Tidying some papers recently I came across this manifesto. TUANZ produced it just over nine years ago in the lead up to the 2008 election campaign – right at the time when aspirant PM John Key was making his mark.
We produced a lot of papers in my time at TUANZ and to be honest I’d forgotten this one. We used to send a copy to every politician with a personal letter offering a one-on-one briefing. A surprising number used to take up the offer. They’d destroy my diary for weeks!
But when I skimmed through this particular Manifesto II felt pretty good about it.
Because the vision we articulated - which seemed like a stretch goal at the time - is well on the way to fulfilment. It began with the historic 2008 announcement by the National Party of Ultra Fast Broadband, just a few weeks after our manifesto was circulated.
So nine years on, how is our “Vision for a User-driven, Leading Edge, On-Line New Zealand” looking?
QUOTE: “Fast Internet, both fixed and mobile, is rapidly becoming ubiquitous with speeds and affordability keeping ahead of comparable developed countries. Rural and provincial businesses including farms have harnessed fast Internet to materially improve their sustainable competitive advantage and have started commercialising rural applications of broadband for world markets.”
Again an 8, or maybe 7.5. Our fast Internet availability compared to Australia makes the Bledisloe Cup look like a draw – we are light years ahead. Our farms are so involved in digital farm management that there are whole conferences dedicated to it. But there are still a lot of rural properties without broadband. Forthcoming announcements about RBI2 will close the gap but we now need a gap analysis and a plan and timetable. The new aspiration must be city grade broadband to, and across, every farm and rural property.
In summary, that's a pretty awesome outcome. I take a lot of pride in having been part of it along with the visionary members of the TUANZ Board and membership who all contributed at the time and since. Together with the government and many others we can all take some credit.