Digital experts to provide advice on technological change

Supporting New Zealand to make most of digital and data driven technologies will be the focus of a new Digital Council that begins its work today.

Minister for Government Digital Services, Kris Faafoi, and Minister of Statistics, James Shaw, have confirmed the group of experts chosen to advise the Government on how to ensure new and emerging technologies and uses of data improve New Zealanders’ lives.

“We’ve brought together an impressive mix of people who can help navigate the fast-moving digital and data landscape through a specific New Zealand focus,” Kris Faafoi said.

“We want to understand the impact of technological change from a uniquely New Zealand perspective, including te ao Māori.

“The Digital Council will also help identify gaps in accessing and using technology, how it can benefit societies and our economy, assist our role in the Pacific, and help overcome our distance from major trading markets.” Mr Faafoi said.

James Shaw said he looked forward to hearing what the Council had to say about how the Government can keep pace with changes in technology to ensure they bring benefits for all New Zealanders.

“Technology is changing not just how people do business, or how we buy products, it is reshaping how many of us interact, how we form and maintain relationships, and how we address some of the most pressing challenges we face.

“These changes are happening fast and have undoubtedly created opportunities that would have been hard to imagine even a generation ago. But rapid change can also have an effect on people’s lives and it is important we understand what that is. That way we can all work better to ensure that an increasingly digitalised and automated world improves everyone’s wellbeing.

“We are grateful to the members of the Council for taking on this challenge and we look forward to hearing what they have to say,” Statistics Minister James Shaw said.

The Council will draw on members’ expertise, as well as gathering views from communities across New Zealand. It will also learn from national and international experts to develop advice and provide recommendations for government consideration.

It takes over from the Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Ministerial Advisory Group (DEDIMAG), which concluded its work programme at the end of last year.

“I want to acknowledge the members of DEDIMAG, who have helped shape and enhance our work in areas such as ICT and Innovation procurement, along with the Research and Development tax incentive, and e-publishing standards.

“Our challenge to the Digital Council is to help government understand how we maximise the wider benefits for our society from access and inclusion in digital and data driven technologies,” Kris Faafoi said. 

“The Digital Council can help ensure all future governments have the expert advice they need to keep pace with technological change so the wellbeing of New Zealanders continues to be the first priority of innovation,” James Shaw said.

Note to Editors:

The Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Ministerial Advisory Group was set up to explore a narrower, more government and industry focused range of issues.

The Digital Council is an independent ministerial advisory group made up of:

  • Mitchell Pham (Chair),
  • Roger Dennis
  • Marianne Elliott
  • Kendall Flutey
  • Colin Gavaghan
  • Rachel Kelly
  • Nikora Ngaropo