E-FILES: MED drives 'vision for economic development'

There's a fresh focus and a new Web site for the new Ministry of Economic Development (MED).


There's a fresh focus and a new Web site for the new Ministry of Economic Development (MED).

MED has taken responsibility for the work the former Ministry of Commerce used to do and added a few other jobs.

The ministry's director of information management and technology (acting), Kathryn McInteer, says the MED was established in February to "facilitate, lead and implement the government's vision for economic development".

It is the vehicle deputy prime minister Jim Anderton expects to drive his regional economic reforms.

The change was carried out by the ministry's "knowledge online" team, which is part of the information centre.

It administers the Web site and had the task of changing it to the MED brand.

"The Commerce brand was integral to the site and could not be easily changed to reflect the new organisation; we simply couldn't replace the Commerce logo with an MED one," McInteer says.

"For example, we needed to add new sections to describe our new focus, while still providing a working and viable site for our users."

That didn't prove easy; it was not something that could be done overnight, but they got there in four months.

While the basic architecture and navigation structure of the site remained the same, it was necessary to expand it to take in the MED's new role of advising on economic development and, in particular, the new regional slant.

It also incorporated information about Industry New Zealand, the organisation which will help with industry creation.

The site has had an impressive hit record in the past and McInteer is confident that will continue.

"Our reporting period for producing log reports is a calendar month, so we won't know of any significant change in hit count until later this month.

"We are expecting to continue the trend since the site was developed in June 1999 with the monthly hit rate growing steadily from 59,903 in January 1999 to 136,045 in June 2000."

People use the Web site for information ranging from registering a company, to radio frequencies, to jobs, to contacts in the MED.

The most requested literature in June was MED's "Strategic Business Plan", the Electricity Information Disclosure Handbook and the latest set of statistics.

The Web site is linked to other government databases where applicable and each page has a link to the New Zealand government online site.

The site is not dynamically linked to back office systems and, because it's static, each individual file has to be edited to change the HTML that determines the layout.

Short term, it's "business as usual", says McInteer.

Publications will be added as they are launched but the MED is also looking to add more FAQ information in various areas.

In the longer term, McInteer says MED is considering the "technological underpinning of our site".

"We want to make it more dynamic so publishing is a lot easier as well as making more public databases available."

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