Former National Party IT spokesman Maurice Williamson says his speaking appearance at a Computer Society breakfast in Auckland last week wasn’t timed to signal a return to the IT role, and was one of several engagements of the past few months.
However, Williamson says he would be happy to resume the IT and communications spokesmanships if his suspension from the National caucus is lifted this week, as is widely expected.
The party board meets on Wednesday to discuss Williamson’s rehabilitation, after a clash with former National leader Bill English made him persona non grata. English’s replacement, Don Brash, has indicated his eagerness to return Williamson to a more prominent position in the party.
National is without an IT spokesperson at present, while communications is the responsibility of first-term MP John Key.
Williamson says he believes the IT portfolio today is as important as broadcasting was in the 1930s and 1940s.
“I persuaded [former Prime Minister] Jim Bolger to create the IT portfolio,” Williamson says.
“I would work to raise levels of IT consciousness and literacy within the political wing and even within the bureaucracy.”
Williamson’s view of open source software, an issue many governments have formed policies around, is that decisions about its deployment should be left to the heads of government agencies.