National wants to double the size of New Zealand’s technology sector this decade as part of its "NZ Tech 2030" plan, which aims to create at least 100,000 high-paying, future-proofed tech jobs.
The plan, under which a Minister of Technology will be established, will target students at low-decile schools with 1000 tertiary scholarships a year in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) degrees.
“Doubling the size of the technology sector by 2030 is an ambitious goal, but one that I am serious about achieving,” National leader Judith Collins said in a statement.
“We’re sending a strong message to New Zealand’s best and brightest minds, both here and overseas, that technology and innovation will be championed by a National Government.”
Under the plan, three targeted investment funds for tech start-ups will be set up with the cost of $200 million split evenly between Government and the private sector.
“National’s NZ Tech 2030 plan will diversify our exports, level-up our economic productivity, and generate thousands of high-paying, future-proofed jobs for New Zealanders.”
Collins said the 50,000 Kiwis who were returning to Aotearoa because of the global pandemic meant “now is the time to harness their talent and create an ecosystem of technology companies in New Zealand”.
“Our tech sector has amazing potential. If we attract the right talent and create an environment for growth, it could be bigger than our dairy sector in 10 to 15 years,” she said.
A National-led Government would develop the “world’s most tech friendly regulation” as it aspires to double New Zealand’s technology sector to $16 billion per annum by 2030.
Currently, Aotearoa’s technology exports are worth $8 billion per annum, equal to forestry and seafood exports combined.
The NZ Tech 2030 plan is expected to have a total cost of $1.29 billion, National said in a statement.
The first four years will cost $690 million with infrastructure upgrades over the following six years expected to cost another $600m, the party said in a statement.
National’s NZ Tech 2030 plan also includes policies to:
· Introduce a fast-track technology skills visa
· Invest $1 billion in technology infrastructure upgrades with the aim of achieving 100 Mbps uncapped internet speeds for everyone using ultra-fast broadband.
· Develop the world’s most tech-friendly regulation
The plan will be unveiled at Auckland’s Buckley Systems Limited this morning, with Collins highlighting Bill Buckley, the founder of the precision electromagnets business, as an example of what Kiwis in tech can do.
“Bill is a prime example of a Kiwi innovator with exceptional talent who is doing amazing things on the world stage. We need to nurture more like him,” Collins said.
The announcement of the tech plan comes after National called a $4 billion error in its fiscal election plan an "irritating mistake" over the weekend.
The party had accidentally based part of its debt target figures on older information.