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‘Pulse of the Nation’ report exposes digital divide

Communications Minister Clare Curran has released a report outlining the digital divide in New Zealand – a report the previous government sat on for several months. 

“In line with our commitment to open government, I’m releasing the report ‘Digital New Zealanders: The Pulse of our Nation’ which the previous government didn’t make public until after the election as it exposed the digital divide in New Zealand,” Ms Curran says.

“We’re doing well in terms of improving connectivity for New Zealanders, but while more people are getting better connectivity, more people are also being left behind.

“Families on low incomes, seniors, and people living outside urban areas are becoming increasingly disenfranchised by lack of access, the inability to afford the internet or a lack of skills or motivation to be digitally capable.

“This report was a very low budget literature review. It‘s a good foundation but this Government intends to do much more so we can find real solutions for real people.” 

The report sets out the need for a single, nationwide policy framework on digital inclusion in New Zealand with input from digitally disadvantaged groups and informed by robust economic data.
 
“We know not all New Zealanders are participating equally in the digital world – and we need to better understand why that is, and what solutions may be effective in changing that,” Ms Curran says.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel and have only to look at the international examples in this report to see what is in train and working around the world. We need to determine what works specifically for us and make it happen.” 

This report, together with other research and data that is currently available, will be a valuable input to the development of the new government’s blueprint for digital inclusion which we will be developing with the assistance of a soon to be established Advisory Group. 

“The group will help us explore the complex but fundamental issues of how we can reduce the gap between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ and will help determine what skills Kiwis need to be ready for the jobs of the future,” Ms Curran says.

A full copy of the report is available at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/science-innovation/digital-economy/digital-new-zealanders-the-pulse-of-our-nation-may-2017.pdf.

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