web analytics

RealMe and online government – good when it works

Written By: - Date published: 2:53 pm, December 27th, 2017 - 24 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: , , , , ,

The only thing worse than standing in queues with lumps of paper is having a website system that isn’t functioning.

I have to head overseas for work early in January. I found out on friday as I was leaving work. Work keeps a scan of my passport page for the travel agent. So on saturday, it turned out that I’d have to get my passport renewed because it is nearing its age limit.

So I did the usual bit of investigation. The passport office announced… Rats…

The Passport Office will be closed from 5:00pm on the 22nd December, and will reopen on the 3rd January. During this time a Call Out service is available by appointment, please contact us for further information. The Contact Centre will be open the 27th, 28th and 29th December from 8:30am to 5:00pm for urgent enquiries only.

But they would allow me to do everything online and if I paid more then I could get it in 3 or so days after the 3rd.

The company is paying, so I didn’t give a damn about the cost. It is peanuts compared to the airfare costs and the contract I was going to support. In the blithe expectation that I’d be able to do this after the xmas shopping, the two Xmas meals, and the bloated stupor following the second as I experienced the chocolate high. But to be sure, I started the application early.

I found my passport (carefully stored after an apartment move). Managed to manufacture an intrusive RealMe login. Got the passport site to accept a bleary eyed early photo from Xmas morning before driving to Mangawhai standing against the bathroom wall. I will now look like sleepy drunk for the next decade. Filled out the online form with a minimum of cussing up to the point of needing a non-family referee. Ok – it appears that no-one is near their passports on Xmas day, or boxing day unless they are on a plane.

Now I have located one person who has stayed in the deserted Auckland and who has a valid passport. So I try to get back to my saved application page to find out exactly what I information I need

  1. The passport office didn’t email me the resume key. It isn’t even in my spam folders.
  2. and RealMe is down.

It is sunny outside. I don’t want to be at home if I’m going to have to get baked in a tropical sauna for 3 weeks trying to code. And some arsehole has managed to leave their fire alarm whooping and telling people to leave the building for the last few hours purely to irritate me.

These are all first world problems I know. But why can’t the geeks in the government try to do things like do their damn maintenance in the european day…

It sounds from the nice person on the phone that Real Me may resurrect itself sometime soon(ish). But I’m getting on my bike and off to the park with some SPF 50..


24 comments on “RealMe and online government – good when it works ”

  1. WE, my wife and I joined up with Real Me not long after it came online.

    It was quite a mission to have our details confirmed, like proof of identity, photo ID etc.
    But we finally got there, but have found the site next to useless in reality.

    We were told that there is going to so many retirees in the future the only way to access Work and Income was to do online via Real Me.
    Plus there was going to be many more Govt services to come onboard.

    We do not even bother with the system now, it all seemed like a lot of hot air between NZ Post and the Government.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Obviously the solution is to defund and privatise the Inland Revenue and the DoIA.

  3. Matiri 3

    We’ve just moved house and needed to update our address for our Drivers Licences and gun licence. Drivers Licence was straightforward online via NZTA website (no mention of Real Me); gun licence was a real mission even though we are on Real Me. NZ Police redirected us to NZ Post with no explanations or FAQs explaining we were expected to use Real Me. Obviously a system that is underused and it really shows.

  4. KJT 4

    Of course our Government couldn’t look at a system in operation, and working satisfactorily, overseas, like Estonia’s. They had to re-invent the wheel, again!

    https://e-estonia.com/ Note: this came with strict controls on privacy and data integrity.

    I wonder which National party crony got the contract?

    • Matthew Whitehead 4.1

      RealMe, while becoming prominent under the Key/English Government, was actually a renamed version of the iGovt project that started during the Clark years, FYI. I don’t think it was contracted out, but the way it operates was likely made “friendlier” to the Nats’ big data approach.

  5. Pat 5

    had just signed up to Real Me to apply for a new passport online….no probs with sign up, including receiving verification txt and was impressed to receive a new passport today after lodging application on 20th Dec….non urgent.
    Mighty impressed esp. considering the time of year.

    • lprent 5.1

      Same with my partner who is may be able to travel with me for a change. Did hers on boxing day and had it approved. Now it is just a delivery issue. That was really impressive.

