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Curran tackles digital divide

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New Communications Minister Clare Curran says lack of access to computers and the internet is showing up as a measure of deprivation.

In her first official speech as minister Ms Curran told this year’s NetHui in Auckland she was concerned at the continuing digital divide, with one in 11 New Zealanders not using Internet and another 11 percent being low frequency users.

Maori digital strategists have pointed to a shortage of tech skills among the young as something that could hold back Maori development.

The Minister says the previous government had little interest in measuring the digital divide, but lack of Internet access is now a leading measure in the University of Otago’s index of deprivation study.

"This isn’t just nice to have stuff. It’s about being able to engage with government agencies. It’s not being able to do your homework which means you’re disadvantaged for when you leave school," Ms Curran says.

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