NZ businesses “apathetic and risk averse” says NZTech deputy chair

New Zealand has been accused of lagging behind other countries in technology adoption by Rachel Kelly, deputy chair of NZTech and director of Waikato business growth company SparkTank. 

Her comments, directed mainly at BZ businesses in general, are somewhat at odds with recent bullish comments on the health of New Zealand’s IT industry by other representatives of NZTech. 

Kelly aired her views on a Tv1 documentary, What Next, on 11 June, ahead of which she issued a statement saying, “Our biggest problem is our culture. We have a culture of apathy and risk aversion. The apathy and risk aversion is not serving us.” 

She added: “Only in the last 16 months have I been hearing NZ companies talk about business intelligence, open data sharing and analytics.” 

She contrasted New Zealand businesses with her experience of living in California saying: “[In California] you get this sense that companies are in a constant battle – working almost tirelessly to stay five steps ahead of the competitor. 

“Yes, we are slowly ramping up. Yes, we are hearing about more success in the news, but it's our everyday businesses that aren't staying with the times, let alone ahead of the curve.” 

The Government also copped a serve with Kelly saying: “There are arms of the government where they are trying to innovate. However, government wasn’t built for speed. It was built for scale.” 

A year ago NZTech CEO Graeme Muller said the New Zealand technology landscape was surging ahead. “New Zealand ICT’s contribution to GDP growth has been higher than any other OECD country from 2001 to 2013.” 

 According to NZTech, the IT sector employed about 100,000 people, and accounted for eight percent of GDP) and over $6.3 billion in exports. 

Last month, releasing a manifesto for New Zealand’s digital future calling for the creation of a Ministry for the Future, Muller said the tech sector was New Zealand’s third largest exporter and growing fast. 

Kelly suggested it could become the largest export sector: “If we, New Zealand, became early adopters as well as empowered our young people to work at crafting technology to solve every-day problems, we could see our tech sector grow from being our third biggest export to our number one export.”

 

 

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