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

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

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

Making it easy for people to verify their identity and reducing or eliminating digital barriers enhances people’s ability to participate in society – through jobs, education, community work, and recreation.

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 Tīpako - Highlights

  • Provided $10.7 million in funding to six groups to deliver Digital Skills packages to over 900 individuals, whānau and small businesses owned by Māori, Pasifika, and disabled people as part of the COVID-19 recovery.
  • New online service enables an increase to 73% of first-time passport applications being completed online this year, an increase from 50%.
  • 8,925 individual archives, over 272,000 pages, have been digitised over the past year.
  • The Office of Ethnic Communities supported the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to host 33 regional community hui with Muslim and wider ethnic and faith-based communities following the release of the Ko tō tatou kāinga tēnei report, to discuss and gain feedback on the report and its recommendations.

Barriers to digital inclusion are reduced

The world is becoming more digital each day, and the move to online has been accelerated in the COVID-19 environment, meaning digital inclusion is more important than ever.

Internal Affairs plays a system leadership role in digital transformation. We provide an All of Government approach to compliance with the 2003 Cabinet-mandated Web Standards, including upskilling, guidance and assurance, and supporting agencies to improve service design for digital and non-digital channels.

Ensuring that Government agencies have the capability and expertise to deliver digital services is one part of increasing digital engagement, the other key component is reducing barriers to digital inclusion. Digital inclusion is more than being able to connect to the internet – it’s about having the access, skills, motivation and trust to interact in the digital world.

The rapid increase of digital delivery channels during the COVID-19 response highlighted the impact of digital exclusion on some New Zealanders. Internal Affairs was already working towards its services being more digitally accessible to New Zealanders, such as people outside of main centres and those unable to travel to Internal Affairs’ sites.

In 2020/21, as part of the COVID-19 recovery, Internal Affairs provided $10.7 million in funding to six groups to deliver digital skills packages to over 900 individuals, whānau and small businesses owned by Māori, Pasifika, and disabled people, enabling them to more confidently interact in the digital world.

Internal Affairs is taking an active lead and co-ordination role across government agencies to progress thinking on how to increase digital inclusion so that everyone has the confidence, resources and skills to participate in the digital world.

Supporting the delivery of Digital Skills

People who are digitally excluded are at higher risk of being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help address this, in 2020/21 Internal Affairs funded a digital skills training programme for individuals and whānau, delivered by the Manaiakalani Education Trust.

3,068 people benefited from this training during 2020/21. This programme continues until December 2021 and will stand participants in good stead if we see further COVID-19 lockdowns.

While the programme evaluation will not be completed until after the end of December 2021, feedback from participants has been positive about the impact that training has had on their ability and confidence to access services and communicate online.

Improving digital inclusion in ethnic communities

In May 2020, the Government agreed to fund the Ethnic Communities Multilingual Information Network as part of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. This included $200,000 non-departmental funding in each of the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years to improve digital inclusion for ethnic communities in Aotearoa, which became the Ethnic Communities Digital Inclusion Fund (ECDIF).

The ECDIF is a contestable fund that aims to increase capability and confidence of ethnic communities to use digital technologies to more fully participate in New Zealand society.

The priorities of the ECDIF are to ensure communities have the skills to use digital technology, understand how the digital world can help them connect and access opportunities, and foster trust, confidence and digital literacy in managing personal information online.

Requests to the fund were open from 24 February to 28 April 2021. 41 requests were received, and the full funding available was distributed by 30 June 2021.

Multi-lingual Information Network enables access to services and information

The Multilingual Information Network (the Network) shares information with ethnic community members in ways they have told us they need, succinctly and in their primary languages.

Information Facilitators are well connected in their communities, understand their communities’ needs, and have expressed an interest in partnering to improve community outcomes.

The Network has shared information related to COVID-19, the General Election 2020 and referendums, the emergency benefit for temporary visa holders and the Ethnic Communities Digital Inclusion Fund.

The Network complements existing professional services by utilising the language proficiency and connections of its Information Facilitators, to ensure that professionally translated government information reaches ethnic communities. Information Facilitators complete feedback surveys after each message, and their feedback helps inform and improve future messages.

People’s access to government is enhanced

Te Ara Manaaki – supporting online uptake of services

The Te Ara Manaaki programme continues to reimagine the way we deliver life event and identity services around the needs of our customers.

