Leon Grice (Chair)

 

“New Zealand must be engaged in global policy discussion on data governance in places like Sacramento, Albany and Washington DC. These data issues and how they are resolved will affect every New Zealander, business and civil society.”


 

Data issues an increasing focus

When the Council decided to focus on the “future of data” as one of our four main policy programmes approximately 18 months ago we had the strong sense it was a growing issue and it would have an increasing impact on all New Zealand business and civil society.

Since then the issues in the data space have grown bigger and faster than we ever expected. Today data issues are a central geopolitical and economic issue and as a country we need to be engaged in the global policy discussion. The US is where many of these discussions are happening and decisions made in the US will have outsized global influence.

“Today data issues are a central geopolitical and economic issue and as a country we need to be engaged in the global policy discussion.”

New Zealand is involved in many long run and important global data regulatory programmes at the OECD, the WTO and in APEC. Recently Trade Minister David Parker led an initiative to form a “P3”-style digital alliance with Chile and Singapore. He announced the initiative in the margins of the APEC Ministerial summit in Chile.

 

Momentum gaining for policy and regulatory change

While these are important processes we are focused more on what happens in places like Sacramento, Albany and Washington DC and making sure New Zealand’s interests are heard. And in the US a lot has happened in a relatively short space of time. Keeping up with the pace of change is difficult but important.

Over the last couple of years we’ve seen momentum gain pace for policy and regulatory change on: privacy protection, copyright regulation, taxation of global tech firms, and restraining the market power of global tech giants. There has been a change in the US political mood towards these firms and a growing desire to curtail the market power of these companies.

“We’ve seen momentum gain pace for policy and regulatory change on: privacy protection, copyright regulation, taxation of global tech firms, and restraining the market power of global tech giants.”

 

Ensuring New Zealand interests are protected

These issues and how or whether they’re able to be resolved will affect every New Zealander and every New Zealand innovator here and operating abroad. The reach of these firms is such that whether you are an importer, exporter or a consumer of international goods and services how these issues are regulated in Sacramento, Washington DC or Brussels affects us all and we need to ensure that New Zealand interests are protected.

New Zealand has historically tended to be reasonably balanced on these issues because our innovation community includes both content creators and content consumers. However, new tech innovators, such as Rocket Lab and Zephyr Aviation will be affected by any shifts in the regulatory landscape.

For example, Rocket Lab is lowering the costs for its customers to gather huge amounts of data that is at the leading edge of the fourth industrial revolution. Global data interoperability and common standards are crucial for New Zealand innovators wanting to export their inventions and services.

“Rocket Lab is lowering the costs for its customers to gather huge amounts of data that is at the leading edge of the fourth industrial revolution. Global data interoperability and common standards are crucial for New Zealand innovators wanting to export their inventions and services.”

 

Raising awareness of the critical issues

On the “future of data” we are mobilising. We need to increase the awareness of these critical issues withNew Zealand business and the community and we will facilitate, advocate and work with experts to maximise New Zealand’s influence in the US.

We will continue to:

  • Gather information and insight and facilitate access to US experts and policy leaders
  • Create a platform for coordinating the New Zealand voice on tech and data regulation in the US (working with tech civil society in New Zealand and its experts)
  • Advocate for New Zealand interests on how tech and data is regulated in the US
  • Advocate for our members at the cutting edge of new tech models, particularly aerospace and content creation.

It is an exciting and important space and we need you to be involved in the discussion. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest information and updates.

 


Leon Grice is Chair of the NZ US Council. See his profile here.

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