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Public sector websites to be more accessible

13 February 2004 Media Statement

Public sector websites to be more accessible

Public sector websites will become much more accessible with the adoption of an approved set of web guidelines across the public sector, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

Trevor Mallard described the move as a significant step toward improving access to government information and services for all New Zealanders.

The main focus of the New Zealand Government Web Guidelines, issued by the State Services Commission’s E-government Unit, is to ensure that government websites take into consideration older technology and software, slow connections to the Internet, and people with disabilities. They also promote consistent use of Mâori language and sensible approaches to website design.

“Anyone with the ability to connect to the Internet, irrespective of his or her social, economic or physical situation, should be able to access any or all of the information and services the government makes available. These guidelines will help make that possible,” Trevor Mallard said.

The government has directed public service departments to comply with the guidelines. State sector organisations are strongly encouraged to follow suit, and local government and private sector are also invited to adopt the guidelines.

“Really, whether an organisation is a department, a crown entity or local authority is largely irrelevant when you are wanting to ensure equal access to public websites and their contents. The guidelines represent best practice in this area and should be applicable to any website – public or private.

“The uptake of the guidelines will be carefully monitored to ensure they are flexible and responsive to people's needs and will be reviewed periodically to account for evolving technologies.

"It's important that these guidelines promote accessibility and remain oriented towards providing a good service to all New Zealanders,” Trevor Mallard said

View the Guidelines at: http://www.e-government.govt.nz/web-guidelines/
Details of the Cabinet decisions are available at:
http://www.e-government.govt.nz/docs/cabinet-paper-200402
http://www.e-government.govt.nz/docs/cabinet-minute-200402

ENDS

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