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ITP Update: Finally some election tech policy

Paul Matthews, ITP Chief Executive. 22 September 2020, 9:00 am
ITP Update: Finally some election tech policy

Great to see some tech policy released today, given the huge absence we've seen this election. I've taken a look below about what National is promising.

Last week's Skills webinar was great - check it out below if you missed it. And if you're super quick you can join today's CITPNZ/CTech webinar at 3.30pm today here, plus we have PikPok's Mario Wynands joining us next week to talk about Covid's impact on the gaming sector.

And don't forget, we have 4 different cybersecurity short courses over the next four weeks - perfect for you and your team. Get in quick though - the first is tomorrow and only has a couple of spaces left.


Finally: Some election tech policy

Today the National Party released their tech policy for this election, and it makes interesting reading. To start with, the fact they actually have a policy for the tech sector is great - that's one better than most of the main parties (with the exception of the Greens).

The lack of policy in this space from all and sundry has been a feature this election, as discussed during the Thursday Live webinars in recent weeks and as laid bare by Paul Brislen on TechBlog a couple of weeks ago.

It's a fair question to ask why parties should have policy for our sector of course - after all, they don't have specific industry policy for plenty of other areas. But the reality is most parties do have policies for other critical industries they see as important for New Zealand's economy, such as Primary Industries, Tourism, etc.

Politicians like to talk a good game about supporting and growing the tech sector, but platitudes are often slow turning into concrete policy and even slower turning into action.

Or to put it another way, a lack of policy shows (rightly or wrongly) a lack of interest or understanding of the needs of our industry, and the huge opportunity for digital tech to lead New Zealand's post-Covid economic recovery.

Anyway, on to today's policy from National*.

The key components are as follows:

  • Create a Minister for Technology
  • Grow the industry significantly - basically double the size of the profession, GDP contribution and export levels over the next decade.
  • Grow the numbers in tech education by:
    • Funding 1000 tertiary scholarships a year in STEM areas for students from low decile schools.
    • Restoring funding for ICT Graduate Schools.
    • Create a STEM-focused Charter School.
    • Create incentives to bring PhD candidates to NZ, for at least part of their research work.
    • Create a path for automatic residency for those completing a Bachelor's Degree.
  • Rejigging the Elevate Fund (Crown-funded investment fund) to focus on tech specifically, with 50% investor contribution.
  • Creating a fast-track Technology Skills Visa.
  • Investing heavily to broaden the UFB and Rural Broadband Initiative footprint (to reach 90% of NZers) at 100mbps uncapped.
  • Develop (quote) "the world's most tech-friendly regulation" and make NZ a premier destination for global tech R&D.

So what does it all mean in practice?

The top-level targets are bold, however the current level of growth is likely to get us close, so it's not actually that far-fetched. It does remain to be seen what Government can actually do to achieve this though, versus the industry, other than get out of the way and stop making stupid calls like bundling tech with hairdressing in the vocational review.

It's great to see the proposed re-establishment of a Minister of Technology. This used to be a feature of all Governments but over the last 6-8 years has been slowly split up and watered down to the extent we don't really have one now (with several Ministers taking different components of the previous role).

We're also pleased to see funding restored for the ICT Graduate Schools. These play a crucial role, including providing a pathway for people from other areas, and it's essential their work can continue beyond this year (with funding cut as at the end of 2020). So full credit for this.

Thirdly, it's great to see skills and talent recognised as crucial to the success of the sector and New Zealand, and such a significant focus on education. There's always more that needs to be done, but it's certainly a good start.

All in all, a positive and welcome policy.

* And yes, we will highlight and review Labour's policy in the same way, if they release one before the election, plus run a comparison of policy from all parties closer to E-day)


Next week's Thursday Live Webinar:
How Covid is impacting the Gaming Industry

Thursday Live Gaming

PikPok (previously Sidhe Interactive) is one of NZ's most successful publishers of fun and addictive games across smartphone, tablet, and desktop. They're a global success story, founded right here in New Zealand.

Come and join PikPok Co-founder and Chief Executive Mario Wynands as he talks through developments in the gaming sector over the last few years, and especially the significant impact that Covid-19 has had recently. There are significant immediate and ongoing implications for the digital sector overall.

Mario has been called the "Godfather of video game development in New Zealand" for his huge efforts both building the largest game development studio in New Zealand, but also helping nurture new talent and start-up studios. 

This will be an interesting and informative talk and as always, there'll be plenty of time for Q&A, with ITP CEO Paul Matthews putting your questions to Mario. And as always, it'll kick off with our Tech Media Panel.

More info and register here


Last week's Thursday Live Webinar:
Creating a plan for Digital Skills

Thursday live skills

Many will have heard about the Industry Transformation Plan currently being developed for the digital and technology industry, but what is it really and will it actually make a difference?

Join MBIE Policy Manager Robyn Henderson, who is overseeing the development of the plan from Government's side, and ITP CEO Paul Matthews who is overseeing the Skills component, to find out more about the Plan, and especially the Skills workstream and how you can get involved.

Robyn will give a quick general overview of the Plan (What, Why, How), followed by a deeper dive into the plan of attack for Skills from Paul.

If you're interested in education and skills, or the future of the digital and tech sector, this session is for you. There will also be an opportunity to get involved in the next steps of the development of the skills component of the Plan.

ITP Members can watch the whole webinar on the ITP video library.

We've also made this one available to everyone on Vimeo.


Cybersecurity short courses - essential content

In light of the recent attacks on NZX and others, we've been asked to schedule more of our cybersecurity short courses over the next month or so. These are perfect for tech professionals to help ensure you have the core stuff covered, while also helping put in place plans should you be the victim of an attack.

The following courses are on offer:

Web Security Fundamentals

22 September - This half-day introduction to web security covers the most common current web security exploits and the approach, principles and frameworks necessary to detect and protect against vulnerabilities. This is an essential course for anyone with responsibility for web or software development, or cloud services within an organisation.

Cybersecurity Self-assessment

29 September - This half-day Cybersecurity Self-assessment course is intended for those wishing to self-assess their organization's ability to respond to a range of potential cybersecurity threats following established methodologies. Self-assessment allows you to make informed decisions about your security spend rather than relying only on compliance requirements or vendor statements.

Hands-on security: Testing your web apps for exploits

6 October - Our new full-day "Hands-on security" course is a comprehensive one-day course covering the most common current web security exploits and the tools that developers, testers, engineers and security analysts can use every day to detect and protect against vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity Incident Response Playbooks

13 October - The half-day Cybersecurity Incident Response Playbooks course is intended for those wishing to develop incident response playbook(s) for their organization to respond to a range of potential cybersecurity threats. The course covers best practice cyber-response playbooks following the NIST cyber-response frameworks.

Our half-day courses are from $300+GST per person, and the full-day course is from $430+GST. Members and non-members welcome, however see the website for member and corporate partner pricing.

This really is inexpensive compared with similar courses elsewhere and not much given the cost of getting these things wrong.

All are delivered live online, so participate from anywhere. Also, talk to us about bulk deals to ensure your whole staff are covered.

Want to attend all 4 courses? If you or your team want to attend all four of the above sessions, we'll do the lot for $1200+GST total per place. And yes, you can mix and match attendees. That's 2.5 days' of training for less than the cost of one day elsewhere and really is a steal.

There are very limited places so get in touch quick if you're interested in this (or register for the individual sessions above).


Previous webinars - all available free to members

Our recent Live Webinars have been excellent.

All past webinars are available on the ITP Video Library for members:

  • Creating a plan for Digital Skills
  • Cybersecurity and the recent attacks
  • Tech legal update - what you need to know
  • An afternoon with Nanogirl
  • Taking kiwi tech to the post-Covid world
  • Tech startups in a post-Covid world
  • The IRD Transformation
  • Digital Government and Covid-19
  • Tech and the Covid-19 recovery
  • Privacy in the days of Covid-19
  • Leading Wellness in uncertain times
  • Meet the ITP Workshop Presenters
  • The data behind Covid19
  • Innovation in tough times: Don't Hunker in the Bunker
  • Covid19: Tech and the Law
  • Cybersecurity from home
  • Clarke Ching on disaster innovation
  • CITPNZ and CTech: The What, How and Why
  • Working Remotely - How to get through

Check out the webinar section here


Save the Date - ITx 2020/2021

After postponing ITx this year due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, we are beyond excited to announce the dates for ITx 2021 - 3-5 May 2021 at TSB Arena in Wellington.

ITx is a collaborative conference, with around 12 tech organisations working together to make it happen. We work with the other organisations to bring all of these communities together.

As always the conference focuses on bringing tech professionals, decision-makers, leaders and academics together under one roof - it really is where industry and education come together to learn, engage and network. We will also be celebrating 60 years of IT Professionals NZ!


Get your ITP gear

Now is the perfect time to head over to the ITP store and grab yourself some sleek, warm and practical items for work and play. These customizable items come in a variety of sleek and simple designs and are perfect for work, networking or casualwear.


The official ITP store has a whole bunch of professional and casual clothing options, some which can be co-branded with your company. It's a great opportunity to show that you don't just "do IT" - you're also serious about professional practice. 

Pop on over to to check it out.


Have a great week,


Paul Matthews
Chief Executive
IT Professionals NZ


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