Silverstripe wins govt contract

Good news from Kiwi open-source software firm.

It’s great to see Kiwi businesses do well, and with so many challenges facing manufacturers and exporters great to have a good news story coming out of our software industry.

According to Stuff: Government websites will switch to free, open-source software from Wellington firm Silverstripe under an “all-of-government” contract that Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain is due to announce this morning.

It’s very good to see a Kiwi open-source company do well.

I was privileged to attend the Open Source Awards late last year and there are numerous examples of Kiwi software developers and companies coming up with brilliant open-source products like Piwik, the Manaiakalani Project and GeoNet Rapid.

Looking at the broader industry there are a few challenges facing it which the Green Party have addressed in our IT discussion paper. We are proposing Government investment in a second internet cable system, supported by smarter government procurement policies, and believe this will lead a step-change in the ICT economy, growing exports and creating green jobs.

Congratulations to Silverstripe, and please have your say on our discussion paper.

25 Comments Posted

  1. They took a thriving agricultural nation and turned it into an aid case. They returned land to the preferred tribes. They printed a lot of money, which is now worthless, as it is not connected to any underlying value.

    No-one would suggest a similar course of action here.


  2. ?I’m now the owner of a Zimbabwe $100,000,000,000,000 note

    Gee Photo, you must be really rich 🙂

    A million dollars (US, but never mind that for the moment) in singles weighs about a tonne, so if you changed that bill into singles then you’d have one hundred million tonnes of bills, or about 113 million cubic meters of notes. That’s about one and half million 40ft containers, which is about 183 full loads on the worlds largest container ship. Assuming it didn’t sink under the weight…

    Or you could just fill 45,000 swimming pools with dollar bills.

    That note certainly brings economies of scale, doesn’t it!

  3. Gregor says “Welcome back photonz1! I hope you had a nice summer break.”

    Thanks – just back from Zimbabwe – saw the effects of the policies of “quantative easing/ printing money”, and “we don’t want foreign investment”.

    I’m now the owner of a Zimbabwe $100,000,000,000,000 note (One Hundred Trillion Dollar note).

    With so many businesses gone, there’s not much work for anyone now, even with 3 million less people (over 1/4 of the population has left as well).

  4. At one point in time the wheel was a radical stupid idea Arana ……..

    Every new technology is expensive and impractical ….. to start with.

    The National party seems to think cow shit and coal will solve our problems.

    The National party belong to last century …. or the one before that .

  5. Wind turbine/solar/green widget production in NZ is a stupendously awful idea. You can tell just how awful it is by the number of people – many of whom will be Green supporters – who don’t currently invest their own money in it.

    What are they waiting for? They’re waiting to invest other peoples money it. How very telling.

    We have absolutely no advantage in this area, and we have many disadvantages, as photonz rightly points out.

    Anyone who thinks it’s a goer, fine. Bet your own house on it, not mine.

  6. BJ says (on IT)”Yup… and we have absolutely NO as in ZERO advantage over any other country on the planet with respect to making a living at it,..”

    You miss the elephant in the room.

    Unlike almost every other industry in NZ it has ZERO DISadvantages.

    It doesn’t take weeks to send it to the populated parts of the planet.

    It doesn’t cost half the purchase price to send it to the populated parts of the planet.

    We can upscale to sell in big quantities for very little cost.

    Rather than being a tiny market at the bottom of the world, IT is one industry where we are PART of the world market – not at the other side of the planet from it.

    Our publicly listed software companies are expanding extremely quickly, while our new energy companies are contracting just as quickly – they just don’t have the scale and proximity to markets to be able to efficiently produce the likes of wind turbines, and keep up with the massive R&D spending of overseas companies 1000 times larger.

  7. Gregor,

    It doesn’t follow that no growth equals no innovation (after all, humans innovated all the way to the environmental predicament we have now, including long periods of no growth). However, since growth must end on a finite planet, the point is rather moot. Just wanting something because you think it has benefits doesn’t mean it’s possible (indefinitely).

  8. Tony – no growth (or no perceived opportunities for growth) = no innovation.
    No innovation = no identification of efficiencies and better modes of production.
    All of the above = no change = inexorable decline.

    Failure to innovate will doom us.

  9. It used to be discussed in the Values Party as the Steady State economy: like an ecosystem in which parts die to fertilise new parts but it is renewal rather than growth as such. On our finite planet that is definitely the challenge.

  10. Gregor,

    I’m not referring to the minutiae of living. Of course, very little stays constant. But in the context of economic growth, that growth is bad because it is required by the kind of monetary system we have, because it is encouraged by the kind of political and economic systems we have but it is intrinsically unsustainable and damages the environment. Supporting economic growth is not a tenable position for a green party (small “g” and small “p”). That is why I take issue with the Green Party espousing economic growth.

    So all growth, in the context of economic growth, is bad and shouldn’t be supported unless it is recognised that such growth must be temporary and only for some well defined short term purpose. Of course, I don’t expect any politician to take a public position against economic growth but that doesn’t stop me pointing out the ultimate absurdity of promoting growth.

  11. The point I was (facetiously) trying to make Tony, is that your solution previously expounded is ‘no activity is sustainable, all growth is bad’, which is pretty much an untenable proposition given that you live in a real world, constantly dynamic environment as opposed to stasis.

