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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.

My wishlist would include working closely with the US on policy framework around core areas like skills and talent development, and export and high growth companies and their needs. Then look at domestic companies — how do we incentivise them to grow and reinvest in their business, either through R&D or increased collaboration with each other? And having some policy framework within our central government that actually pays attention and enables support for some smaller NZ companies. That does not necessarily come down to governments buying from small companies, but it comes down to perhaps incentivising the larger providers to work with smaller providers to come up with solutions.

If we look at skills talent, export-led firms, domestic and government relationships, those will uplift and help the industry to grow as a whole.

Q: How does the fragmentation nature of industry associations at local and regional levels affect a move towards national improvement of the industry?

CK: There are more than 50 industry associations that I know of which are related in one shape or form to technology and ICT. A number of them have been around a lot longer than our group has. Some of them have sprung up recently. A large number of them are regionally based.

One thing that NZ is very great at is when something needs attention and we need to do something about it, there is no shortage of people getting together and saying we are going to make a difference and change. The problem that we face right now is that it has become extremely fragmented. And the ability to have all of these different industry groups try to work together in a cohesive plan can be difficult.

One of the things that have been requested by government, is to try and consolidate these areas, which is not an easy task.

We are quite happy to be the body that actually is the one that interfaces with the government, and quite happy to represent different ideas and opinions. But one of the key issues that I see is that some of these groups have their own agendas that work against the tide. We have an agenda that we can collectively agree on. We have relationships, we have developed close ties with NZTE, Callaghan and the central government. We have that interface, and we are quite happy and supportive to be the go-to-person for other industry groups in the future. I do think the pressure would be on that it does continue to consolidate.

Each of our regions has a different feel, personality, different issues, strengths and weaknesses. New Zealanders are competitive. That works for and against us in many ways. From a regional perspective, having that close representation, having those networking events and getting to know peers in those areas are vital.


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