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NZTech Inform – emerging tech regulation

Helping create a prosperous New Zealand, underpinned by technology, brings plenty of variety.  

This evening, I am attending an AI Forum event to help form New Zealand’s policy approach to autonomous weapons systems (AWS).  In 2017, when we established the AI Forum,  I never expected this community would be engaging in New Zealand’s disarmament strategy!  However, AWS that can identify, select and attack their own targets raises profound legal and ethical questions.  As the Government seeks a more active role in prohibiting and placing controls on AWS, emerging technologies need to be carefully considered.

If you’re interested, this is a valuable opportunity to engage directly with Minister Twyford and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and discuss policy and regulation of AWS.  

Meanwhile, if you are interested in the work behind the scenes on the R&D tax incentive (RDTI), the Government has just published the Review of the Implementation of the RDTI report by PWC. This report, along with feedback from NZTech and others has informed the work over the past few months, resulting in improvements in access for software developers.  In a joint statement, MBIE, Inland Revenue and Callaghan Innovation highlighted the improvements to date and their desire to continue making improvements to make sure we have a world class R&D incentive.

Tomorrow, I am attending a workshop on tech talent and immigration with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Callaghan Innovation and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) as part of the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan (ITP).  We are working to find ways to support immediate growth opportunities for the sector and economy.  

We still need more information, not just anecdotes, of the challenges being faced by firms trying to recruit tech talent today.  So please help by completing our Critical Workers Immigration Survey. So far, we have received 171 responses, with 36 firms indicating they have lodged an immigration application.  Subsequently, nine firms have provided examples of applications that have been denied. The 171 firms who have responded are currently trying to recruit 1063 IT workers, proving there is massive pressure on the system.  Our aim is to help enable easier, faster access to the tech talent needed to support New Zealand’s digital transformation and economic recovery.  Please share your views and join the discussion at our next Connect Event – Addressing the Tech Talent Shortage on 1 July in Auckland.

On Wednesday, I am in Christchurch attending a hui with Ngāi Tahu Tokona Te Raki and Regional Investments, Ngāi Tūāhuriri Whitiora and MBIE connecting Ngāi Tahu’s innovative digital work with the Digital Tech ITP.  In particular, we will be looking for opportunities to pilot, or collaborate on regional programmes that are by Māori for Māori, and help increase the proportion of Māori in the digital workforce.

Finally, Friday sees me back in Auckland, attending a workshop with the NZ Data Science and Analytics Forum, an informal community that has been meeting since 2013 and now communicates with over 2,500 people.  Data is critical for the future of New Zealand’s growth and prosperity, and is a foundation pillar of the Digital Tech ITP.  It will be interesting to be part of the scoping for the next phase of evolution for this important community.
We are currently looking for a Community Manager to help run BlockchainNZ, LocationTechNZ and the IoT Alliance.  If you know anyone who would enjoy this opportunity, please let them know.

Have a great week.

Ngā mihiGraeme Muller

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NZTech We connect, promote and advance the New Zealand Technology ecosystem to help the tech sector and the economy grow.