The Government is investing to support the growth of New Zealand’s digital technologies sector in Budget 2022, guiding the country towards a high-wage, low emissions economy, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark announced today.
“In 2020, the digital technologies sector contributed $7.4 billion to the economy. Since 2015 it has, on average, grown about 77 percent faster than the general economy,” David Clark said.
“We have been working with industry on a Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan (ITP), to help our tech companies fulfil their huge potential as generators of high-value jobs and export revenue.
“Budget 2022 provides an additional $20 million over four years towards two key initiatives in the ITP.
“We will support the growth of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Community and take ‘New Zealand’s Tech and Innovation Story’, a marketing initiative led by industry in partnership with government, to the world.
“This will include key global markets such as; the United States, Australia and Europe.
“New Zealand has a number of globally successful SaaS companies and we want that to increase. The SaaS subsector has experienced sustained growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly doubled both its export revenue and headcount within a five-year window.
“As a small island nation, a long way from traditional markets, a strong digital economy allows us to leverage what kiwis have to offer – no matter our geographic location, the time or place.
“Through this new funding, the SaaS Community can build its momentum further and expand its network. It will also support the delivery of short courses for digital skills development.
“We know for the digital sector to grow, it needs access to the right people. Historically, there has been a “skills mismatch”, but the key to future success is training our domestic talent with the right skills, and encouraging New Zealanders to participate, whatever their background.
“However, if we want our tech workforce to be world leaders, it makes sense they learn from world leaders. Government’s recently announced rebalance of immigration system will help alleviate some of the immediate pressures on industry, enabling businesses to lure skilled labour from offshore.
“Several key senior roles will receive a fast track to residence pathway through the Green List, including: ICT managers, software engineers, ICT security specialists (if they are paid $120,000 or more); and multimedia specialists (paid $95,000 or more).
“For the Tech Story initiative, the new funding will build on work already underway to promote our vibrant tech sector both locally and internationally. We will begin shifting perceptions of our country and rebrand as a global contender in the tech market.
“While this is an exciting step for these two initiatives, it’s important to note that the ITP is a long-term vehicle for growing the digital technologies sector. I remain committed to the other industry initiatives which were well supported in consultation, and look forward to releasing the final ITP in the coming months,” David Clark said.