Access to internet should be like access to water - tech guru

Tech entrepreneur Derek Handley says New Zealand was left behind in the last 'knowledge wave' and we need to make sure we don't miss out again.

"The first revolution in our generation was the internet, and we all knew it was coming. We organised ourselves to prepare for it, and then we did nothing," he told Lisa Owen on Newshub Nation.

Mr Handley - who started mobile marketing company Hyperfactory and is a founding member of the non-profit think tank The B-Team alongside Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson - says New Zealand should be investing more in its tech sector and infrastructure.

"There are so many ideas and services and concepts that should exist in New Zealand - that we should be leading - that we're not. I just can't understand why we don't have that aspiration and that vision to lead."

For example, he says he can't understand why so few vehicles in New Zealand are powered by renewable energy, despite our power grid being 85 percent renewable.

Mr Handley also says closing the digital divide is a key step toward future-proofing our economy - ensuring equal access to internet in the same way we guarantee access to water.

According to the 2013 census, almost a quarter of New Zealand households don't have access to internet, and the figure rises to 33 percent for Māori households.

The Government is currently searching for a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to advise on policy. The position has an estimated salary packet of $400,000 with an additional $100,000 for expenses.

Mr Handley says this is "a hugely positive signal".

"The fact that it even exists, the fact that it will be working with the Prime Minister and the Minister, to me, is a symbol and a signal that we get it and that it's important."

When asked if he should be our new CTO, Mr Handley said he was currently focusing on projects in the US, but that he'll be "home soon".

Watch the video for the full interview.

Newshub Nation.