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Swain Advances E-Commerce Strategy

Information Technology Minister Paul Swain is working on a more aggressive implementation track for the e-commerce strategy which picks up on feedback from last month's e-commerce summit.

The fast-tracked plan is intended to take the Government’s strategy forward over the next six quarters and will be presented to Cabinet in February.

“The launch of the strategy was welcomed at last month’s e-commerce summit” Paul Swain said.

"But participants made it clear that they wanted to see more aggressive and specific targets for its implementation.

"I accept this, which is why we are committing ourselves to a fixed and pretty tight period. Cabinet will consider the first cut of Government’s six-quarter action plan and a programme for its implementation by the end of February 2001.

"A core group of ministers will have joint responsibility to oversee the implementation of the updated strategy and its coordination with government’s industry, regional development and skills enhancement programmes.

"This group of ministers will include Jim Anderton (Minister of Economic Development), Trevor Mallard (Minister of Education and State Services),Pete Hodgson (Minister for Research, Science and Technology) and myself.

"This brings together key portfolio interests, they will be supplemented with other ministers depending on particular issues that are under consideration.

"On December 7th I met with leaders from many industry sectors to advance our partnership with the private sector around e-commerce. Three key actions came out of that meeting.

1. In February I will be setting up a core E-commerce Action Team (ECAT) to drive the implementation of the strategy and encourage e-commerce initiatives from the private sector. The Core ECAT will be made up primarily of industry and business sector leadership complemented by some very e-commerce savvy individuals. I want a leadership group that’s broad enough to drive action in key areas yet compact enough to be effective in getting things done. I’ll be using this group to give me feedback on the implementation of the Government’s e-commerce action plan and keep me up-to-date with issues the private sector has in respect of advancing e-commerce.

2. Once this group is set up we’ll be working to develop an ECAT network to support the uptake of e-commerce initiatives across the economy. This wider ECAT Network will work like a business web. My vision is that it is an inclusive grouping which encourages the widest range of sector, interest and regional groups to set up and drive their own six-quarter e-commerce action plans.

3. Supporting both the Core ECAT and the ECAT Network will be a suite of electronic communication tools, including a highly interactive and functional web site. While it will be developed in stages, the aim is to enable ECAT members to benefit from what others are doing by using the web site to share information and co-operate on ventures. By using the web ECAT members will be able to leverage off the enthusiasm, leadership and expertise of a whole range of players.

"In the first quarter of the new year I will be announcing the dates and places for the first of the regional roadshows and the outline of a major e-commerce research project which will give much better information on the state of e-commerce readiness in New Zealand.

"I am also pleased to see that initiatives by a number of government agencies have been added to or accelerated. For example the implementation of TradeNZ’s e-commerce strategy, incorporating 14 e-business initiatives, and the implementation by MAF of electronic certification of export meat, game and seafood products by September 2001.

I also welcome the leadership being shown by local bodies such as the Manukau City Council which is setting up its own e-Manukau Reference Group. I hope this is the first of many such initiatives by local government which can help advance e-commerce throughout New Zealand.

Summaries of these and other initiatives since the e-commerce summit will be posted on:

"I'm looking forward to being able to take the updated e-commerce strategy and timeline to Cabinet next year. It will be a great way to get things rolling in 2001," Paul Swain said.


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