Former digital chief just another stakeholder, says Cunliffe

The Digital Strategy secretariat should be removed from the Ministry of Economic Development, says Peter Macaulay

Peter Macaulay, the former head of the Digital Strategy secretariat, has renewed his criticisms of the Strategy being part of a policy-making Ministry.

He says the secretariat should be removed from the Ministry of Economic Development, a policy agency unsuited to overseeing operational management.

Communications Minister David Cunliffe has hinted that some change regarding governance of the project might be about to happen, as part of the formulation of what he calls “Digital Strategy 2.0”.

However, since Macaulay is no longer managing the Strategy, Cunliffe says he listens to his comments but only in the same way as he does to those of any other general stakeholder.

“I can confirm that the government will be doing a review of the Digital Strategy this year, leading up to the ICT summit in October,” Cunliffe says. “The summit will involve all key stakeholders in the telecommunications sector and will be instrumental in setting the direction for the next phase of the Digital Strategy, to be called Digital Strategy 2.0.

“We will have to ensure the governance structure of the Digital Strategy is appropriate for that,” he says, but no decisions have yet been made on the matter.

“MED will, no doubt, retain an advisor role, as is appropriate for the lead policy advice agency,” Cunliffe says.

Earlier this year, (Computerworld, January 30) Macaulay, then still in his Digital Strategy role, said it was very difficult for someone from a business environment to deliver outcomes within a regulatory environment.

“If there were a regulatory issue, say with Telecom, I couldn’t talk to the party involved. That’s stupid,” he said.

Macaulay is now working for the Ministry of Health, spearheading an effort to aggregate broadband demand.

The aim is to bring all educational and health facilities within a district together when presenting a case to telcos for investment in broadband infrastructure.

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