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Digital Council for Aotearoa New Zealand #weeknotes (8)

By Mitchell Pham, Chair of the Digital Council for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Last week was another big week for the Digital Council.

Gold sponsorship announcement

We’re excited to announce the Digital Council for Aotearoa New Zealand is a gold sponsor of the Digital Identity NZ benchmarking survey on New Zealanders’ attitudes towards digital interactions, trust and transparency.

It’s a great research project, aligning with our own research programme canvassing issues of trust and transparency in data and digital.

As gold sponsor, we’re invited to help frame the questions and promote the survey. So far, we’ve asked for more people from the disability community to be included in the research.

The survey results are due to be published in late July at Techweek2020.

Monthly Council meeting

We held our monthly meeting on Friday and enjoyed catching up with the Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) and chief executive of Te Tari Taiwhenua, the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, Paul James, and deputy chief executive and deputy GCDO, Ann-Marie Cavanagh.

We got a good insight into some of the key issues that arose for government agencies during lockdown.

Issues included huge demand on agency call centres, the need for a single source of government information, the scale of digital exclusion in New Zealand and opportunities to build on what worked and what didn’t to create more joined-up digital services for New Zealanders.

We learned more about the GCDO’s role and its strategy for a digital public service. And we talked about the possibility of the government coming together with the private sector to share the digital lessons learned from COVID-19 with the public later in the year.

Stakeholder meetings continue

In stakeholder meetings with the financial sector we learned about a range of issues they face when it comes to adopting technology.

For example, while the sector is keen to automate some services, such as investment and wealth advice, it also faces barriers such as legal restrictions that stymie innovation.

Other common barriers to digitising services include:

  • the need to build trust among customers before seeking permission to use personal data
  • giving customers tools to control their own data
  • improving people’s general understanding of financial services
  • developing New Zealanders’ basic knowledge of technology.

We look forward to continuing our conversation with this sector.

Update on our research work

Last week, the Council finalised the details of our major research programme into automated decision making and appointed the companies we’ll work with to complete the research. We look forward to announcing more in our blog on Thursday.

In the meantime, we’re keen to canvas answers to the following questions on automated decision making. Email us at: (by Friday June 26).

What’s the best thing you’ve read recently on automated decision making? (either because of the quality of the insights or the way the information was communicated).

When we say ADM, what springs to mind? Let us know.

Panel discussion & media interviews

If you missed Digital Council chair Mitchell Pham’s panel presentation on the impact of COVID-19 at a recent Government insights webinar, here’s the webinar link (click on the link and enter your email address to watch the hour-long panel discussion.)

Last week, Mitchell also caught up with National Business Review tech reporter Geraden Cann and Computerworld New Zealand editor Sarah Putt. Both reporters wanted to know more about the Council’s latest advice to Ministers outlined in Beyond COVID-19: A Summary of Our Advice to Ministers.

About our work: Council members come together monthly to make key decisions and progress our work programme. Between formal meetings, members focus on various work streams. Colin Gavaghan and Marianne Elliott lead our research work, Kendall Flutey and Roger Dennis our ad-hoc work, and Rachel Kelly and Nikora Ngaropo lead our comms, while our chair, Mitchell Pham, holds responsibility for stakeholder engagement.

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