So David Cunliffe has taken the ICT portfolio for himself.
This is quite significant – I can’t recall any other party leader paying this much attention to the portfolio or the sector itself before.
Cunliffe of course was Minister of Communications and IT during the previous Labour government and so is very familiar with the industry, the regulation and the potential of the sector.
All too often in the past decade we’ve seen politicians pay lip-service to the idea of New Zealand being a digital economy. All too often we’ve seen them utter pat phrases about New Zealand’s potential and how we are standing on the cusp of a new era.
TUANZ strongly supports any move to promote New Zealand’s digital capabilities. We’ve worked alongside organisations like the IITP and NZ Rise to promote New Zealand companies and New Zealand innovation and we’d love to see our next government get in behind as well.
We need to encourage youth into the industry. We need to encourage investors to spend their money on New Zealand ICT companies. We need to build the infrastructure to deliver on those services.
ICT has huge potential for the New Zealand economy and a renewed focus on the sector will be very timely. If nothing else, Cunliffe’s decision to take on the portfolio himself will bring the sector into sharp relief and hopefully it will make the other parties sit up and pay attention.
If nothing else, it’s put ICT firmly on the political agenda for the year ahead and that’s great news.