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NZTech CEO: 'We don't have enough big ICT companies'

Sathya Mithra Ashok | Feb. 4, 2014
Candace Kinser, CEO of NZ Technology Industry Association (NZTech), chats with ComputerWorld NZ on the important issues facing the country's ICT sector and how the association is working with both the government and the industry to enable faster, stronger growth in the future.

After that you work backwards to high schools and elementary schools, and work down that way. Immigration NZ is fantastic and supportive. They have already got this worked into the program. It is just a matter of us working together to find some more solutions.

The second aspect is working with the universities and the polytechnics to update and change the curriculum.

The third step is pressuring government to look at changing policy around how teaching is funded at universities and increase the number of available seats.

It is a matter of push and pull. We need to push the kids to generate interest. We need to pull the levers with the government to open up available seats. Going forward, we also need to work with education facilities from middle school and high school all the way through to help them understand where technology is going.

In NZ, the universities are funded based on their research, and not necessarily on how or what they teach. In other countries such as the US and Europe, they are funded based on what they teach and how they actually get their students through it. Ideally we would start moving towards that funding mechanism in the future, particularly for science and technology subjects. It is a hard change to bring about, but one that we need to move towards.

Q: What would be your wishlist of the NZ government?

CK: It is the government's responsibility to provide a framework, not theirs to be the bank for businesses or universities. From my perspective, I believe that being able to create enabling legislation that the education system can utilise, being able to take advantage of technology or best practices that are being done in other parts of the world, to learn from those, and to say 'look, these are the frameworks within the education environment that are producing highly motivated, highly skilled students that are completely capable of operating in the 21st century in the digital framework'. That is one part of it.

The second part of it is when you look at growth and funding in high growth companies, there are some real issues that we have. For example, having our Kiwi entrepreneurs live and work in the US is very difficult because we don't have the agreements with US immigration that Australia does. For Australians, it is very easy to live and work and do their business in the US. Their government works very closely with the US to make that work.

We have been delinquent in that area. There is this whole list of requests when it comes to export entrepreneurs who are not just going to the US but all around the world. We also need frameworks around different taxes, subsidising around R&D and related credits and creating joint initiatives with other countries. That is the framework we need. It is not necessarily throwing money at entrepreneurs so that they hop on a plane and go overseas.

 

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