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the department of internal affairs statement of intent 2008-11

Minister's Foreword

New Rick duo s.psd

The Government's vision is for a sustainable, prosperous New Zealand, secure in its identity and proud of its achievements.

In 2007 the Department marked its 100th anniversary under its present name. As the Office of the Colonial Secretary, the Department served New Zealand from the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. This achievement presented an opportunity for the Department to focus on its proud history, looking back for what is valuable in its traditions, and also to recognise the importance of hard work and effective strategies in continuing its critical role of connecting citizens, communities and government in the decades ahead.

This Statement of Intent indicates the determination of the Department to do still more to play its part in contributing to the Government's themes of economic transformation, supporting families - young and old, and building our identity as a nation. The Department makes an important contribution to these priorities while also reflecting Government's focus on sustainability. New Zealanders need to be safe and secure, be able to participate fully in their communities and have access to high-quality services. The Government looks to the Department of Internal Affairs to help provide this foundation.

The Government, through the Development Goals for the State Services, also aims to lift the performance of the State services to deliver better results for all New Zealanders.

The Department, in consultation with Vote Ministers, has reviewed how it can best contribute to results for citizens, communities and government over the next three years. Along with my Vote Minister colleagues, I will be looking for a strong focus on delivering value for money. One benefit of the Department's "one organisation" strategy is that by working together across its varied functions, the Department is able to make the most of its resources. In some cases, this may involve delivering more services with the same or even fewer resources. I will be looking to the Department to prioritise its use of resources to continually do better, in delivering improved services for citizens, communities and government.

This 2008-11 Statement of Intent sets out the outcomes where we expect the Department to make a difference, indicates how the Department's outputs will contribute to these desired outcomes and identifies key areas of work important to the Government. I am satisfied the Statement of Intent is consistent with the policies and performance expectations of the Government.

Barker sig.tif


Minister of Internal Affairs

Introduction from the Chief Executive

Brendan Boyle_CE DIA formal duo s.psd

This Statement of Intent (SOI) sets out how, as one organisation, we propose to work towards our purpose of serving and connecting citizens, communities and government to build a strong, safe nation.

Our purpose supports the Government priorities set out in the three themes of economic transformation, families - young and old, and national identity. Our outcomes describe the ultimate result of our work. These outcomes - strong, sustainable communities/hapū/iwi, safer communities, New Zealand's approach to identity is trusted and well led, and support for Executive Government - align with and support the Government themes.

This SOI sets out how our work links to all three themes, outlines what we plan to do over the next three years to maximise our contribution and shows how we will know we have been successful.

In November 2007 the Department marked the 100th anniversary of the name "the Department of Internal Affairs". The wide range of activities the Department continues to be involved in reflects the continued centrality of our purpose of serving and connecting citizens, communities and government to build a strong, safe nation.

The Government expects agencies to work together to achieve outcomes that will secure the best possible living standards for all. Working together as one organisation, our aim is to provide leadership in our key areas of responsibility and work with others to deliver results for citizens, communities and government.

The Department will continue its role of providing leadership in identity management across the public service in collaboration with our partner agencies. Our focus will include initiatives to help protect New Zealanders from identity fraud, such as completing the development and implementation of the Identity Verification Service (IVS) with pilot agencies. To support this work we will be establishing an IVS business unit and IT infrastructure in the Department.

The Passport System Redevelopment Programme is a multi-year programme to replace ageing technology and implement a new and robust system to handle the progressive increase in passport applications resulting from the move to a five-year passport in 2005. This programme will help the Department maintain pace with New Zealand and international challenges to passport security. Work in 2008/09 will include implementation of the newly designed passport book and personalisation technology and a redesign of business processes for issuing passports.

The Department is the agency charged with ensuring that gambling in New Zealand is safe, lawful and fair and benefits the community. We will strengthen our approach to gambling policy and regulation. This will involve increasing our understanding of the role of gambling in New Zealand society to ensure we are well positioned to advise Government on strategic gambling issues. Our contribution will be enhanced by working with others and making good use of technology and information.

In helping to ensure families are protected from harm, the Department will focus on developing software to assist in the effective detection and prosecution of censorship offenders.

Community safety is also the focus of our work to support New Zealand's resilience through emergency preparedness. Among key tasks are the continuation and development of the successful public education programme, continuation of the review of New Zealand's civil defence and emergency management framework and the commencement of a tsunami awareness programme.

