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Internal Affairs To Introduce New Civil Registration System In 2024

Te Tari Taiwhenua - the Department of Internal Affairs - will introduce a new Civil Registration system in 2024.

The new system will be more efficient, secure, and reliable.

“The civil registration system is changing because, while customers can already order birth, death and marriage certificates online, our system is expensive to maintain and no longer fit for purpose,” says Jeff Montgomery, Registrar-General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.

The move is much bigger than just replacing 25-year-old end of life technology – it’s about giving people more control over their information, says Mr Montgomery.

“We’ve listened to customers, stakeholders, and our own people, and undertaken research to learn what’s important to shape our services. We are focused on giving individuals the ability to access, curate and share their data, rather than it being government capturing and sharing data without consent – we want to move away from that approach.”

Civil registration, often known as ‘Births, Deaths, and Marriages’, covers the wide scope of life event and identity data for which DIA is responsible and includes paternity orders, adoption, registering marriage celebrants, change of name, change of registered sex, civil union, human assisted reproductive technologies (HART) and surrogacy.

Work on the new system involves upgrading and replacing all life and identity - birth, death, and marriage - data registers and then moving them into a new Microsoft cloud data centre in Auckland. These registers contain approximately 80 million records.

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“Life and identity data is the basis for a person in New Zealand to assert and verify themselves as a New Zealander. People use their identity data to access benefits, enrol to vote, apply for driver licences, student loans and the like,” says Mr Montgomery.

“In future, this data will be more easily accessible. People will be able to see their information, share their data, see who’s accessed it and authorise others to access it - they’ll also be able to withdraw that consent.

“It’ll be easy and convenient for people to do more things online. And they won’t have to provide their information over and over as they sometimes do now. Increasingly they’ll only need to contact us if they’re stuck or have a complex application.”

Australian IT, Business Management and Consulting Services Group, DWS – part of HCL, was chosen to work with DIA on the new system.

Mr Montgomery says DWS was chosen after a robust procurement process, having previously performed similar, much larger data migrations for the Victorian and NSW governments.

“That means we can leverage their experience in similar systems with a solution that will need minimum customisation, making it easier to build and maintain. We can be confident New Zealanders’ precious data will remain secure and be accurately transferred.”

He said building a new civil registration system also offered an opportunity for the government to strengthen its role as a Treaty partner. The Crown stopped recording iwi affiliation information in 1961.Consequently, people have no easy mechanism to identify themselves as Māori to the government, nor to identify themselves as affiliated with an iwi or hapū group.

After initial engagement, in 2021 a group of iwi advisors and experts was established to consider this issue.

The civil registration work is part of DIA’s five-year Te Ara Manaaki programme to modernise and future-proof its core identity and life event technology systems and processes, and to make it easier for people to access government services.

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