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Labour sets out ICT policy

17 Oct 2011

With 40 days to go until the general election, the Labour party has set out its ICT policy, naming seven key points it says will drive our economy forward.

The release comes a day before a debate on New Zealand's digital future, to be held by InternetNZ in Wellington tomorrow night. 

Labour's seven policy commitments are:

1. Converge telecommunications and broadcasting.

Create a Ministry of Communications and IT, based in the Ministry of Economic Development, as well as a new role of Chief Technical Advisor, to bring together and administer policy relating to telecommunications, information technology, and broadcasting, and set New Zealand’s digital strategy.

2. Accelerate & extend broadband

Bring forward the rollout of Ultra-Fast Broadband and extend it further throughout New Zealand – without extending the $1.35 billion budget – as well as conduct a review of the rollout to date. Also manage the auction of radio spectrum previously allocated to analogue television. 

3. Close the digital divide

Increase funding to ‘computer clubhouses’ and ‘computers in homes’ programmes. Also fund additional R & D internships in small tech companies, by reallocating $5.1 million from Technology Development Grants funding.

4. Review copyright law

Undertake a full review of the Copyright Act with the aim of introducing a new Copyright Bill within 18 months. Also remove the punishment of account suspension for infringing file sharing.

5. Exclude software from patent law

Enact draft Patent Bill currently before parliament that excludes computer software.

6. Open government software purchasing

Instruct government agencies to end secrecy about cost and usage of software products; require sharing of software within government; aspire to wide use of open source software; encourage greater diversity in suppliers; create government ‘app store’.

7. Protect NZ from cyber attacks

Establish Computer Emergency Response Team to implement New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy.

Go here to read the full policy release.

What do you think of Labour's ICT policy? Between the Rugby World Cup and the Rena disaster, will anyone even notice? Post your comments below.