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Public Feedback Called for on Digital Strategy

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister for Communications and Information Technology

14 April 2008
Media Statement

Public Feedback Called for on Digital Strategy

Communications and Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe is calling for all New Zealanders to have their say on the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 which has been released for public comment today.

“This draft strategy is a work in progress that provides a valuable platform for getting feedback on the path to our shared digital future from business, Maori, the community and voluntary sector, and the research and local government sectors.

“Digital technologies are rapidly changing every aspect of our lives. The world itself has altered with the advent of new digital technologies.

“It’s now timely to reassess the Digital Strategy’s goals and priorities, consider new developments, and focus on tasks that address the challenges of our new fully interactive digital environment,” said Mr Cunliffe.

“The 2005 Strategy focused on three key enablers - connection, confidence, and content. The Draft Strategy includes a new fourth enabler, collaboration. The feedback gained during the consultation process will assist us to determine how all four ‘Cs’ can contribute to New Zealand achieving its digital potential and transforming our economy and society.

“The Digital Future Summit 2.0 in November last year challenged us to think harder about getting the full social, environmental and economic value from ICT. This draft Strategy therefore drives harder to define the productivity, community and sustainability outcomes enabled by ICT.

“New Zealanders now have four weeks to have their say before a final report is delivered later this year,” said Mr Cunliffe.

Consultation on the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 will be from 14 April to 5.00pm 12 May 2008, and includes opportunities for feedback via new tools, such as a wiki and online dialogue boxes, on the digital strategy website at www.digitalstrategy.govt.nz.

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Backgrounder – Draft Digital Strategy 2.0

The Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 is about taking the next step into New Zealand’s digital future. To achieve our digital potential as a nation, we need to think differently and collectively about the kinds of outcomes possible from our use of digital technology, and agree on priorities that will bring the right conditions for businesses, communities and individuals to realise the benefits from the use of technology.

The vision:

The vision for New Zealand’s digital future is for:
“New Zealand to be a world leader in using information and technology to realise its economic, social, environmental and cultural goals, to the benefit of all New Zealanders”.

The enablers:

In 2005, three critical enablers of New Zealand’s digital future were identified – connection, confidence and content. While good progress has been made under each digital enabler, they remain equally relevant today, albeit with a shift in focus and priority for the future. Chapters 3–5 identify the following goals and priority action areas for the digital enablers going forward:

The connection goal is for “the widespread availability of fast and affordable broadband meeting the needs of New Zealanders”.

The priority action areas to achieve the connection goal are:
– promoting a robust and competitive telecommunications market; and
– facilitating the deployment of high-speed broadband infrastructure.

The confidence enabler goal is for “digitally capable and confident New Zealanders transforming our economy, strengthening our national identity and enhancing sustainability.”

The priority action areas to achieve the confidence goal are:
 equipping managers with the skills needed to engage with and use ICT to increase productivity and innovation;
 reducing shortages of skilled practitioners;
 developing digital literacy and confidence in the workforce and our communities; and
 ensuring internet and telecommunications security that is consistent with promoting New Zealanders’ social and economic wellbeing and maintaining an effective network infrastructure.

The content enabler goal is for “New Zealanders to be worldclass at creating, discovering and using digital content to create value, improve lives and communities, and enable sustainable development.”

The priority action areas to achieve the content goal are:
 improving the creation, discovery and use of New Zealand-grown content;
 accelerating the growth of digital businesses with competitive advantage;
 increasing the use of worldclass productivity tools; and
 using our knowledge and research to stimulate innovation.

Chapter 6 introduces a new fourth enabler of the digital strategy – collaboration. For New Zealand to reach its digital potential Māori, communities, business, the ICT sector, local and central government, and researchers and academia need to be better connected and their interests better aligned on digital matters.

The outcomes:

Chapter 7 sets out three key outcomes that can be achieved by being digital and by New Zealand collectively working together to achieve our digital potential. But for New Zealand to achieve its digital potential everyone must get involved. This chapter is a call to action and seeks input on how all sectors can contribute to the outcomes:
- Productivity – achieving a creative, knowledge-based, high-income economy by using technology to work smarter and get more from our resources.
- Community – enriching and valuing New Zealand communities and cultures, and promoting our unique national identity, so that the needs, aspirations and wellbeing of all New Zealander communities are supported and enhanced.
- Sustainability – using advanced technology to reduce energy, carbon and pollution impacts and to achieve sustainable growth as a nation.

Questions and answers – Draft Digital Strategy 2.0

1. What is the government currently consulting on?
The government is currently consulting on the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0, which updates the 2005 Digital Strategy. It has been developed specifically for public feedback as part of the process to refresh the digital strategy and launch a final updated Digital Strategy 2.0 in the mid year.

2. Why does the digital strategy need to be updated?
Digital technologies are rapidly changing the world and every aspect of our lives. They are changing the way we communicate, interact, do business, and experience our cultures. Many of the targets of the 2005 Digital Strategy have now been achieved, while others remaining are not ambitious enough in the current environment. New challenges, such as those posed by digital convergence or by our rapidly growing energy consumption, have also risen to prominence. We need a refreshed digital strategy – Digital Strategy 2.0 – that builds on the original framework and actions, yet reflects today’s concerns and incorporates the latest thinking of our digital technology leaders and innovators.

