The ITx 2018 Programme may change without notice
New Zealand’s ICT sector is growing and faces a skills shortage. At the same time, a number of regions are struggling economically and have unemployment well above the national average. This presentation will provide an analysis of these regional differences, and look at options to turn such disparities into opportunities for regional growth and digital inclusion.
The presentation will examine regional characteristics of NZ ICT usage and productivity, showing that both economic and social involvement in ICT in New Zealand is unevenly distributed, with some towns and even whole regions well behind the national average.
At a regional or even district/ town level, the presentation will describe:
• Broadband availability: UFB1/2/2+, RBI1/2 deployment, copper upgrades (vectored VDSL), 3G/ 4G LTE fixed wireless
• Internet uptake: UFB1/2/2+ uptake (varied between 20% and 47% in late 2017) as well as RBI1/2, mobile phone penetration
• Regional economies: Key industries in each region, and known ICT characteristics of these sectors
• Regional population statistics such as:
o Household income/ GDP per capita,
o Employment (participation rate, unemployment, underemployment),
o NEET (youth not in Employment, Education or Training)
• Regional ICT statistics such as:
o % of households not connected to the internet (World Internet Project, 2020 Trust)
o Share of employment in the ICT sector (Stats NZ/ MBIE)
o ICT share of regional GDP (Stats NZ/ MBIE)
• At a more qualitative level, local projects and assets of importance e.g. Hawaiiki Cable (Northland), earthquake rebuilds (Canterbury, Marlborough), RocketLab (Wairoa), ICT incubators/ accelerators.
The presentation will then look at how provincial areas in other countries have tackled economic development challenges and digital divide issues. These range from Special Economic Zones and tax breaks to backing specific infrastructure projects, to practical initiatives aimed at building the skills of the unemployed, senior citizens etc.
In conclusion, the paper will suggest some ways in which Government, NGOs and industry might re-focus their efforts to invigorate the ICT sector in the regions of New Zealand. Hypothetically, one region might be well behind on access, so additional focus on connectivity may be appropriate, while another might need more focus on NEET rangatahi.
Rohan MacMahon is an Auckland-based management consultant who has worked in and around the technology sector for over 20 years. He was formerly strategy director at Crown Fibre Holdings, and has also held executive roles at Telstra (Australia) and Accenture.
In the "dot com" period he ran a Web services start-up. In early 2017 he formed Wollemi Consulting. Rohan holds bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Law from the University of Sydney.
Project Lead, TechWeek Waikato
Jannat Maqbool is an accomplished academic, CPA and former CIO, completing a Masters of Digital Business at Waikato University and actively engaged in the NZ technology sector. She has a focus on leveraging technology in innovative ways to benefit individuals, organisations and communities, and in addition to lecturing and developing academic programmes at Wintec, Jannat works with the team at Waikato Innovation Growth, is a board member at CultivateIT, a Principal Advisor at Ecosystm and is involved with technology projects in the areas of IoT, Fintech and Agritech.
Jannat is passionate about the role of technology in enabling business and regional growth and has extensive experience managing and supporting mid to large-scale technology adoption initiatives. She is currently involved in curating and supporting events and initiatives in the Waikato to generate awareness and facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration around emerging technologies including the IoT Waikato future tech meetups and leading Techweek’18, as well as engaging industry with schools and tertiary institutions in the areas of STEAM.