Effective local government is important for all of the Government themes. The Department will continue to lead in connecting central and local government. There continues to be a significant Auckland focus in the work of the Department. We will continue to work with Auckland councils and central government agencies to strengthen its regional governance and will support the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance which is due to report in December 2008.

Another area of focus for the Department will be implementing Government decisions on rating, and other funding issues for local authorities, following the Local Government Rates Inquiry. This will also be linked to work to improve the Rates Rebate Scheme.

An independent and vibrant community sector is essential to a healthy civil society. Government and the community sector depend on each other to achieve shared goals of social participation, social equity and strengthened communities. The Department, through its work with the community and voluntary sector is demonstrating leadership in supporting the Government's Statement of Intentions for an Improved Community-Government Relationship. This includes the development of a volunteering strategy focused on how we can support the recruitment and retention of volunteers.

Sustainability is important for communities as well as for the wider environment. Our work to support communities will continue, especially through the Community Organisation Grants Scheme and our administration of the Lottery Grants Board. The focus of our work will be to ensure effective and efficient grants administration that meets community needs. This work will include implementing better funding practices and reviewing and aligning Crown-funded schemes' outcomes, as well as providing community, hapū, iwi development advice.

The Department, particularly through the Office of Ethnic Affairs, acts as a point of contact between government and ethnic people and provides information and advice about and for ethnic communities. We will continue to assist central government agencies and the wider State sector to provide ethnic communities with services that respond to their needs.

With the increased focus by Government on sustainability, work is underway to ensure our procurement of goods and services align with the Govt3 sustainability practices. We will reduce the carbon footprint per kilometre of the chauffeur-driven VIP transport fleet and we will be monitoring the whole-of-life costs of new vehicles purchased from 2007.

The Development Goals for the State Services, updated by the State Services Commission in November 2007, provide guidance for how we do our work. Much of our effort is focused on delivering coordinated, accessible and networked State services. We also have a strong focus on building trust in State services. During 2006/07 we identified three flagship projects as the Department's particular contribution to advancing the Development Goals for the State Services and these will continue to be a priority:

  • supporting the Digital Strategy, by helping to improve skills in the community through initiatives such as the Connecting Communities Programme and access to information on CommunityNet Aotearoa
  • developing identity authentication solutions for New Zealanders, through our stewardship of the Evidence of Identity standard and our work to develop a whole-of-government Identity Verification Service
  • improving responsiveness to ethnic diversity in policy and service delivery, by providing training and advisory services to State sector agencies.

This is the first SOI I have had responsibility for as Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs. I commenced the role in February 2008 and have been impressed by what I have observed of the dedication of staff in all parts of the Department. I will be endeavouring to ensure a continuation of the high standards of delivery for which the Department is known.

The Department's history as a service provider at the heart of government, and our reputation for developing effective information and communication technology (ICT) enabled services, were key factors in the Government's recent decision to locate the management of all-of-Government ICT operations in the Department. This represents a significant added responsibility and is a vote of confidence in the Department's performance as well as an opportunity for us to make a major contribution to the Government's strategic objectives.

The Department continues to focus on building "one organisation" - that is, a single organisation harnessing a common approach to systems, processes and people. Priority areas for change include "strengthening our shared vision and values" so as to provide a sense of common purpose for staff and help build a "one organisation" culture. To achieve this, we will increasingly focus on staff building a good knowledge of the Department's activities and responsibilities (and its people). Staff will be encouraged to directly share their experiences and communicate across business groups so that lessons can be shared and transferred.

The development of more integrated corporate services with stronger support from the centre is a continuing focus, particularly in the ICT area. Our aim is to enable better use of resources, improved skill levels and overall critical mass to help create a stronger and more resilient Department.

We need to continually review risks and opportunities for the organisation, anticipate change, and improve efficiency and effectiveness. During 2008/09, I will be engaging with Ministers, staff and other stakeholders to review the strategic direction of the organisation as a lead-in to the next SOI.

I feel privileged to lead the Department as it continues to play a vital role in serving and connecting citizens, communities and government, and helping to build a strong, safe nation.

