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Government and business to champion e-commerce.

1 November 2000

Government and business to champion e-commerce.

Minister for Information Technology Paul Swain today launched the government's e-commerce strategy saying government, in partnership with business, must champion e-commerce across the community.

Paul Swain launched the strategy at the government's e-commerce summit in Auckland. The sell-out summit is being attended by more than 500 New Zealand businesses.

"Our e-commerce vision is for New Zealand to be world class in embracing electronic commerce for competitive advantage," Paul Swain said.

"This strategy lays down practical steps to help that happen," he said.

"First of all the government has to walk the talk. We can't expect New Zealanders to embrace e-commerce and the knowledge economy if we don't.

"The first signs of our commitment are today's e-commerce Summit and strategy. In the New Year we will take the key messages from the e-commerce summit out to the regions through a series of workshops. We have also released a guide to e-commerce for small to medium sized businesses.

"On the research front the government will identify a programme to better measure the uptake of e-commerce, improve our understanding of what hinders business uptake, and benchmark New Zealand against the rest of the world.

"Secondly, the government is committed to building the country's e-commerce capability. We have started through organisations like Trade New Zealand, Industry New Zealand, and the BIZ programme. We will ensure they continue and expand their work.

"On the skills front we the government is committed to ensuring a continued supply of skilled people. But it recognises that New Zealand now operates in a highly competitive international market for skills. In response the government will develop a coordinated international marketing approach to attract people with e-commerce and related information skills to New Zealand.

"Digital literacy will be crucial in the 21st century. We will work to ensure that all New Zealanders have a chance to develop their skills, through formal education and at the community level.

"Finally we are working to get the regulatory environment right. It's a complex job but steps like the Telecommunications Inquiry, the development of an e-commerce code for consumer protection and the Electronic Transactions Bill, which was introduced into Parliament yesterday – are all starts.

"After the summit the Government will establish an E-Commerce Action Team to support implementation of the strategy. I want this team to be business-focussed.

"The Action Team will have a key role in identifying targets for e-commerce uptake, and monitoring and measuring their achievement. It will coordinate efforts to facilitate uptake of e-commerce, identify a core research programme, coordinate feedback and provide advice to government.

"The strategy is about government saying it is committed to doing its part in partnership with the private sector and the broader community.

"We are now seeking feedback on the strategy," Paul Swain said.

To view the strategy and webcasts from the summit: www.ecommerce-summit.govt.nz

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