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Born out of the CTO appointment debacle, the Digital Council for Aotearoa kicks off

Seven-member council has a broad technology remit
Kris Faafoi - Minister of broadcasting, communications and digital media

Kris Faafoi - Minister of broadcasting, communications and digital media

The Digital Council for Aotearoa, founded after the government's high-profile failure to establish a chief technology officer position, starts work today.

Minister for government digital services Kris Faafoi and minister of statistics James Shaw have confirmed the group of experts chosen to advise the government on how to ensure new and emerging technologies improve New Zealanders’ lives.

The Digital Council is made up of: Mitchell Pham (Chair), Roger Dennis, Marianne Elliott, Kendall Flutey,Colin Gavaghan, Rachel Kelly and Nikora Ngaropo.

“We’ve brought together an impressive mix of people who can help navigate the fast-moving digital and data landscape through a specific New Zealand focus,” Faafoi said.

“We want to understand the impact of technological change from a uniquely New Zealand perspective, including te ao Māori."

The Digital Council will also help identify gaps in accessing and using technology, how it can benefit societies and the economy, assist in the Pacific, and help overcome our distance from major trading markets, Faafoi said.

The Digital Council was set up after the government failed in its efforts to establsih a CTO position in 2018. Minister for broadcasting, communications and digital media Clare Curran resigned as a result.

It takes over from the Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Ministerial Advisory Group (DEDIMAG), which appears to have operated on an narrower remit and as an interim solution between the CTO failure and today's announcement.

“I want to acknowledge the members of DEDIMAG, who have helped shape and enhance our work in areas such as ICT and Innovation procurement, along with the research and development tax incentive, and e-publishing standards," Shaw said.