The New Zealand government has announced it will provide NZ$10 million over five years to support Pacific countries as they develop national cybersecurity strategies to secure infrastructure and data, enhance online safety, and implement new cyber crime laws.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters said it will help Pacific countries respond to cybersecurity risks in the region.
“With improvements in connectivity in the region, Pacific countries are seeing an increased risk of cybersecurity threats and New Zealand is committed to supporting our Pacific neighbours to provide a safe, secure online environment for their citizens and to maximise the benefits of a free and open internet while minimising cybersecurity risks,” he said.
As part of the initiative, the NZ government said a dedicated Pacific partnership advisor role would be created within New Zealand’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to work with Pacific countries to help enhance their cyber capabilities.
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New Zealand recently refreshed its own national cybersecurity strategy and action plan, which had followed on from a promise it made in 2018.
While the strategy was 11 months late and on the brief side — it was only a 17-page document — it still marked New Zealand’s ongoing progress in the cybersecurity space.
Cybersecurity also scored big during the country’s 2019-20 Budget, where NZ$8.7 million was allocated to the CERT to ensure it’s adequately funded to fulfil its Cabinet-mandated functions; while another NZ$8 million was allocated for the implementation of the Cyber Security Strategy 2019.
Meanwhile, NZ$1 million will be used to lift the government’s cybersecurity capabilities to meet the expectations of customers and to protect systems from external threats.
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