In May this year, 18 tech sector groups released an Election Manifesto, outlining a series of recommendations for the next New Zealand government. It was plenty of time for political parties to study its contents and adapt – or not – its ICT policies to reflect what the tech sector decided are its top issues.
So how did the tech sector get on with influencing the political parties?
The Foresyte Report has condensed the 22-page manifesto into key areas (see below) and compared them with the ICT policies released by the main parties and scored them out of ten, depending on how the policies match the manifesto recommendations.
In summary National is strong on communications, the Green Party has a well developed procurement policy, NZ First is big on inclusion, and Labour’s policy is closest to the idea of establishing a Ministry for the Future.
As for the minor parties – Maori Party, ACT, The Opportunities Party, United Future – while they don’t have dedicated tech/communication policies, many of their ideas would fit with the recommendations in tech sector’s manifesto.
10 key areas outlined in New Zealand’s Digital Future 2017 Manifesto:
- 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.
- Training – develop and train government and private sector workers in digital competency.
- Immigration – robust assessment (and encouragement) of migrants with ICT skills and qualifications.
- Connectivity – improve affordability as well as accessibility of high-speed connectivity.
- 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.
- Cybersecurity – better education for SMEs in cybersecurity and boost CERT capability.
- R&D – review research funding through vehicles such as Marsden Fund and Callaghan Innovation, introduce incentives (eg R&D tax credits).
- Procurement – greater transparency over large contracts, and break down large contracts into smaller components. Also, mandate the adoption of open standards.
- Privacy – amend legislation to include mandatory reporting of significant privacy breaches. Ensure policy makers recognise social responsibility to protect public from harm.
- 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, Precision 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 firstname.lastname@example.org .