The technological developments threatening the value of electricity lines companies include the increasing use of solar panels installed on rooftops, increasingly effective batteries and electric cars.
"We do not want the government to remain long term as a significant influence and participant in the telecommunications sector because it will stuff it up," Bill English told the conference.
Bill English said sound regulation had built a more resilient economy, and pointed to "the dairy price shock" as an example.
Inland Revenue’s high-profile $2 billion ICT business transformation project is only the most visible point of an extremely large, changing iceberg of how government is done in New Zealand.
Rob Hosking talks to some of the people who are not so much driving the changes as surfing the shift in public attitudes causing the changes