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ICT needs industry plan, Joyce won’t make one

ICT needs industry plan, Joyce won’t make one

Steven Joyce must support calls from the ICT sector for a comprehensive industry plan or there will be no way that New Zealand will keep hold of the 1500 skilled workers about to be let go from Telecom, says Labour’s Communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran.

“The telecommunications industry body TUANZ has today called for a strategic approach to the ICT industry. They’re right. A strategy is well overdue and Labour has long recognised its importance to the economy.

“The job cuts in Telecom are a serious economic shock to the nation. Steven Joyce has been caught napping, while hundreds of skilled workers weigh up their future and see it across the Tasman.

“Despite Steven Joyce’s claims there are plenty of jobs, all he’s done is log on to a jobs website. He says there are 1300 jobs in the sector but half of those pay less than $50,000 and 200 are part time. You’re not going to get senior engineers applying for call centre jobs. What you will get is more highly paid valuable employees packing up their families and heading for Australia.

“Labour sees the ICT sector as an exciting emerging powerhouse in our economy. It needs a national digital plan providing cohesion and coordination for the country as a whole to ensure we take advantage of the skills and experience we have, to invest in the areas that will provide a return and will provide growth in the economy.

“You’ve got to link together investment in ICT at schools, in the tertiary sector and get alongside the new emerging start ups that are going to help our economy grow.

“Steven Joyce doesn’t believe in industry plans. He has said there is no need for a plan and that ‘Government strategies are not very good at creating jobs’. We know his Business Growth Agenda isn’t.

“Digital technology is the key to transforming New Zealand economically and socially. The future of our nation relies on our children becoming digital Kiwis. To reach that future we need a plan.”

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