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Government web portal important for rural sector

Government web portal important for rural sector

The government web portal is an important online tool for farmers and others in the rural sector, providing remote access to more than 4500 services and information resources from a single website, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

Visitors to the Mystery Creek Fieldays in Hamilton can see the portal in action by checking out the Ministry of Economic Development’s e-farming display.

“I hope the rural sector will make good use of this excellent internet-based one-stop-shop for government services. No one wants to be making lots of toll calls, or spending time driving to the nearest town, to get reliable and up-to-date information. The portal means that information is at your fingertips,” Trevor Mallard said.

“For instance, you can access the latest climate research from NIWA, or you can get the latest media releases and bulletins from MAF. You will also be able to find out what’s involved in exporting food products and livestock.

“Farmers can also get the latest government statistics on imports and exports, and prices, and find people to help prepare better business proposals.

“The government portal is more than just another website. It’s an online directory to get you quickly to the right point on dozens of local and central government websites, without a lot of fuss.”

On there are services and information ranging from farming, fishing, food, health and safety, education and family matters, to ‘things to know when’ important events take place in your life, such as the birth of a child.

The portal, launched in November 2002, was a milestone for the Government’s e-government programme. It is available around the clock in homes, schools and libraries – anywhere with an internet connection, no matter how remote.

“Both central and local government agencies are putting more information and services online all the time, so the portal has an important role to play in making these resources easily accessible. It also reflects this Government’s aim of taking a whole-of-government approach to public services, and making sure all New Zealanders are catered for, regardless of where they live.

“The Government’s roll-out of high-speed internet access to rural areas around the country through Project Probe will also be a bonus for farmers and rural communities,” Trevor Mallard said. “While Project Probe is focusing on connecting up schools in rural areas to high-speed internet access, there will be significant downstream effects for farmers who will have electronic access to not only the portal, but also to other online services such as internet banking and farm management services via the broadband link.

“The roll-out is due to be completed by the end of next year and some of the broadband connections are expected to carry higher quality telephone services than currently available. For really remote farmers, work is underway to introduce satellite services where land-based connections are not feasible,” Trevor Mallard said.

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