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PM Has Set The Tone; Targets Now Needed

Identification of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as one of the three pillars on which the Government plans to build the New Zealand economy is good news for the sector says the Executive Director of the Information Technology Association of New Zealand (ITANZ), Mr Jim O’Neill.

“Following a study of the strategic direction established in the Prime Minister’s statement on economic development, we look forward now to sitting down with the Government and setting targets for industry growth. We’ve got to put some runs on the board.

“ICT is very compatible with the other two focal points for growth - biotech and creative industries. The need from our viewpoint is to stimulate some excitement over the opportunities that exist and develop a momentum of action to take advantage of them.

“There is a window of opportunity for New Zealand in the global market that will narrow quickly in view of the state-backed drive of other countries, particularly in Asia, to become centres of excellence in ICT. We do, however, have advantages of size and are nimble and creative at adapting quickly to changes in market requirements and social needs.

“The aim now should be a firm plan to boost activity in both the domestic and the export sectors. We look forward to working with the government to set this in place.”

Plans ready for rapid progress include:

- Improved telecommunications for better services to regional communities

- Greater capability for use of the Internet in providing more easily accessible health, education and social services

- Establishment of conditions that will encourage more global companies to undertake development work in New Zealand.

“Our industry recognises that the Government faces severe budget restraints. We believe, however, that early action to aggregate services required by departments will speed up progress in regional community communications projects.

“Fast development of public-private finance models for implementation on major projects can also make a huge difference to progress without placing additional pressures on the government’s budget.

“The whole public-private finance model lends itself perfectly to accelerating progress of activities in these important areas..

“There is no need to re-invent the wheel. The concept is used extensively elsewhere.”

Mr O’Neill says ITANZ is investigating the possibility of co-hosting a special seminar on the development of private-public partnerships for government to get a better understanding of the features and benefits of these for economic progress. It will also hold discussions with the Minister of IT on moves to establish an action plan and targets for ICT growth.


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