20 organisations pledge support for digital inclusion plan submitted to NZ Government

13 May 2020

20 organisations across New Zealand have called on the Government to implement an action plan for digital inclusion and pledged their support to make it happen. The plan was submitted to Government last week. 

Digital inclusion is about making sure everyone can make the most of the world online. In our national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than it has ever been. 

“Now’s the time for action,” says InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter.

InternetNZ, the organisation behind the plan, is eager to see the Government, signatories, and other organisations work together to achieve digital inclusion in New Zealand.

The plan aims to assist the Government by setting out the priority areas where Government can best direct its efforts and investments. It identifies five areas of consideration:

  1. Affordable connectivity

  2. Getting devices to people who can’t afford them

  3. Wrap around support for the newly connected

  4. Digital skills for displaced workers and our small businesses

  5. Longer term Internet resilience

It also identifies which Government agencies could be responsible for leading each action point, and emphasises the need for cross-agency engagement and coordination.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the reliance of New Zealanders on the Internet for work and study, information, and social interaction.

InternetNZ Chief Executive, Jordan Carter, says ensuring every New Zealander can access the Internet is now more important than ever. 

“We need to ensure no one is left behind as New Zealand works to recover from COVID-19.”

“We especially need to focus on groups in society that need different kinds of support, including Māori, Pasifika, older people, people with disabilities, those on lower incomes, rural users, and the homeless."

“It’s important we take a holistic approach. When people think of those digitally excluded, they often think about infrastructure or cost limitations. But it’s much more than that,” says Carter.

“Kiwis also need to have the skills, motivation, and trust to be online.”

The Government released its vision for digital inclusion in New Zealand, The Digital Inclusion Blueprint, in March 2019. 

“Our plan builds on the Government’s blueprint by setting out a concrete and achievable set of actions,” says Carter.

“Now is the time to step up our digital inclusion efforts, not just as part of our national response to COVID-19, but also as a foundation for New Zealand’s economic recovery and ongoing wellbeing.”

The full plan can be found online at https://internetnz.nz/digital-inclusion-five-point-plan