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Beehive Web Site Launch

22 April, 2002

Cabinet Ministers' speeches and policy documents dating back to the mid-1990s are available on a newly upgraded web site that went live on Monday 15 April.

More than 20,000 documents are posted on www.beehive.govt.nz, ranging from a plea to the French issued on Bastille Day 1995 to stop nuclear testing in the Pacific, to the latest Prime Ministerial release this week.

Originally offering just policy documents when it was first launched in July 1995, the site has subsequently expanded to offer all press releases and speeches issued by ministers. Around three million page views a year are handled by the site.

The new site has a number of improvements over the old one

- It has improved search functionality. Users can search documents by portfolio, as well as by minister. Under the old system it could be confusing when a user was searching for a document in a portfolio with a number of associate ministers - It hides complex technology allowing even the most hopeless techno-phobe to load documents onto the site using cut and paste methods. As such, material can now be posted to the site faster. - It has a consistent look and feel as opposed to the hodge-podge look of the previous site which evolved on an ad hoc basis.

It has used the executive.govt.nz domain but this week switched to beehive.govt.nz. Visitors to the old address will be redirected to the new site.

Records of the last three governments going back seven years are held on the site and can be accessed through an archives section.

The new site is database-driven so beehive staffers can load and format material themselves. They can also pre-load information and set the time at which it is released to the public. Each minister has a list server to which the public can subscribe to have speeches and releases delivered to their e-mail.

Many ministers also publish their newsletters on the site

The upgrade was produced by Netco New Zealand. Graphics and database design was by Breathe Communications. John Spavin of Netco has maintained the site since its inception in 1995. It's hosted by One Squared.

Technical

The site makes extensive use of style sheets and uses Cold Fusion to manage an SQL database. It occupies approximately 800 megabytes of disk space.

Ends

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