Brendon Boyle sig.tif


Chief Executive

Nature and Scope of Functions

The purpose of the Department of Internal Affairs is to serve and connect citizens, communities and government to build a strong, safe nation.

The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible to six Ministers administering six Votes. The Department also monitors the performance of three Crown entities. The key activities are summarised in the following table.




Hon Rick Barker

Minister of Internal Affairs

Responsible Minister

Vote Internal Affairs

Crown entities: New Zealand Fire Commission, Office of Film and Literature Classification

  • Regulatory services
  • Identity services
  • Information and advisory services
  • Policy advice
  • Contestable services

Hon Rick Barker

Minister of Civil Defence

Vote Emergency Management

Emergency management services, including:

  • management of national emergency readiness, response and recovery
  • policy advice on matters relating to emergency management
  • support services, information and education

Rt Hon Helen Clark

Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services

Vote Ministerial Services

  • Support services to Members of the Executive
  • VIP transport
  • Visits and ceremonial events coordination

Hon Chris Carter

Minister for Ethnic Affairs

Part of Vote Internal Affairs -
Services for Ethnic Affairs

  • Services for ethnic affairs, including policy advice

Hon Ruth Dyson

Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector

Vote Community and Voluntary Sector

Crown entity: Charities Commission

Community and voluntary sector services, including:

  • administration of grants
  • community advisory services
  • policy advice

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Minister of Local Government

Vote Local Government

Support services for local government, including:

  • information, support and regulatory services
  • policy advice on matters relating to local government

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Minister for Racing

Vote Racing

  • Policy advice

The Department also works with various portfolio-related statutory bodies, trusts and committees (for example, the Lottery Grants Board), providing them with advice, administrative support and management of the appointments process. We also manage the appointments process for the 12 community trusts (Responsible Minister: Minister of Finance), the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust, and the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust (Responsible Minister: Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control).

The Minister of Internal Affairs is the Responsible Minister for the Department. The Responsible Minister oversees the Government's ownership interest in the Department, which encompasses its strategy, capability, integrity and financial performance.

Strategic Direction

The purpose of the Department of Internal Affairs is to serve and connect citizens, communities and government to build a strong, safe nation.

Our vision is to be a recognised leader in public services - known for innovation, essential to New Zealand, and trusted to deliver.

Outcomes the Department is seeking to achieve

We have identified three outcomes that we believe contribute to goals and priorities for the Government and the community. These outcomes, and the associated intermediate outcomes, define where we are seeking to make an impact as a Department. They are:

  • Strong, sustainable communities/hapū/iwi:
  • People engage with and participate in their communities.
  • Communities are empowered and able to help themselves.
  • Communities are supported by fair and responsive local government and local groups and organisations.
  • Communities recognise and enjoy the economic, social and cultural benefits of diversity.
  • Safer communities (this outcome has three
    distinct parts):
  • Communities are more resilient to hazards and
    their risks.
  • Gambling is safe, fair, legal and honest.
  • Harm from restricted and objectionable material has been minimised.
  • New Zealand's approach to identity is trusted and
    well led.

We also contribute to the objective[1]:

  • Executive Government is well supported.

These outcomes and objective cover the key functions for the Department and more detail about the strategic direction for each of them is provided in the following "Operating Intentions" section. For each outcome/objective area we describe:

What are we seeking to achieve? This outlines the intermediate outcomes we are seeking to achieve and how they contribute to the Government's priorities.

What will we do to achieve this? This outlines the key initiatives we have planned and agreed with our Vote/Portfolio Ministers, looking out three years.

How will we demonstrate success? This outlines some of the key ways in which we measure our success, including demonstrating that our work is cost effective.

To aid the reader, each principal section is headed with a diagram indicating how our outputs and activities contribute to the delivery of outcomes for the community.

We work with a large number of other agencies to achieve outcomes. Who we work with is outlined in the diagrams, and the commentary highlights where we are working with other agencies on shared outcomes.

Other functions of the Department

Providing independent administrative services

We also undertake a further range of little-seen but highly important administrative services associated with the objective "Executive Government is well supported". Through the production of trustworthy official documents and processes that are seen to be independent, we build the trust of international authorities and the New Zealand public. The services include:

  • providing translation services
  • providing official authentication of New Zealand documents
  • supporting Commissions of Inquiry and similar bodies
  • publishing the New Zealand Gazette.

