Labour unveils digital strategy

David Cunliffe
David Cunliffe
Labour would establish the role of Chief Technology Officer if elected, Leader David Cunliffe announced today.

"Technology is a game changer. We can become a prosperous nation supported by a vibrant IT industry," Mr Cunliffe said.

The party would also establish 1200 digital apprenticeships and support first-time entrepreneurs with 'Garage Grants', he said.

"A Labour Government will support the ICT sector to make New Zealand a tech-savvy nation and put ICT at the heart of our economic upgrade strategy."

The Chief Technology Officer would report directly to the Prime Minister and Cabinet and produce an annual Digital Technology Roadmap and a National Digital Architecture for New Zealand report.

They would also be charged with undertaking a wide-ranging inquiry and stock-take of the way information technology projects were managed by government agencies.

The Garage Funds brief stemmed from the idea that some of the biggest tech companies in the world - including Apple, Microsoft and Facebook - were born in garages, basements and student dormitories.

The scheme would enable and support entrepreneurs to transforming their ideas through to $10,000 grants.

Successful applicants would also receive individual training, mentoring and support from successful entrepreneurs.

The fund will be administered through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and cost $3.2 million over the first four years.

"Our focus on investment, innovation and industry will see a digital upgrade to create better jobs that pay higher wages where they are desperately needed," Mr Cunliffe said.

Labour would also review the points system for the migration skills shortage list, to support industry development, he said.


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