    An example: if you had he last litre of water on earth, would you stop drinking it on the basis of its scarcity? Of course you wouldn’t. Though you might eke it out, your immediate biological urge to survive, even if you rationally knew you were ultimately doomed, would kick in.

    In taking a philosophically Olympian position as your starting point, you ignore reality. It becomes a thought experiment rather than a genuine proposition. Better to occupy you time contemplating how we might reduce unfettered growth and waste while we figure out some tangible, long term solutions.

  12. IT is the one. IT is weightless, low polluting, well paid. Its dream stuff.

    Yup… and we have absolutely NO as in ZERO advantage over any other country on the planet with respect to making a living at it, and EVERY other nation knows that IT is “dream stuff”.

    Not going to do better than break even there. Really. Thinking about this sort of thing can give headaches but the point Tony makes is quite correct, and Arana is taking the cornucopian side. As an Engineer I side with Tony except that I reckon there IS an escape. He and I scrap some over that… but there is no arguing that there is a difference when you talk about “substitution” and the subject is energy.

    That’s understood by just about every engineer and every economist is trained to ignore it.

  13. Arana,

    Nothing is infinite, of course

    Now we’re getting somewhere. One follow up question is how do we know when some key resource can’t be significantly grown or when some key environmental tipping point has been reached?

    Those examples you gave don’t prove anything about the future, so I’m not sure why you raised them. By the way, conventional oil has peaked and is on a plateau. Conventional oil is the easy and cheap stuff. Ever wondered why petrol prices have remained stubbornly high? It’s because the additional supplies are now hard to get, in terms of energy and finance. The marginal barrel of oil now dictates the price.

    And real economic growth seems so damned difficult to get going again, globally. That could be the limits kicking in. Economic growth may be over anyway but to continue trying to get it going in the face of those finite resources seems absurd. Better to plan for no growth, as a step toward sustainable societies, when we still have reasonably abundant and affordable resources to allow the transition, than to continue trying to sustain the unsustainable.

    In the context of this article, let’s try to get New Zealanders providing the things we need, rather than importing. But let’s abandon the notion of growth.

  14. Peak tree
    Peak whale oil
    Peak stone
    Peak oil

    The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stone. We substitute. We get more efficient.

    Nothing is infinite, of course, but things aren’t quite as finite as environmentalists like to make out.

  15. There you go; Arana is one of those dreamers. Economic growth occurs only in the mind and is limited only by the imagination. Meanwhile, in the real world…

    However, Arana at least accepts one limit, so maybe there is hope for a realistic viewpoint.

  16. actually argue that growth can go on indefinitely

    It can. It’s infinite. Because human imagination is infinite. Humans create resources from raw materials.

    The earth has a built in limiter – water. We can’t scale beyond the availability of water.

  17. Gregor,

    It isn’t rocket science; it’s a consequence of living on a finite planet. Overall economic growth degrades the environment, depletes resources and is intrinsically unsustainable. Amazingly, some people (a few) actually argue that growth can go on indefinitely (usually they assume that the whole world will move to a knowledge based economy where no-one produces or uses anything any more or that asteroids, then other planets, will be mined to provide resources, without consequence, or that the laws of thermodynamics will be repealed).

    If you can make a sensible case for growth continuing indefinitely, then I’m all ears. If you simply want growth in some areas balanced by declines in other areas, then that is possible but, obviously, has limits and is ultimately unsustainable. However, on a finite planet, or with accessibility to finite resources, all growth eventually ends. Where activity damages the environment, for the extant life forms, then that activity is also inherently unsustainable. I’d love it to be otherwise but, so far, the only arguments I’ve seen involve wishful thinking rather than critical thinking.

    Of course, it may be that people like yourself, Gareth and Arana think that at least growth can continue for the next few generations, that position has moral implications and is, itself, unproven.

  18. Paul,

    Gareth was hoping for export growth in IT. If that is not to lead to overall growth, then it must come at the expense of other industries. He didn’t suggest which industries should decline.


    Yes, a growth in IT, at the expense of other industries, would lead to less emissions in NZ. However, as IT supports other industries, it doesn’t lead to less emissions overall and, because it can underpin the operation and growth of other industries, it could actually lead to more emissions, globally. This isn’t joined up thinking. Just because it seems like a green idea to support doesn’t mean it actually is green.

  19. Of all the areas where growth might happen in New Zealand, growth in IT is the one. IT is weightless, low polluting, well paid. Its dream stuff.

  20. Paul – we’ve been down this path before with Tony. All growth is bad and unsustainable, apparently.

    I’m waiting for him commitment sustain himself via meditation alone and cease eating as his cellular replacement via protein and energy consumption via carbohydrates is clearly unsustainable. 🙂

  21. Pity the government of the day wasn’t thinking this way when it awarded the contract to Talent2 (Novapay).

    Tony: Gareth is not talking about economic growth in the traditional sence but talking about growing Green Jobs – ie less resource dependant. People still need something to do whilst we transitional to a fully sustainable economy.

  22. That may be so, Arana (but arguable), but growth destroys the environment and is unsustainable. So it’s not a green message but the Green Party are just as hooked on growth as any other. Shame.

  23. Nice one Silverstripe.

    The more economic growth, the more services, such as health, education, and welfare we enable.

  24. It’s nice that local people get to contribute to the local society but, please, let’s not beat the growth drum; that’s the old paradigm and has no place in a green view of the world.

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