Government to create chief technology officer role

The new government has put the creation of a chief technology officer role at the top of list of priorities across digital technology, media and open government

The new government has put the creation of a chief technology officer role at the top of list of priorities across digital technology, media and open government, set out in a speech by the minister of broadcasting, communications and digital media and government digital services, Clare Curran, at InternetNZ’s NetHui 2017.

Curran said the chief technology officer would be responsible for preparing and overseeing a national digital architecture, or roadmap, for the next five to ten years.

She said her priorities for the next 100 days would include “laying the ground work for establishing the position of a ‘chief technology officer for NZ’ with responsibility for preparing and overseeing a ‘National Digital Architecture’ or roadmap for the next 5-10 years including fibre optic capabilities, 5G/6G/7G and beyond in mobile technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, digital fabrication, AR/VR and the Internet Of Things.”

She added: “I have already sought advice on how that position can be created, its reporting functions and key objectives. It’s a priority.

However the government already has someone in the role of  “government chief technology officer” according to the web site of ICT.govt.nz “the official site for the New Zealand Government ICT functional leader, the government chief information officer.”

His name is Tim Occleshaw and, the web site says: “Reporting to the GCIO, Tim provides key support, capability and implementation functions. He is responsible for leading delivery of the Government ICT strategy and action plan, implementing ICT assurance, and developing and managing ICT common capabilities across government.”

It adds: “Tim is also the deputy chief executive, service and system transformation, at the Department of Internal Affairs.” His LinkedIn page says he has held this post for the past five years.

Curran said also that the Government would:

- begin work on a blueprint for digital inclusion to address the emerging digital divide;  establish RNZ+ as the centrepiece of a full non-commercial public media service for all New Zealanders;

- institute a process for the proactive release of government information:

- create a framework for strengthening citizens’ rights in the digital environment.

She said the government would be “modern, future-focused and innovative” and would “work collaboratively with industry, non-government organisations and communities.”

She also promised to convene reference groups in her key portfolio areas and task them with pulling together leading thinkers and actors in each area, from inside government and across industry, local government, Māoridom, non-government organisations and community groups “to ensure that the best thinking is applied to realising Government policy.”

Curran said: “This Government intends to progress its goals to close the digital divide by 2020, and to make ICT the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025.

“New Zealanders rightly expect that their government should behave in a predictable, open and transparent way and ensure that nobody is left behind. The internet and digital tools are fundamental to us achieving these goals.”

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