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IT company closure should be a wake up for Govt

IT company closure should be a wake up for Govt

Green MP Nandor Tanczos is calling on the Government to show some real commitment to the local software industry after an innovative Auckland firm closed today as a result of the machinations of international corporations.

Marshal Software, a specialist in Internet security, has been shut down by NetIQ, the US company that bought it out sixteen months ago, with a loss of 25 high-value jobs. NetIQ blames most of its recent 20 per cent revenue drop on the terms of its licensing agreement with Microsoft.

"This is a sad portent for small innovative New Zealand software companies," said Nandor, the Green Party Spokesperson on IT.

"When NetIQ bought out Marshal they were promising expansion and investment. Now less than eighteen months later we're seeing Auckland IT jobs moving to Houston. NetIQ may well have meant what they said, but it seems they have since been sideswiped by an even bigger player in Microsoft.

"New Zealand has started to find a niche in the competitive IT field through our can-do 'number-eight-wire' attitude, as is already acknowledged by the Government in their partnership with the Information Technology Association of NZ. But the message from the Marshal experience seems to be that a reliance on offshore investment, as opposed to export sales, may not always be in our long term best interest.

"The Government is the largest customer for IT services in New Zealand and it should be using its position to support our local IT industry.

"The State Services Commission's 'Open Letter on Open Source' suggested that our government should follow the example of other countries, such as Brazil and Germany, and consider using open source software.

"If the Government was to follow that advice and invest in local open source solutions they would provide an innovation incubator and a strong local market for local IT services.

"Such a move would also mean greater security for government computers and give New Zealand a degree of national IT sovereignty," said Nandor.

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