Performance measures for these functions are included in the Performance Information for Appropriations in Vote Internal Affairs.

Taking on new areas of responsibility

From time to time the Department takes on new areas of responsibility. For example, with the passing of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007, the Department now has the task of enforcing the anti-spam law. "Spam" is the common term for electronic junk mail - unwanted messages sent to a person's email address or mobile phone. We established a new compliance unit that was up and running when the Act came into effect in September 2007. Performance measures for the function have been developed and included in the Performance Information for Appropriations in Vote Internal Affairs.

In March 2008 it was announced that the all-of-Government ICT operations within the State Services Commission, with over 100 positions, would be transferring to the Department of Internal Affairs. Responsibilities include managing all-of-government 24/7 services like the Government Shared Network, Government Logon Service, Secure Electronic Environment (SEE) Mail, and The timing of the move will be announced later in 2008, but planning will commence immediately to ensure we are ready to host this important service delivery function.

The Ministry of Justice is currently reviewing legislative controls on money laundering. Work is underway to develop a Bill that will introduce new measures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. The Department is one of three proposed anti-money-laundering supervisors. It would have responsibility for supervising casinos and a number of other types of entity, including (eventually) the New Zealand Racing Board. The Department is considering the structural and resource implications of acquiring this new function.

During 2008/09 we will be reviewing our outcome framework to recognise these new areas of responsibility.

Our vision for the Department in 2010

The Department of Internal Affairs covers many areas of government, serving six Ministers, across seven portfolios. Despite this broad scope, we are one department and can deliver our services to New Zealanders most effectively if we work together. We aim to be a high-performing, trusted organisation working as "one organisation" to maximise our outcome contribution for citizens, communities and government.

During 2007, the Executive Leadership Team worked to more clearly define what "one organisation" means in practice. This involved reviewing the key drivers for departmental change and developing a high-level pathway to 2010, with some initial priorities. Our vision is that by 2010 the Department of Internal Affairs will be one organisation as demonstrated by:

  • the trust and respect of all stakeholders for our high performance and ability to deliver across our breadth of responsibilities
  • our accessible, responsive services to the public that reflect integration across the Department and coordination with our fellow agencies
  • leadership of the strategic thinking and policy development in our areas of expertise
  • our efficient use of resources and ability to respond flexibly to changing demands
  • leveraging the diversity inherent in our Department so that the whole delivers more than the sum of the parts.

Providing strategic leadership across the public sector

While continuing to deliver business as usual services, and enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of delivery, ministers expect that the Department will increasingly demonstrate leadership across the public sector within its areas of responsibility. In reviewing the strategic direction for the organisation, we have identified the following leadership areas across the Department.

Strong, sustainable communities/hapū/iwi

Managing the central government/local government interface

People expect central and local government to work effectively in partnership and failure to address pressing local government issues can directly affect perceptions of central government performance. The Department's leadership role includes:

  • being experts in, and stewards of, the system of local government. This includes sharing knowledge with central government agencies about working with local government, and ensuring central government agencies appreciate the broader mandate of local government to support current and future community wellbeing. An example of our leadership is the role we are playing in Auckland's governance and regional strategic planning.
  • jointly, with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), supporting the biannual Central/Local Government Forum, chaired jointly by the Prime Minister and the LGNZ President.

Supporting ethnic diversity

The Department includes the Office of Ethnic Affairs (OEA), whose purpose is to help encourage and promote the strength and benefits that ethnic diversity offers New Zealand. Through OEA, the Department provides leadership across the State sector, helping to achieve the goals established by the Government in adopting the Ethnic Perspectives in Policy framework.

In the past few years, OEA has made significant progress towards its goal of fostering a strong, self-directed ethnic sector. While continuing to work in this area, the OEA is now focusing on demonstrating the economic benefits of diversity and the innovation that diversity stimulates. OEA also works to create an inclusive climate, where ethnic communities are able to participate fully in, and contribute to, all aspects of New Zealand life.

Promoting New Zealand citizenship

New Zealand citizenship is a shared bond that can accommodate differences in religion, ethnicity and cultural backgrounds, and promote a sense of belonging to New Zealand. The Department is leading the development of a programme designed to highlight the social benefits of recognising and celebrating shared citizenship. The programme will be linked to the forthcoming 60th anniversary of New Zealand citizenship in 2009. A particular focus is to strengthen social cohesion through raising awareness of what citizenship means amongst the vast majority of New Zealanders, who have acquired their citizenship by birth, so that they value it as much as those who have acquired it by choice. The importance of this work will continue to increase as our society becomes increasingly diverse.

