New Zealand 3.0: Sovereign

by Chloe Gunn

There are three principles that can accelerate the contribution of the local digital sector to New Zealand’s economic and social well-being that support the longer-term development country’s future.

These three principles are Open, Sovereign and Resilient. In this blog, we will be discussing the value in our digital strategy being sovereign. Sovereign graphic

Sovereignty is becoming more prevalent and crucial than ever, and if we don’t respect it and align with strong respectful boundaries we are risking our residents' data – which is taonga. Below are some points of how sovereignty can affect New Zealand:


Māori rights

Recognise and protect digital information or knowledge that is about or from Māori people, language, culture, resources or environments. Ensure that tangata whenua are in control of their taonga and are supported to enhance their economic opportunities. Embed Māori values into the culture of the public sector.


Self determination

Ensure that New Zealanders retain control of their data, and their destinies in a world mediated by technology, and increasingly controlled by software. Showcase the innovation happening here, like the project using Artificial Intelligence to monitor the presence of te reo Māori on terrestrial radio, and grow the digital sector’s exports to the rest of the world.


Privacy first

Enshrine the right to digital privacy, and protections for it, in New Zealand law, much like the GDPR. Privacy is a non-renewable resource, and one that is significantly undervalued. Ensure that policy decisions honour Kiwis rights to privacy.



Encourage a fair market where New Zealand digital services companies are able to compete and operate in a principled fashion: pay their taxes, respect our laws, and not treat our citizens and their data as a resource to be extracted and sold to the highest bidder.


Can we risk a digital strategy that doesn’t prioritise sovereignty? Your data is taonga and it needs to stay that way. Do you agree, disagree or have questions? Let us know by tweeting us. Let us keep the conversation going.