02.12.2020

NZ infrastructure leaders express overwhelming support for national digital strategy

Industry leaders at the recent Infrastructure New Zealand ReBuilding Nations Symposium have added to calls to unlock Aotearoa’s digital potential, with event polling indicating a coordinated national digital strategy is seen as hugely important.

Over 800 senior infrastructure professionals attended the annual symposium, New Zealand’s leading event for the infrastructure sector, which was held in Auckland this year on 18/19 November. Speakers, panellists and delegates came together from across the public and private sectors to share ideas and advance best practice in national infrastructure development.

Beca was a key partner on the event and supported the online polling as Gold and Technology sponsor. Questions were posed after each of the major agenda sessions, on topics ranging from data and digital infrastructure, to sustainability, transport, water reform, funding and planning for outcomes.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents to the question of ‘How important is a coordinated national digital strategy?’ said it was ‘very important’, and the remaining 13 percent said it was ‘somewhat important’.

The overwhelming result followed the Data and Digital Infrastructure session we led and hosted, which included as panellists and speakers; digital leaders and experts from agencies and organisations including Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Watercare, Microsoft, NZTech, Transpower and Auckland Transport, and to close, the Honourable Doctor David Clark, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications.

Thomas Hyde, Chief Digital Officer at Beca, delivered the session’s keynote address with a focus on digital nation shaping, and the need for smarter and better-connected infrastructure on a national scale. 

“The Government’s COVID infrastructure stimulus provides the biggest opportunity since the great depression of last century to significantly improve the built environment. We have the chance now to put the same importance on the creation of a national digital asset as we will on building new physical assets – it’s going to require strong collaboration between the private and public sector to make it happen, but the potential economic and social benefits are enormous,” says Thomas.

In other polling results, respondents indicated majority support for the post-pandemic direction of the nation. Fifteen percent of delegates were ‘very confident’ and 66 percent ‘somewhat confident’, that New Zealand’s leadership has a clear vision for action in the post-COVID economic recovery.

However, confidence the country can deliver the infrastructure pipeline was much more evenly split, with 45 percent of respondents ‘somewhat confident’ and another 45 percent ‘not very confident’. 

When asked ‘Which aspects of infrastructure most need to transform as we build back better?’, 57 percent indicated the need to plan and coordinate our infrastructure better.

For the breakdown of all the polling questions and results, click here or on the image below -

 

See also