With more than 60 applicants to choose from, the government is widening its search for New Zealand’s first chief technology officer.
Clare Curran, minister for broadcasting, communications, digital media and government digital services, said she was heartened to receive more than 60 applications for the position but has decided not to make an appointment "at this stage".
“This is a vital role to ensure we can use and develop digital technologies for the benefit of all New Zealanders," she said. "While the candidates we looked at have an impressive range of skills and backgrounds, I am not confident that we have found the right person yet."
Curran said the CTO role required someone with a high level of expertise in the digital technology industry, who was passionate about the issues and with the influence to stimulate public discussion.
“We always knew it was going to be extremely difficult to find one person with all the skills we want so I’ve decided not to appoint anyone to the position at this time and to seek input and perspectives from a new digital advisory group which is being set up," Curran said.
“It’s also a position for someone who wants to work with government and other stakeholders to deliver and support meaningful change."
The CTO will be accountable to both the Prime Minister and the minister and will be expected to provide independent expert advice to ministers and senior leaders.
They will also be responsible for preparing and overseeing a national digital architecture for the next five to ten years.
"We intend to close the digital divides by 2020, and to make ICT the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025,” Curran said.
“The internet and digital tools are fundamental to us achieving these goals and I want the CTO to work on issues such as improving digital equality, protecting citizens’ rights online and building a connected nation," Curran added.
Curran said the CTO will do that alongside the Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Advisory Group and the two other advisory groups she has already signalled will be established.
“More than three hundred people have expressed an interest in being on the Digital Economy Digital Inclusion (DEDI) Advisory Group and we are in the process of selecting,” Curran added.