Safer communities

Civil defence and emergency management

The Department provides leadership in civil defence and emergency management through the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) and the civil defence and emergency management policy and communications teams. This leadership role includes:

  • oversight of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002
  • formulation of the National CDEM Strategy
  • strengthening of civil defence and emergency management (CDEM) planning and procedures
  • increasing public awareness and preparedness through the public education programme (Get Ready, Get Thru and What's the Plan Stan?)
  • development of standards and a framework for CDEM training
  • international engagement on CDEM issues
  • management of response and recovery activities at a national level following emergency events.

Ensuring gambling is lawful, fair and benefits the community

The Department is well placed to take a leadership role in relation to gambling in New Zealand. We have an increasing focus on the future of gambling, the appropriate role of gambling in New Zealand society, and the role of government, operators and the community in ensuring outcomes are achieved. As part of our strategic development work, the outcomes framework for gambling has been revised to:

  • lift the outcomes beyond the bounds of the current legislation
  • explore ways in which gambling regulation contributes to the Department's Strong, sustainable communities/hapū/iwi outcome
  • identify synergies with other agencies such as the Ministry of Health, and with other areas within the Department, particularly in the local government and community area
  • develop outcome-based performance measures.

New Zealand's approach to identity is trusted and well led

The Department has until very recently cast its leadership role in identity management around Trusted Records of New Zealand Identity. As part of our broader leadership role we are now in the process of developing and articulating a broad view of New Zealand's and the Government's interest in identity matters as they impact on protecting the privacy and safety of citizens, facilitating transactions between individuals, government and business, and ensuring good governance of our society. We have changed the identity outcome statement to New Zealand's approach to identity is trusted and well led. The Department's leadership role includes leading, or co-leading, identity strategies and initiatives across government including:

  • the Identity Verification Service
  • the Evidence of Identity Standard
  • the Identity Assurance Strategy
  • the Data Validation Service
  • the Biometrics Strategy.

The Department also provides further identity leadership, advice and contribution to the governance of all-of-government initiatives led by other agencies.

Executive Government is well supported

Support for independent and ad hoc bodies

This is emerging as a potential leadership area for the Department.

The Department is mandated to administer Commissions and Royal Commissions of Inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908. In recent years we have also supported a number of ministerial inquiries, which have similarities to Commissions but without the statutory basis. We have also supported a small number of ad hoc bodies that although not inquiries, have the common characteristic of needing to be seen as independent of other agencies. A recent example was the Confidential Forum for Former In-Patients of Psychiatric Hospitals. Following on from its success, we are currently in the process of establishing its successor, the Listening and Assistance Service.

The Department's expertise in this area is supported by the Law Commission's recent draft report on Public Inquiries, which recommends replacing the 1908 Act with a broader scope and continued administration by the Department. It is our belief that the Department's administrative experience, coupled with a track record of, and reputation for, independence and impartiality, means our expertise can be used to provide support for a broader range of activities.

Key factors in our strategic operating environment

Outlined below is a high-level summary of some of the key factors in the external operating environment that shape our strategic direction and choice of priorities.

Responding to ministerial expectations

Ministers have placed a number of expectations on the State sector. These expectations are about how each department can contribute to the Government's wider goals, while providing value for the taxpayer's dollar in delivering its services.

Ministers expect that Departments' activities will contribute to the Government's themes of families- young and old, national identity and economic transformation, and reflect the Government's focus on sustainability. These themes not only underpin the overall direction of government, they specifically impact on the strategic direction of the Department's work. Given the range of what we do, the Department makes an important contribution in all these areas.

The Government has also developed a series of more sector-specific strategies that shape the nature of our work. For example, the Government's National Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Strategy 2007 sets out a direction for CDEM in New Zealand over the next 10 years that guides our CDEM priorities. In the community area, for instance, we contribute to the National Digital Strategy, the National Settlement Strategy and various strategies that seek to ensure people from a range of groups benefit from reducing inequalities.

