New Zealand establishes Digital Council


Today’s announcement of the new Digital Council to help government understand opportunities for New Zealand to really boost emerging technologies has been welcomed by NZTech and The AI Forum of New Zealand

For the past two election cycles the tech ecosystem has recommended expert advice to help identify the benefits of emerging technologies for New Zealand, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

“Technology has been evolving rapidly, so it can be hard for traditional structures like government to keep pace with and identify the potential benefits.

“Having a diverse group like the NZTech ecosystem which has 22 tech alliance sectors tasked with considering new cutting-edge tech and what it could mean for New Zealand will definitely inject confidence in government making the right and better decisions faster.

“How important will something like digital identity be to help ensure all Kiwis have easy access to digital services?

“Can artificial intelligence be used to help improve our environment or make housing more affordable? Are there opportunities to use digital technologies to lift Kiwis’ wellbeing or to improve their financial security?

“These are the sort of questions we hope they will be applying their expertise to.

“With good expert advice, the New Zealand government should be better placed to leverage technology for the benefit of all citizens and businesses.

“The tech sector is the fastest growing sector in the economy and now the third largest contributor to exports. NZTech is committed to helping the government grow technology in New Zealand. I am keen to provide support and advice to the prime minister to give New Zealand and edge over other countries,” Muller says.

The government’s Digital Council is an independent ministerial advisory group led by Mitchell Pham, who is the chair of NZTech.

“We are thrilled that included in the council line up is one of our executive members, Rachel Kelly,” Forum executive director Emma Naji says.

The Digital Council will act as a government advisor, drawing on the expertise of the new board, made up of a collection of domain experts.

“The government has to tackle some big topics across the New Zealand tech ecosystem, and I am sure the Digital Council will help enormously,” Naji says.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) will have a significant positive impact, not only on New Zealand’s trade and commerce, but on the fundamental ways we live and work. It is vital that we take every opportunity to shape and secure our future as early as possible.

“As a non-governmental organisation which brings together the New Zealand AI ecosystem, the AI Forum is well placed to offer support from our comprehensive research and huge community of AI experts.

“It is fantastic to see Rachel Kelly, who sits on our executive board, involved in the Digital Council and we will support her in any way we can.

“We are looking forward to future collaboration and wish the Digital Council every success in their endeavours.”

Kelly says there are a number of incredible industry leaders and sector groups within New Zealand, working diligently to raise the technology bar and ensure new digital solutions at-scale can benefit all Kiwis.

“It gives me immense pleasure to add my voice and passion to the Digital Council. In collaboration with this incredible team of industry experts and the broader tech ecosystem, I look forward to re-imagining and co-designing what trust and inclusion might like in a world of digital and how New Zealand can become a lighthouse in this space.”