Digital Strategy 2.0 – Smarter through Digital

  • David Cunliffe
Communications and Information Technology

Communications and Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe launched Digital Strategy 2.0 today. 

“This Strategy provides a bold vision and concrete actions to help New Zealanders become leaders in the digital world.”

“Revolutionary change has occurred since the 2005 Digital Strategy. Robust competition is driving a wave of investment to build super fast broadband networks,“ said David Cunliffe.

“No country has more to gain from this digital revolution than New Zealand. Through it we overcome our remoteness, leverage our inventiveness and show off our uniqueness.

”The building blocks of the Digital Strategy remain relevant: super fast connection, enhanced user confidence and cool content. DS 2.0 sets out targets and actions that take these to the next level and emphasises the importance of collaboration to get there.

“DS 2.0 challenges us to go further to secure outcomes from this technology: new digital productivity; reduced environmental footprints, and communities that are locally networked and globally connected.”

“To do this we are introducing a number of exciting new projects such as Connected New Zealand and the Digital Content Innovation Cluster. We’re also expanding successful initiatives, such as videoconferencing and teleworking, the Aotearoa People’s Network and the Community Partnership Fund.”

A major initiative of the Strategy is the $340 million for the Broadband Investment Fund over three years from Budget 2008 to enable affordable broadband roll-out based on competitive open-access principles. This is part of the $500 million the government has committed to investing in broadband infrastructure over the next five years. DS2 sets updated targets for connection speed and super fast broadband rollout.

David Cunliffe said the government was committed to creating digital opportunities by bringing the benefits of ICT to all New Zealanders.

“The Digital Strategy is about people and their ability to connect to the world. It’s about bringing all New Zealanders on the journey by breaking down the digital divide, and building their capability and confidence in using ICT. The future belongs to us all.”

The Digital Strategy 2.0 is available online at


Digital Strategy 2.0 -- Background information


Where did it come from?

The development of Digital Strategy 2.0 has been informed by the Digital Future Summit 2.0, over 40 pre-Summit stakeholder workshops and engagements with stakeholders, and submissions to the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0.


What’s new?

Digital Strategy 2.0 maintains a key element from of the original Digital Strategy - that the enablers of digital development such as connection are important. It builds on this by focusing on how we can maximise the potential of digital technologies to increase productivity, improve environmental sustainability, and build social inclusiveness.



The vision for the Strategy is for New Zealanders to become leaders in the digital world. To achieve this vision we need to understand how being smarter through digital contributes to a high-value economy, vibrant culture and communities, and a healthy environment.



The purpose of Digital Strategy 2.0 is to:

  • provide a national vision;
  • highlight opportunities and challenges;
  • provide a call to action;
  • articulate the government’s role; and
  • outline the actions through which government will fulfil that role.

Three core ideas underlie the Strategy:

  • Unleashing the web’s full potential
  • Using digital technologies to drive productivity and economic growth
  • Bringing everyone on the journey

The key outcomes of Digital Strategy 2.0 are:

  • Economy - increased productivity and new business models and opportunities
  • Healthy environment - reduced carbon emissions and sustainable resource use
  • Communities and culture - locally grounded, globally connected communities and culture

The Strategy also identifies four enablers with associated goals and targets (goals in brackets):

  • Connection (widespread, affordable, fast broadband and access to content across multiple platforms using multiple devices);
  • Capability (the digital skills of our population create a competitive advantage for New Zealand);
  • Confidence (secure and trusted digital networks and universal understanding of online safety, security and privacy issues);
  • Content (unlock the creative potential of New Zealand’s content, both digital and non-digital).



The headline actions in the Strategy centre around:

  • Responding to the infrastructure, security and regulatory implications of Web 2.0: a bandwidth-hungry, content-rich environment.
  • Facilitating a step-change in broadband performance.
  • Harnessing digital technologies to transform our economy, through supporting digital research, innovation and commercialisation, and through working with SMEs to increase ICT uptake and smart use.
  • Bringing everyone on the digital journey, through a nationwide network of digital hubs, digital literacy for all and a continued focus on supporting community initiatives.
  • Transforming government, by making the back office and frontline services (in particular health and education) more effective, responsive and productive while protecting the privacy and security of personal information.

The actions identified in the Strategy are only those which will be led by government, in collaboration with other stakeholder groups. The Strategy cannot be delivered by government alone. Digital Strategy 2.0 lays down a challenge for all stakeholders to work together to make New Zealanders leaders in the digital world and create a prosperous, sustainable and vibrant society.


Reporting back

The Ministry of Economic Development will report on progress against the targets in the Strategy every two years, starting in 2010.

The Digital Strategy 2.0 is available online at

A summary of submissions to the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0, and a copy of all submissions is also available from the Digital Strategy website

Please email if you would like a hard copy of the strategy sent to you.

Questions & Answers

Why do we need Digital Strategy 2.0?

Feedback from stakeholder workshops, including the Digital Future Summit 2.0 in November 2007, was clear: the 2005 Digital Strategy needed updating. Many of the targets have now been achieved, while others remaining are not ambitious enough in the current environment.

