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New Zealand urgently needs cohesive strategy for tech

Graeme Muller, Guest Post. 23 July 2019, 9:29 am
New Zealand urgently needs cohesive strategy for tech

NZTech today once again calls out to government for a clear strategy for the massive impact technology is having on New Zealand and the lives of all New Zealanders.

New Zealand businesses need more guidance and commitment from the government to indicate where their focus is with regard to critical technologies, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

Last week transport minister Phil Twyford released the government's strategy for drones - aviation for the automated age. Drones are estimated to be worth up to $7.9 billion to the economy.

The week before digital minister Kris Faafoi launched the government's 2019 cyber security strategy.

"So, we know it is possible for government to show direction on major tech changes and impacts, but there is no cohesive approach" Muller says
"There are parts of the government that understand the impact that rapidly changing technology will have on New Zealand and they have put in place a roadmap for their part so the rest of government and industry can make confident decisions in line with a plan.

"But where is the fintech strategy? A plan for the impact of technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency on our financial system.

"How about a biotech strategy? A plan for economic growth through bio-based technologies, and how New Zealand intends to manage genetic modification.

"The elephant in the room is the apparent lack of government attention on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI). If we could do with one cohesive strategy more than any other it would have to be artificial intelligence, given that this rapidly advancing technology is touching every sector and almost every piece of government policy.

"The Danish have a plan, Canada does, so do Australiathe UKthe USChinaFranceGermanySingaporeTaiwan… need I say more?

"The AI Forum of New Zealand, a not-for-profit NGO funded by memberships and part of the NZTech alliance, undertook a detailed study of the potential impact of AI on New Zealand.

The key recommendation of the research was the need for a coordinated AI strategy for New Zealand. That was over a year ago.

"The government was going to appoint a chief technology officer (CTO) to help develop a coordinated tech strategy. This seems to have stalled and what work there is seems to be fragmented across the machinery of government."

Technology is the fastest growing part of the New Zealand economy, both creating and impacting the most jobs. Tech is now New Zealand's third largest export and employs more than 100,000 Kiwis.

NZTech is a not-for-profit association that represents over 1000 organisations who collectively employ more than 10% of the New Zealand workforce, and who work together to help make New Zealand more prosperous underpinned by technology.


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