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About the Digital Identity Programme

The Digital Identity Programme advises ministers on the right environment, rules and new technologies to allow people in NZ access to secure digital identification services that meet their evolving needs and expectations.


The ecosystem in which information exists has changed considerably moving away from paper and towards digital. Unlike written or spoken information, digital information can be more easily accessed, copied and shared from anywhere in the world.

As government and the private sector move services online, people expect to be able to access services and complete transactions remotely, rapidly and with minimal paperwork.

But activities such as online banking, claiming a welfare payment or opening a utilities account online require high security levels to ensure users’ personal information is safe and their privacy is protected.

Individuals need to prove their identity and share attributes about themselves online. They also need to be able to act on behalf of others or organisations.

The Digital Identity Programme

In 2018, the New Zealand government committed to a 2-year programme led by the Department of Internal Affairs to develop options for a new approach to digital identity. That transition programme investigated how government could set up the right rules and environment to take advantage of new technologies and meet the evolving needs and expectations of citizens.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, the Digital Identity Programme Team undertook extensive research and engaged with key stakeholders and equivalent agencies in other jurisdictions.

Research and engagement — Digital Identity Programme

Digital Identity Trust Framework

In July 2020, Cabinet agreed to establish the Digital Identity Trust Framework in legislation to address the issues raised in the research phase.

Progressing Digital Identity: Establishing a Trust Framework (PDF 2.2MB)

The Digital Identity Trust Framework will align with trust frameworks in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, and is the basis for delivering the Prime Minister’s commitment to mutual recognition of digital identity services with Australia under the Single Economic Market agenda.

Digital identity is a key foundation outlined in the New Zealand government’s Strategy for a Digital Public Service – Rautaki mō tētahi Rāngai Kāwanatanga Matihiko.

Strategy for a Digital Public Service — Foundations

Next steps

The main areas of focus for 2021 are to:

  • draft the Trust Framework Bill to provide the legal mechanism for establishing the trust framework — scheduled to be introduced to the House in 2021
  • develop the draft Digital Identity Trust Framework rules to apply minimum requirements for security, privacy, identification management and interoperability — to be tested through a pilot programme
  • make recommendations about technical and investment requirements — focusing on government’s role as a provider in the ecosystem, including the future of RealMe services.

Expected outcomes

Establishing an accessible and effective digital identity ecosystem will unlock a range of opportunities across all parts of society.

Citizens can expect:

  • trust and confidence that their information is secure and private
  • reduced risk of identification fraud and privacy breaches
  • greater choice, and control over when and how they share their information
  • easier digital access to services.

Businesses and organisations will experience:

  • business efficiency, such as less duplication
  • increased confidence to invest, with more ability to meet regulatory requirements
  • greater confidence in the validity of information, with higher trust and lower risk.

Government will see:

  • an improved ability to detect and deter security and privacy breaches
  • easier options for sharing information with citizen consent
  • greater international alignment.

Benefits for New Zealand

Digital identity capabilities are essential to access public and private sector services, such as welfare payments and doctor visits.

Having trusted digital identity services will:

  • build our resilience to unexpected events and circumstances
  • support our long-term economic recovery and growth
  • enable digital trade and other cross-border transactions.

Having a trusted, coherent and sustainable digital identity ecosystem, built on agreed rules and standards, will improve access to digital services in NZ.

Digital identity ecosystem

More information

Email the Digital Identity Programme Team —

Digital identity blog posts

Digital Identity NZ is a membership funded organisation, whose members have a shared passion for the opportunities that digital identity can offer.

Digital Identity New Zealand

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