The new digital world presents immense economic, environmental and social opportunities for New Zealanders. More and more users are able to produce their own content; the convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and the Internet are connecting more New Zealanders; and new business models are being created, stimulating creativity and innovation across our economy and society. New Zealand must now capitalise on the potential of digital technologies to increase productivity, if we are to increase our absolute, and relative, standard of living.

The outcomes of the Summit, some 40 pre-Summit stakeholder workshops and engagements with stakeholders and submissions to the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 have informed the development of this Strategy.

How is Digital Strategy 2.0 different from the 2005 version?

The 2005 Digital Strategy talked about connecting to each other and the information we need for our everyday lives. This Strategy goes beyond looking at the factors that enable digital development, to the creativity and opportunities for collaboration unleashed by the digital world. Digital Strategy 2.0 focuses on what we can achieve by being smarter through digital - how we can maximise the potential of digital technologies to increase productivity, improve environmental sustainability, and build social inclusiveness.

This Strategy still identifies four enablers necessary to be smarter through digital – connection, capability, confidence and content, but sets new goals for these enablers to carry us into the future.

What did the first strategy achieve?

Revolutionary change has occurred in telecommunications since the 2005 Digital Strategy called for rapid progress on connection issues. Robust, pro-competitive settings have been put in place, following the 2005/06 Telecommunications Stocktake, resulting in the urgent passage of the Telecommunications Amendment Act 2006. The Act marked the beginning of a new era in New Zealand’s telecommunications environment – the unbundling of the local loop, the operational separation of Telecom New Zealand, and a much stronger role for the Telecommunications Commissioner.

Significant progress has been made through some 70 government initiatives implemented as part of the Digital Strategy. These include investments in shared public sector networks; partnerships with businesses and communities to stimulate investment in open-access fibre networks and improving digital skills in the community; improving online security; and the launch of the Digital Content Strategy, and significant initiatives in broadcasting, including the launch of free-to-air television via the Freeview platform.

The total investment has been considerable – since 2005, the government has committed about $400 million to Digital Strategy initiatives, including baseline funding.

For a more detailed account, you can download the Digital Strategy Report on Progress 2007 from the Digital Strategy website,

What will Digital Strategy 2.0 achieve?

Its purpose is to:

  • Provide a national vision, supported by outcomes and goals, for New Zealand’s digital development;
  • Highlight opportunities and challenges presented by the digital world;
  • Provide a call to action for all stakeholders to rise to these challenges and opportunities.
  • Articulate the government’s role in digital development; and
  • Outline the key actions through which government will fulfil this role.

The vision of the Digital Strategy 2.0 is that: “New Zealanders are leaders in the digital world. We live in a prosperous, sustainable and vibrant society”. And achieving this vision requires New Zealanders to understand and consider about how being smarter through digital contributes to these outcomes.

High-value economy:

  • Increased productivity across the economy
  • New business models and opportunities

Healthy environment:

  • Reduced carbon emissions
  • Sustainable resource use

Communities and culture

  • Locally grounded, globally connected communities
  • Local grounded, globally connected culture

What concrete actions does the Strategy contain?

The Strategy includes a number of bold actions that will help achieve the Strategy’s outcomes. The key actions are:

  1. Digital Content Innovation Cluster, to build international connection, foster business capability and links between researchers and firms to support the development of commercial digital content, including broadband applications, in New Zealand;
  2. Connected New Zealand. Grass-roots level programme to be driven by the Digital Development Council in conjunction with the Ministry of Economic Development. The purpose of the programme is to increase the uptake of digital technologies through small and medium enterprises (including not-for-profits, cultural and voluntary groups). The programme will be based around a community-development model of using e-champions or digital development teams to drive local understanding and uptake of digital technologies.
  3. Highlights government use of digital technology to increase productivity and effectiveness – for example through Connected Health, the National Education Network and video conferencing.
  4. Highlights the potential of integrated digital systems to enable monitoring and innovation in the area of sustainability, and includes initiatives to increase uptake of teleworking and environmental management systems across the economy.
  5. National network of digital hubs, based around the successful Aotearoa People’s Network (APN). APN will be expanded into more libraries and into other venues such as marae. This will be supported by the ongoing Community Partnership Fund, to provide funding and support for community-level activities.


Why is the Aotearoa People’s Network a model to build from?

The Aotearoa People’s Network provides computers, training, mentoring and internet access in public libraries. It has proven highly successful, with 22 libraries already online and another 70 expected to be online by the end of 2008.


Does New Zealand have enough skilled people to deliver the projects in Digital Strategy 2.0?

ICT practitioners are in short supply globally. We need to promote, develop, attract and retain ICT professionals, such as network architects, application developers and security specialists, to perform high-value and creative digital work. We also need technicians to develop and maintain our ICT systems.

