I’m hanging out in New Zealand statistics tonight, trying to find any lead on what NZ actually spends on software imports. We all have a hunch that its big, and some have a theory that raising awareness of free and open source software would help reduce what ever it is..

So far I have found Information and Communication Technology Supply Survey of 2005/06. Thanks to a google chat and a failing on search prowess on my part. But this report seems to only look at exports! Impressive as the export stats are I can’t seem to find a clear answer to my question.

Closest I get is:

Total sales of information and communication technology (ICT) goods and services rose 7.9 percent to $17.6 billion in the 2006 financial year.

Which is a staggering amount for a country with a population just over 4 million… but what does total sales of ICTs measure?

So, am on the hunt for a nice clean answer. How much does New Zealand spend on software imports? Actually, I could get more specific but I suspect the answers will somehow get harder to find.. how much does New Zealand spend common office software?

Of course it doesn’t help that many computer sales are made with software bundled, a quick chat to my local computer sales person revealed that even if I wanted free software options it wouldn’t reduce the price tag on a new computer 😦 in fact the only tangible difference that free software makes to off the shelf computers that I can see is the ability to go for a “home edition” at a lower price, and adding OpenOffice to it later to make up the “pro” difference..  I have no idea what Vista’s impact will have on this little price saver..

But still, there must be a clear clean stat out there on office software imports? Even one for operating systems? What about content and learning management systems? I just want a figure to start from…