Williamson gets IT spokesmanship

National Party leader Don Brash has installed Maurice Williamson as IT spokesman, breaking the role out from telecommunications, which remains with John Key.

National Party leader Don Brash has installed Maurice Williamson as IT spokesman, breaking the role out from telecommunications, which remains with John Key.

“I’ve spoken to both men and they agree the two roles can be separate.”

Brash says IT is important for the national economy but he has no intention of focusing on it as a special growth sector as the Labour-led government has done.

“I don’t want to designate that sector as more important than others.”

However, ITANZ is hoping differently. The head of the IT association, Jim O’Neill, says between now and the next election he’ll be working to gain IT more prominence in National policy terms.

“Our role is to elevate that to a different level,” O’Neill says, adding that the organisation has ongoing talks with all the political parties.

Brash’s unwillingness to give IT special status can be seen as him not wanting to disclose policy directions too early, O’Neill believes. He expects it to be addressed as part of National’s economic policy.

Meanwhile, O’Neill says ITANZ will have “no problem at all” working with Williamson, whose abilities the organisation knows well.

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