Executive Summary

Technology is transforming vast numbers of New Zealand jobs. Work done in entirely new technology businesses, the huge range of knowledge and media endeavours, the factory floor, and even family businesses have been reshaped by new pathways to information and new ways of selling goods and services. For most office workers now, life on the job means life online.1

However New Zealand lacks a comprehensive vision for how we deal with technology. This means New Zealand isn’t properly managing the opportunities and issues around the reduction in the tyranny of distance, international labour markets, delays in developments, capital costs, uptake in technology, and the policies to support new forms of working.

The Government will need to tackle the challenges of an on-demand economy, accessibility, big data, changing social habits, and defining work to develop a vision. This gives New Zealand the opportunity to shape and sustain the technology sector to build higher value jobs and create opportunities.

There is a vast array of policy options to tackle these including: a Chief Technology Officer, expansion of free WiFi, a framework for big data use, teaching coding in all schools, digital work hub communities, protecting software from patent restrictions, freeing up more venture capital and crowdfunding, investing in start-ups, and migration policy changes.

We have the opportunity to be extraordinarily successful at “riding the tiger” of innovation to create decent work with higher wages, but, only if the vision, strategy and investment exist.

Key Questions

  • What do you see as the opportunities arising from new technology?

  • What do you see as the challenges posed by technology?

  • What policy solutions should Labour be looking at around technology change?

  • What do you think of the issues and proposals raised in this paper?

 1   Pew Research Centre, 30 Dec 2014, “Technology’s Impact on Workers”,

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