I'm not sure too many people are going to vote this year solely based on ICT policies, but if you are involved in the sector its worth being across what's on offer and it might affect you or your business.
It's been such a weird campaign so far as policy debate is a distant second from the 'dirty politics' saga and the general decline of political commentary into the realm of reality TV and sports reporting.
So I've been really impressed with the work being done by NZ Rise to compare, contrast and question the various parties about their ICT policies.
NZ Rise if you don't know them yet, are the collective body of "NZ Owned Digital Technology Companies' and they represent NZ's genuine indigenous ICT industry.
Here's what Don Christie, the chair of NZ Rise had to say about the project so far:
I think it is fair to say that we have had comprehensive and serious
responses from across the political spectrum and from all the major
parties. This does show how the awareness of the importance of the NZ
digital sector has grown over the last three years.
Many of the policies espoused are ones that NZ digital companies will
welcome. They form the core of the platform that NZRise as been advocating
for over the years; growing the digital technology sector, promoting open standards, supporting local industry through government procurement, and bringing new digital talent into the workforce. We are pleased to see discussion on the role of Government wide technology strategy and upskilling of government branches.
We welcome the emphasis from the Māori Party on engaging Māori with ICT,
particularly in education.
Similarly the procurement policies of the Labour and the Greens
recognise the potential for Government spending to be a real driver of
digital success and future exports for Kiwi owned businesses. The
National Parties support for open standards and open source software is
reflected by others but also recognises the need for government systems
to be able to interoperate freely and avoid capture by old technology
and individual vendors.
Most importantly we see real focus on the need to educate the next
generation of digital technologist, to be active creators and great
products and services rather than mere consumers.
NZRise recognises there is much work to ensure that the promise of these
policies is realised in practice, to the advantage of the NZ economy,
society and business community. But what we have seen in these responses
gives us real confidence that progress is being made.
NZRise will continue to work with the incoming Government to provide updates on developments in digital technology and the needs of our members.
There's not a lot there that I can disagree with from a TUANZ perspective, it is good to see most of our political parties accept the key role digital infrastructure and technology will play in NZ's future.
If there is one policy that I'd like to see implemented it is the idea of having a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) for NZ that reports directly to the Prime Minister and cabinet. This was rebuffed by Steven Joyce as being unnecessary because we already have the GCIO (Government Chief Information Officer) working in the DIA.
Sadly this misses the point, the GCIO has an internal focus on government ICT projects, the focus of the CTO would be external and look at NZ's overall digital development.
The NZ Rise project is dynamic and it is being updated, do you think they've missed anything?