Curran names final seven members of digital advisory panel

Frances Valintine

Communications Minister Clare Curran has named the remaining members of her digital advisory panel.

They are:

  • Amber Craig: Councillor at Internet NZ, trust chairwoman of Whare Hauora, and chairwoman of Women Who Get Shit Done. Experience working in the ICT sector as a solutions architect. Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangitane
  • Cathy Hardinge: Founder and chief executive of Digital Seniors, and capability and change consultant
  • Robyn Kamira:  Founder and chief executive of UAV company Incredible Skies and technology company Paua Interface. Board member of Institute of IT Professionals and Hi-Tech Awards Judge.
  • Gregory Morgan: Head of digital solutions and innovation at Auckland Libraries and member of Library and Information Association of NZ Aotearoa. Former board member and committee chairman of Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.
  • David Moskovitz: Serial entrepreneur (read: Wellington startup Publons sold in multi-million deal), angel investor, company director, philanthropist, mentor, software developer and lexicographer on the Dictionary of NZ Sign Language and several Māori dictionaries. Involved in interfaith community. 
  • Damon Odey: Mayor of Timaru District Council and lead mayor for the digital connectivity work programme for the Canterbury Mayoral Forum.
  • Michael Taitoko: Chief executive and co-founder of Takiwā, a digital analytics and data visualisation firm; former ATEED and Mercury director.

EARLIER / March 17: The first eight people on Communications Minister Clare Curran's digital advisory panel have been named.

The group, which will number 14 in total, will be charged with answering 11 questions (see below) which range from making IT the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025 (meaning the technology sector would have to roughly double in size)to the best way to speed fibre and 5G deployment to closing the digital divide.

The eight named so far are:

  • IT education entrepreneur Frances Valintine, who will chair;
  • self-styled "creative tech cuzzie" Potaua Biasiny-Tule;
  • former Labour candidate and current InternetNZ group chief executive Jordan Carter,
  • ChristchurchNZ director and local TedX booster Kaila Colbin;
  • NZ on Air head of Innovation Brenda Leewenberg (who is never short of attitude on social media);
  • Aussie and erstwhile Crown Fibre strategy head Rohan MacMahon;
  • NZ Rise co-founder Victoria MacLennan (along with co-founder Don Christie, Ms MacLennan battles hard for the government to make the government tender landscape more fair for local companies);
  • Chris O'Connell, who has been laid low after major heart surgury for much of the past year, but is known for successfully battling for the rights of regional wireless internet providers during the Rural Broadband Initiative 2 funding bunfight. 

The panel so far drew universal praise on social media, though Copyright Licensing NZ chief executive Paula Browning did note that she was "Looking forward to seeing more digital content people added in the next phase."

Once the full line-up is named, the IT industry will be watching whether it the panel will be just another jargon-filled gab-fest, or will it actually make clear, hard recommendations — and whether they will be followed through.

Ms Curran is also seeking to fill the new position of chief technology officer for New Zealand. The first attempt at hiring proved a failure, with none of the 60 applicants making the cut.

The 11 questions the digital advisory group will consider

1.What is the current state of the ICT sector and ICT capability throughout the economy, society, and government?

2.What are the possible future scenarios and their relative merits?

3.What would be required to achieve an optimal future state?

4.What should a Blueprint for digital inclusion and digital enablement look like?

5.How might we most effectively work together to build our digital economy, improve productivity and increase the economic benefits of the internet?

6.How might we better understand the ‘digital divides’ between people who can have access to the internet and can use digital tools, and those who do not?

7.What would it take to eliminate digital divides by 2020?

8.How might we identify develop the skill sets needed for the work of the future?

9.Do we need to take steps to accelerate/optimise infrastructure rollouts such as UFBl/2/2+, RBl2 and 5G? If so, what steps could and should we take?

10.How should Government evolve its own ICT use in sectors where it plays a prominent role, such as health, education and justice?

11.What would be needed for New Zealand to:

a.Increase its position relative to other countries in measures like the Networked Readiness index

b.Increase the amount that ICT contributes to GDP so that it is the second largest contributor to the economy by 2025?

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