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The Digital Inclusion Research Agenda will guide the government’s priorities for digital inclusion research. Dr Andrea Knox seeks your feedback on the draft.

The Digital Inclusion Research Agenda will guide the government’s priorities for digital inclusion research. It will set out the key research questions and describe how research can inform decisions about improved support for digital inclusion.

We are seeking your feedback on the draft Research Agenda.

Why do we need research on digital inclusion in New Zealand?

As outlined in The Digital Inclusion Blueprint there’s a lot that we still don’t know about digital inclusion in New Zealand.

We have limited information about who isn’t digitally included and why, about how a lack of digital inclusion affects those people and NZ as a whole, and about what works to get people digitally included.

This makes it difficult to justify government support for digital inclusion and difficult to know how support should be provided.

This is where research comes in.

The three main types of decisions that research can influence

Research can inform decisions about the overall level of government support for digital inclusion, helping government to decide:

  • how strong the case is for government support of digital inclusion as a whole
  • how much government support is justified.

Research can inform decisions about what types of digital inclusion initiatives government supports, helping government to decide:

  • how to prioritise support among different types of digital inclusion initiatives.

Research can inform decisions about how to deliver digital inclusion initiatives, helping government and others to decide:

  • how to deliver initiatives more effectively.

What are the research questions?

So far, we have identified six key research questions.

Which groups have a lower likelihood of being digitally included, and why?

  • Can we identify groups of New Zealanders, based on demographics and life circumstances, who have a lower likelihood of being digitally included?
  • Which elements of digital inclusion (motivation, access, skills, or trust) are lacking for those groups?
  • What underlying factors contribute to the lack of motivation, access, skills, or trust among people in those groups?

How does digital inclusion relate to waiora/wellbeing?

  • Is there an association between being digitally included and personal wellbeing?
  • In what ways does digital inclusion influence waiora/wellbeing?
    • How does digital inclusion influence aspects of New Zealanders’ everyday lives, such as jobs and earnings, civic engagement, social connections, cultural identity, knowledge and skills, health, safety and subjective wellbeing?
    • How does digital inclusion influence New Zealand’s future waiora/wellbeing via natural, social, human and physical/financial capitals and via the foundations of kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, ōhanga and whanaungatanga?
  • Is the influence of digital inclusion on personal wellbeing stronger for certain demographic groups than others?

How, and to what extent, are Māori needs and aspirations for digital inclusion being met?

Te Whata Kōrero will provide an opportunity for tāngata whenua to discuss digital inclusion as a collective and whakairihia (elevate) their goals and aspirations. The questions below will be refined as Te Whata Kōrero progresses.

  • What opportunities are there to better meet Māori needs and aspirations for digital inclusion?
  • What works well to improve digital inclusion for different groups?

For groups of New Zealanders with a lower likelihood of being digitally included, what is likely to be effective in lifting their digital inclusion?

  • What types of initiatives work best for various groups, under various circumstances?
  • How can we most effectively deliver digital inclusion initiatives? For example, what types of operational processes and organisational structures work well?

What is the economic cost-benefit of digital inclusion?

  • What are the economic costs of New Zealand’s current level of digital exclusion?
  • What would be the overall cost of ensuring every New Zealander is digitally included?
  • What would be the return on investment on ensuring that every New Zealander is digitally included, and how would returns be distributed across individuals, businesses, and government?

How will what is needed to be digitally included change in future?

  • What will be needed in future for people to be digitally included?
  • What digital technologies will people need to be able to use?
  • What barriers to accessing and using this technology might government need to address?
  • In what ways could we promote resilience, so that digital inclusion is maintained as technologies change?

What do you think?

The Research Agenda is a draft document that we are seeking feedback on. You can request a copy of this document and provide your feedback by emailing

We would especially like to know:

  • what you think about the key research questions
  • whether you think we have missed any important questions
  • what you see as the top priorities among the research questions, and why.

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