Election 2017 – How does NZ First’s ICT policy stack up?

In May this year, 18 tech sector groups released an Election Manifesto, outlining a series of recommendations for the next New Zealand government. The Foresyte Report has condensed the 22-page manifesto into 10 key areas and has assessed New Zealand First on how its ICT policies stack up.

NZ First has combined Broadcasting and ICT policy, the latter being seven bullet points which provide little detail. That said, if ICT became part of NZ First’s ministerial portfolios following post-election negotiations, then the spirit of the policy would not be out of step with the tech sector’s manifesto.

In the area of Connectivity, NZ First would develop a framework for sharing telco infrastructure, “especially with next generation networks”. Considering there is no detail about what it means by “next generation networks”, the party scores half a point. However, it gets another half-point with its mention of restoring “Computers in Homes” and direct support for SeniorNet – because both programmes are designed to improve affordability when it comes to internet access.

The party would support a review to ensure the right to Privacy is included in the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990. In addition, NZ First would “standardise digital privacy controls, records retention and security issues.” This loosely fits with the tech sector’s manifesto, so half a point.

Although the spirit of its policy document is in keeping with the tech sector’s manifesto, the detail just isn’t there. This has resulted in a low score for NZ First – just 1.5 points.

10 key areas outlined in New Zealand’s Digital Future 2017 Manifesto:

  1. Education – support Digital Technologies up to Year 10, encourage schools to offer the subject as NCEA Levels 11-13, address teacher shortage in this area.
  2. Training – develop and train government and private sector workers in digital competency.
  3. Immigration – robust assessment (and encouragement) of migrants with ICT skills and qualifications.
  4. Connectivity – improve affordability as well as accessibility of high-speed connectivity.
  5. Economy – support “clusters of small firms” to grow digital exports, continue to develop privacy and regulatory frameworks and evaluate international competitiveness regarding incentives for Foreign Direct Investment.
  6. Cybersecurity – better education for SMEs in cybersecurity and boost CERT capability.
  7. R&D – review research funding through vehicles such as Marsden Fund and Callaghan Innovation, introduce incentives (eg R&D tax credits).
  8. Procurement – greater transparency over large contracts, and break down large contracts into smaller components. Also, mandate the adoption of open standards.
  9. Privacy – amend legislation to include mandatory reporting of significant privacy breaches. Ensure policy makers recognise social responsibility to protect public from harm.
  10. Ministry for the Future – create a new Ministry based on recommendations made up of experts from outside government and appoint an independent Chief Technology Officer to be the MoF’s CEO.

Organisations that contributed to ‘New Zealand’s Digital Future 2017 Manifesto’ are: NZ Tech, InternetNZ, IT Professionals NZ, Tuanz, NZRise, NZ Software Association, Canterbury Tech, FinTech NZ, HealthIT NZ, Health Informatics New Zealand, Open Source Society, Project Management Institute of NZ, itSMFnz, Test Professionals Network, Game Developers Association, Pecision Ag Association, AI Forum, VR/AR Association.

NOTE: this is an independent assessment of the tech sector’s Manifesto and the party policies. Feel free to provide feedback via comments below or email info@foresytereport.com .





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