The ICT industry, wider business community, education sector and government need to work together to ensure our skills are up-to-date and world-leading. The Strategy includes a number of actions designed to address the current skills shortage by promoting digital careers and skills, matching tertiary courses to industry needs, and attracting more skilled ICT practitioners to New Zealand.

How were people consulted on the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0?

The development of this strategy has been an ongoing conversation and involved consultation with, and input from, many different groups and individuals, particularly from 40 stakeholder meetings and the Digital Future Summit held at the end of 2007 and the submissions to the draft in May of this year.

In total 124 submissions were received which included input from the wiki, online forum, email and paper submissions.

What has changed from the draft Digital Strategy 2.0?

Feedback received on the draft Digital Strategy 2.0 covered the six broad themes of broadband, digital skills and education, digital content, security and safety, collaboration and sustainability. Some of the key points that have been reflected in the final Strategy are:

  • More aspirational targets in the Connection section;
  • The importance of developing ICT capability;
  • The continuing need for collaboration between government, industry and community groups; and
  • The need for greater access to digital content vs protection of digital content
  • The submissions and the Summary of Submissions are available on the Digital Strategy website: [link]

How was the Digital Strategy 2.0 developed?

The development of the Digital Strategy 2.0 was informed by:

What is government’s role in the Digital Strategy 2.0?

Government’s core role is to provide the basics that enable creativity, innovation and collaboration – fast, accessible broadband, a digitally skilled population, secure infrastructure, and support for an access to New Zealand content. Government also has a role supporting businesses and communities to be creative and innovative in the digital world, e.g. by supporting digital content firms to grow.

This strategy includes a number of actions for government, in partnership with other stakeholders, and government will monitor and evaluate the targets and goals in the Strategy.

Will New Zealand get better broadband?

Yes. The connection section of the Strategy includes ambitious targets for the employment of broadband over the next 10 years. Digital Strategy 2.0 aspires to have all homes, businesses, schools, marae and farms connected to high-speed reliable broadband within a decade. This requires significant investment from the private sector and government. Recent private investment announcements top $2.5 billion. The government’s contribution through the Broadband Investment Fund and investment in the health and education sectors adds a further $500 million for the next five years, to be matched with at least another $500 million from private investors.

How does improved digital technology contribute to environmental outcomes?

Digital technology can be used to monitor and report on resource use, energy consumption and carbon emissions across the economy, for example in transport, energy generation, buildings and ICT itself. This will help us to identify possible innovations or efficiencies, and monitor their effects. Innovative and creative digital products and management systems can allow us to transform our lives in a sustainable way – including the ways we do business, manufacture products, use water and fertiliser on our farms, and transport items, as well as where and how we live.

Will there be more Community Partnership and Broadband Challenge funding?

The Broadband Investment Fund replaces the Broadband Challenge and focuses on providing high-speed connections to high-bandwidth users in a manner that supports future network extensions by all technologies

The Fund will provide immediate benefits for high-bandwidth users and puts New Zealand on a pathway to the widespread deployment of high-bandwidth connection to the home. We will be supporting the roll-out of ducting and dark fibre through urban centres and extending network availability in rural regions.

We see three immediate priority areas for further investment for the Fund:

  • improving the availability of very high speed services to businesses and local public facilities in urban areas
  • improving rural broadband infrastructure (backhaul and ‘last mile’) by supporting fixed, wireless and satellite solutions; and 
  • improving resilience and competitive discipline of our international connections.

The Broadband Investment Fund applications opened on Tuesday 26 August 2008. Applications are due on 30 September 2008.

Further funding of $6 million for the 2008/09 Community Partnership Fund (CPF) was announced in Budget 2008, and the Strategy indicates that funding options will be developed to enable CPF to continue beyond next year.

Expressions of Interest for the new round of CPF open on 6 October 2008 and close on 10 November 2008.

What is the Digital Development Council and Forum and what role will it play?

In May 2008 the Digital Development Council was established. The Council was established before Digital Strategy 2.0 was finalised so that it could provide input into the development of the Strategy and be ready to ‘hit the ground running’ as soon as the Strategy was launched.

The first meeting of the Digital Development Forum is due to held by the end of September 2008. The Council is busy organising this.

Together the Council and Forum provide a national framework for collaboration on New Zealand’s digital development. The Forum is open to any group with an interest in digital development. It will set the priorities for the work programme of the Digital Development Council. The Forum and Council will be important collaboration partners with government in implementing Digital Strategy 2.0.

For further details see:

How will we know Digital Strategy 2.0 is making a difference?

The Ministry of Economic Development will update and report on progress against the targets in the Strategy every two years, starting in 2010. This will be undertaken in collaboration with stakeholders, the Digital Development Council, and with support from the OECD.

Do other countries have digital strategies?

Many countries around the world are recognising that a national digital strategy, which coordinates and provides focus for digital initiatives, is valuable in realising the significant potential of digital technology. All countries recognise the ability of digital technologies to transform their economies. Many of the advanced strategies focus on the ICT industry as a key economic base (Singapore’s iN2015, U-Korea, U-Japan, Hong Kong’s Digital 21 Strategy).