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NZTech says there is serious risk that Aotearoa will miss opportunities for both economic growth and social improvement.

While growth in tech exports will continue to be significant for New Zealand’s economy, the social and economic gains that technology can enable are so vast that NZTech believes more focus should be placed on the importance of technology for New Zealand, its chief executive Graeme Muller says.

“Our research and the latest key metric updates show the benefits technology brings and how it must play a redefining role in the country we live in,” he says. “At the end of last year New Zealand had 23,229 hi-tech companies, with nearly 112,000 employees. Each new tech sector job helps create five other new jobs.

“New Zealand’s tech sector contributes more than eight percent to GDP and we know that every four percent in growth in tech productivity contributes 2.7 percent to our GDP.

“Our tech sector exports $8.6 billion globally and tech exports grew 10.8 percent between 2019 and last year. Tech is New Zealand’s fastest growing and the country’s second largest export sector.”

Aotearoa’s digital exports grew 23 percent between 2020 and 2021 and Muller says Kiwi tech firms  invested $924 million in research and development last year. A third of all New Zealand research and development involved tech. The average annual tech salary is $100,000 and New Zealand’s top 200 tech exporters employ 57,262 people globally.

An international report on digital competitiveness, the digital riser report 2021 says New Zealand needs to do more to support the tech industry. It says New Zealand is not progressing well, compared to many nations. The report considers how governments managed the transition, driven by digital technologies between 2018 and 2020.

Since 2018, New Zealand’s digital competitiveness has gone backward due to issues with the ability to hire foreign labour and the lack of graduates with digital tech skills. New Zealand is not adapting fast enough, Muller says.

“The good news is that the government has been actively working with the tech sector on a digital technology industry transformation plan. It identifies digital skills as critical and proposes several initiatives including work to improve diversity including attracting more women, Māori and Pasifika toward digital careers.

“The transformation plan, which is expected to come out early next year, acknowledges that New Zealand will need to compete for international talent as well as create more skilled local digital workers in order to maintain the growth of our thriving tech sector.”

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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