The Future of NZ IT: Creators or Consumers?

by Don Christie

The Future of NZ IT: Creators or Consumers?

New Zealand’s ICT industry is at a critical point. Do we build a future for our sector as creators, or do we become the passive consumers of imported technologies?

New Zealand has a global reputation for ingenuity, as a fierce competitor contributing advanced technology solutions and growing progressive businesses, which provide the jobs and products that support our communities and economy.

But the report on our digital economy, co-authored by the New Zealand and Australian Productivity Commissions, suggests that local digital businesses should just become resellers for Silicon Valley.

That’s not reflective of our history. And it certainly shouldn’t be our future.

Our strength has always comes from our ability to collaborate and leverage one another’s advancements, propelling us all forward. In the same way that Xero in software as a service, Koha library management system, R the programming language, Icebreaker in clothing, and Orion Health in medical technologies have competed globally, our IT sector can and must continue to export to the world.

With the government's policy aim of making IT the country's second largest export earner by 2025, it is a pivotal time to focus on the opportunities that New Zealand’s digital businesses provide.

By investing in local technology businesses, the government is supporting a future of innovation, an environment in which we can collaborate, work and, most importantly, grow.

And in favouring open source, a collaborative and transparent framework which all businesses and government agencies can benefit from, there are additional opportunities to build upon and continue to grow New Zealand’s Digital Economy.

Overseas-based multinationals, who employ almost no New Zealanders and pay little or no tax in New Zealand, contribute nothing to our future other than the hollowing out of our economy and extinguishing opportunities for our companies and our people.

The way we choose to invest in our digital economy is crucial; New Zealand is in a position to make purposeful decisions that will effect our job opportunities, our economic security, and our country’s destiny, all depending on whether or not we create our future, or just click “like” on someone else’s.

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Catalyst is a New Zealand-owned and operated company where values, community, and integrity are paramount. Since 1997, Catalyst has been dedicated to using the world’s best open source software and tools to deliver robust IT solutions for our clients. We have grown through long-term commitments to our clients, a culture of collaboration and organisations consistently experiencing the superior economic and social value that open source delivers.