Internet Party: Digital drive will deliver “truly responsive” Govt

The digital transformation of government services, the introduction of online voting and making government more open and accountable will benefit all New Zealanders.

In its Responsive Government policy launched this week, the Internet Party promises to provide better government services by leading a technology-enabled transformation.

The benefits? Leader Laila Harré says the move will allow Kiwis to better access to government services in the digital age, as well as providing a “strong platform for direct democracy”.

“A responsive government is one that works for people, not the other way around,” Harré adds.

“Technology offers huge potential to help people participate in government. That means the onus must be on government agencies – and government itself – to provide ways for people to engage easily and effectively.”

The Internet Party will introduce a Government Digital Strategy mapping out the development and delivery of digital government services across the board.

“The strategy will set out how the transformation will be achieved and when, within individual organisations and the government system as a whole,” Harré adds.

“It will also be an ongoing process and benchmarked against global best-practice so that we avoid spending years in coming up with a grand plan that is out of date by the time it is developed and implemented.”

Allied with the delivery of a digitally focused government service, the Internet Party will also establish a “Democracy Portal” – a personalised website and set of apps that bring together voter participation opportunities across central and local government – Harré says it will also be used to allow for online voting in future elections and referenda.

“Traditional voting methods simply don’t cut it anymore, so the introduction of a workable and secure online voting is our priority,” she adds.

“No other country has been able to introduce a perfect solution just yet, so while we’ll move quickly we’ll also do so with caution.

“We will put together an expert group to develop online voting models and processes to make sure any risks in online voting for general elections are managed down to be in line with those of the current system.

“We will start with local council and health board elections, for example, before looking to roll online voting out in general elections.”

The Internet Party will also amend the Citizens’ Initiated Referenda Act 1993 to allow signatures for a Citizens’ Initiated Referendum to be collected electronically. Both the collection of signatures and the referendum itself will be run on the Democracy Portal in addition to existing methods.

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