Minister's foreword

The Business Growth Agenda (BGA) sets out the Government’s work to build a productive and competitive economy, focusing on the six key inputs businesses need to succeed, grow, and add jobs: export markets, investment, innovation, skilled and safe workplaces, natural resources, and infrastructure.

Digital technology creates opportunities across all six of these areas. The digital technology sector is an important driver of innovation and increases in jobs and export growth, and the application of technology across all sectors of the economy can make our businesses more resilient, productive, and internationally competitive. Harnessing the digital revolution will play an important part in achieving the goals of the BGA.

The Digital Economy Programme is a key focus of the BGA Building Innovation report, released in late 2015. The aim of the Programme is to ensure that we are focusing on the right areas to enable New Zealand to become a leading Digital Nation – a nation with a thriving digital sector, where our businesses, people, and government are all using digital technology to drive innovation, improve productivity, and enhance the quality of life for all New Zealanders.

As a country, we are making great progress. The digital technology sector is growing fast, with ICT service and software exports doubling between 2008 and 2014. Around 96 per cent of businesses were using the internet in 2016, and New Zealanders consumed 140,000 terabytes of data in June 2016, a 70 per cent increase from a year earlier.

As government, it is important that we are up to date with developments in digital technology and are continuing to put in place the building blocks New Zealand will need, now and into the future.

In 2015, ambitious new targets for internet connectivity were announced: that by 2025, 99 per cent of New Zealanders will have access to speeds of at least 50Mbps, with the remaining one per cent able to access up to 10Mbps. To achieve this goal, government is investing $2 billion, through the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme and Rural Broadband Initiative.

While connectivity is an important first step, for New Zealand to make the most of this investment in infrastructure, we must also ensure that our laws are suitable for the digital age, that we are creating and attracting the right types of skills, and that our people and businesses are confident in using new digital technologies.

This report builds on the 2015 BGA Building Innovation report, providing a detailed picture of the Government’s work to enable New Zealand to become a leading Digital Nation.

The Digital Economy Programme was developed with support from New Zealand’s digital community and is a cross-government effort. Joining up across the public sector, with industry, and with the wider New Zealand community will be critical if we are to seize the opportunities and address the challenges of the changing digital world.

Hon Simon Bridges
Minister for Economic Development
Minister for Communications
Minister of Transport

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