New way for people to access organisations online

30 April 2012

Development is underway on a new online service which will enable people to more easily interact with public and private sector organisations.

The service, named RealMe, was announced at the 2012 Identity Conference in Wellington today by the Department of Internal Affairs and New Zealand Post, who are partnering to make the new service available.

Internal Affairs’ Identity and Data Services General Manager, Peter MacKenzie says RealMe will let people access many services with a single logon and also prove who they are online when they need to. RealMe will give people control over their identity and other official information.

“People who choose to upgrade to an identity verified account with this process will be able to access a much larger range of online services than are possible at present,” Peter MacKenzie says. 

“Organisations will be able to offer more online services using RealMe, safe in the knowledge that the person is who they say they are.  The organisations people can access via RealMe will include not only government agencies and local authorities, but also private sector agencies and corporates such as insurance, telecommunications and power companies; subject to the passing of the Electronic Identity Verification Bill, which is currently before Parliament.

“The ability to securely verify each user’s identity and other information, such as their address, opens a world of possibilities for more services to be provided online.

“RealMe provides a ready-made, efficient and secure process to support those online services - many of which will be things that, at present, would require the consumer to physically front up with documentation at the offices of each agency.  For participating organisations, this could result in a significant decrease in front office in-person costs and a significant increase in customer sign ups with no opportunities lost through needing the consumer to present in person.

New Zealand Post’s Mandy Smith, Head of Agency Services says the initial step in verification of your identity through a PostShop will be a simple process, requiring a visit to show appropriate ID and have a photo taken.

“New Zealand Post won’t be holding any of that information, we’ll simply collect it then pass it on the Department of Internal Affairs for them to undertake the verification process,” she says.

Once a consumer has a verified RealMe account they can then prove who they are online for organisations offering services such as; the census, bank accounts, government benefits, passports, registering to vote and obtaining and renewing licences.

“In partnership with the Department of Internal Affairs, we will be working closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, and that Office will play an ongoing role in the evolution of RealMe.

“Protecting people’s confidentiality and privacy is our top priority,” Mandy Smith said.

Peter MacKenzie says it’s important to recognise that RealMe will not create a centralised bank of data about individuals. The information remains in the source system and RealMe enables the account holder to consent before each piece of information is passed to a participating organisation.

“We will soon be announcing which organisations will be part of RealMe at launch, however we will be progressively growing its membership to increase the array of services the public can access in this convenient and secure manner,” Peter MacKenzie said.

More information is available at www.realme.govt.nzOpens in a new window.