Future focus areas

This section covers areas where some preparatory work has been undertaken. These work areas have been identified as important to progress. However, further policy planning, development and/or dedicated funding are required to shape up work programmes in the future.

Data-driven innovation

The value of using data to create new products and services is one of the core foundations of the digital economy. Data fuels growth, drives innovation, and enables the development of new products and services developed by the digital technologies sector, including for other sectors.

Data and analytics are now being viewed as an increasingly important asset, helping to drive economic development and build competitive advantage.[1] Data is a critical factor in production, complementing labour, physical capital, and is a key asset for innovation.

Having greater access to data resources is critical for the future growth of the digital technologies sector. Adoption and use of data-driven technologies such as the Internet of Things, 5G and AI are also driving the increased datafication of the global economy.

However, within New Zealand, many organisations continue to have low data maturity with relatively few embracing data as a basis for making decisions at the upper management or board level. Instead, many New Zealand decision-makers prefer to rely on “gut feel” and experience.[2]

A Productivity Commission report addressing capability at the board level found the necessary cultural shifts evident in overseas markets have not occurred within New Zealand.[3] One result of this low data maturity is a general under-appreciation of the value of data, leading to slower adoption of data-driven technologies and business models that could boost innovation and productivity across the economy. In turn, this can impact the digital technologies sector as a data-intensive industry.

To begin to address these issues, MBIE, together with the i4 Group (a consortium of industry, academia, and not-for-profit stakeholders) across 2021/22 established and executed the i4 Data Driven Innovation Education Pilot. The objective of the pilot was to promote widespread understanding of the value of data and support the use of data-driven technologies to help fuel innovation, productivity, sustainability, and inclusion.

This pilot created a platform to share resources, including tools that businesses can draw from to better understand the value of data and the opportunities that the sharing and pooling of data can provide, not only for their organisation, but for the entire New Zealand economy.

Data: A strategic asset(external link) — i4 Institute

Artificial intelligence

AI has potential to drive innovation and contribute to improved social, environmental, and economic outcomes for New Zealanders. The draft ITP work programme proposed the advancement of an AI Strategy to explore the benefits and risks of using AI. Sector feedback confirmed that this work would be valuable as AI is increasingly used as general-purpose technology and adopted across the public and private sectors.

Some initial work was developed by MBIE in conjunction with the AI Forum, on draft “cornerstones” to underpin a future AI Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand. These included the aim that all AI innovation and adoption across New Zealand is done safely and ethically, with the full trust and support of New Zealanders. Future work could look to advance development of an AI Strategy that helps New Zealand leverage the economic opportunities of this technology in a trustworthy way.

More broadly, because AI is informed by data, our ability to advance ethical and innovative development and use of AI depends heavily on building a trustworthy and ethical data ecosystem. To fully realise the economic development potential from AI, it will be crucial to have in place the necessary safeguards to promote an appropriate balance of objectives for both ethical and innovative uses of data. Future work on this issue has relevance beyond the scope of the digital technologies sector.

One of the forward-looking issues signposted in the DSA Action Plan is data ethics and the development and use of AI. The DSA identifies there are opportunities in the next few years to raise awareness of the value of data-driven and next generation technologies, including AI. The DSA Action Plan identifies work to build data ethics capability within the public sector and to continue exploring the merits of establishing a Centre for Data Ethics by 2025.

Government Procurement

Each year, the New Zealand public sector spends $51.5 billion on goods and services, which has a major impact on the wellbeing of New Zealanders.  

Government procurement can play an important role in helping to support New Zealand businesses. Access to procurement opportunities contributes to the growth of export-capable businesses, local skills and expertise, and high-quality employment.

What has the Government achieved to date?

  • Reformed the government procurement policy settings in New Zealand to focus on achieving public value that will benefit New Zealanders, including through the introduction of Broader Outcomes in the Government Procurement Rules.
  • Introduced a requirement for government agencies to consider how to create opportunities for New Zealand businesses for government contracts, including Māori, Pasifika, regional businesses, and social enterprises.[4]
  • Created more equitable outcomes for Māori through the Progressive Procurement policy.[5]
  • Made improvements to the Marketplace website and is publishing actual expenditure through the Marketplace online.
  • Launched a suite of automated and customisable common commercial documents to generate more consistent, simpler, and fit for purpose procurement documents.
  • Made significant improvements to the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS) and government procurement website.
  • Published historic GETS contract award notices as open data and produces a quarterly upload of GETS data, all free and accessible to the public.[6]

What is the Government planning to do next?

The Government’s 2030 vision is 'Government procurement supports people, communities and businesses to thrive and grow as they aspire to'. To achieve this, a comprehensive, long term work programme will be implemented to position government procurement for the future and ensure that it is a strong lever for advancing the Government’s priorities and contributing to New Zealand’s well-being.[7]

Core features of this Procurement for the Future work programme are to significantly improve the transparency of public spending; modernise and digitise procurement; and make it easier for New Zealand businesses to deal with government.[8] Many of the issues raised by the sector during the draft ITP engagement process are within scope of this programme.

Over time, the Government will:

  • Adopt appropriate data standards, including the Open Contracting Data Standard, to allow aggregation and sharing of data across the system.
  • Modernise procurement through the development of a digital procurement platform which will, over time, enable agencies and suppliers to shift their procurement activities to an entirely digital environment.
  • Continue to evolve the “Document Builder” capability to streamline the creation of procurement documentation and make it easier for business to deal with government through the creation of consistent and fit for purpose procurement documents.
  • Create and publish a GETS dashboard looking at trends and analyses of both published and awarded tenders.
  • Develop and implement a sector leadership model for government procurement. Sector leadership aims to improve delivery, market resilience and consistency of practice through a significant change in the way that we apply commercial and subject matter expertise to complex, specialist areas of procurement, such as ICT. More information and engagement on this initiative will occur this year.

2023 – initial priorities

  • Develop, publish, and promote guidance to support government agencies to increase New Zealand businesses’ access to ICT government contract opportunities.
  • Establish a Data Governance forum to enable pan-system agreement on data interoperability and adherence to data standards (Open Contracting Data Standards) and uniqueness.
  • Include data standards compliance and uniformity within any procurement technology changes or implementations.
  • Publish government spend information and data; this includes the All-of-Government contracts.
  • Determine the best way to publish estimated ICT spend data to give the market a reliable and accurate view of the pipeline of spend. It is anticipated that publishing a view of estimate spend through the Marketplace, and potentially other capabilities, could begin in early 2023.


[1] Data and analytics refer to the ways data is managed to support all uses of data and the analysis of data to drive improved decisions, business processes and outcomes, such as discovering new business risks, challenges, and opportunities. Source: Gartner. [Back to text]

[2] Sapere & Covec, Data Driven Innovation in New Zealand, 2015. [Back to text]

[3] BRG Institute, New Zealand Frontier Firms: A capabilities –based perspective: August 2020. [Back to text]

[4] Government Procurement Rule 17(external link) — Procurement.govt.nz [Back to text]

[5] Each year, at least 5% of the total number of relevant government contracts must be awarded to Māori-owned businesses. The Government is on track to meet this target and has committed to investing a further $26 million over the next 2 years to continue to build Māori business capability and achieve significant social and economic impact. 

More information on progressive procurement(external link) — Te Puni Kōkiri [Back to text]

[6] Open data [Back to text]

[7] What is the procurement for the future(external link) — Procurement.govt.nz [Back to text]

[8] What is the procurement for the future(external link) — Procurement.govt.nz [Back to text]