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Broadband pledges: Is that all?

Media Statement
For immediate release
23 October 2008

Attention: Chief Reporter
Political/IT/Business Reporters

Broadband pledges: Is that all?

The broadband commitments being made by both major political parties are a move in the right direction, but not enough by themselves, according to the ICT change consultancy firm, Voco.

Voco's founding directors believe what's needed from our leaders is a real vision of what the future will look like, and a strategy response to support the country's place in that future.

National promises a $1.5 billion dollar contribution to the roll out of an ultra-fast broadband network infrastructure reaching 75% percent of New Zealanders within 5 years.

This week, Labour repeated its pledge of $500 million over the next five years in order to facilitate high speed broadband to businesses and entities such as universities, schools and hospitals.

But one of Voco's founding directors, Michael Foley, who is the vice chairman of TUANZ and an InternetNZ Councillor, believes an overarching architecture is needed to give substance to both policies.

"Labour is offering more form and less money, while for National it's the reverse, more dollars up front, but less form. But neither articulate how the investment will create a connectivity fabric that can be leveraged on a national basis to drive national economic development."

Michael Foley wants to see the dots joined between the rollout of infrastructure and the role New Zealand wants to play on the world stage in the decades to come.

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"New Zealanders want to boost, or at least maintain, living standards here. Neutralising our geographical isolation by digitally connecting our energy and creativity with the world is key to that. With our future likely to be increasingly tied up with emergent economic powers in Asia, New Zealand needs to be able to tap into, become part of, those markets."

Voco's other founding director Paul Gordon says the investment is crucial, but it needs to be accompanied by a sense of the bigger picture; a sense of what the investment can do for this country.

He says there's an apparent belief that you roll out the infrastructure and things happen, but it has to be a whole package including education, skills development and working habits.

"An aspiring marathon competitor can buy the shoes to run in, but until he acquires the fitness and works out his nutrition plan he still can't run the distance.

Where is the country going to be in 20 years? What does the future hold that is going to enthuse our best and the brightest and ensure they will remain in New Zealand?".

Paul Gordon believes New Zealand leaders need to be more than just administrators. "Our leaders must articulate and strive to reach aspirational goals for our country."


About Voco:
Established in 2001, Voco is New Zealand's fastest growing independent telecommunications and interaction optimisation consultancy providing advice and services to government and industry.

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