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AI Forum

Introducing Aotearoa’s proposed AI cornerstones

Ahead of the industry engagement roundtables for the National AI Strategy during the Aotearoa AI Summit on 12 May in Auckland, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have provided this summary, outlining the need for a strategy and the proposed cornerstones.

What are we doing?

We are developing an AI Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand.

As a government, we are committed to leading the adoption of ethical and safe AI that enhances our economy, serves the public good and builds our reputation internationally.

Our partners for this project are the New Zealand AI Forum.


AI includes a number of technologies and approaches that are constantly evolving and changing. 

For the purposes of this strategy, AI is defined as advanced digital technologies that enable machines to reproduce or surpass abilities that would require intelligence if humans were to perform them (AI Forum).

Why are we doing it?

An AI strategy will allow New Zealand to agree what is most important to us, provide a coordinated approach to the adoption and use of AI in our country, and showcase our own New Zealand brand on the international AI landscape.

Key to New Zealand’s success in growing AI and playing a role on the international stage is building trust with citizens and consumers through transparent and ethical AI that is demonstrably safe and human-centric.

AI is projected to underpin $US15.7 trillion of global economic growth by 2030. 

The potential economic and social contributions of AI are significant, but New Zealand is behind its peers in building the ecosystem necessary for AI to be harnessed in a beneficial and equitable way. 

With the right cornerstones in place, New Zealand’s businesses will be supported to develop or adopt AI, productivity will increase and new products and markets will be developed.

New Zealand will be part of an international AI landscape, able to take advantage of and contribute to global AI development and work collaboratively to solve cross-border problems.

New Zealand is well placed to take advantage of AI. 

It has a highly trusted and nimble government, a collaborative culture, a commitment to biculturalism and respecting different worldviews – and it ranks highly in international surveys on openness, transparency, trust and inclusion.

It has world class internet speeds and a good data infrastructure. 

New Zealanders have a high education level with rising levels of tertiary qualification attainment and good levels of migration, increasing diversity and multiculturalism.

Overall, there is a dynamic and friendly business environment and a culture of innovation and sharing, borne out of size and distance.  It is easy to do business here.

New Zealand has created some of the most popular open source tools for machine learning and AI. In addition, books written by New Zealand researchers continue to be utilised to teach Machine Learning and AI in Universities across the world.

New Zealand is also renowned for producing world leading technologists and ground breaking research which has been successfully commercialised.

In order to build on this already great foundation and to further encourage more AI use and adoption within New Zealand an AI Strategy for New Zealand is being developed. 

Working vision for the AI Strategy

Aotearoa New Zealand’s people centred, inclusive and ethical AI benefits our economy and people and makes us a trusted partner in the global AI landscape.

The aim of the vision is to build a thriving AI ecosystem in New Zealand on a strong foundation of trust, equity and accessibility.

Human-centred AI will be valued by all and implemented to improve our environment, economy and health and wellbeing.

Our citizens will be AI-literate and our diverse workforce will be competent users and innovators of AI.

With stable research and development funding, our AI ecosystem – from academia to start-ups to industry – will be interconnected, collaborative and durable.

Our government will have a strong commitment to the practical development and implementation of AI that contributes to our nation’s well-being. 

Our unique brand of ethical AI with a focus on diversity and inclusion will be internationally recognised, attracting investment and leading to strong overseas linkages.

The cornerstones

The Strategy is organised around six key areas that together, provide the framework for action, setting out our priorities for AI in New Zealand.  We have called them cornerstones as they provide the foundations for the work that needs to occur.

We wish to test with you:

  • whether these cornerstones are the right areas of focus, and
  • what the priority areas are that we should be concentrating effort and resource on in each cornerstone.

As we further develop the Strategy, we will build out a roadmap of key priority areas, actions and timelines under each cornerstone to create an action plan and roadmap.

AI Forum The AI Forum brings together New Zealand’s artificial intelligence community, working together to harness the power of AI technologies to enable a prosperous, inclusive and thriving future New Zealand.