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25 things with Xero's Craig Walker, part two

Xero's longtime CTO Craig Walker knows things, wants things, predicts things, worries about things and improves things. In this second installment, here are five things he wishes New Zealand would do right now.

5 things I wish New Zealand would do right now

HIRE A CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER FOR NEW ZEALAND.

As a bunch of rocks in the bottom of the South Pacific we have a massive amount to gain by technology bringing us closer to the rest of the world. A CTO for New Zealand would seek out the obvious opportunities to use technology to transform New Zealand’s standing in the world, and give us the technological platform for future generations.

IMPLEMENT A CAPITAL GAINS TAX.

It doesn’t need to be high (I’m in favour of a progressive tax) and it shouldn’t be applied to primary residences. But investors and entrepreneurs receive a lot of benefits by operating out of a country that’s business friendly with an efficient government and I believe that they should be expected to pay back some of their gains in service to the next generation.

EXTEND THE RUNWAY AT WELLINGTON AIRPORT.

Wellington is New Zealand’s version of Silicon Valley, and yet we don’t have a direct international route for long haul flights. Extending the runway to enable airlines to offer direct flights from the US would be a  big win for me. 

LEVERAGE LOCAL IT RESOURCES.

Introduce policy that favours New Zealand based software companies for contracts to government departments. The IT talent base in New Zealand is substantial; where domestic capability exists, our first turn should be toward in-country professionals rather than to large international consulting firms. And where the capability falls short or does not exist, we should put in place national programmes to develop that capability helping both the public and private sector.

RATIFY A CONSTITUTION FOR NEW ZEALAND.

Unlike most nations, New Zealand does not have a written, codified constitution. Instead what we currently have is a formation of different laws, conventions and statutes that can be easily overridden by Government. Even the Bill of Rights can be changed or removed without consultation. It's time for New Zealand to have a true constitution, one that will help to inform our democracy by being pragmatic, living and transparent for all New Zealanders.

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