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How E-Government will help our businesses

April 2001

The Government has released a strategy for e-government. State Services Minister Trevor Mallard outlines how it will help our businesses.

Almost everyone likes to eat and New Zealand growers produce excellent food. Now thanks to a website hosted by Trade NZ, Australians can find out more about our food, contact exporters, and order products all at once through their computers.

FoodLink is part of an initiative to use the Internet as a way of increasing business for New Zealand exporters by profiling them online and marketing them to buyers offshore.

By profiling New Zealand’s export capability online, driving business enquiries to the relevant sites and providing expert advice on e-marketplaces, FoodLink will open up many new export opportunities for New Zealand companies.

The project starts in June, as a pilot, and will go online properly in September.
This is a practical example of how the Government's e-government strategy will help business.

The e-government strategy recognises that one of the biggest challenges facing governments today is how can we best work with businesses. With the use of new technologies, businesses expect to deal with us when it's convenient to them, in a more cost effective way, and from any location.

The way we do that is by modernising the way we work across government. That transformation is e-government.

The aim of the e-government strategy is to make sure that New Zealand is equipped with the type of public sector it will need in the coming years. A public sector that is easy to access, convenient to deal with, able to customise its services to meet individual needs and is cost effective.

As well as FoodLink we have other great working examples of the sort of public service I am talking about.

For instance Customs has worked in partnership with business to develop systems where a company can electronically forward details of its cargo to Customs. Low-risk consignments are processed, and if everything is in order, automatically cleared within minutes.

More than 95 per cent of import transactions are now lodged electronically. What used to take 10 days to process, can now be done almost instantly.

Other good examples include the Companies Office, which has been using the Internet to drastically shorten process times, reduce the costs of company registration and vastly improve the search functions.

And the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s e-cert service, which has simplified the process of certifying animal product exports, leading to a reduction in costs imposed on primary producers, and increases in their competitiveness in world markets.

These examples demonstrate a key aim of e-government which is to directly reduce business compliance costs through streamlined government processes and greater efficiency.

In time e-government will also drive integration of services across traditional agency boundaries saving time and money for both business and taxpayers.

As most people know the Internet has reduced the size of the world we live and work in. The same will happen when businesses can get their government information and services over the Internet.

An effective e-government system means the exporter in Levin can access government information and services as easily and in the same amount of time as the manufacturer in Papakura. It means they won't have to waste valuable time on the phone or driving around government agencies.

Our Government-business education based digital opportunity pilot projects are leading the development of access to good bandwidth. When we have addressed that in the area of education, there will be a natural flow on of benefits to businesses.

Internationally it is very important that we have an e-government strategy in place. We want to make New Zealand as attractive a place as possible for people to work in, do business with and invest in - an effective e-government is reassuring to the global business community. It shows we are ready, able and open to do business in the knowledge economy

As e-government develops it will increase people’s awareness of the ways in which the Internet can be useful to them. The more that people get to see the benefits that the Internet can offer them, and become confident in using it, the more likely they will be to take up e-commerce offerings from the business community.

E-government is a project that will use the Internet to dramatically improve government services and save everyone time and money. It is good for New Zealanders, New Zealand and business.

To find out more visit: http://www.e-government.govt.nz

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