      However as I said, for me unlike her, today was a write off simply because the damn system was down. I couldn’t finish the application. Because of that, at this time of the year it gets problematic if I can get on an aircraft at the right time next month. There are no alternatives because there aren’t offices operating.

      I have to organise plant waterings, get server support, and a pile of other things – calling in favours to do it. Not to mention the effort of becoming expert in the projects code. All based on a precept that I can get a bit of paper and cardboard from Wellington next week.

      This isn’t exactly a time of year when I have spare time. Family are around. People are visiting. And even outside of this site, I have a pile of non-work-work to do. Sure this includes such daft things as finding uber-wide footwear for my feet and learning how to dismount from my bike without it looking like I am trying to fall off. But it all takes time. I look at going back to work about the 3rd as being the real holiday.

      If you are going to make any essential system mainly electronic and reliant on the net, then the reliability and constant availability must be the primary concern. Both people and businesses will come to depend upon it. It can’t be a matter of luck. It needs to be a matter of reliable systems.

      Public service computer systems are just as much part of our economic infrastructure as things like roads, bridges, sewerage systems, water, power, etc. In many ways they are more important.

      If you want an example, then just have a look at the downstream effects of the very occasional outages we have with eftpos systems. Each of those, however brief, is easily measurable in the countries daily GDP.

      Or if you like the physical infrastructure, then look at the bottleneck effect of closing two lanes of the Auckland Harbour Bridge today during a holiday when most of the city is a nice visual metaphor. Traffic was spending half an hour inching into the motorway system and over a few kilometers of road to get over the harbour.

      • Public service computer systems are just as much part of our economic infrastructure as things like roads, bridges, sewerage systems, water, power, etc. In many ways they are more important.

        So, why are they being outsourced to the unreliable private sector?

        They actually are that important and they do need the reliability of 24/7 maintenance, availability and the lack of changing ownership and contracts.

      • ropata 5.1.2

        Old IT adage is never do a deployment on a Friday afternoon. Similar applies to upgrades during the holiday break. Best to do such things when all hands are on deck.

        I had the “pleasure” of involvement in iteration 1 of RealMe, called the “Govt Login Service” back in 2006/7, hung out with the public servants in the State Services Commission, a hugely backwards IT culture compared to the private sector (back then at least). Every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted though.

  6. Tracey 6

    They must have improved it. IRD used it a few years ago to replace a system that worked well. Every year it was a nightmare to retrieve a forgotten password and required a phonecall and the requisite waiting. Now they have myIR(?) But I have resorted to letting my computer save my password otherwise the inevitable memory failure and system leave me on hold on a phone.

  7. But why can’t the geeks in the government try to do things like do their damn maintenance in the european day…

    We don’t have any geeks in the government as all the IT has been outsourced to the private sector. And those firms are probably off-shored to the European day.

    • ropata 7.1

      We have a pretty strong domestic tech sector: Datacom, Assurity, Clearpoint, IntegrationWorks do a heap of contract work to big corporates and government.

      I don’t know that bringing the IT expertise inhouse is gonna be a magic bullet, if there is cultural or management dysfunction then the project is gonna have problems no matter who builds it.

      • There are no magic bullets but what bringing it in-house would do is make it consistent across all departments (why can I use RealMe with WINZ but not with IRD?), build up experience around the needs of government services (this lack of experience is, IMO, a major cause of the fuck-ups that we see), save money from the decrease in fuck-ups that we’ve seen from the private sector and also act as a training hub for new entrants to the sector as Telecom, railways, MoW and other now closed government departments used to.

  8. lprent 8

    My partner’s new passport has arrived. That is fast. She ordered it on Boxing day.

    Time to try RealMe again

    • dv 8.1

      Passport are very quick!!!

      • lprent 8.1.1

        I suspect that you need to read the post.

        I’d agree. However doing maintenance on the systems required to make the electronic passport system work when all of the physical passport offices are closed is a pretty damn silly idea.

        Which was the point of my post.

        • dv

          i did read it.
          i was reinforcing the quickness of passports.

