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Source: New Zealand Government


E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha o te wa, tēnā koutou, tēna koutou, tēna tātou katoa.

Ki ngā mana whenua, Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei, anō nei aku mihi ki a koutou.

Nōku te hōnore kia haere mai ki te whakanuia tēnei huihuinga whakahirahira.

Ānei ōku kaupapa matua mō Te Maru Mahuki

•      Mahi tika

•      Mahi tahi

•      Mahi ake

Nō reira, ngā manaakitanga ki runga i ā tātou, katoa.

Tēna koutou, tēna koutou, huri noa i te whare, tēnā rā tātou katoa.

I’d like to begin, by acknowledging the major event of the last week – the passing of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – who served as our sovereign head of state for 70 years. May she rest in peace.

To Craig Young and his team from TUANZ, as well as the Digital Boost team, who together organised this evening’s event. Thank you.

I also want to mention members of the Digital Boost  Alliance and congratulate you on your first birthday.

I know our focus tonight is all things digital, but I have to say it’s a pleasure to be with you in person.

Some Alliance members might recall, it’s almost a year ago today that we were connecting virtually to talk about a discussion document for the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa.

As key members of our tech and business community in New Zealand, you helped kick-start the conversation about what our digital future might look like.

Tonight, I am proud to launch the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa and its first Action Plan.

You’ve all seen first-hand how the adoption of digital technologies has contributed significantly to our country’s economic growth.

And, this past year has underlined yet again how these technologies can strengthen our economic resilience and help our communities stay connected.

We have a collective interest in Aotearoa New Zealand reaching its full potential in the digital age. The Digital Strategy for Aotearoa represents the Government’s commitment to achieving this.

The Strategy’s vision is that our people, communities, economy and environment are flourishing and prosperous in the digital era.

The Strategy provides us with a framework for how we want New Zealand’s digital future to look. It places trust and inclusion – Mahi Tika and Mahi Tahi – on an equal footing with Mahi Ake- Growth.

It recognises that digital technologies can bring about challenges. For example, how do we protect personal privacy, minimise digital exclusion, and maintain a competitive environment that generates innovation and sustainable growth.

But above all it recognises how digital technologies can help build a more resilient future.

This Strategy creates momentum for achieving higher value jobs, globally successful businesses that are sustainable, and exports that have a lower emissions footprint.

It aspires to integrate te ao Māori views on data as a key part of our digital and data system.

It seeks to secure New Zealand’s place as a world-leading, trusted, thriving digital nation.

So, let’s talk about trust – the first pillar of the Strategy.

Mahi Tika – Trust – is about doing what’s right.

People will only embrace the digital future if they trust and have confidence in how these technologies are created, used and governed.

Our goals for this pillar are that New Zealanders feel safe and empowered in online environments.

We want organisations to design and use digital technologies and data in fair, culturally appropriate, trustworthy ways.

It’s also crucial our digital and data infrastructures are fit-for-purpose and secure.

We cannot afford to get this wrong.

That’s why we’ve set ambitious measures, including that the economic impacts of cyber-incidents in New Zealand are lower than in comparable nations.

And, it is why we’ve already got a suite of initiatives in train to boost trust, including additional support for the Algorithm Charter for New Zealand, and work to advance our Digital Identity Services Trust Framework.

Trust is not absolute and can change over time.

To maintain trust with the public, we will need to work hard at maintaining it into the future.

The second pillar of the Strategy is Mahi Tahi- Inclusion.

We need to make sure that everyone is empowered to participate in our digital society.

At a broader Government level, we are reforming the welfare system, spending $5.5 billion on a Families Package benefiting 330,000 families and whānau, and have achieved two out of three of our first three-year child poverty targets. But, there is much more to do to close both the general divide and the digital divide.

The digital world has a profound effect on daily life, and digital inclusion can open up new ways to live with independence and dignity.

New Zealanders should have the tools, skills and confidence to participate in an increasingly digital society.

Digital infrastructure, content and services also need to meet the diverse requirements of people.

We’re focused on seizing opportunities to improve motivation, access, skills and trust – four key elements that are crucial for digital inclusion.

Our significant investments in improving connectivity for rural and remote communities for instance, are putting us on a strong path to achieving one of our success measures – that all New Zealanders have access to high speed internet.

But we do recognise that not every part of our lives needs to be digital. Kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) interactions – like we are having right now – are still vital for building relationships and sharing trusted information. We must make sure that those that cannot or will not use digital services have access to the services they need.

The third and final pillar of the Strategy is Mahi Ake- Growth.

This part of the Strategy docks into the Economic Strategy and Emissions Reduction Plan. There is mutual enforcement here.

Digital and data-driven technologies are handing us opportunities to innovate and boost productivity in all sectors of the economy.

Yes, there is a digital technologies sector, which contributed $7.4 billion to the New Zealand economy in 2020.

But all New Zealand businesses and organisations can build their digital capability and reap the rewards.

Our goals for this pillar are that our businesses and organisations innovate and increase productivity using digital technologies and data.

The measures of success we’ve set for ourselves are stretch objectives. For instance, I want to see digital and ICT exports on track to becoming New Zealand’s leading export earner.

But we won’t do this without nurturing our talent.

Building a strong and diverse talent pipeline, including supporting Māori to pursue careers and business opportunities in the technology sector, will benefit all of us.

In this respect, our efforts to progress the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan – or ITP for short– will be an important lever for advancing this part of the Strategy. The ITP includes a Digital Skills and Talent Plan that sets the path for scaling up and transforming the skills, training and education pathways we need for a flourishing digital tech industry.

And many of you know first-hand the great mahi being carried out under the Digital Boost programme to build the most digitally engaged small business sector in the world.

I’m excited to see where we can go as a country with the adoption of digital solutions and technologies.

We should all be proud that New Zealand is known around the world as a country that does what it says it is going to do, and is looked upon as a trustworthy influence globally.

I believe that this Strategy will help ensure we continue down this path, to embrace digital technologies and to ensure they are working for us.

This Strategy is only the beginning of New Zealand’s bright digital future.

I plan on continuing to work with stakeholders to refresh the Strategy’s Action Plan on an annual basis, to capture new initiatives and enable us to reflect on priorities and have a regular process of reviewing priority areas of focus.

Thank you to you all for your support, your input and your expertise. I look forward to working with you as we implement the Strategy and our next step into the digital age.

Nā reira, Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou, Tēnā koutou, Tēnā koutou, Tēnā rā tātou katoa!