We recommend that every government agency be tasked with identifying a digital champion.\n\u201cWe\u2019re doing well in terms of improving connectivity for New Zealanders, but while more people are getting better connectivity, more people are also being left behind.\u201d\nThis is how Communications Minister Clare Curran summarises the report which shows the digital divide in New Zealand.\n\u201cIn line with our commitment to open government, I\u2019m releasing the report \u2018Digital New Zealanders: The Pulse of our Nation\u2019 which the previous government didn\u2019t make public until after the election as it exposed the digital divide in New Zealand,\u201d says Curran, in a statement.\nThe report by the Digital Inclusion Group was published in May 2017, and submitted to the MBIE and the DIA.\nShe says the report provides a good foundation, \u201cbut this Government intends to do much more so we can find real solutions for real people.\u201d \nNo caption\nThe advisory group will help us explore the complex but fundamental issues of how we can reduce the gap between the digital \u2018haves\u2019 and \u2018have nots\u2019 and will help determine what skills Kiwis need to be ready for the jobs of the futureCommunications Minister Clare Curran\nShe points out: \u201cFamilies on low incomes, seniors, and people living outside urban areas are becoming increasingly disenfranchised by lack of access, the inability to afford the internet or a lack of skills or motivation to be digitally capable. \u201c\nThe report calls for the need for a single, nationwide policy framework on digital inclusion in New Zealand with input from digitally disadvantaged groups and informed by robust economic data. \n\u201cWe know not all New Zealanders are participating equally in the digital world \u2013 and we need to better understand why that is, and what solutions may be effective in changing that,\u201d says Curran.\n\u201cWe don\u2019t have to reinvent the wheel and have only to look at the international examples in this report to see what is in train and working around the world. We need to determine what works specifically for us and make it happen,\u201d says Curran.\nShe says the report, together with other research and data, will be a valuable input to the development of the new government\u2019s blueprint for digital inclusion which we will be developed with the assistance of a soon to be established advisory group.\n\u201cThe group will help us explore the complex but fundamental issues of how we can reduce the gap between the digital \u2018haves\u2019 and \u2018have nots\u2019 and will help determine what skills Kiwis need to be ready for the jobs of the future,\u201d she states.\n\u201cThe Minister is right to raise this concern that there is a growing digital divide,\u201d says NZ Tech CEO Graeme Muller.\n\u201cThose that don\u2019t have access to the right technologies or the skills or motivation to make the most of them are being left behind. Left unaddressed, this digital divide will exacerbate the social divide,\u201d says Muller.\nGraeme Muller - CEO, NZTech\nLeft unaddressed, this digital divide will exacerbate the social divide\n\u201cHowever, if we move faster to address the growing digital divide as a country, we will find that the technology will also help reduce the social divide.\n\u201cGiving people the understanding, confidence and skills to use digital tools will help New Zealand prosper," he says.\n\u201cThe introduction of digital technologies into the New Zealand curriculum in 2018 is a great step in ensuring all Kiwis understand digital technology and how to make the most of it.\u201d\n Michelle DickinsonDr Michelle Dickenson (aka NanoGirl) at the launch of the book 'Sounds Like a Game Changer: A Soon-to-Be Obsolete Collection of Technology Cartoons by Jim' at the Microsoft Ignite NZ.\nWanted: government digital inclusion champions\nThe Digital New Zealanders: The Pulse of our Nation report, meanwhile, says other sectors in government have appointed champions to raise the visibility and awareness of important national issues. It suggests this should also be the case for digital inclusion.\nFor instance, Sir Peter Gluckman is the Government\u2019s Chief Science Adviser, and Professor Margaret Hyland is Chief Scientist. In the UK, it says, Baroness Martha Lane Fox was appointed Digital Champion in 2010 and when she stood down in 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged that her work \u201chas helped establish a digital culture at the heart of government\u201d.\nThe report points out New Zealand has its own digital heroes, like Rod Drury of Xero, Frances Valintine of the Mind Lab and Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl).\nRod Drury of Xero\n\u201cBut in order to achieve systemic change, we believe New Zealand needs champions within government (both central and local government). We recommend that every government agency be tasked with identifying a digital champion.\u201d\nFrances Valintine, founder, Tech Futures Lab, at a forum on women in technology.\n\nSend news tips and comments to email@example.com\nSign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.\nFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz\nJoin us on Facebook.