20 August 2013

The State Services Commission today published a new collation of statistics gathered from respondents to further Kiwis Count surveying.

The figures reflect progress in delivering on the Better Public Services result area 10 – that New Zealanders can complete their transactions with the Government easily in a digital environment.

The results are a bit like the proverbial curate’s egg.  Although the internet is shown to now be the preferred channel when looking for, or dealing with, public services, there is a heavy and persistent preference by many for dealing in person with agencies.  Ministers have acknowledged that more online integration of government services will be necessary. The report indicates, counter-intuitively that while 90% of the population have dealt with agencies on line, fewer –  85 per cent – have searched on line for information about public services.

Ministers seem disappointed that there is a persistent dislike for dealing on line with government. The mantra that e-government is transformational has yet to become a reality; the Department of Internal Affairs has a “Service Transformation Programme”. Although 91% of the population has used the internet in the last year, the internet is not particularly ”sticky” and there remains a heavy demand for traditional service delivery methods. The challenge is for 70% of New Zealanders to ‘go digital’ for their most common transactions with government by 2017 – to be achieved this requires a 75% increase on current usage.

There is some consolation for NZ Post in an observation on the SSC website;. “When asked how they would like public services to get in touch with them, a half of New Zealanders want to be contacted by letter, 44% by email and nearly a third by phone.” Lest that be reflective of the mathematical abilities of pollsters, presumably respondents were able to indicate more than one preference!