The Department has a key regulatory role in developing and implementing legislation and regulations passed by Parliament. With the passage of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007, we established a new compliance unit. The Department is continuing to support the progress of various pieces of legislation through the House relating to issues such as gambling and identity. We have also been asked to look at improving safety around dogs as this is an area of public concern. As noted previously, from time to time we are asked to take on new areas of responsibility such as the management of all-of-Government ICT operations. We need to be flexible and responsive to these opportunities.

The Government has also agreed a series of Development Goals for the State Services. They are aspirations for how State servants will behave, agencies will design and deliver services, and systems and networks will support a whole-of-State services approach to getting results.

To ensure this Statement of Intent reflects the priorities of the Government and of our particular Ministers, we provided them with a three-year work programme for review. The "What will we do to achieve this?" section for each outcome/objective area, in the following "Operating Intentions" section, was developed on the basis of these work programmes and feedback from Ministers.

Being responsive to changing demand and customer expectations

The Department needs to be able to respond to changing demand. For example, with increased travel by New Zealanders and the move to a five-year passport we have increasing demand for passport services, which need to be managed over the medium term. We are implementing a Passport System Redevelopment Programme to help us handle the increase in application volumes.

Another area of increasing demand is censorship. Regrettably the Department continues to find New Zealanders involved in offences related to the making, distribution and possession of images of the abuse of children and other objectionable material. This is resulting in increased workload for our censorship investigators. As a result of legislative change in 2005, the penalty for possession was increased to a custodial penalty. Higher penalties are resulting in an increased number of defended hearings, which involves greater workload and costs for the Department.

Customers of the Department's services expect it to provide its services efficiently, accurately and cost effectively, while also expecting high levels of service. People are increasingly accustomed to doing business at any time of the day, on any day of the week. Although people do not generally expect an office to be open at all times, they do expect to be able to access websites and make online applications at any time. This means the Department must have systems in place to support its online services.

Implications of demographic trends

Our communities are changing and will continue to do so.

  • Family structures are changing.
  • We have an ageing population.
  • We have an increase in Māori, Pacific and other ethnic groups, particularly among the younger generations.
  • Our society is becoming more urbanised.

We are monitoring such changes and adjusting our responses accordingly.

Increasing migration levels over time have implications for citizenship and passport operations. An increased population overall, and the resulting increase in assets and infrastructure, heightens the potential consequences of natural hazards.

According to the 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings, there are now almost 200 different ethnicities in New Zealand, and approximately 12% of the population identify with ethnic groups/populations from Asia, Africa, continental Europe, the Middle East, and central and South America. This proportion is forecast to increase to approximately 18% by 2021. We have a particular responsibility for working with ethnic communities and are working to ensure the benefits of diversity are recognised and understood by government agencies and the wider community.

We are seeking to ensure our various services are responsive and accessible to all. The Department manages and uses Language Line, a telephone interpreting service that enhances access to services for non-English speakers. Increasing ethnic diversity has implications for emergency management activities, as it creates a need for community education and communication to be undertaken in a greater range of languages. Through our Effectiveness for Māori Strategic Plan 2006-09, we are seeking to assist whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori to achieve high-quality social, economic and cultural development goals. We also contribute to work led by other agencies, such as the Pacific Strategy, Positive Ageing Strategy and the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

With 31% of New Zealand's population now located in Auckland it is important the city delivers the benefits for New Zealand that a large city can offer, while providing a high quality of life for residents.

Technology presents threats and opportunities

Advances in technology present both a threat and an opportunity for the Department.

The threat lies particularly in the areas we regulate. Our enforcement staff need to keep up with the way offenders use technology. This can also pose a challenge for government in ensuring that legislation stays up to date.

As New Zealanders have one of the highest rates of computer usage in the world, we experience relatively high availability of, and exposure to, objectionable material. Increasing speed of access (e.g. through broadband) also increases potential exposure to harmful material. Rapid development of technology creates risks and opportunities in the censorship area and underlines the need for us to maintain strong international networks. Offenders take advantage of the relative anonymity and security that the Internet and new technology offer. The most recent significant development in Internet offending is the ability to share large numbers of publications through peer-to-peer applications. This creates challenges due to the volume of material and the fact that the identities of the users are not readily detectable.

