The ongoing COVID-19 crisis appears to have 'dramatically lifted' the Government's understanding of how critical technology is for New Zealand, says NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller.
In his latest NZTech Inform newsletter update, Muller says the Government's Budget 2020 announcement was important for New Zealand's tech ecosystem.
He says the Government's respond, recover, rebuild media release captures many of the highlights, including:
- $41.4 million for initiatives in the construction, digital and agritech sectors to help these sectors grow.
- $11.4 million to grow the agritech sector and improve environmental outcomes.
- $16 million to strengthen New Zealand's brand, including highlighting our innovation and high-value goods and services.
- $10 million for incentives and grants to encourage SMEs to take up more technology such as eCommerce.
- $150 million for a fund to provide loans to R-D-intensive businesses, to complement the existing R-D Tax Incentive.
- $32 million to significantly increase the number of exporters receiving intensive support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE)
"NZTech's purpose is to help create a prosperous New Zealand underpinned by technology, and the recent COVID-19 crisis appears to have dramatically lifted the Government's understanding of how critical tech is for New Zealand," says Muller.
"It has shown tech as an enabler for communication, learning, productivity and for new export opportunities. I am looking forward to working with our ecosystem to help the economy recover, grow and prosper," he says.
From a social perspective, Muller says COVID-19 has increased New Zealand's reliance on the internet for work, learning and socialising.
"However, it has also highlighted how many New Zealanders are excluded from the digital world," he adds.
Last week, NZTech signed The Five Point Plan of Digital Inclusion: COVID-19 and beyond.
As signatories, the organisation has pledged its support to help achieve the following goals:
- Affordable connectivity.
- Getting devices to people who can't afford them.
- Wrap around support for the newly connected.
- Digital skills for displaced workers and our small businesses.
- Longer term internet resilience.
"This Thursday marks the eighth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). It's about getting everyone learning and talking about digital access and inclusion," says Muller.
"This year's focus is the need for businesses to consider digital accessibility. It's not just the right thing to do, but there are numerous benefits from considering accessibility from the beginning," he says.
"If you would like to know more, please consider joining the Digital Accessibility Imperative Post COVID-19 webinar on Thursday."