Life in Lockdown: Counting NZ’s Tech Blessings

27 March 2020

Who could have predicted at the start of 2020 that before March had ended we would all be at home in lockdown trying to avoid the catastrophe of a global pandemic.

As we isolate ourselves to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it should be recognised that this is uncharted territory both for baby boomers (which includes myself) and the generations that followed. The vast majority of us have been incredibly privileged to live in a time of security, prosperity, and growth. Our parents and grandparents were not so fortunate, enduring World War I, the Spanish flu pandemic, the Great Depression, World War II, a polio epidemic, and the Cold War. As the saying goes, we don’t know how lucky we are!

The current challenges we now face with coronavirus cannot be underestimated. However, as difficult as they have been, I am encouraged by the leadership and unity displayed in New Zealand so far, which is a sign that NZ’s prosperity, growth, and harmony will continue beyond this crisis.

I am also encouraged by the fact that 2019 saw the most successful year on record for New Zealand’s technology export sector, as was reflected in the 2019 TIN Report. Over the past 20 years, the technology sector has helped create an exciting diversity in our export economy, and grown to the point that it is our third largest export earner. What’s more, many of the companies that have appeared and succeeded over that time are strong, robust, and innovative – and well placed to continue to be so in an ever-changing, unpredictable world.

It’s my firm belief that the strength of NZ’s tech sector as a whole will help provide greater resilience for New Zealand as we shift to a new way of working through this lockdown period and beyond, and be an ongoing force for good that will enable a faster recovery from the current related economic shocks of COVID-19.

One need only look to the Healthcare Technology subsector (the largest secondary sector that TIN tracks) to see that many of these companies have already developed world-leading health solutions that are in high demand globally, and are home to talented Kiwis with the smarts to address the toughest health problems facing the world today.

In the months and years to come, it’s likely that these companies will not only face increasing demand for their solutions, but will bring added economic benefit to this country due to the falling NZ dollar against the USD.

Tech has succeeded as an industry in New Zealand because of the positive inclusive dialogue that is a hallmark of our society, which in turn is imbued in our companies. This translates to clarity of purpose and focus in delivery of our technology solutions. It’s why I’m confident that a post COVID-19 recovery will not only deliver a resurgent tech sector but a more confident, prosperous New Zealand that is prepared to navigate new global realities. It will bring no end of challenges, yes – but in such a world, we are increasingly the authors of our own destiny.

In the midst of all of this, we must acknowledge and thank all those who have been involved in this battle at the front lines, including the remarkable leadership of our Prime Minister and her team, the dedicated and level-headed healthcare professionals who are researching and advising us all in a dynamic and fast-evolving landscape, as well as the front line workers who are ensuring our access to other essential services. You are an inspiration to the technology sector, and we will be working ever more diligently to be inspirational in our own work, with an equal commitment to this nation’s ongoing success.

Together, we will get through this. Together, we will be strong.

Kia kaha!

Greg and the TIN Team

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