21st Century Freezer Ship

  • Maurice Williamson
Information Technology

Today electronic commerce is poised to deliver a new century of wealth not unlike that triggered by the first frozen meat shipment to Britain by the SS Dunedin at the end of the 19th century, Minister of Information Technology Hon Maurice Williamson said today.

Mr Williamson's comments follow today's release of the Government's Statement on Electronic Commerce.

"This document for the first time brings together a range of policy issues under the one umbrella of electronic commerce, rather than treating them in separate policy compartments," the Minister said.

"Electronic commerce is a major area of involvement for the recently announced Enterprise and Innovation group of Ministers, and is in keeping with the broader structural plans of the Government.

"By 2001 it is estimated global electronic commerce will grow to US$300 billion, and will have a major impact on this country's economy.

"It is in business to business transactions that the most immediate benefit of electronic commerce will occur, through cost effective access to the global market, reduced supply times, shortened product cycles, simplified ordering processes and reduced inventory.

"This Government's focus is on removing barriers to the development of electronic commerce and we are keen to engage the business community in that pursuit.

"The Ministry of Commerce will now manage an electronic commerce work programme to ensure a co-ordinated approach to this issue is maintained across all government agencies to deliver certainty to business and consumers, and to maximise all opportunities.

"Work is also being undertaken on the role of cryptography in providing trust and confidence in relation to electronic commerce transactions. To this end I will have Ministerial responsibility for the National Cryptography Policy Committee which will report to Cabinet.

"As well officials have been looking at the security of computer data in the context of electronic commerce, the importance of which has been highlighted by recent media reports of attacks on websites maintained by New Zealand ISP's," Mr Williamson said.

The Government Statement on Electronic Commerce is now online at: http://www.moc.govt.nz/ran/itpg/public.html copies can be obtained by calling the Ministry of Commerce 04 472 0030.