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Government rethinks CTO role

Government rethinks CTO role

Reconsiders approach to digital transformation for New Zealand

The government is stopping the process of appointing a chief technology officer as it reconsiders its approach to digital transformation for New Zealand.

Minister for Government Digital Services Megan Woods has announced the  decision as the Government rethinks the objectives of the role.

“Today we’ve put a full stop on this process,” says Woods, in a statement.

“What’s clear is that we need to step back and have a good look at the role and see how it fits in with the other work being done in the digital transformation space."

Minister for Government Digital Services Megan Woods
Minister for Government Digital Services Megan Woods

She says Derek Handley was offered the role and the government is honouring the agreement with him.

This decision in no way reflects on him as a candidate and the State Services Commission review shows that the process was suitably robust.

She says Hendley showed energy and passion for the development of a digital strategy for New Zealand.

“However as the new Minister I have asked officials to review the CTO role and provide advice on the best ways to drive a forward-looking digital agenda for New Zealand.

“What we know is that the CTO role in its current form has significant overlaps with the Research, Science and Innovation portfolio and the Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media portfolio, as well as other roles like the Government Chief Digital Officer.

“We want to make sure that, whatever approach we take to achieve digital transformation in New Zealand, we get it right, and aligns with other work the Government is doing.”

Hendley will receive NZ$100,000 (three months of the one year contract for services offered to him) and NZ$7500 for any set-up expenses occurred.

In a post on LinkedIn , Hendley says he was deeply disappointed to learn the government will no longer follow through with their commitment and not be making that appointment at this time.

“However, given the unnecessary and sustained lack of transparency around the process and building pressure to rethink the approach, their decision to stop the process is understandable,” he wrote.

The idea of appointing an externally focused CTO for New Zealand was also supported by Rod Drury.

“We are doing lots of good stuff, the normal incubators and having funding available for all parts of the lifecycle,” states Drury.

“What we haven’t got is a technology plan, which is unique or something that is specific to New Zealand that allows us as a team to compete [globally] and play to our strengths.”

Linked to this is his belief that the country needs a chief technology officer or chief digital officer- the title could be “either way”, he says - who will pull all of this together.

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Tags innovationrod drurywellingtonclare currangovernment CTODerek HendleyMegan Woods

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