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IT skills and ethical AI among key focus in New Zealand's draft transformation plan

The sector-based development plan sets out potential steps on how to grow New Zealand's digital technologies sector.
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Written by Aimee Chanthadavong on
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Image: Getty Images

The New Zealand government is seeking feedback on a draft plan that feature steps the country could take to develop the local digital technologies sector.

The draft industry transformation plan (ITP) for the digital technologies sector outlines there are seven key focus areas that need to be targeted. These include developing the country's digital skills and talent pipeline; increasing the number of New Zealand digital technologies exporters, with a focus on the intellectual property producing models of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and interactive media; and removing barriers to increase Māori participation across all capacities.

The plan [PDF] also noted the importance of taking a data-driven approach by adopting technologies such as AI that could have flow-on benefits, such as emissions reduction and greater productivity, as well as taking an ethical approach to AI adoption.

Changing the way government procures will also be a focus under the ITP, and how the process should support the sector's goals.

New Zealand also wants to improve international perceptions of the country's digital sector to attract local and international investment and talent under the plan, by developing what would be considered as a "compelling and consistent story" that best represents New Zealand tech and innovation capabilities.

The ITP has been developed off the back of the New Zealand government recently releasing its discussion document on developing the country's digital strategy. The draft digital technologies ITP is a sector-based development plan that was produced jointly between government, industry, academia, and Māori, with the intention that it will evolve over it.  

"This ITP is a way we can collaborate with the industry to help lift productivity, increase exports and further employment opportunities. We are aware the tech sector is a transition industry for New Zealand, and we need to support the industry to grow," Digital Economy and Communications Minister David Clark said.

According to Clark, New Zealand's digital technologies sector contributed AU$6.6 billion to the economy in 2019 and is growing at nearly twice the rate of the general economy.

Submissions for feedback close 31 March 2022.

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