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Digital Competitiveness Slipping: NZ Tech Leaders Raise Concerns About Cyber Resilience

Auckland, 18 June 2024  
New Zealand's digital leaders are facing a technological tipping point, with generative artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity emerging as key priorities for 2024, according to a new report by TUANZ.

However, in 2023, New Zealand’s ranking in the Portulans Network Readiness Index (NRI) fell by four positions, from 19th to 23rd.

This reflects some of the concerns raised by CIOs and technology leaders, including AI talent concentration, digital skills, and high-tech and medium-high-tech manufacturing.

The fourth annual ‘TUANZ Aotearoa’s Digital Priorities in 2024’ report, supported by One New Zealand, highlights some key digital trends and concerns.

Craig Young, TUANZ chief executive officer, says the rise of AI alongside strengthening cybersecurity and digital equity were some of the key themes outlined by tech leaders.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen digital leaders trying balance technological evolution with supporting business as usual. It’s evident our world – and the technology we rely on – is developing at an ever-increasing pace,” says Young.

“In order to stay ahead of the curve, Aotearoa New Zealand’s business and technology leaders need to be flexible, adaptable and resilient to unexpected challenges and disruptions.

“To do this, we require innovative thinking, in partnership with government, to create an environment that supports the progressive regulation of emerging tech and data privacy, particularly as AI is fast-approaching and is likely to impact jobs across the motu.

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“The recent Budget was particularly lacking in any new technology focus areas, which feels like a missed opportunity as New Zealand looks to improve lagging productivity through high-tech solutions.”

The TUANZ Digital Priorities Report was compiled following interviews with 36 technology leaders from around Aotearoa.

Tony Baird, Chief Technology Officer at One New Zealand, said Kiwi businesses were quick to adapt to using new technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, and wants to see this continue.

“The adoption of cloud technology has helped pave the way to emerging opportunities for AI as a tool to help augment and support human workers, freeing them up to focus on higher value tasks,” says Baird.

“When it comes to these tools, it’s essential we learn how to utilise them to our advantage to streamline business processes while navigating the challenges around data privacy and ethics policies to protect consumers.

“The tech leaders highlighted both the risks and opportunities facing Kiwi businesses, to ensure we emerge from the current economic challenges stronger on the global stage.”

Other key priorities highlighted in the report include building resilience in a changing world, embracing cloud and off-site technology, addressing constrained resources, and promoting digital equity to ensure no one is left behind in the digital transformation.

The "Aotearoa's Digital Priorities in 2024" report is available for download on the TUANZ website at www.tuanz.org.nz .

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