New Zealand COVID response earns investment confidence

  • Hon Kris Faafoi
Government Digital Services

Microsoft’s decision to establish a datacentre region for cloud services in New Zealand shows the advantage this country has as a safe haven for business as we move ahead with our economic recovery from COVID-19, Minister for Government Digital Services Kris Faafoi says.

“Our Government took quick and decisive action responding to COVID-19, and that is being recognised globally, with the likes of this decision by Microsoft,” Kris Faafoi said.

“This means job opportunities in the near term for our construction industry and, in the longer term, for our ICT industry and local innovators. This also serves as a signal to the world that New Zealand is open for business and quality investment.

“New Zealand is a stable and globally competitive economy. We are party to a wide range of free trade agreements, have a regulatory regime which supports competition, an efficient tax regime, an open political system, and we encourage investment in innovation.

“This investment also recognises New Zealand’s position as a leading nation in our changing digital world, and has flowed from conversations between Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and Microsoft President, Brad Smith, last year.

“Cloud-based technologies are generally accepted now as being the way to work and innovate digitally. As such, Cloud is an important part of our Strategy for a Digital Public Service. 

“Today’s decision by Microsoft means that the Government, and New Zealand businesses and people, will be able to access the scale and security of Cloud services offered by a major global provider in ways we haven’t been able to before.

“Protecting New Zealanders’ data and privacy is critically important. Onshore Cloud facilities give us stronger control of our data and reduce the concerns relating to storing data offshore.

“Today’s announcement represents a positive step in New Zealand’s digital maturity, as we all adjust to working and learning online.

“New Zealand also has a reliable, almost entirely renewable power supply, crucial for hyper-scale Cloud services, which fits the carbon neutrality commitments of companies like Microsoft.

“While I welcome this private investment, I want to be very clear that Microsoft’s decision to establish its Cloud facilities in New Zealand has been made through the company’s independent due diligence, and this is not a government procurement,” Minister Faafoi said. 

Editors’ note:

Microsoft is one of three global technology providers, along with Amazon Web Services (AWS) & Google, providing “Cloud” computer processing and storage capabilities through global networks.

NZ government, businesses and residents use services hosted on these platforms every day; for example Xero, Payroll and Finance Systems, NETFLIX, and eBay.

At present New Zealand can only access this capability from these providers via their offshore data centres, e.g., in the US or Australia. Microsoft is bringing this capability to NZ by building data centres which will be interconnected and also part of their global network.