by CIO New Zealand

Budget 2016: Embrace cybersecurity as a platform for growth and innovation

May 26, 2016
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Budget 2016 has allocated $22.2 million to establish a national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to help business understand and respond to cyber threats. But more than just a response to risk, cybersecurity should be seen as a platform for business growth and innovation in New Zealand, according to Deloitte.

Deloitte partner and national cybersecurity leader Anu Nayarsays the funding to establish the CERT is a major development for New Zealand because it delivers a strong message by government on the importance of cyber resilience for our country.

“We welcome this commitment as it provides the much needed investment to build a platform for collaboration, intelligence sharing and effective response to the cyber-attacks that affect our nation – all of which are crucial to helping Kiwis and our businesses be secure, vigilant and resilient,” says Nayar.

“However, the CERT and government can only do so much. As our lives become increasingly digital, many of the major priorities for New Zealanders are reliant on a healthy, safe and secure cyberspace.”

He says statistics from Connect Smart show that 96 per cent of Kiwi businesses rely on the internet and technology for their day to day activities. Estimates show that we could add over $34 billion to our economy if we used the internet more effectively.

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As our lives become increasingly digital, many of the major priorities for New Zealanders are reliant on a healthy, safe and secure cyberspace.Anu Nayar, Deloitte

“As a nation, we need to build off of the foundations we already have. We need to continue to develop a diverse and sustainable pool of cyber talent; blending policy, law, business, psychology and technical skills,” he states.

“We need to harness our creativity to incubate and develop innovative solutions. And most importantly, we need to embed a lasting shift to the way we think about cyber so that we move beyond the traditional modes of only viewing it as a risk, or a problem that we can finitely solve. Instead, we should recognise cyber as a required ongoing capability of the world we now live in and embrace it as a platform for growth.

“For us, the Budget 2016 allocation is more exciting than just being about the establishment of the CERT. It echoes our perspective that as a nation we recognise and are investing in cyber resilience as being at the heart of powering our future economic growth and the ongoing wellbeing of our people,” says Nayar.

The 2016 Budget also includes $761 million over four years four years in science, skills and regional development to help grow and diversify the economy.

This will be for ‘Innovative New Zealand’ one of four main investment packages. The others are

Public infrastructure: a $2.1 billion programme focused on transport, schools, and the infrastructure needed to deliver a modern, flexible tax system.

Social Investment: $652.1 million over four years to support vulnerable New Zealanders and help them live better lives.

Health: $2.2 billion over four years to ensure New Zealanders continue to have access to high-quality healthcare.

Long term problems largely unaddressed

Deloitte CEO Thomas Pippos, meanwhile, says Budget 2016 offers the continuation of the pattern of growing surplus’s in the mid-term (up to $5 billion by 2019), a current plan to reduce debt, the reality of relatively moderate headline tax rates that may be eased even further – particularly over the next term.

This is quite a different position to what many of our trading partners find themselves in, most notably Australia, says Pippos, in a statement.

“However, largely due to an ageing population, our long-term outlook is far from rosy. If the current pattern of revenue and spending continues, net debt potentially appears to increase from the current 25 per cent of GDP to over 200% over the next four decades, while noting that the nearer term outlook canvassed in Budget 2016 has net debt projected to fall to 19.3 per cent in 2021,” he adds.

“While Budget 2016 may continue to starve others of the political oxygen necessary to thrive, it unfortunately leaves many of our long-term challenges still largely unaddressed. The road to 2020 looks quite different to that going out another 40 years.”

Spotlight on SMBs

Budget 2016 encourages training in disciplines such as science, engineering, agriculture and jobs in the trades, notes Anna Curzon, Xero managing director for New Zealand. She says this will provide a larger pool of highly-skilled employees that can help grow small businesses in New Zealand.

“Many New Zealand businesses are challenged by the constant global competition for talent. 170,000 roles will need to be filled in the next four years in those sectors, and it’s great to see an opportunity to arm New Zealanders with the expertise needed to fill them.

Anna Curzon – Managing Director, Xero New Zealand

While training and retraining will be a key factor, technology tools and fast broadband can allow our local talent to work from anywhere in New Zealand.

“However we should be looking at other ways to harness our talent across New Zealand,” adds Curzon. “To have a significant impact on our own sector in technology, we need to think creatively to unlock talent in the short term. While training and retraining will be a key factor, technology tools and fast broadband can allow our local talent to work from anywhere in New Zealand. This will relieve pressure on housing in the metro areas and create opportunities for our provinces.”

She adds that the 2016 Budget is good news for the country’s small businesses.

The $187 million small business tax package will reduce compliance costs and make life simpler for small business owners, she states.

“This move by the Government, in partnership with the private sector, is helping make tangible changes to policies for the good of industry. This is a fantastic step in the right direction for small businesses.”

The Provisional Tax changes, with a new pay-as-you-go option that allows small businesses to pay tax as they earn income, means they won’t have to guess a year in advance what their profit will be.

“This is huge for small businesses, as Provisional Tax is the bane of small business owners’ lives. Previously they had to guess how much money their business might make in the future and forward pay this tax.

“As part of these changes Xero will be able to enhance the current GST processes for small businesses, which means they can pay their provisional tax returns at the same time they pay their GST return. This will reduce compliance, time and effort for small business owners and align their provisional tax payment to their cash flow.”

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