On the same day the government announced it was shutting down its e-procurement project GoProcure, Trevor Mallard's office was crowing over an international study that ranked New Zealand as one of the top nations in terms of e-government.
The Government Online: An International Perspective 2003 report ranks New Zealand top in terms of members of the population who have used the internet in the last month (75%), with 45% of those surveyed having used e-government services in the past year.
However, online communication with government is still dominated by the wealthy and well-educated city dwellers. Households with middle to high income, more than $50,000 per annum, use e-government services more than households with income of less than $50,000. In the $50,000 to $70,000 bracket usage is 55%, in the $70,000 to $100,000 it is 56% while those earning over $100,000 have 74% usage. Households with less than $30,000 a year income have managed to increase from 22% last year to 33% this year.
Almost half of Auckland city dwellers used the online service while in Wellington that number was nearer 60%. Around 70% of New Zealanders with university degrees used online government services.
Online safety is still a big concern for users, however. Nearly two thirds (59%) of respondents felt it was unsafe to give out personal details to government agencies online - a drop from 64% in 2002.
Because of the high number of internet users overall in New Zealand, the percentage of internet users who access government services online is low - lower than the world average in fact. Only 59% of internet users use government services online as opposed to a world average of 64%.
The survey interviewed 1000 New Zealanders and is in its third year. The survey, from market research firm TNS, included data from 30 countries including Australia, the US, Japan and Britain among others. New Zealand's results can be found in PowerPoint format here.