Report ‘demonstrates strength of ICT sector’ says Bridges

Economic Development minister Simon Bridges has released the Government’s 2017 ICT Sector report

Economic Development minister Simon Bridges has released the Government’s 2017 ICT Sector report saying it demonstrates the strength of New Zealand’s technology sector.

The 94 page report, the third in a series, was launched in Wellington on 28 July at the opening of ProjectR, a centre for virtual, augmented and mixed reality focussed on R&D.

It provides updated information on the sector with a focus on New Zealand firms developing and exporting information technology services and software. It provides a wealth of information on businesses, including employment and skills, investment, innovation, financial performance and the role of the sector in New Zealand’s economy.

The report says it does not aim to draw policy conclusions. “The aim is to provide a comprehensive report card on the state of New Zealand’s ICT sector for business people, exporters, policy makers, media commentators, economists, academics, students and anyone with an interest in New Zealand’s economic development.”

However it does claim to build on the 2015 Building a Digital Nation report, published as part of the Business Growth Agenda’s Building Innovation report, that “provided a detailed picture of the Government’s work to enable New Zealand to become a leading digital nation.” It notes the four action plans for key government initiatives to support: A thriving digital sector; technology-enabled digital businesses; connected and confident digital new Zealanders; a digital government.

Bridges said: “The tagline for this report is ‘success breeds success’ and we are certainly starting to see a virtuous circle with more startups and more firms achieving scale. Job creation and increased incomes are the natural flow on from success, with wages in IT products and services consistently around double the New Zealand average.”

He added: “Our challenge is to further develop our training and career pathways to meet the demands of the sector. This is not only vital for the future of the sector itself, but also for New Zealand’s economic future.”

He picked out the report’s key findings as being

• 10,700 more jobs in computer system design today than in 2010.

• 54 computer system design firms that employ more than 100 people – nine more than in 2015, about the same number of large firms as in the machinery and manufacturing sector.

• $436 million spent by computer services businesses on R&D, with much of the recent growth in business R&D being due to businesses in this sector.

• Average salaries and wages close to $100,000 in computer system design firms (twice the New Zealand average).

• Exports close to a $1 billion.  

Business Growth Agenda updated

Release of the ICT sector report co-incided with release of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda 2017 Refresh Report by Bridges and finance minister Steven Joyce.

Joyce said it reflected the Government’s ongoing commitment to responsible financial and economic management, together with a sustained programme of micro-economic reform and large infrastructure investments.

The ministers highlighted several key actions across the main work programmes including, under the category of ‘building innovation’: “Maintain and extend the growth of New Zealand’s hi-tech sector, and use Callaghan Innovation programmes, the Primary Growth Partnership and the Endeavour Fund to maintain the growth in Business R&D to at least one percent of GDP.”    

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