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Support for InternetNZ's digital inclusion plan gathers momentum
Tue, 12th May 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Twenty organisations from across New Zealand have pledged their support for a digital inclusion plan. The plan was submitted to Government last week, according to InternetNZ.

InternetNZ chief executive Jordan Carter says digital inclusion is about making sure everyone can make the most of the world online. He says this is more important than it ever has been, as the country begins its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Now's the time for action," says Carter.

InternetNZ is behind the plan, and Carter says it is eager to see the Government, signatories, and other organisations work together to achieve digital inclusion in New Zealand.

The plan aims to assist the Government by setting out the priority areas where Government can best direct its efforts and investments.

It identifies five areas of consideration:
1. Affordable connectivity
2. Getting devices to people who can't afford them
3. Wrap around support for the newly connected
4. Digital skills for displaced workers and our small businesses
5. Longer term Internet resilience

It also identifies which Government agencies could be responsible for leading each action point, and emphasises the need for cross-agency engagement and coordination, Carter explains.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the reliance of New Zealanders on the Internet for work and study, information, and social interaction," says Carter.

"Ensuring every New Zealander can access the Internet is now more important than ever. We need to ensure no one is left behind as New Zealand works to recover from COVID-19," he explains.

"We especially need to focus on groups in society that need different kinds of support, including Maori, Pasifika, older people, people with disabilities, those on lower incomes, rural users, and the homeless," adds Carter.

Carter says it is important to take a holistic approach.

"When people think of those digitally excluded, they often think about infrastructure or cost limitations. But it's much more than that," he says.  "Kiwis also need to have the skills, motivation, and trust to be online."

The Government released its vision for digital inclusion in New Zealand, The Digital Inclusion Blueprint, in March 2019.

"Our plan builds on the Government's blueprint by setting out a concrete and achievable set of actions," says Carter.

"Now is the time to step up our digital inclusion efforts, not just as part of our national response to COVID-19, but also as a foundation for New Zealand's economic recovery and ongoing wellbeing," he says.

The full plan can be found on the InternetNZ website.