Debate broke out on Twitter this morning following an announcement that if elected, Labour will appoint a chief technology officer - something Xero chief executive Rod Drury has been campaigning for.
In an op-ed piece for the Herald last week, Drury said New Zealand needed an independent decision maker who could decide on issues in the technology sector and then propose action.
Drury said that similar to chief science officer Peter Gluckman, the CTO would report to the prime minister and cabinet on a regular basis and propose plans to advance New Zealand's technology sector.
* Rod Drury: Why NZ needs a tech kingpin
Debate began following tweets from Joyce that Labour seemed "to have discovered our ICT industry".
Drury took the opportunity to readdress his idea that New Zealand needed to hire a CTO, however Joyce dismissed the idea, saying that New Zealand did not need another "Taxpayer-funded busybody" telling people what to do.
Read the Joyce-Drury Twitter exchange below:
@roddrury I just don't think u need another taxpayer-funded busybody telling industry how 2 develop. U seem 2 have done well w/out Govt CTO— Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) July 10, 2014
@stevenljoyce 200k will unlock millions of investment. Will blow your hair back with the force of my argument next time I see you :)— Rod Drury (@roddrury) July 10, 2014
@roddrury hmmm as you know my hair already blown back a bit :) I look forward to it— Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) July 10, 2014
@stevenljoyce my forehead quickly stretching all the way to the back of my feet. Assuming it's the burden of responsibility. Talk soon.— Rod Drury (@roddrury) July 10, 2014
In the announcement this morning, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said that Labour would prioritise ICT if elected.
"For too long, Information Technology has been seen as a backwater in government. ICT is so much more than simply paying Chorus to roll out Ultra-Fast Broadband, badly managing data breaches and IT upgrades across government agencies," Curran said.
"ICT will be a major driver of economic growth in Labour's modern New Zealand."
Economic minister Steven Joyce was quick to respond to the announcement, saying New Zealand already had a strong technology sector.
"Labour Leader David Cunliffe this morning says he wants to make New Zealand 'tech-savvy' and that he's discovered that technology is a 'game-changer'," said Joyce.
"The news for him is that New Zealand is already tech-savvy and that we already have a vibrant and fast-growing ICT sector. Where has he been?"