Labour’s Communications and IT policy, announced today (and available here), will invest in local people, business and intellectual capital to drive our economy forward.
Kiwi kids are growing up in a digital world. They need the skills and career pathways available to enable them to excel in this increasingly important arena.
Labour will ensure all Kiwi families can access the internet and high speed broadband no matter what their background.
Some of our greatest innovations can come out of the most deprived areas. Labour will encourage community participation in IT by among other things increasing funding to Computer Clubhouses and Computers in Homes by $2.7 million.
Labour has the commitment and the plans to establish New Zealand as a digital nation. This means making sure New Zealand develops a comprehensive digital infrastructure and ensuring that no-one misses out, so that all of our potential whizz kids of the future can flourish.
Labour has some grave concerns about Government’s urban and rural broadband scheme, and with the amendments to the Telecommunications Act passed in 2011.
National’s broadband network must not be a tool to entrench the divide between the haves and the have nots. Labour will conduct an independent review of the ultrafast broadband rollout, including a full assessment of the true costs of the scheme.
While we commit to working within Crown Fibre Holdings’ current investment limit of $1.35bn for ultrafast broadband, we will allow and encourage the UFB to be extended to other areas of New Zealand.
Labour’s ICT policy also sets out an ambitious forward thinking strategy to draw together the policy and regulatory environments for ICT, telecommunications, broadcasting and the internet realm Labour’s ICT policy is a converged policy with broadcasting. The broadcasting component will be announced separately in the coming weeks.
Many other countries including the United Kingdom, Malaysia, the EU, the UK, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, South Africa have already taken this approach. Australia and Canada are moving in that direction. As the technologies converge a number of issues arise around the networks that will be needed to carry both content produced inside New Zealand and which comes from outside the country.
Each action Labour proposes is underpinned by the recognition that a growing economy is dependent on building local skills. Labour will:
- Address the current skills shortage in the ICT sector and wider community by promoting digital careers, matching tertiary courses to IT industry needs and attracting more skilled ICT practitioners to New Zealand
- Lift the number of IT Industry interns from 200 to 1000 nationwide.
- Establish a Ministry of Communications and IT, based in the Ministry of Economic Development, to bring together all policy involving broadcasting, communications and information technology issues.
- Establish an independent network regulator to investigate the impact of monopolies in both the telecommunications and broadcasting marketplaces.
- Appoint a Chief Technical Advisor, responsible for producing technology roadmaps for New Zealand
- Review the functions of the Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Press Council and the Advertising Standards Authority.
- Investigate a whole of government approach to open source software.
- Introduce a government ‘App store’ to provide a short circuit for fledgling NZ software developers to get to market.
- Set an aspirational target of 2/3 of government agencies using some form of open source software for a reasonable proportion of their software needs by 2015.
- Encourage greater diversity in IT suppliers in the public sector
- Establish a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for open source software development.
- Improve New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy.
- Establish a Computer Emergency Response Team for New Zealand.
Labour’s ICT policy also contains the details of Labour’s policy on copyright, which will remove the clause for internet account suspension for infringing file sharing as a remedy the District Court can impose; and commits to conduct a full review of the Copyright Act, with the aim of introducing a new Copyright Bill within 18 months that updates and extends the framework for digital copyright in New Zealand.
It’s a policy with a lot in it. I hope you’ll read it.