        • Craig H

          I suspect the reason for it is that if they do it when the people are in the offices, they can’t issue passports, so nobody gets a passport either way, but people are sitting at work unable to do much work.

  9. corodale 9

    Russian hackers? RealMe was adequit to verify crypto exchange. Perhaps that channel was safe guarded by Chinese block chain miners. Some day we may be thankful for all those gnat communist party links.

  10. David Mac 10

    I’ve used the system once, I caught it at it’s best. A useful tool. Circumstances were changing leading up to a tribunal hearing. I was able to add additional photos, receipt scans and text right up to the hearing date. Information that was sent to the tribunal admin/adjudicator at the same time I loaded it.

    Information is power, the quicker we can buzz the pertinent bits between one another the better off we’ll be.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Realising housing dreams for the Kāpiti Coast
    Much needed public housing is on the way for the Kāpiti Coast thanks to the Government’s purchase of a large vacant plot of land at 59-69 Raumati Road in Raumati Beach. “This purchase will ultimately mean more families have a place to call home and demonstrates our commitment to resolving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    45 mins ago
  • Decarbonisation industry milestone reached in Timaru
    A pioneering boiler conversion project is now up and ready to go, using woodchips to make potato chips, while slashing emissions. “McCain’s newly converted coal boiler will reduce CO2 emissions at its Timaru factory by 95% and is an excellent example of the great climate gains we can achieve through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    60 mins ago
  • Govt keeps AM on the air in Northland
    Minister of Broadcasting and Media Willie Jackson and Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty today announced a $1.48 million package to fund the repair and replacement of three transmission masts in Northland to ensure AM radio can stay on air in the region. “This funding will secure the reinstatement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Multi million dollar package to tackle retail crime and reoffending
    A multi million dollar package to tackle retail crime and reoffending is the most significant crime prevention financial package in recent memory  New fog cannon subsidy scheme set up. Government to provide $4000 for all small shops and dairies in New Zealand who want a fog cannon installed, with shops ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Funding boost to support NZ’s game development industry
    New Zealand’s game developers will receive an immediate funding boost to help support the growth of local studios beyond the current Dunedin centre. “New Zealand’s game development sector has been rapidly growing. The latest data from the New Zealand Game Developers Association shows the total revenue for the industry is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • A new strategy for Pacific housing
    New and existing housing initiatives are being brought together to improve home ownership for Pacific people said Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. Fale mo Aiga: Pacific Housing Strategy and Action Plan 2030, launched today, is the Government’s targeted response to the housing challenges faced by Pacific Aotearoa. Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Government takes action on pay parity for healthcare workers
    Thousands of frontline community health workers – including nurses in aged-care facilities - are in for a pay rise as the Labour Government takes action on pay parity in the health sector. “I’m pleased to announce that Cabinet has agreed to on-going funding of $200 million a year so that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • World’s first algae-based local anaesthetic another step closer to reality
    A partnership between the Government and the Cawthron Institute has delivered a breakthrough in the production of a potent microalgal ingredient for the world’s first algae-based pain medication, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced.  “Scientists at Cawthron Institute in Nelson have developed a reliable and commercially scalable method for producing neosaxitoxin, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri and the Crown sign Agreement in Principle| Ka waitohu a Ngāti Mutunga o...
    Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri and the Crown have signed an Agreement in Principle marking a significant milestone towards the settlement of their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims. Ngāti Mutunga are based on Wharekauri/Chatham Islands and are the second of two iwi/imi to reach agreement with the Crown. “Today’s signing follows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further ACC reforms introduced to Parliament
    New reporting requirements on access to ACC Earlier access to minimum rate of compensation Refinement to ACC purpose to focus on supporting all eligible injured people to access ACC The Accident Compensation (Access Reporting and Other Matters) Amendment Bill which aims to improve access to ACC for all injured people, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government supports Chatham Islands' resilience
    The Government is supporting the Chatham Islands’ resilience to extreme weather events and natural hazards through a grant to secure safe drinking water, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty said. “Many households in the Chatham Islands lack easy access to drinking water and have been forced to get water to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Chief Coroner appointed
    Coroner Anna Tutton has been appointed as the new Chief Coroner, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Anna Tutton was appointed as a Coroner in January 2015, based in Christchurch, and as Deputy Chief Coroner in 2020.  After the previous Chief Coroner, Judge Deborah Marshall, retired Ms Tutton took on the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • DIRA Amendment Bill passes third reading
