Statistics NZ will receive $58 million over the next four years to update its IT systems, it was announced in Budget 2011 today. A statement from Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says the funding will go towards the programme ‘Statistics 2020: Achieving the Statistical System of the Future’, which aims to update the department’s IT systems. “Statistics New Zealand has a unique IT environment,” Williamson says. “It has about 250 systems that produce statistics about key economic and social data.” In addition, the department receives an extra $3.8 million in capital funding over the next four years, totalling $12.7 million over 10 years. “The extra funding will enable the organisation to transform the way it produces statistics.It will increase productivity and reduce the longer-term cost of statistics production. “The funding will benefit individuals, communities, and local and central government agencies which base their decisions on robust information,” Williamson says. igovt benefits Other ICT-related spending includes $27.6 million over the next two years for igovt services, which are intended to make it easier for people to interact with government online. “The igovt services provide an easy and secure way of accessing government services online and proving identity,” says Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy in a statement.
“Without this investment, most government agencies would be forced to develop their own authentication and verification systems. This duplication would be expensive and complicated, and many smaller agencies simply wouldn’t be able to provide online services.
“This is another important step by the Internal Affairs Department to coordinate the use of information and communications technology across government.
“Many government agencies, including the Labour Department, New Zealand Transport Agency, the Police, Internal Affairs Department, and the Auckland and Wellington City Councils, are already using igovt log-ons for various online services.
“An increasing number of agencies are looking to adopt it this year for services such as applying for a new passport or changing electoral roll details. The Internal Affairs Department has entered into negotiations with New Zealand Post to expand the use of igovt services.”
Full allocation to Crown Fibre Capital funding of $942 million has been released to Crown Fibre Holdings. This funding, in addition to previous allocations means CFH no has access to the full $1.4 billion set aside for the Ultra Fast Broadband initiative, a statement from ICT Minister Steven Joyce says. The Budget also provides $28.2 million to allow schools to connect to the UFB network. “In the past month, the Government has finalised negotiations for the rural broadband initiative and will soon be securing deals for the majority of the ultra-fast broadband initiative,” Joyce says.
“These are significant milestones that now see us moving into implementation of our vision for New Zealand’s digital future.”
SmartGate funding continues
Budget 2011 includes an extra $3.5 million in operational funding for SmartGate, Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says. The Budget also provides $3.4 million in capital spending for 2011/12.
The system, which uses face recognition biometric technology from the information stored in a microchip inside ePassports, has recently just clocked its one millionth passenger.
Demand is being driven by the increase in New Zealand and Australian passengers with ePassports who are eligible to use it. Tourism volumes are also expected to increase over the next few years.
SmartGate is currently available at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports.
The funding will see six more gates and 13 kiosks installed between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch Airports and will move trans-Tasman travel a step closer to the “near domestic” experience sought by both the New Zealand and Australian governments.
“Additional SmartGate capacity will greatly assist in the management of major events such as the Rugby World Cup 2011,” Williamson says.