11 'flagship' initiatives to turn NZ's digital strategy into reality

11 'flagship' initiatives to turn NZ's digital strategy into reality

The initiatives form part of a five-year action plan described as a "living roadmap".

David Clark

David Clark

Credit: Supplied

A set of 11 flagship initiatives, part of a multi-year effort to turn the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa into reality have been revealed.

The strategy sets out New Zealand’s vision and plan for harnessing the potential of the digital economy.

The initiatives form part of a five-year action plan described as a "living roadmap" for the Government’s implementation of the strategy. They set out actions to advance the goals of Mahi Tika — Trust, Mahi Tahi — Inclusion and Mahi Ake — Growth. 

Combining a five-year time horizon with an annual refresh, the action plan, the strategy aimed to remain responsive to emerging technologies and policy challenges, and help ensure our efforts are targeted at the highest priorities.

“Te Rautaki Matihiko mō Aotearoa - The Digital Strategy for Aotearoa will be New Zealand’s trusty roadmap, as we navigate an increasingly digital world,” minister for the digital economy and communications David Clark said.

It comes after engagement with a wide range of groups and people during public consultation last year.

"We’ve ended up with a document that is well informed and incredibly ambitious," Clark said.

“We have set targets to have fewer cyber incidents than comparable countries, high-speed internet available to all New Zealanders and to have the digital and ICT sector on track to becoming the country’s leading export earner."

The first action plan described 11 flagship initiatives to advance the strategy in the near term. These collectively covered a range of issues, from infrastructure and cyber security to skills and Māori innovation capacity, through to building a national digital brand and acting on the global stage for a more trusted digital environment.

The action plan also signposted four issues that must be tackled: data ethics and the development and use of artificial intelligence; enhancing cyber security; the challenges and opportunities of digital inclusion; and digital twins.

These emerged in the engagement process on the DSA and reflected a shared ambition to design and use digital technologies in world-leading, ethical and equitable ways that reflect New Zealand's uniqueness.

The 11 initiatives are:

The Digital Identity Services Trust Framework
This will set out rules for the delivery of digital identity services, address gaps in current regulation and assist the development of trusted, people-centred digital identity services.

The Christchurch Call
Issued after the March 2019 terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques, this works to address terrorist and violent extremist content online.

New Zealand's cyber security strategy
This was launched in 2019 to enable New Zealand to thrive online, to build national resilience and ensure the public and private sectors worked hand in hand to support a more secure online world.

Digital Boost
The Digital Boost programme offers training and support to small businesses to help them improve their digital skills, with the goal of reaching 90,000 firms. A recently launched diagnostic tool, Digital Boost Checkable, can perform detailed reviews of a business’s digital presence and provide a prioritised plan for what to fix and how.

Improving rural connectivity
With its initiative, the Government will deliver on its 2020 election manifesto commitment to provide an additional $60 million to improve connectivity to the most under-served regions that face challenging capacity and coverage constraints.

Accelerating Māori innovation
Accelerating Māori Innovation seeks to work across a range of activity in the Māori digital economy and increase the participation of Māori in the digital sector as business owners, entrepreneurs and employees. A first step under this initiative will be to complete a report on the sector ecosystem to enhance the visibility of existing Māori activity and make connections for stronger impact.

Data as a tool for decision-making and wellbeing
Two initiatives aim to help Māori and Pacific peoples access data and use it to advance their communities.

Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan
This will help accelerate economic recovery and the rebuild from COVID-19 and will move New Zealand towards the goal of a high-wage, low-emissions economy.

Te Ara Paerangi — Future Pathways
This aims to create a modern, future-focused public research system, one that can stand alongside the best systems in the world, for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Māori Data Governance
This aims to develop and implement guidance about a data governance approach that reflects iwi and Māori interests and embeds Te Tiriti.

Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer grant
The Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer grant fills a gap in the current funding landscape for non-R&D innovation by broadening the type of innovation support offered to the likes of digital firms whose innovation activities are not always eligible under the Research and Development Tax Incentive.

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