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Bill Bennett


IITP 2013: Catalyst buy local

What steps can the government take to kickstart global success for New Zealand’s technology exporters? Moderator Lance Wiggs put the question to a panel of politicians and business leaders at the IITP 2013 Conference in Tauranga.

Catalyst IT director and Open Source advocate Don Christie wants the government to recognise that buying from New Zealand suppliers is a way of helping companies export. He says we have to show confidence in our industry and not spend money with French companies: “If we do, that’s where our children will go to work”.

Labour associate technology spokesperson Clare Curran agrees that changing government procurement would help boost the industry. She also wants to establish New Zealand as a data haven – a move she says needs a new government approach to privacy.

Speaking for the National Party, Paul Foster-Bell says that investing in projects like the government-sponsored UFB fibre network and taking part in trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership are paving the way global export success.

Gareth Hughes from the Green Party says: “I want to see an ICT sector that gets a much government support as the oil industry”. Hughes wants the government to invest in a new submarine cable, he says without a new link the fibre network could end up being the world’s fastest intranet.

New Zealand ex-pat Ed Robinson, who founded Aptimize, says having many bigger IT companies in New Zealand will make it easier to export our technology.

Robinson says the government could help by making compliance simpler. He says he is a big fan of trade trips lead by senior government figures that open doors and make introductions in key markets.



One thought on “IITP 2013: Catalyst buy local

  1. Bill, you are based on my recollection, correct as to what was said, but what I found concerning was the lack of any commonality as regards what the NZ ICT industry might look like in say 5 or 10 years time.

    There was much fluffy political waffling, but no sense of vision in my view. The lack of vision and I suspect a broad consensus at the political level is concerning, especially when much of their focus appears to be tactically focused. Further I think the politicos had/have a desire to pick winners, which as an idea appals me. In addition I found the apparent negativity from some in the room towards free trade disturbing when a key desire is to grow our IT exports, especially as Don Cristie noted in the services area.

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