The government of New Zealand published its vision for e-Government in May, 2000. This recognizes that the key forces of change - including globalization, the rise of knowledge economies and new technology - are transforming the relationship between government, business and society. Public attitudes and expectations of government in more mature societies are changing quickly and the government acknowledges that it must change the way it relates to the public it serves. Indeed, the creation of e-Government is perceived as a key to New Zealand's future social well-being through its focus on better understanding and meeting individual New Zealander's needs and creating opportunities for greater public participation in government and democratic processes. In addition, at a third of that country's Gross Domestic Product, government activity constitutes a large part of the economy. In this context, value for money looms as a very significant objective. A number of examples of e-Government are already in evidence in New Zealand.
They range from the New Zealand Government Online website (http://www.govt.nz), to being able to register a new company on the Internet (http://www.companies.govt.nz.) or to getting comprehensive statistical information about New Zealand from Statistics New Zealand's website
The task for the Government is to build on these individual initiatives and develop them into a comprehensive plan for achieving the benefits of e-Government more widely on behalf of all New Zealanders. The planned development of e-Government aims to improve the ability of all people to participate in the democratic process. But, left to develop by itself, e-Government has the potential to create new divisions in society between those who have the skills and tools to use the new technologies and those who do not.
E-Government is expected to improve government in four important ways:
It will be easier for people to have their say in government.
For example, the introduction of new administrative measures will be subjected to public feedback through electronic means.
People will get better services from government organizations.
For example public transactions can be done round the clock and from geographically remote locations. This will be of particular benefit to those thousands of New Zealanders who do not live in the main centres of population. This will improve flexibility, speed and access to government services, and will lower the cost of government.
People will receive more integrated services because different government organizations will be able to communicate more effectively with each other.
For example, reporting an incident or change in domestic circumstances would be shared between different institutions, and a person need only go through that process once instead of several times.
People will be better informed because they can get up-to-date and comprehensive information about government laws, regulations, policies and services, and would go about their leisure or business in a more informed and compliant manner.
The State Services Commission (SSC) has been tasked with the co-ordination and delivery of e-Government. within the next five or so years, New Zealanders should be able to do the following:
Conduct their financial dealings with government organizations electronically;
Complete and send all government forms from one place on the Government's Internet site;
Have their say on a wide range of government proposals and policies through the Internet;
Benefit from high quality health care from a public health service that provides integrated and personalized services from GP to specialist to hospital to pharmacist based on individual patient record management made possible through comprehensive and highly secure information sharing and analysis;
Have confidence that effective controls backed up by good legislation will safeguard privacy;
Benefit from the reduced costs and time involved in property transactions because land survey and title information is available electronically and transactions can be registered the same way;
Notify changes of address, so that one entry on the Internet can ensure multiple Government agencies are notified automatically.
The e-Government vision is seen as supporting two important goals. They are:
Restoring trust in government and providing strong social services.
The e-Government vision will play an important role in achieving this goal. It will
strengthen the relationship between people and the state through greater opportunities for participation; and
provide the state sector with an opportunity to improve the effectiveness
and efficiency of their services to the public while, at the same time, reducing the cost of delivery.
Those three factors will help restore trust in government and provide strong social services.
Helping grow an inclusive, innovative economy for the benefit of all.
New Zealand's e-Government vision emphasis inclusion – the ability of all people to take part in the economy. It is also seen to complement well similar developments in business and commerce. Together, e-Government, e-business and e-commerce will play an important role in the development of an economy based on the combined impact of the knowledge and skills of all New Zealanders.