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Swain Presentation To Smartnet Workshops 2000

Presentation To Smartnet Workshops 2000 –
E-Commerce Summit Review - Christchurch

Good morning, and thank you for the invitation to speak to you today.

First of all I like to thank and congratulate Smartnet on holding such a great event. This is the kind of initiative and leadership that we need more of, and it is yet another sign that New Zealanders are more than ready to embrace the excitement and opportunity of the knowledge economy.

You asked me here to talk about the e-commerce summit and to indicate where we are going to from there.

First of all can I say that the summit was a great success - I believe that success was due to the energy and commitment from those who attended over the two days. The challenge for us is to keep that momentum going.

As many of you may be aware we launched the government's e-commerce strategy at the summit. The strategy is based around the government's e-commerce vision for New Zealand - which is to be world class in embracing electronic commerce for competitive advantage.

In the strategy we defined what we thought the government could do to help achieve that. We identified three key roles for government. They are:
1. Providing vision and leadership
2. Building the country's e-commerce capability
3. Promoting and enabling the regulatory environment for growth.

Vision and leadership
First of all the government has to provide vision and leadership. We can't expect New Zealanders to embrace e-commerce and the knowledge economy if we don't.

The government's commitment to this is already on record. The E-commerce Summit and strategy were the beginning. Early next year we will be taking a roadshow around the country to publicise the e-commerce strategy and get people acting on it.
The government's e-government team and programme have been up and running since July.

E-procurement is a key priority. It is the business case for e-government and provides the incentive for our small to medium sized businesses to get online. The government is committed to using online technologies to deliver better quality, cheaper and faster services to its citizens, as well as providing opportunities for New Zealand businesses.

We've recognised an urgent need for some quality research and will implement a programme to better measure the uptake of e-commerce, improve our understanding of what hinders business uptake of e-commerce, and benchmark New Zealand against the rest of the world.
And we will be making some announcements next week on how we are working to turn the digital divide into digital opportunity. 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.

Our second key role is building the country's e-commerce capability. We have started through programmes in Trade New Zealand, Industry New Zealand, and the BIZ programme. We are looking at education, training and skills development and want to change the immigration rules to attract more skilled workers here. We have also released a guide to e-commerce for small to medium sized businesses, which has received a very positive response so far.

Our third key challenge is promoting and enabling regulatory environment for growth. We are addressing this through initiatives like the telecommunications reform, the development of an e-commerce code for consumer protection, the Electronic Transactions Bill and anti-hacking legislation. These measures, among others, are designed to promote an exciting environment that encourages investment, growth and innovation.

The Electronic Transactions Bill is now at select committee, as is the anti-hacking bill. I will be announcing the government's response to the telecommunications inquiry in the next few weeks.

This strategy essentially outlines the role government sees for itself. It will never be in a final form, I like to think of it as a living document which can be continually improved upon.

When we presented it to the E-commerce Summit, we asked people for feedback. The feedback has been extremely positive, but the most common message from just about everyone is get moving on it, act faster and don't lose the momentum.

This is a challenge that I am more than happy to accept. Since the Summit my officials have been working on how the actions outlined in the strategy can be implemented faster. I am taking a paper to Cabinet next week with revised targets and timetables and will be making further announcements on this before Christmas.

We want a programme of implementation that reflects the speed with which the economic environment is changing.

Which brings me to partnership. The government cannot do this in isolation – it requires partnership with communities, local government and business. We can set the agenda – which we have with our vision - that New Zealand will be world class in using e-commerce for competitive advantage - but business and communities must take action themselves.

The message from the summit to the government was 'good stuff – but get on with it.'

My challenge to you is how can you help New Zealand to be world class in fulfilling our e-commerce vision to world class in using e-commerce for competitive advantage.

Thanks once again, and I wish you well for the rest of your conference.

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