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E-commerce Heavyweights Deliver Good News

16th May 2002


E-commerce Heavyweights Deliver Good News For NZ Businesses

New Zealand’s uptake of e-commerce continues to improve which will bring benefits to the new economy. This was the message delivered by speakers at the E-Commerce 2002 Sector Forum, which took place in Wellington today.

Opening the Forum was the Hon Paul Swain, Minister for Information Technology, who reiterated the government’s commitment to e-commerce development, particularly access to broadband. He charged all present with the responsibility to consider the benefits for New Zealand presented by e-commerce.

Said Mr Swain “I challenge you all to think about the ways in which e-commerce can create efficiencies in your organisation and open up new opportunities.”

Mr Swain cited the results of an E-Commerce Survey, which shows the increased e-commerce uptake by New Zealand businesses. “Historically New Zealand has been a world leader in the take up and use of the Internet. It is heartening to note that 74% of businesses with more than five full time employees now have their own domain name, compared with just under 50% in 2000. I am pleased to note that 56% of such businesses now have their own website. While having a website is only one step towards full e-commerce capability, it is certainly a good start.”

The E-commerce 2002 Sector Forum was devised as an opportunity to showcase the opportunities e-commerce offers New Zealand businesses. The Forum also marked the first anniversary of the Government’s E-commerce Action Team (ECAT) which was established to improve the understanding and use of e-commerce.

Keynote speaker, e-commerce expert and financial journalist, Rod Oram spoke of the opportunity for New Zealand to take the lead in developing tools for small businesses to harness the capabilities of e-commerce. Said Rod Oram, “Increasing globalisation brings great opportunities for New Zealand businesses and SMEs to work globally. E-commerce tools that currently exist have been designed for larger companies and may not always be relevant for smaller companies. New Zealand is ideally placed to develop such tools for the benefit of us all and the international market.”

Representatives from groups as diverse as Tourism New Zealand, Federated Farmers of New Zealand and the Institute of Chartered Accountants discussed e-commerce developments and practical improvements in their respective sectors.

Among those present was David Walker of Fonterra who spoke about Fencepost.com, an online resource for New Zealand’s farming community. Mr Walker described Fencepost.com as the “glue for the modern co-operative” that enhances the sense of a rural community for farmers and provides an instant and direct communications tool for its users.

Other speakers included Tom Lambie of Federated Farmers, who discussed the implementation of broadband networks throughout rural New Zealand and Professor Shirley Leitch, of Waikato Management School who spoke on developments in the world of e-commerce over the past year.

ENDS

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