This year, following introduction of a new online first-time passport application system in late April 2021, applications for online first-time passports reached a 73% uptake. This is an increase from 50% and means that just 27% of first time New Zealand passports are still being applied for using paper forms, thanks to the new online service.

The newest service, delivered as part of the Te Ara Manaaki modernisation programme, joins verified RealMe as an online option for adults applying for their first New Zealand passport. Customers go through an online identity checker that can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

The new option has proven popular with customers and is being expanded to children and family groups in 2021/22.

In addition, Internal Affairs is planning for new online citizenship services to be delivered which enable citizenship applications to be made online.

Engagement with ethnic and faith communities and government

The Office of Ethnic Communities has worked in and with ethnic and faith communities across New Zealand to increase people’s access to government.

Over the last year, the Office focused on supporting central and local government agencies and ethnic and faith communities to connect and engage with each other, as well as holding regular stakeholder meetings to help the Office to grow its knowledge of, and relationships with, ethnic and faith communities. The Office was also committed to developing a greater regional presence and regularly shared information with community members through various communications channels.

Of particular note, was the Office’s support to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to host 33 regional community hui with Muslim and wider ethnic and faith communities following the release of the Ko tō tātou kāinga tēnei report from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019, to gain feedback on the report and its recommendations.

Targeted COVID-19 response for ethnic communities

The Office of Ethnic Communities played a pivotal role in engaging with ethnic and faith communities to share COVID-19 information from the All-of-Government communications group led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Office helped to connect people with information about available support and provided feedback about the experiences ethnic communities had accessing government information and support.

The Office partnered with the Ministry of Health to respond to challenges in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to ethnic communities, including arranging a Zoom meeting with 130 ethnic community leaders and Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, as well as identifying a number of initiatives to better target information to ethnic communities to improve vaccination outcomes.

People’s identity can be easily and securely verified

Digital Identity Trust Framework

In May 2020, the Government approved proposals to establish a Digital Identity Trust Framework in legislation.

A Cross-Government biometrics group has begun work to review the guiding principles for use of biometric technologies by government. Facial Recognition Technology is one of the biometric technologies covered by the principles.

The Framework will enable a wider range of digital identity services to be developed that are more responsive to the needs of New Zealanders and provide assurance that those services meet high standards for security, information management and privacy.

It will also give New Zealand’s tech sector a solid reference for how they can innovate and grow, ensuring different systems are readily able to connect and exchange information with one another in a trustworthy way.

The Trust Framework rules, which Internal Affairs is developing alongside industry and other key stakeholders, will continue to be developed.

Taonga tuku iho rights are protected

Enhancing digital access to archival holdings

Archives New Zealand is creating digital copies of archival holdings to provide New Zealanders with free online access to important records from our past. Over the past year, 12,499 archives have been digitised (8,399 items from business as usual digitisation and 4,100 from the Royal Commission of Inquiry). Within those archives, 823,517 images have been digitised (307,375 from business as usual digitisation and 516,142 from the Royal Commission of Inquiry).

Digitisation helps to preserve unique, precious archives by reducing physical handling and wear. By making backup copies, digitisation also improves the resilience of the holdings against catastrophic events.

In 2020, Archives implemented an enhanced digitisation model, to improve systems and processes and achieve optimal productivity. The digitisation programme prioritises high-value, high-use records that align with strategic priorities. Current strategic priorities include:

  • digitising archives that will support the new history curriculum and Maihi Karauna (the shared vision for te reo Māori);
  • developing an on-demand service for government agencies; and
  • digitising fragile materials as identified in the Archives Preservation Plan.

Archives also prioritises support to other digitisation initiatives including the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care and Utaina! which will preserve historical magnetic audio-visual records.

What are our indicators telling us?

Recent indicator results show continued high levels of satisfaction with the ease of access to or use of key services from Internal Affairs such as the issuing of passports, births, deaths and marriage registration and the processing of citizenship applications.

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. For examples of this refer to the sections on barriers to digital inclusion reduces, People’s access to government is enhanced, and People’s identity can be easily and securely verified. At the same time, people are accessing more of Internal Affairs’ services online. The results for performance measures 3.46, 3.48, 3.49 (the details of which are shown in Section 4 of the report) have all increased significantly over the past year. An example is that applications for online first-time passports reached a 73% uptake, an increase from 50%.

Results for one of the indicators, from the Kiwis Count survey is not available due to changes in the survey timings and methodology.