The Department also promotes community access to information and technology through our work associated with the Digital Strategy. We have successfully administered the two years of collaborative community IT funding through the Community Partnership Fund. We also provide a range of informative community and information websites.

The ongoing increase in dependence on technology creates an increased vulnerability should these systems fail and is an area of concern for civil defence and emergency management. New Zealand society relies heavily on technology and the supporting infrastructure to provide our current standard of living. The dependence of lifeline utilities on each other only increases the significance of any disruption, with a breakdown in one sector (e.g. electricity) potentially affecting the service provided by others (such as water supply).

Technological developments in the fields of communications and biometrics are creating an ever-evolving identity management environment. The Department began issuing e-passports in November 2005. Each e-passport contains an embedded microchip, which carries a digitised photograph and other biodata (information about the holder) already held in the passport. The ongoing challenge for the Department is to keep up to date with advances in biometric technology, to ensure that New Zealand passports continue to be trusted documents.

The opportunity is for the Department to use technology to improve its delivery of services to its customers, and to improve its internal systems and processes, to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, through which services to the Department's customers are increasingly improved. For example, we propose to develop a more integrated gambling IT platform complementing the newly implemented electronic monitoring network to:

  • improve the efficiency and effectiveness of licensing activities
  • reduce costs for the sector
  • provide enhanced information for the Department.

Our work in this area contributes to the State Sector Development Goal of using technology to transform the provision of services for New Zealand.

We are also involved in upskilling communities in the use of technology - to assist them to transform themselves as well as participate more fully in technology-enhanced services provided through State service agencies.

Security issues - a global concern

Although the Department's name, "Internal Affairs", implies a focus within New Zealand's borders, in fact many aspects of the Department's work are affected by the global environment and we must be able to respond to overseas trends and events.

The Department expects to issue over 410,000 passports and travel documents in 2008/09. The increased focus on security around the world means that these passports must meet international standards, if New Zealanders are to continue to enjoy the current ease of access to many countries. There is increasing criminal interest in the production of fraudulent identity documentation to help facilitate other types of crime. The Department is taking a leadership role in this area and is developing an Identity Verification Service where identity management is consistent and secure.

The focus on security has also increased the attention paid to applicants for citizenship. Migration patterns around the world, fuelled by the increasing affluence of some countries on one hand, and by war and other strife on the other, have greatly broadened the background from which potential citizens come. This complicates the checking process we must use to ensure that applicants meet the criteria under the Citizenship Act.

The Department provides services to Ministers - office systems, accommodation and transport. All of these services must meet appropriate standards to ensure that Ministers' communications and Ministers themselves are secure. Similar considerations apply to the official visits managed by the Department.

Environmental issues and sustainability

Sustainability is a key Government priority. In her Statement to Parliament in February 2007, the Prime Minister said that "New Zealand's future is dependent on long-term sustainable strategies for our economy, society, environment, culture and way of life". This greater emphasis on sustainability is leading to the need to change some of our business practices and we have developed a Sustainability Action Plan, which identifies a number of practical steps that we will be undertaking to improve our performance.

We also need to recognise that in addition to the environment, sustainability also incorporates the cultural, social and economic aspects of wellbeing. These are all areas where we will continue to promote progress through our work at the central/local government interface.

The Department is directly contributing to the Government's goal of carbon neutrality as vehicles in the VIP car fleet are replaced with vehicles that are more fuel efficient and have lower emissions. This is a significant step, and the challenge for the Department will be to find increasingly sustainable ways of carrying out its work.

Environmental change can impact directly on the Department's civil defence and emergency management responsibilities in supporting individuals and communities in reducing risk, and managing and recovering from civil defence emergencies.

Changes to the natural environment resulting from land use can either aggravate or mitigate natural processes that create hazards. Changes to vegetation (forest and bush), wetlands, and dunes, and increased urbanisation all have implications for the management of hazards. Over the longer term, the general indications are that climate change could lead New Zealand to experience more intense rainfall and associated flooding, more frequent and intense droughts in eastern areas, more damaging windstorms, more heat waves, and increased wildfire risks in eastern areas. Emergency management planning, particularly over longer timeframes, will require close monitoring and accounting for these potential influences.

[1] "Objectives" recognise that not all department functions are to achieve outcomes, as they are not directly targeting societal, economic or environmental effects.

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Last updated: 19/05/2008