Menu

Digital Equity

COVID-19 has highlighted the increased reliance on digital technology. Digital access is essential for many. Work and study, information, and social interaction. The pandemic has brought into focus the digital divide. An increasing disparity between those who have ready access to IT and those who have not. Too many people in Aotearoa are being affected by their lack of ability to access the digital world.    

Based on your valued opinions, information from industry experts and insights from COMET we sent two questions to each political party about digital equity. 

This was their response in alphabetical order:

Zhenya Small

100% of our stakeholders believe that having accessibility to online information and services is a right. Do you agree with this and if so, how is your party going to ensure that all New Zealanders have a device to access?   #

David Seymour

MP David Seymour 

ACT supports equitable access to online information and services for all learners. We believe that this can be accommodated through collaborative effort by all stakeholders at the targeted or group level.


Golriz Ghahraman

MP Golriz Ghahraman

Yes, the Green Party supports implementing Internet NZ’s five-point plan for digital inclusion, including making internet connectivity and devices affordable for those on low incomes and ensuring accessible digital skills training for working people and small businesses.  


Chris Hipkins

Hon Chris Hipkins

Our vision is that all New Zealanders have what we need to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the digital world. This defines digital inclusion as a desired end where everyone has equitable opportunities to participate in society using digital technologies.

 

Having access to digital devices, services, software, and content that meet our needs at a cost we can afford is an important element of digital inclusion.

 

Our work and plans in this area are summarised in the Government’s Digital Inclusion Action Plan 2020–2021, which can be found at https://www.digital.govt.nz/dmsdocument/174~digital-inclusion-action-plan-20202021/html.

 


Nicola Willis

List member MP Nicola Willis

National will work with schools, community groups and business partners to address the digital divide and ensure families with school aged children are able to access the internet for online learning purposes at home. 


Hon Tracey Martin

Hon. Tracey Martin

New Zealand First, as part of the current coalition government, has seen the delivery of digital devices to the majority of students in New Zealand who were identified by their schools as requiring this support

It is also worthy of note however that not only do we need to ensure our learners have access to the physical devices, they need to be their best, but that they also have access to the specific technology to support their learning. For example speech recognition programmes and reading pens for some of our dyslexia students – that all documents used in an educational setting has been created in accessible formats etc.

Hon. Tracey Martin, as Minister of Internal Affairs, has also progressed work on how to keep our students safe online – handing out devices without ensuring that our students are kept safe from pornography for example is irresponsible.

How is your party planning to ensure that digital spaces are accessible to all people, including those on low incomes and people with disabilities?   #

David Seymour

MP David Seymour 

ACT will give every child a Student Education Account at the age of two. Each year until a student is 18, $12,000 will be placed into that Account. At the age of 18, they will receive a further $30,000 for tertiary education, with up to $50,000 available top academic achievers through a scholarship program. Over half of students will receive a scholarship.

Parents will be able to spend that money at any registered education institution, public or private, that will accept their child's enrolment. If parents and children are satisfied with the education they are receiving, they can stay at their current school. If not, they can use the funding in their Student Education Account to receive a better education. Parents can invest in digital devices from this discretionary account.



Golriz Ghahraman

MP Golriz Ghahraman

Working and studying from home during the COVID-19 response has highlighted unequal access to technology across Aotearoa. Digital divides must be addressed to bridge the gaps in economic and social outcomes. We must increase people’s access to the internet, and make digital spaces more accessible for all our communities. 

The Green Party will work to ensure all government websites are accessible to people with disabilities, and are available in te reo Māori and other languages, and as mentioned in question 2, the Green Party supports Internet NZ’s five-point plan.  



Chris Hipkins

Hon Chris Hipkins

Labour will continue to address the digital divide in New Zealand schools. Digital learning is becoming part of everyday life for student. This was particularly clear during the COVID-19 lockdown. We will continue to reduce the divide between those with and without access to technology and make sure schools in all our communities are able to deliver quality online learning to all their students if we have another outbreak.  This will build on the programs we rolled out early this year to provide more internet access and devices to students, and provide more online resources to learners and parents


Nicola Willis

List member MP Nicola Willis

National is the party of equal opportunity. We would focus on ensuring children in remote and rural areas, and children in families with limited digital access, are as connected as possible. We see a future where every child can access online learning opportunities from home, so that if face-to-face learning isn’t possible, education can continue. 


Hon Tracey Martin

Hon Tracey Martin

New Zealand First sees local Libraries as pivotal to the delivery of and access to the digital environment.  As part of the Inquiry into 21st  Century Learning Environments and Digital Literacy 2013 access to Wi-Fi was recognised as a greater barrier than to a device.  As Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Tracey Martin, recently advocated for and gained  $58.8m of funding over four years which includes: 

• $30m over two years to fund and upskill librarians in public libraries so they can provide greater support for library users and help bolster reading and digital literacy. 

• $4m over four years to extend the National Library's Aotearoa Peoples' Network Kaharoa (APNK) public internet service to all public libraries, which provides free access to the internet and devices for any member of the public. 

• $11.5m over two years to help maintain library services by waiving National Library subscription charges to libraries. 

• $13.3m over four years for specialist library services for schools and young people with the greatest need at this time 

New Zealand First would seek to gain evidence of positive outcomes for community and extend this funding. 

COMET