Putanga 1 – Ka māmā noa tā te iwi whai wāhi ki ngā ratonga me ngā mōhiohio e hiahiatia ana Outcome 1 - People can easily access the services and information they need

People’s ability to access services and information affects their lives and wellbeing.

When people can easily verify their identity, barriers to participation are eliminated or eased and their ability to participate in society – through jobs, education, community work, and recreation – is enhanced.

We work across government to find opportunities to make government services and information more easily accessible to those who need them.

Intermediate outcomes

  • Barriers to digital inclusion are reduced
  • People’s access to government is enhanced
  • People’s identity can be easily and securely verified
  • Taonga tuku iho rights are protected.

Ngā Wā Hira - Highlights

  • We assessed and advised on 105 government agency ICT initiatives totalling over $3 billion of new funding for Budget 2020
  • We supported 144 public libraries to provide easier community access to online information and services, through a technology refresh of the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa
  • We made over 720,000 new digitised items available through Archives New Zealand and the National Library’s online services.

How we are driving change to deliver our outcomes

Barriers to digital inclusion are reduced

The Department plays leadership, connecting, supporting and delivery roles to ensure all New Zealanders have what they need to benefit from the increasingly digital world.

This involves working directly with the community, as well as providing guidance across government agencies to ensure their services become more accessible.

In 2020, COVID-19 accelerated the global move toward digital inclusion and the need to address the digital divide.1 This year, the Department’s 12-month work programme seeks to close the digital divide in New Zealand by implementing the 2020/2021 Action Plan (a plan that coordinates the digital inclusion efforts across the public sector), distributing digital skills funding to community groups and small to medium enterprises and building on research work carried out in 2019.

1 Defined, in the New Zealand context, as the gap between those who are confidently online and those who lack the motivation, access, skills and/or trust needed to make the most of the educational, social and financial opportunities that are increasingly offered via digital technologies.

People’s access to government is enhanced

Putting New Zealanders and their whānau at the heart of everything we do – building on our successes of Te Ara Manaaki

Our Te Ara Manaaki programme reimagines the way we deliver life event and identity services around the needs of our customers.

Some of our achievements this year included:

  • improving access to services by adding digital options – for example, adults can now apply for Citizenship by Grant online, including uploading their supporting documents directly to the online portal
  • receiving seven out of ten Identity and Life Event applications and service requests online
  • supporting joined-up Government by progressing two new information sharing agreements – one for internal sharing within the Department, and one for customer-nominated services across several government agencies.

Government use of Cloud services

Cloud technologies, from data storage and computing power to Cloud-based tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, are a key building block for digital government and we have continued to support the public service to use these technologies. We have established a work programme to support agencies to accelerate the use and recognise the benefits of Cloud services. This work programme focuses on improving New Zealand’s access to onshore and offshore Cloud services, adjusting public service settings to better enable Cloud use and supporting agencies to use Cloud services successfully. The programme is governed by the Government’s Functional Leads2, and a cross-agency working group of senior officials has been formed to support the programme’s progress.

Coordinating government digital/ICT expenditure

The Digital Public Service (DPS) Branch provides government agencies with guidance and advice on digital/ICT investment. This work involves supporting agencies to develop long term plans and fostering the capability within agencies to manage their digital investments. In the 2019/20 financial year, we worked with the Treasury to develop insights for system investment advice on digital, ICT and data initiatives that have informed Budget 2020 development. Our advice is supported by a Digital Investment Plan which outlines our focus on supporting better coordination of investment across agencies and the system; investment management; and asset management.

2 Government Chief Digital Officer, Government Chief Information Security Officer, Government Chief Data Steward, Government Procurement and Economic Development Lead, and Government Cyber Policy Lead

People’s identity can be easily and securely verified

Digital identity is a foundation for digital transformation across government and the private sector. COVID-19 highlighted the importance of trusted digital identity for providing services where face-to-face contact is increasingly difficult. Digital identity enables people to easily assert their identity; prove their eligibility for goods, services and entitlements; and show their capability and qualifications to work in specific fields.

In the current environment, digital identity services are unregulated in New Zealand. There is an increasing risk of online fraud and breaches for people and businesses. People have limited choice and control over how their online information is used. Innovation and collaboration on digital identity services is inhibited without a clear, consistent and coordinated approach.

The Department has continued to create the right environment and establish the appropriate rules to enable a secure digital identification for New Zealanders to meet their needs and expectations. We have proposed establishing a Digital Identity Trust Framework (Trust Framework) in legislation that will set out rules to make sure digital personal information is secure and trusted, and identify policy and regulatory gaps and options that impact digital identification.

There is wide support for the proposal, both from agencies and the private sector. We engaged with over 100 public and private sector organisations to carry out collaborative design experiments as part of building an evidence base that informed the development of the Trust Framework.

Increase in real-time information sharing with other agencies

The Department has seen a significant increase in real-time information sharing with an 89 percent increase in transactions in 2019/20 compared to the previous year. This information sharing is undertaken with people’s consent to ensure their privacy is protected. While 2019/20 was already tracking ahead of the previous year, the onset of COVID-19 and lockdown saw this increase accelerate further as more organisations looked for digital ways to identify people.

Our achievements this year included:

  • We have processed over 725 new applications from agencies and organisations signing up to use the Confirmation Service3, which reflects the seriousness with which agencies are taking their obligations to meeting Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism requirements
  • This year New Zealand Police has integrated with the Retrieval Service4, enabling identification of offenders in real-time, thereby improving their ability to uphold their duties in a timely and accurate way to keep New Zealanders safe

3 Confirmation Service: A way for organisations to quickly confirm the accuracy and validity of identity information in a privacy-protective manner.
4 Retrieval Service: An identity enquiry system that allows authorised government agencies to electronically submit identity information for matching against official databases.

What are our indicators telling us?

We use outcome indicators to see whether over time there is a trend that represents good progress towards the achievement of the outcomes. Minor changes from one year to another are less significant than the trend of the results over the medium and long-term.

Recent results show high levels of satisfaction with the ease of access to or use of key services such as the issuing of passports, births, deaths and marriage registration and the processing of citizenship applications. The trend is for either maintenance or a small improvement in the levels of satisfaction.

We are also seeing a high proportion of people having their expectations met when making online transactions with the public service and expressing trust and confidence in digital identity.

digital.govt.nz homepage screenshot


Coordinating agency ICT investment

Work carried out by our Digital Public Service branch (DPS) in 2019/20 has highlighted government agency intentions to spend more than $3 billion on ICT and digital over the next five years, making a coordinated, principles-based approach all the more important to ensure value for money, and benefits for the wider system in delivering for New Zealanders.

Digitising records


Taonga tuku iho rights are protected - The importance of digital records as taonga to Māori

Thanks to several new developments and upgrades, the websites of Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand now offer Kiwis even better access to our taonga.