3. Who has contributed to the development of the draft strategy?
Development of the draft strategy is part of an ongoing national conversation on New Zealand’s digital future. It has been informed by discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, from the Digital Strategy Advisory Group to participants in the Digital Future Summit 2.0 and forty stakeholder meetings last year.

Its development has been led by the Ministry of Economic Development, in collaboration with the Department of Internal Affairs, the National Library, the Ministry of Education, the Department of Labour, the Tertiary Education Sector, NZ Trade and Enterprise, the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, Te Puni Kōkiri, the State Services Commission, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury and Local Government New Zealand.

4. What is the vision for New Zealand’s digital future?
The Summit challenged all of us to define and capture the benefits that living and working in this new digital society will bring. Being digital brings enormous benefits in the areas of:
- Productivity (working smarter to get more from our resources using technology)
- Community (including our unique identity)
- Sustainability (using technology to reduce energy, carbon and pollution impacts).

The vision, therefore, remains unchanged:
“New Zealand to be a world leader in using information and technology to realise its economic, social, environmental and cultural goals, to the benefit of all New Zealanders”.

5. How has the digital strategy changed since 2005?
The Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 reflects the new digital environment we are now working and living in and the experiences and wisdom gained since 2005. World class broadband, user capability and confidence and digital content are still critically important enablers – what has changed is the need for new goals, priorities and actions that meet the new challenges in these areas head-on. This draft also introduces a new fourth enabler – collaboration. Maori. communities, businesses, central and local government, and the research community must be better aligned on digital matters – we all need to move in the same direction, at the same pace, to achieve our digital potential.

The most significant difference in this draft from the 2005 strategy flows from the wisdom of the Digital Future Summit 2.0 held November last year. The summit challenged all of us to move beyond the provision of digital technologies and the tools to use them, to define, and capture, the benefits that living and working in this new digital society will bring. The summit recognised that this requires a mindset change to occur across the country. This draft has in turn laid down this challenge and crystallised those potential benefits into three areas of productivity, community and sustainability.

6. What has been achieved since the first digital strategy was launched in 2005?
Since 2005, there has been revolutionary change in the telecommunications market. The Telecommunications Amendment Act 2006 marked the beginning of a new era, with local loop unbundling, the operational separation of Telecom New Zealand and a much stronger role for the Telecommunications Commissioner. The government has also committed around $400 million (including baseline funding) to digital strategy initiatives, including the development of shared public sector networks, the development of open-access fibre networks in partnership with businesses and communities, initiatives to improve digital skills in the community, improved online security arrangements, significant broadcasting developments (including the launch of free-to-air television via the Freeview platform), and the launch of the Digital Content Strategy.

For a detailed account of 70 government initiatives download the Digital Strategy Report on Progress 2007 at www.digitalstrategy.govt.nz.

7. Will New Zealand get better broadband? What is the government’s role?
Recent regulatory changes have laid the groundwork for more competition in the telecommunications sector, resulting in more investment in broadband infrastructure. Already in the last two years, New Zealand has climbed three places to 20th out of 30 OECD countries for broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants and broadband uptake has grown by 137 per cent, putting us in the OECD top ten for growth in broadband uptake.

However, business and the government need to ensure that bandwidth is no longer a constraint on New Zealand’s economic and social aspirations. Through its role as a regulator, customer and infrastructure funder, the government will take further steps to improve investment in New Zealand’s broadband infrastructure and support the 2005 Digital Strategy objective of moving New Zealand up the OECD rankings in broadband uptake and the availability of advanced broadband services. Targeted actions will be coordinated around promoting a robust and competitive telecommunications market and facilitating the deployment of high-speed broadband infrastructure.

8. Will there be more Community Partnership and Broadband Challenge funding?
The government is looking at options to accelerate broadband investment and provided continued support for digital related community projects.

9. Why should people get involved in the refresh of the digital strategy?
This document is a call to action for all of us. It is, in its current version, a work in progress document. Government does not have all the answers – your energy, drive and commitment is needed for New Zealand to reach its digital potential.

10. How can people provide their feedback on the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0?
To have your say on the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 and New Zealand’s digital future:

* View the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 and participate in the online discussions provided at the end of each chapter. Your input in these discussions will be considered alongside other participants in the forums, to produce one aggregated and representative submission at the end of the four weeks.

And/or

* Participate in the digital strategy wiki, where you can make edits, suggestions and add comments to the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0.

And/or

* Fill out the online submission form (or download and email it). Using the submission form to provide your feedback is recommended. Your responses to the questions we have provided would greatly assist development of the final updated strategy later this year.

Or

* Email your submission to submission[at]digitalstrategy.govt.nz, or
* Post it to Digital Strategy 2.0 Submission, Digital Development Group, Ministry of Economic Development, P O Box 1473, Wellington; or
* Fax it to +64 4 499 0969.


ENDS

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