Exclusive: Amy Adams on ICT…

New Zealand’s first female communications and IT minister, Amy Adams, talks to Heather Wright about her long-held love of technology and technology’s benefits for New Zealand.

Ask Amy Adams about technology’s role in New Zealand’s future, and she nearly jumps down the phone line with enthusiasm.

Five minutes later, she pauses for a breath, and says, laughing: “Was that enough of a rant?”

The gist of it is that Adams, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, is a passionate advocate of technology and the potential benefits it offers New Zealand.

As a rural MP – she holds the Selwyn seat and is a staunch Cantabrian – her constituents are spread far and wide and she says technology offers huge opportunities for them, the rural community – she and husband Don run a 600 acre sheep and crop farm in Aylesbury, mid-Canterbury – and for New Zealand in general.

“The potential is massive. One of the challenges I have in my job is to get people to understand just how big an opportunity it is. We can only begin to imagine what technology is coming on stream in 10 years or so and even what we can see now is a complete transition.”

While ‘weightless exports’ selling creativity and ingenuity open up world markets for Kiwi talent, closer to home technology also has
a significant role to play, Adams says, including offering a way for those in remote areas to ‘level up’ and gain access to specialist support, additional education resources or community interation.

Initiaitives such as e-medicine and an ‘e-church’ allow people to have specialist care and community contact with potentially huge cost savings from not having to make long trips, she notes.

When it comes to the agricultural sector, technology ‘has a massive part to play’, she says, including in managing the enviornmental footprint, through effective effluent and water monitoring or fertiliser control for example.

Of the government’s role, Adams says: “In some ways, the best thing we can do is make sure the core infrastructure is available in a way that is competitive and efficient and that there are no road blocks in the way [for adoption of new technologies].”

To read Part 2 of Amy Adams on ICT – check back to The Channel on Monday…

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