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Embargoed until 9.15am Thursday 26 April Media Statement

Prime Minister Helen Clark and State Services Minister Trevor Mallard today released the Government's e-government strategy.

The strategy – titled - follows the release last year of the e-government vision. It sets out a plan to work towards New Zealand being a world leader in e-government and defines three essential characteristics of e-government:

- Convenience and satisfaction
- Integration and efficiency
- Participation

The strategy outlines specific deliverables and milestones that will be reviewed and updated every six months.

Helen Clark said making best use of the Internet/information/knowledge in government, business, communities, and in individuals' lives will be key to New Zealand's future economic and social well-being.

"The e-government strategy will guide us in using the power of the Internet to change the way government works, to improve the quality of what it does, and to provide better opportunities for people to have their say," Helen Clark said.

"Putting such a strategy in place is a move being made by leading nations around the world. We are confident that the New Zealand strategy is as forward-looking, comprehensive, and sensible as that of any other country.

"The strategy takes the view that government should be convenient and easy for people to deal with, should involve a minimum of red tape, and should be well coordinated and integrated behind the scenes.

"It also complements other government initiatives – our e-commerce strategy, our digital opportunities initiatives, our programmes to get information and communications into our schools, and our desire to catch the crest of the knowledge wave.

"As we implement the e-government strategy we are well aware of some of the hard issues we have to tackle. For example, we know there is a digital divide in our society that we have to help bridge. We have to ensure citizens can transact with government securely, in ways that leave them assured that their personal information is secure from misuse and that their rights to privacy are protected.

"Facing these challenges, and others, is part of creating e-government. It is worth doing, however, because seizing the opportunities of e-government is central to ensuring that New Zealanders get the type of government that we know they will want, and demand, in the future," Helen Clark said.

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said the plan for regular updates was an important aspect of the strategy.

"The strategy is multi-year in nature. It starts with building the foundations for e-government, and looks toward progressively transforming government into a user focussed institution," Trevor Mallard said.

"But changes in information technology are rapid. It would be pointless to define work priorities several years out when the cyber world could look completely different from predictions," Trevor Mallard said.

"We have set ourselves a challenging but realistic programme. For example work is progressing well on some of the projects we want completed within a couple of months like an e-billing strategy; a framework for cataloguing government information and services in a standard way to make them easier to find; and an e-procurement strategy and pilot to move government purchasing projects online.

"The strategy is designed to be picked up by the whole of the public sector. The Government will ensure that all of the public service participates, will encourage the wider State sector to engage, and invite local government to participate in creating e-government.

"I am confident that by working together we will ensure New Zealand becomes a world leader in e-government," Trevor Mallard said.

The e-government strategy is available at:

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