NZ’s CERT gets budget boost

CERT NZ was launched last year

The New Zealand Labour government’s first budget has allocated an additional NZ$3.9m over four years to the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).

The government said the additional funding would support CERT to “respond to major cyber events, provide cyber threat intelligence and analysis services, and support awareness-raising initiatives in an environment of increasing demand.”

CERT was created by the previous government in the 2016 budget, with funding of $22.2m. $20m of this was operating funding over four years and $2.2m for set-up. CERT was launched in April 2017, as a separate unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media minister Clare Curran said reported losses by New Zealanders from known cyber incursions totalled more than $5.3m in the 12 months to April 2018 and New Zealand needed to improve its ability to get ahead of these threats.

“There are a range of victims – the corporate sector, government agencies, small businesses and individuals – so it is crucial CERT is funded to enhance its trusted and authoritative services,” she said.

MBIE gets $6.2 for comms projects

The budget also provides $6.2m of new operating funding over the next four years to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to enhance is ability to deliver on the Government’s communications policy, infrastructure and digital economy priorities.

Curran said the money would help the ministry “continue to provide policy advice on communications issues such as 5G mobile networks and ultra-fast broadband.”

Other technology related announcements in the budget included:

•     More than $1b in an R&D tax incentive to encourage businesses to innovate;

•     $10m for improving the performance and transparency of New Zealand’s science investments through a National Research Information System;

•     $100m for the Green Investment Fund, designed to encourage private-sector investment in high-value, low-carbon industries, clean tech and new jobs;

•     $45m for promoting energy efficiency, including just under $13m for a grant scheme for warm, dry homes.

Read more: Cyber research centre taps Rachael Falk for CEO role

Anthony Scott, CEO of Science New Zealand, said he R&D tax credit, at 12.5 percent relief for companies’ spending over $100,000 on R&D per annum, would amplify investment of science-based innovation in both existing and new sectors. “It signals that innovation can happen anywhere and produce benefits beyond any single company,” he said.

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