New Zealand is on the hunt for a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to help drive a “forward-looking digital agenda” and prepare and oversee a national digital roadmap for the next decade, with the government calling for expressions of interest for the role.
Reporting to the Prime Minister, the recently-installed Jacinda Ardern, and the Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, and Government Digital Services, Clare Curran the CTO will provide independent expert advice to Ministers and other senior leaders on digital leaders.
Curran said the role would suit someone with a high level of expertise in the tech industry, “who is passionate about the issues, who carries the influence needed to stimulate public discussion, and who wants to take action with government and other stakeholders to deliver and support meaningful change”.
“We need to respond to the opportunities and challenges of our changing digital world. This position is critical to ensuring we can use and develop digital technologies for social prosperity, economic productivity, and for the good of all New Zealanders,” she said.
Curran said the government intends to “close the digital divides” by 2020 and make the ICT sector the second largest contributor to New Zealand’s GDP by 2025; in this context, she said the CTO will work on issues such as improving digital equality, protecting citizens’ rights online, and “building a connected nation”.
It comes after a report on the digital skills landscape in New Zealand found the country as a shortage of digitally skilled talent, with women, Maori, and Pasifika underrepresented in computer science and information technology courses.
Curran had on Friday announced the setup of an advisory group that will advise the government on how it can build the digital economy and reduce digital divides.
“We have to grow and support local talent and at the same time grab the best talent worldwide to fill any gaps. If we do, we will have the opportunity to make New Zealand a worldwide technology capital,” Curran said.
Various governments have CTO or Chief Information/Innovation Officer (CIO) positions.
After the departure of CIO Veronica Theriault in September, South Australia announced it would be replacing the position with a ‘whole-of-government’ CTO, with the change coming with a restructure of the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s office for customer, ICT, and digital transformation.
NSW, meanwhile, appointed Damon Rees as its first CIO and chief digital officer in May 2016. It is now looking for a replacement after Rees moved to take over Service NSW a few months ago.
Image: Clare Curran.