1 Oct 2020

Greens promise to support 'weightless exports'

4:01 pm on 1 October 2020

The Green Party will establish a digital export office to support low-carbon 'weightless exports' as part of its technology policy if elected.

James Shaw at the BusinessNZ Leaders conference

James Shaw at the BusinessNZ Leaders conference Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

It's one part of the policy, which aims to "address the digital divide and support New Zealand's high-tech sectors".

The Greens' would:

  • Establish a Digital Export Office at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to support low-carbon 'weightless exports'
  • Use government procurement to support local suppliers and open-source software
  • Give technology firms and software developers a voice in trade negotiations
  • Support 3D printing-based manufacturing through a National Growth Strategy
  • Implement Internet NZ's five-point plan for digital inclusion

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw says: "Technology is changing not just how people do business, or how we buy products, it is reshaping how many of us interact, how we form and maintain relationships, and how we address some of the most pressing challenges we face.

"These changes are happening fast and have undoubtedly created opportunities that would have been hard to imagine even a generation ago. However, affordable connectivity and accessible technology still remains out of reach for many New Zealanders. And for those that do have access, far too many do not have the skills, motivation, or confidence to get online."

He also says the scale of the digital divide in Aotearoa has been laid bare during the Covid-19 response.

"When people do not have access to technology, or the confidence to use it, their means of communicating with the outside world are limited, which can lead to social isolation and loneliness. Implementing Internet NZ's five-point plan for digital inclusion would take a huge step towards addressing this, particularly as more and more of the services we all use move online, and schools and workplaces require increasing digital literacy."

He says modern manufacturing and technology can also support the transition to a low carbon economy.

"New technology will also be critical for our transition to low-carbon energy, transport and agriculture sectors. New Zealand has a huge competitive advantage in a low-carbon world, we need to back local firms to tackle these challenges and reap the rewards."

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