Backing a humming, thriving e-commerce and digital marketplace for Aotearoa

Report | 2021-09-24 | By: The Digital Council for Aotearoa

The Release of our Conversation Paper

The Digital Council for Aotearoa is delighted to present ‘Backing a humming, thriving e-commerce and digital marketplace for Aotearoa.’

This conversation paper investigates New Zealand’s digital marketplaces and e-Commerce landscape, consolidating insights obtained from a diverse range of stakeholders across industry, government and community.

“This paper offers ideas from industry on how to support, promote and elevate e-commerce platforms and digital marketplaces across Aotearoa,” says Digital Council chair, Mitchell Pham, “our focus is on facilitating further dialogue to connect the dots, share insights to government and connect community and industry stakeholders.”

The Digital Council played a facilitating role in the development of this conversation starter. The responses and ideas presented are not of the Council’s, but insights obtained from industry and community that are worth further conversation.    

Why focus on e-Commerce?

When Covid-19 hit Aotearoa in 2020 shortly after the Digital Council was launched, the council faced a major challenge. “We were established to focus on medium to long term impact,” explains Mitchell, “while the immediate impact of Covid-19 was most important at the time, we had to think about what the medium to long term hurdles would be.”

The Digital Council presented their first conversation paper ‘Beyond Covid 19’ to the government in May 2020, which included the challenges faced for smaller New Zealand businesses to trade online and connect to customers during lockdown.

“Government ministers and industry stakeholders were equally interested in the impact and potential benefits of digital commerce on a market challenged by Covid-19,” says Mitchell.

The Digital Council brought together stakeholders across local and central government, private industry, financial services, supply chain logistics and tourism to gain a broad insight into the current challenges facing New Zealand’s e-Commerce and digital marketplaces.

What insights were gained?

Through stakeholder engagement sessions, the Digital Council discovered that robust supply chain logistics are required to support e-commerce and digital marketplaces in Aotearoa.

“Once we made this connection, we immediately extended our conversation to include this key element,” explains Mitchell.

The Digital Council facilitated some early connections between government agencies and industry businesses, but noticed gaps in shared understanding. “There are elements of what government agencies are working on that industry are not aware of, and vice versa,” says Mitchell.

The Digital Council saw added value in sharing this conversation paper more broadly to continue to bridge those gaps.

The conversation paper highlights 10 ideas designed to spark further discussion between government, industry and community:

  1. Connect with New Zealand-based e-commerce and digital marketplace initiatives and innovations to see where opportunities for amplification might occur 
  2. Raise the profile of New Zealand-owned e-commerce platforms and digital marketplaces 
  3. Support innovation to drive domestic tourism 
  4. Develop a public education campaign to encourage domestic and international visitors to book New Zealand tourism offerings directly (and avoid platforms such as 
  5. Investigate the feasibility of developing New Zealand-owned booking platforms 
  6. Accelerate digital connectivity in hard to reach locations, by connecting with digital inclusion work programmes and work to roll out UFB and 5G allocation 
  7. Explore ways to create an internationally harmonised digital supply chain and logistics ecosystem 
  8. Develop and utilise a ‘supply chain trust framework’ and participate in pilots which enable the validation and authentication of trade documentation 
  9. Discuss what can be done to stop New Zealand’s products and IP from being ripped off 
  10. Develop a ‘Digital Supply Chain and Logistics Infrastructure Strategy’ (as a subset of a wider Digital Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand) 


Read the full conversation paper, ‘Backing a humming, thriving e-Commerce and digital marketplace for Aotearoa’ here

Want to further the conversation?

The Digital Council for Aotearoa supports continuing discussion on how to create thriving e-commerce and digital marketplaces in Aotearoa. 

As the global economy becomes more digitalised, support of a humming, thriving e-Commerce landscape in New Zealand benefits both government and industry.

To get involved in the conversation, get in touch by emailing

To find out about upcoming events, follow the Digital Council on Twitter and Linkedin