Major parties: steady as she goes on e-government

Electronic government is one of the politicians' favourite strategies

The major parties’ policies with regard to e-government are unsurprising. The basic theme of a brief statement by State Services minister Trevor Mallard is that the current course “will continue” under a Labour government.

That course has seen the efforts of the specialised e-government unit progress to the point where they could be absorbed into the general aims and priorities of the State Services Commission.

The e-government strategy has been well set out and followed — with the occasional hiccup such as the failure of the GoProcure e-procurement system — over the years of Labour government. The Government Shared Network (GSN) will be the next major development to watch.

IT minister David Cunliffe’s office directed Computerworld to Mallard as being more appropriate to comment on e-government.

National party ICT spokesman Maurice Williamson, however, directs his barbs at Cunliffe and the Government’s digital strategy document.

“I’m supportive [of e-government] but that’s a bit like supporting apple pie,” Williamson says. “It’s vital, but we’re not making enough progress in delivery to the citizens. All departments need to be given a strong [push to participate] by their ministers and the Cabinet.

“Innovation in areas like this comes from the private sector. Our role as government would be [only] when we identify market failure.”

Cunliffe, he says, has failed to capture public attention for e-government or ICT policies in general.

“[He] has put out a glossy 64-page digital strategy, but when I addressed a large meeting of the Computer Society recently, only three people had read it. And these people are not truck drivers — they’re IT professionals.”

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