Green technology spokesman Gareth Hughes told New Zealand Herald reporter Chris Keall that InternetNZ could handle the national CTO role. The position is still vacant almost a year after it was first planned. Last month marketing entrepreneur Derek Handley was appointed and then told he no longer had the job. The episode led to the sacking of former communications and digital services minister Clare Curran.

The job is now being revisited by Megan Woods who now holds the digital services portfolio. She says she is on track to report to Cabinet about the position by the end of November. Woods would not comment on Hughes’ plan. 

Hughes told the Herald that the job is too large for an individual and could be contracted to InternetNZ. He says: “This would be similar to how businesses utilise external advice from the likes of PwC or Deloitte or government departments that are monitored by the Office of the Controller and Auditor General.”

He says: “…we need someone who can understand the complexity of something like AI, social media or blockchain and clearly communicate the opportunities and implications to the public. It’s a big ask of someone to be across all new technological developments in diverse fields and at the same time be across all of the government’s digital work.”

Hughes says contracting a third-party like InternetNZ would deliver value for taxpayers.