Abstract - The Information Society 9 (4)

Turning loose the invisible hand: New Zealand's information technology policy

Kenneth L. Kraemer and Jason Dedrick

Information technology (IT) policy in New Zealand has closely paralleled the broader economic policies that have prevailed in the country. IT policy moved from protectionism and centralized control to almost pure laissez faire. Tariffs on computer hardware were lowered from 40% to 10%. Government computing was moved from a central data processing bureau and placed under the control of individual departments. In terms of IT production, the government has refused to provide any significant incentives or subsidies to the fledgling software industry, feeling the industry should succeed or fail on its own. Under laissez faire policies, New Zealand has become a heavy user of IT, ranking behind only Japan in the Asia-Pacific region for IT spending as a percent of the gross domestic product. However, the hands-off approach to the industry is likely to prove problematic in an international environment in which many countries have explicit strategies to improve their infrastructure for IT production and directly subsidize the industry.

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