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ICT Taskforce Announced

6 May, 2002

A group of New Zealand’s top technology entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business leaders have been named as members of the Government’s new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Taskforce.

The ICT Taskforce, unveiled today by the Minister for Information Technology and Communications Paul Swain, has been formed to identify ways in which the ICT sector can boost its already substantial contribution to the economy.
It is one of three taskforces – the others are biotech and creative industries – announced by the Prime Minister Helen Clark in February, as part of the Government’s Innovation Framework.

“We have identified the ICT sector as critical to the growth of New Zealand’s economy,” said Mr Swain, who will co-Chair the taskforce. “In addition, a strong ICT sector is important to enable the growth of other industries,” he said. “We already know that there are some niche areas in the ICT industry where New Zealand has the ability to become a world leader. What we need to understand is what conditions need to be created to allow those companies to reach their full potential.

“Clearly those who are currently running leading edge ICT companies here in New Zealand are in the best position to identify the growth potential of the industry. They are the ones who can apply their commercial experience and understanding of innovation and business growth and their focus on future trends and international opportunities to give the government considered and robust advice.”

The ICT Taskforce has a range of goals including: setting a vision and developing a strategy for the ICT sector; developing a better understanding of NZ’s current ICT capability; identifying possible barriers to growth and the means to address these; identifying international ICT opportunities and trends; developing better focus and branding for the NZ ICT sector; developing a more strategic approach to export growth opportunities and identifying how the sector can contribute to the growth of other industries. The role of government will also be identified.

It will hold a series of concentrated meetings over the next two months and report back to government before the end of July this year. A secretariat, provided by Industry NZ, will support the taskforce in its work. The taskforce’s initial findings will be made available via a web site and input from the wider industry will be sought. An ICT forum may be held later in the year to bring the industry together to formalise the taskforce’s strategy.

Mr Swain said taskforce members were selected on the basis of a strong track record of ICT business development, strong international experience and a focus on export growth together with an appreciation of the business growth path of NZ ICT companies and critical issues in innovation, commercialisation and scaling-up.

“Choosing just eleven members from the scores of successful ICT business people in New Zealand was a difficult task,” said Mr Swain. “However this is just the start. The taskforce is intended to be the catalyst and we will be seeking continued input from the wider industry.”
The members of the ICT Taskforce are:

David Bibby
General Manager of science policy at Industrial Research Ltd, New Zealand’s leading scientific research institute.
John Blackham
CEO of software company Xsol. A director of Trade New Zealand and a member of the Prime Minister’s Science and Innovation Advisory Council.
Catherine Calarco
Director of marketing at Hartford Consulting, a management consultancy specialising in information systems and organisational development. Deputy Chair of the E-Commerce Action Team.
Dennis Chapman
Founder and CEO of Christchurch-based technology company Switchtec. Ernst & Young’s Master Entrepreneur of the Year, 1999.
Jim Donovan
CEO of cellular antennae manufacturer Deltec Telesystems – winner of NZ’s Supreme Hi Tech Award for Excellence 2000.
Steve Harris
Wellington regional manager of the Engineers Printers and Manufacturers Union. Currently studying towards an MBA.
Peter Maire
Founder and president of global positioning satellite solutions company Navman NZ, formerly Talon Technology.
Murray McNae (co-Chair)
Chairman and executive director of Solnet, the New Zealand franchise of Sun Microsystems.
Ian McRae
Founder and CEO of health technology company Orion Systems.
Jenny Morel
Founder and director of investment bank Morel & Co and venture capital fund No. 8 Ventures. A former director of NZ Rail, TrustBank and AgResearch.
Ian Taylor
Founder and managing director of Dunedin-based multimedia company Taylormade Media. Currently interim CEO of Animation Research Ltd.

Ends

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