Paul Brislen: We need an NZ ICT plan

25 comments
With news that Telecom may be shedding up to 1500 staff, chief executive of the Telecommunications Users Association of NZ Paul Brislen says it's time for a national ICT plan.
Telecom is laying off staff, the Govt is investing more than $1b in a fibre network, yet we don't have a way of articulating just what this will do for the NZ economy. Photo / Supplied by Chorus
Telecom is laying off staff, the Govt is investing more than $1b in a fibre network, yet we don't have a way of articulating just what this will do for the NZ economy. Photo / Supplied by Chorus


Telecom is laying off a large percentage of its workforce and as awful as that is for those involved, the company needs to do this to become competitive in the marketplace.

We have the government investing over a billion dollars in the fibre network and a couple of hundred million in rural broadband, matched and exceeded by the industry's own spend in the area, yet we don't have any way of articulating just what that will do to the economy of New Zealand as a whole.

We have research which suggests that ICT will overtake tourism in terms of share of the GDP in the near future, yet we're also told that only 30 per cent of businesses have a website and a large percentage of business owners don't see the benefits of digitising their companies.

We have some schools making tremendous use of technology in classrooms and other schools where parents lobby to ensure they don't have to buy iPads for their kids.

We have politicians who still don't understand the basics of how the internet works and who treat it as some kind of bargaining chip in negotiations with the US over trade access when ICT could become as large and as important to the New Zealand economy as dairying or dead animals.

If New Zealand is to take its place in the global digital economy we need to consider the ICT industry, the investment in infrastructure and in education and how we tie it all together, otherwise we will struggle to keep our heads up. We need to pull in the same direction and that takes coordination, it takes a strategy. It calls for a plan.

In 2008 TUANZ called for a national digital architecture to be formed, providing some kind of cohesion and coordination for the country as a whole and the time has come to revisit the issue. We need a plan to ensure we take advantage of the skills and experience we have, to invest in the areas that will provide a return and will provide growth in the economy. ICT is clearly the rising star, but we have to do more than pay lip service to it.

What would you like to see in such a plan?

This piece originally appeared as a blog posting on the TUANZ website.

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 02 Aug 2014 05:12:04 Processing Time: 230ms