Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Ministerial Advisory Group

A Ministerial Advisory Group for the Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion was established in February 2018.

The purpose of the Group is to bring together innovators, leading thinkers and actors from central and local government, non-governmental organisations, Māoridom, industry, and community groups to advise government on how it can best meet its objectives to grow the digital economy and reduce digital divides, so that all New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses can benefit from digital technologies.

The Group comprises 15 members, and is intended to reflect the diversity of New Zealand, including youth, and include perspectives from Māori.

Terms of Reference for the Group



Frances Valintine (Chair) Founder and Chairperson at The Mind Lab, and Founder/CEO of Tech Futures Lab.
Brenda Leeuwenberg Head of Innovation at NZ On Air, Board Member of Women in Film & Television, and Director of Nomad8.
Chris O’Connell Director of Heartland Connectivity Taskforce Ltd, extensively involved with broadband rollout.
Jordan Carter Chief Executive of InternetNZ.
Kaila Colbin Co-founder and Chair of Ministry of Awesome, Curator of TEDxChristchurch and SingularityU NZ and Australia Summits, Deputy Chair of CORE Education, Director of ChristchurchNZ.
Potaua Biasiny-Tule Co-Founder of Digital Natives Academy, Digital Basecamp, 4 Company B, and CEO/Managing Director of
Rohan MacMahon Management consultant and involved in business development for digital technology companies. Previously Strategy Director at Crown Fibre Holdings.
Victoria MacLennan Co-chair of NZRise, Managing Director and CEO of OptimalHQ Group, Trustee and Board Chair of Code Club Aotearoa, Chair of the Digital Skills Forum, Investor and Director.
Cathy Hardinge Founder and CEO of Digital Seniors, and Capability and Change Consultant.
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 chair of Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.
David Moskovitz Serial entrepreneur, 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. Blogs at
Damon Odey Mayor of Timaru District Council and lead Mayor for the digital connectivity work programme for the Canterbury Mayoral Forum.
Michael Taitoko CEO and co-founder of Takiwā, a digital analytics and data visualisation firm.


The payment of fees for the Advisory Group is classified as a ‘Group 4’ body under the Cabinet Fees Framework.

Read about the reimbursement of the Group members’ fees and hours of work.

Related information

Press release announcing the initial members of the Group.

Press release announcing the remaining members of the Group.

Members responsibilities [PDF 103KB].

Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat and Group [PDF 83KB]


The Group has set up five sub-groups to consider a range of issues under the broad area of digital economy and digital inclusion:

1. Digital inclusion

(Cathy Hardinge, Greg Morgan, Jordan Carter)

To consider questions relating to closing digital divides and the development of a blueprint for digital inclusion and enablement, such as:

  • What should a blueprint for digital inclusion and digital enablement look like?
  • How might we better understand the ‘digital divides’ between people who can access to the internet and use digital tools, and those who cannot?
  • What would it take to eliminate digital divides?

2. Maximising the potential of the tech sector

(Victoria MacLennan, Michael Taitoko, David Moskovitz)

To consider questions relating to the state of the ICT sector in New Zealand and increasing its contribution to the digital economy, such as:

  • What is the current state of the ICT sector and ICT capability throughout the economy, society and government?
  • How might we most effectively work together to build our digital economy, improve productivity and increase the economic benefits of the internet?
  • What would be needed for New Zealand to increase the amount ICT contributes to GDP so it is the second largest contributor to the economy by 2025?

3. Building the digital capability of SMEs/non-tech business

(Rohan MacMahon, Chris O’Connell)

To consider questions relating to small businesses and productivity, such as:

  • How might we most effectively work together to build our digital economy, improve productivity and increase the economic benefits of the internet (with a specific focus on SMEs and non-tech businesses)?/li>
  • What would be needed for New Zealand to increase its position in international measures like the Networked Readiness Index?

4. Digital connectivity

(Chris O’Connell, Damon Odey)

To consider questions relating to connectivity rollout, such as:

  • Do we need to take steps to accelerate/optimise infrastructure rollouts, such as the UFB and RBl2 projects and 5G mobile technology? If so, what steps could and should we take?

5. Adapting to disruption

(Kaila Colbin, Brenda Leeuwenberg, Potaua Biasiny-Tule)

To consider questions relating to the skillsets needed for the work of the future, the impact of disruption in New Zealand’s primary industries and other sectors, and the government’s ICT use, such as:

  • How might we identify and develop the skillsets needed for the work of the future?
  • How should Government evolve its ICT use in sectors where it plays a prominent role, such as health, education and justice?


Given the overlap between some of the issues, sub-groups will need to work closely with one another.

Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion stakeholder network

MBIE and DIA officials are putting together a network of people interested in growing the digital economy and closing digital divides. We will be inviting the network to be actively involved in contributing to and commenting on work in these areas, including work developed by the Ministerial Advisory Group on Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion.

If you would like to be part of this network, please email

Agendas and minutes

Agendas and minutes of Group meetings.

Read more…