And Internal Affairs fosters Good Governance
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi
Internal Affairs of a country are about strengthening its capabilities, resilience and prosperity.
These characteristics are dependent on how nourished the population is in terms of their ideas of nationhood, identity and culture.
For everyday New Zealanders, Internal Affairs is about making an application for their passport or a birth certificate for their new-born.
However, the work of Internal Affairs spans across a wide variety of areas.
As we rapidly move in to the age of digitisation and as the Internet becomes an essential part of our lives, one aspect of Internal Affairs that is bound to have a positive and time-saving impact on most Kiwi citizens and residents is ‘RealMe.’
Unique Digital Service
In 2013, the National Party Government launched ‘RealMe,’ a digital service managed by the Department of Internal Affairs.
Our aim in setting up ‘RealMe’ was to make lives of Kiwis and New Zealand organisations easier. It provides an easy and secure way for Kiwis to manage their virtual identities.
From perspective of Good Governance it allows for better and more efficient delivery of government services.
Since its launch, ‘RealMe’ has had 4.44 million logins with 521,121 verified identities and has facilitated 93.9 million transactions. 37 organisations provide over 129 services to Kiwis using this important facility.
In the near future, ‘RealMe’ is working on reaching out to get more organisations on board so that Kiwis can find it easier to get through life events such as birth, education, health and retirement while saving businesses time and effort in identifying their customers in a secure manner with the customers consent.
The National Party intends to use RealMe for Good Governance, towards providing need- based and targeted services to our communities.
These services can be making an application for a student loan, accessing health records or KiwiSaver information and being able to do that by accessing one single web portal.
The Indian Initiative
Our counterparts in India launched their digital intuitive known as ‘Aadhar’ as a part of India’s progress to a digital economy.
The purpose of ‘Aadhar,’ like ‘RealMe’ is to create and facilitate a digital identity as a part of the larger initiative towards providing Good Governance.
As per available information, Aadhar is the largest biometric identification programme established to empower residents of India with a unique identity and a digital platform to authenticate anytime, anywhere.
Office of Ethnic Communities
Apart from providing services virtually, the Office of Ethnic Communities forms a part of the Internal Affairs. The Office has the overarching outcome of ‘Connected citizens, communities and government’.
The Office of Ethnic Communities contributes to building a more productive and competitive economy through its work with the business community and also delivers better public services by offering services such as the Language Line that assists with translation and interpretation for a number of organisations.
As the world economy moves towards digitisation, the role of internal affairs in providing need-based and targeted services continues to grow.
With the help of technology, we can ensure that services are provided effortlessly and in the process wastage of resources is kept to a minimum.
‘RealMe,’ The office of Ethnic Communities and ‘Aadhar’ are all examples of the role of Internal Affairs in Good Governance.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is the first India-born Member of the New Zealand Parliament on National Party List. He is the Party’s Spokesperson for Internal Affairs.
- Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi with his Leader Simon Bridges
- Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi regularly meets community leaders to understand the issues challenging them. He is seen here with Rakesh Naidoo (Wellington Interfaith Council Chair), former and current President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand Dr Anwar Ghani and Dr Mustafa Farouk in Wellington.
(Pictures from K S Bakshi’s Facebook Pages)
- RealMe of Internal Affairs Department provides fast, efficient and secure virtual identity service