Communications Minister Clare Curran has released a report, Digital New Zealanders: The Pulse of our Nation, which highlights the nation’s digital divide.
Curran says 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.
Curran says the previous government didn’t make the report public until after the election as it exposed the digital divide in New Zealand.
“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,” stresses Curran.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Overall, the report outlines a need for a single, nationwide policy framework on digital inclusion in New Zealand with input from digitally disadvantaged groups and informed by economic data.
This report, together with other research and data that is currently available, will serve as a valuable input to the development of the Government’s blueprint for digital inclusion.
The Government will develop this 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,” Curran concludes.
You can read the full report here.