Executive summary

There is a significant growth story ahead for successful digital technology firms in Aotearoa New Zealand. Given our distance from markets, these companies are important because they are global from day one, have a lower environmental footprint on average, are not constrained physically so are scalable, and present a pathway to high paying jobs for more New Zealanders. These are some of the reasons for backing New Zealand’s digital technologies sector.

Cascading from the Government’s Economic Strategy, through the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa (DSA), this Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) seeks to support the transformation of the New Zealand economy and the sector.

ITPs support the Government’s overarching priorities to accelerate the economic recovery to achieve a high wage, low emissions economy.

The digital technologies sector was selected for an ITP not only because of its growth potential, but also because of the broader role it can play in modernising and diversifying our economy. Achieving a high wage, low emissions economy requires careful planning with an inclusive approach built into its development and implementation. Ongoing global uncertainty increases the need for us to work together to ensure our people and our businesses are supported, future-focused and resilient.

The digital technologies sector is an important contributor to the economy. Economic and social spill-over benefits from digital technologies include improving productivity, enabling access to global markets, providing innovative solutions for environmental sustainability and supporting social interactions.

The ITP has been in development since late 2019, and a draft was released for public consultation in February 2022. Extensive engagement with the sector has been based around the proposed work programme. Since then, a number of initiatives have been completed, while some are in progress and others are soon to begin. 

Digital Technologies ITP at a glance

ITP VISION: The world looks to Aotearoa New Zealand as a leader in ethical, innovative, inclusive and sustainable digital technologies. These technologies enable our economy to prosper, help our businesses to grow stronger and compete internationally, and contribute to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

Immediate focus areas

Growing export success

  • SaaS Ecosystem:
    • SaaS Community
    • SaaS Short Courses
    • SaaS Database
  • Game development

Telling our tech story

New Zealand from space.

  • International tech story
  • Domestic tech story

Enhancing the skills and talent pipeline

2 people looking at a bionic hand

  • Targeted implementation of the digital skills and talent plan
  • Coordination and oversight forum

Enriching Māori inclusion and enterprise

Woman gesticulating at work with man smiling in the background

  • Māori Tech Ecosystem Research
  • Māori Tech Annual Report

Future focus areas

  • Data-Driven Innovation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Government Procurement

This document mostly focuses on initiatives already underway or soon to commence. These initiatives will support the sector’s future growth. There are four immediate focus areas:

  1. Growing export success - growing the export potential of New Zealand’s digital technology companies, with an initial focus on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) firms (and game development as a future priority sub-sector).
  2. Telling our tech story - showcasing the scope and potential of digital technologies in New Zealand to both overseas and domestic audiences.
  3. Enhancing the skills and talent pipeline - equipping more New Zealanders, from a wider variety of backgrounds, with the technical and soft skills needed to work and thrive in the digital technologies sector, and to grow businesses in the sector (as well as other sectors now reliant on digital technologies).
  4. Enriching Māori inclusion and enterprise – promoting and supporting activity that enhances Māori leadership and participation in the digital technologies sector and appropriately builds on mātauranga Māori.

This ITP sets out a vision and actions across the focus areas to support the transformation of the digital technologies sector.

Other areas of work have also been identified as future focus areas for the ITP. These areas are outlined in a separate section where we describe potential initiatives that would require further scoping and development if taken forward.

The work proposed throughout this ITP will propel the digital technologies sector forward by supporting its growth and productivity, which will in turn improve the diversity and prosperity of the wider New Zealand economy.

The work to date to develop and refine the ITP has been done in a strong working partnership with key stakeholders, and this will continue as we look to realise the opportunities for industry transformation ahead.

This ITP will remain a living document, given the pace of change in the industry, the ongoing need to ensure that our efforts are targeting the right areas, and emerging opportunities and challenges. MBIE will continue to work with other agencies and industry stakeholders to implement the actions outlined in the ITP.

A Governance Partnership Board has been established to oversee the implementation of the ITP. The Partnership Board will initially be made up of a diverse group of industry body representatives, Māori and other sector leaders plus government representatives.