NZ set to export computer services

Last updated 10:25 16/07/2013

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New Zealand is on track to become a net exporter of computer services within the next few years, a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment report says.

The ministry today released a 100-page report on the country's information technology industry - one of seven reports it is compiling on key sectors of the economy.

It said exports of computer and information services grew at a compound annual rate of 11 per cent between 2006 and 2012, outpacing the annual growth in imports by 3 per cent.

The value of computer and information services exports totalled $659 million last year, against imports of $531m.

The totals count "systems analysis, programming and maintenance, computer-related consultancy, the maintenance and repair of computer hardware, data entry, processing, outsourcing and facilities management and systems integration", but exclude trade in software royalties and licences, for which New Zealand last year had a $135m trade deficit.

By last year, 62,000 people were employed in "ICT occupations", 11,000 more than in 2003, while salaries for people employed by ICT firms were rising at twice the national average, the ministry said.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the Government was assisting the sector with 60 initiatives, including the ultrafast broadband initiative and the creation of grants agency and research broker Callaghan Innovation, but the big issue was attracting enough skilled graduates.

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