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