    The Government has passed an Amendment Bill today to support Fonterra’s move to a new capital structure and the continued success of New Zealand’s dairy industry. The Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructuring) Amendment Bill will allow the Fonterra co-operative to make changes to its capital structure, as well as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister Whaitiri to attend Food Ministers’ Meeting with Australian counterparts
    Minister for Food Safety Meka Whaitiri will attend the Fourth Australia and New Zealand Food Ministers’ Meeting in Melbourne on Friday. It will be the first time the meeting has been held in person since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted international travel. “The Food Ministers’ Meeting sets the policy direction for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Kiwibank parent appoints directors
    David McLean and Sir Brian Roche have been appointed as the first two directors of the newly incorporated Kiwi Group Capital Limited (KCG), the parent company of Kiwibank. In August, the Government acquired 100 percent of Kiwi Group Holdings, which also operates New Zealand Home Loans, from NZ Post, ACC ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Defence Ministers meet in Cambodia
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. “The first face to face meeting of the ADMM-Plus members is an opportunity for me to highlight New Zealand’s position on key regional security matters,” Peeni Henare said.  “In ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pay equity extended to thousands more social workers
    The Government will extend pay equity to all community and iwi organisations who employ social workers and receive funding from the Crown, Minister for Women Jan Tinetti announced today. We expect this will improve the lives of approximately 4,600 social workers. “This extension means thousands more social workers will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Taskforce set up to protect construction industry from product shortages & delays
    New ‘Critical Materials Taskforce’ will trouble shoot building materials shortages Focus on maximising productivity & cushioning businesses from supply chain risks Successful ‘Plasterboard Taskforce’ reshaped to include broader sector knowledge and expertise Will provide guidance, data and information to support builders, designers and business owners A new Critical Materials Taskforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bigger ED, more theatres and more beds in new Whangārei Hospital
    A new emergency department with three times more space will be part of the first stage of a two-stage project to build a new hospital for Whangārei and Northland. The Government has today confirmed funding for stage one of the new hospital – an acute services building and a child-health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Finnish PM to visit New Zealand
    Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, accompanied by Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari and a business delegation will visit New Zealand next week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The two leaders will meet in Auckland. “New Zealand and Finland are natural partners. We share similar approaches ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New recreational rules to support hāpuku and bass fisheries
    The daily limits on recreationally caught hāpuku (also known as groper) and bass will be lowered to a total of two per person in some areas, with a new accumulation limit of three per person on multi-day trips. Oceans and Fisheries Minister, David Parker said the rule changes would take ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature enabling Mātāuranga Māori
    Mātāuranga Māori is at the heart of the latest tranche of Jobs for Nature projects set to promote biodiversity and reduce impacts of climate change on Māori land, Minister of Conservation Poto Williams says. Project work will include the creation of an ecological corridor in Tairāwhiti, protecting 60 hectares of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting resilient shipping infrastructure in Vanuatu
    The Government has announced further support to Vanuatu to assist in constructing climate-resilient wharves as part of the Vanuatu Inter-Island Shipping Support Project (VISSP). “Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to supporting the economic recovery of our Pacific region in a way that continues to provide growth and supports climate resilience,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government welcomes High Court ruling on climate case
    The High Court has today confirmed the legality of the advice provided by the Climate Change Commission (the Commision) to inform New Zealand’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) and the first three emissions budgets.  Minister of Climate Change James Shaw says New Zealanders can have confidence in the Commission and of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government introduces changes to mining Act with stronger environmental focus
    ·         Crown Minerals Act will no longer actively “promote” prospecting, exploration, and mining of Crown-owned minerals ·         Will create more certainty around engagement between industry, iwi and hapū. The Government is proposing changes to modernise the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA) to support more environmentally conscious management of resources, says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Building Nations 2050 conference
    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Good morning and thank you, Jack, for the introduction. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge Infrastructure New Zealand Chair, Margaret Devlin and all the sponsors and organisers of this event for bringing us together in ‘Building Nations 2050’. I would also like to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Better natural hazard information for home buyers
    Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty has today introduced legislation to empower councils to share better information about natural hazards with the public. The Local Government Official Information Amendment (LGOIMA) Bill will make it easier for Councils to share clear and concise information in Land Information Memorandum (LIM) reports. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand welcomes visiting WTO Director General
    The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala visits New Zealand this week. Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said the WTO was essential to New Zealand as a small export-dependent trading nation.  “New Zealand’s economic security depends on our ability to trade. Our goods exports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Faster, cheaper, better resource management law given first reading
    New laws that will deliver a faster, cheaper, and better resource management system had their first reading in the House today. The Spatial Planning (SP) and the Natural and Built Environment (NBE) Bills, which were introduced last week, will replace the 30-year-old Resource Management Act (RMA). Environment Minister David Parker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Minister Sio to meet new Vanuatu PM
    Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio travels to Vanuatu today, to meet with the new Government led by Prime Minister Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau and to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the Pacific Community (SPC) Ministerial Conference being hosted in Port Vila. Minister Sio will have a number of bilateral meetings with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Driving ahead with the Clean Car Standard
    Following discussions with vehicle importers, the Government has confirmed the Clean Car Standard will be phased in from 1 December 2022, significantly reducing the CO2 emissions of light vehicles in New Zealand, announced Transport Minister Michael Wood. “Emissions from our light vehicle fleet are the single largest source of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech to Constitutional Kōrero conference
    Our Evolving Sense of Nationhood – Me Anga Whakamua Indigenous Futures and New Zealand’s Constitution Tuia ki runga, Tuia ki raro, Tuia te here tangata, Mai i te wheiao ki te ao mārama Ka rongo te pō ka rongo te āo! Tīhei Mauri Ora! Kei ngā miro o te ao ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rental sector changes to regulate residential property managers, clear up meth confusion and ease pr...
    A suite of measures to improve the lives of renters and landlords has been announced by Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods as the Government makes more progress on reform of the rental sector. “Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand and these measures will result in regulated oversight of residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further sanctions on the political and economic elites of Russia and Belarus
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced further sanctions on members of the inner circles of governments in Russia and Belarus, as part of the ongoing response to the war in Ukraine. “Aotearoa New Zealand first moved against the powerful and wealthy in Russia with sanctions on political and economic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Another step towards improved supermarket competition
    The Bill to trigger an unprecedented shake-up of the grocery sector and deliver New Zealanders a fairer deal at the checkout and help tackle cost of living pressures is ready for its first reading at Parliament. “The duopoly has now been given plenty of warning. If they fail to adequately ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Black Ferns to be celebrated at Parliament
    A public event and celebration will be held on Parliament’s lawn on December 13 to celebrate our Rugby World Cup winning Black Ferns. “The Black Ferns’ triumph at Eden Park is one of New Zealand’s greatest sporting moments,” Grant Robertson said. “They are extraordinary athletes, exceptional people and proud New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Autism Guideline released by Ministry
    The release of the latest edition of the Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline – He Waka Huia Takiwātanga Rau has been welcomed by Minister for Disability Issues Poto Williams today. The Guideline provides an opportunity to better understand and communicate best practices for supporting autistic people and their families and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Aotearoa Refugee Hui
    Nga mihi nui ki a koutou, Welcome to the Parliament, your Parliament. It is great to see the community here in such numbers, and I am happy to be here with my parliamentary colleagues to listen and take part in the discussions today. I particularly want to acknowledge Ibrahim Omer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Global climate talks underline need for domestic action
    Minister of Climate Change James Shaw marked the end of COP27 negotiations in Egypt by saying it was now crunch time for counties to step up and take urgent action at home. “Even though we have these international negotiations every year, our focus must always be on what we do ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Defence Minister visits Ukraine and Poland
    Defence Minister Peeni Henare has visited Ukraine and Poland, holding talks with his Ministerial counterparts. During the talks Minister Henare reaffirmed New Zealand’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian defence against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion.   The visit  was a further demonstration of New Zealand’s ongoing support to the people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago