“Global thinking” needed to spark NZ’s digital future
Giving Kiwi digital innovators the tools to help them think globally from day one is how New Zealand will become world-leader in the digital economy.
That’s the view of the Internet Party, wading into a debate that has captivated the industry over the past four days.
Responding to Labour’s Digital Economic Upgrade announcement on Friday, Internet Party leader Laila Harré says Information and Communications Technology policy needed to go further than an upgrade.
“There needs to be more vision, more excitement and more action,” Harré says.
“It’s great to see a growing focus on the digital economy and greater agreement on how to break down barriers to growth but limiting our ambitions to an upgrade underplays the ‘once-in-a-hundred years’ opportunity for New Zealand.”
The Internet Party’s developing policy focuses on all stages of the start-up cycle, including support for rapid and sustainable growth.
“As a movement born of the digital age we believe we get start-ups,” Harré adds. “While Labour’s proposal of Garage Grants of $10,000 is a good step, it only serves to increase the number of start-ups going into the funnel.
“To make the big leap forward, rather than just an incremental upgrade, requires far more. We need to think globally from day one.”
According to Harré, that means creating an environment where Kiwi start-ups had the best chance of achieving success on the world stage.
“Free tertiary education is critical to that because that will encourage our young digital innovators to take on the inherent risks involved in start-ups,” she adds.
“We will also support more initiatives such as Kiwi Landing Pad to help Kiwi digital entrepreneurs make it on the global stage and diversify and deepen the pool of private venture capital in New Zealand.”
While generally supportive of the sentiments behind appointing a Government Chief Technology Officer with the ear of key government officials including the Prime Minister, Harré says there was a need to go much further.
“We’re seeking systemic change that goes well beyond simply having a CTO based in the Prime Minister’s office,” she adds.
“We have to look at where Ministerial responsibility lies and how the public service can support this big challenge.
“Change of this scale will be harder, certainly, but ultimately it’s the only way we will make lasting change and capitalise on the digital economy. That’s where our future lies and where we can become a global leader.
“It’s a matter of being able to see the opportunity and being determined to get there.”
Which party has the clearest vision for New Zealand’s ICT future? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below