Budget 2016 is an encouraging boost for technology, New Zealand’s fastest growing industry, according to NZTech CEO Graeme Muller.
For Muller, rising surpluses and forecast growth in the economy spells more digital and hi-tech jobs and expanding tech businesses.
“It’s heartening to see the $761 million for Innovative New Zealand, a package of science, skills and regional development initiatives to help grow and diversify the economy,” he says.
“The $2.1 billion public infrastructure package focusing on transport, schools and a fresh tax system will need significant digital input which will help grow the tech industry, which is contributing $16.2 billion to the annual gross domestic product.
“This public package will deliver better public services and we know government agencies accounts for 29percent of the ICT purchasing.
"We can see technology playing increasingly important roles in science and innovation and it is great to see the Budget allocating $410.5 million in these areas producing the 21st century skills New Zealand needs to grow our digital nation.”
For Muller, Minister of Science and Innovation Steven Joyce understands the value of the hi-tech sector, with over 20,000 jobs created in the last three years, including record numbers of highly-skilled graduates and major growth in new and emerging hi-tech sectors like the software services sector.
“I agree with him that we need more skilled people in disciplines like science, engineering, agriculture and the key trades if we are to continue to grow the new-age New Zealand economy,” Muller adds.
“Another area where technology will drive change is the IT tax system. The Budget is investing $503 million of new operating funding over the next four years and $354 million of new capital funding a new tax system so New Zealanders and their businesses can better manage their tax affairs online through digital technology.”