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NZTech Inform – Urgent action to stem brain drain

Kia ora,

Last week we celebrated another NZTech Group Annual General Meeting (AGM). It’s when we pause and take stock of the progress we’ve made. Check out our latest NZTech Annual Report for a summary of an amazing year. There have been many highlights across the NZ Tech Alliance in the past year including Techweek, which brought together over 30,000 Kiwis to celebrate tech throughout Aotearoa. There was the launch of the global campaign See Tomorrow First, showcasing hi-tech New Zealand. Plus the Tech22 Tour that hosted hundreds of students at the Wynyard Quarter in Auckland to visit world leading tech firms. It’s been a busy year with hundreds of events and media interviews, dozens of submissions and projects, and lots of new members. A summary of our work can also be found on our website.

One personal highlight has been the launch of the NZTech Sustainability Board to review our own Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impacts and to proactively look for ways to ensure the New Zealand tech ecosystem is positively supporting a more sustainable future. NZTech has begun assessing its impact using the globally recognised Future-Fit Business Benchmark. Read more about this in our annual report (on page 14).

Tomorrow I’m in Wellington meeting Minister Verrall, the new Minister for Research, Science and Innovation (RSI) to further discuss the need for a Technology Roadmap for the Emissions Reduction Plan. I will be joined by some members of our new Sustainability Board and hope we can raise interest in the combined RSI-tech opportunity for helping mitigate climate change.

Last week’s good news included the Google announcement that it too will be increasing its cloud infrastructure presence in New Zealand as it formally creates a cloud region in New Zealand.

Some not so good news however, was the story of 10,000 people leaving New Zealand in the year ended June. Unfortunately, a number of these will be tech workers as the global demand continues to soar. However, New Zealand doesn’t seem to be responding fast enough to start actively working to attract talent. Our game development sector is experiencing a serious brain drain as the Australian Government creates incentives to entice staff and business across the ditch. It will be an incredible shame to lose such a fast growing, low emission, high wage sector to our neighbours. A month ago it was reported that the Government was investigating how to respond. Meanwhile dozens of jobs are slipping across the Tasman every week. Fingers crossed there is an announcement soon to show the world that New Zealand is not only just reopening for business, but we are the place to come and do business!

Ngā mihi 

Graeme Muller

NZTech We connect, promote and advance the New Zealand Technology ecosystem to help the tech sector and the economy grow.