Parliament to debate failure of government agencies to deliver inclusive services

On Thursday July 28 at 3 p.m., Parliament will hold a one-hour special debate on the Citizens Advice Bureau New Zealand (CABNZ) petition, Leave no one behind – Campaign against digital exclusion.
Parliament’s decision to hold a special debate speaks to the extent of House-wide concern about this issue, with only seven hours of special debate time allotted each year.

“Our petition challenges the government’s current approach to its digital transformation of the public service – including the removal of agencies from being physically present in communities. It is increasingly difficult to access support face-to-face face-to-face services and rapid telephone support are more real than ever,” says Dr. Hubbard, CAB Deputy CEO.

The CAB believes that government agencies are failing to put people at the center of the design and delivery of public services. “We look forward to hearing MPs from all political backgrounds debate our petition. It is essentially about asking what we expect from our public services, today and tomorrow. It impacts the kind of society we live in,” says Dr Hubbard.

The ACR believes that real change is needed to ensure that public services are truly inclusive and accessible in the future. “There are examples overseas where governments are doing it well, such as in New South Wales and Canada, which our Public Services Minister and Public Services Commissioner should look at and learn from,” says Dr Hubbard. These one-stop-shop models for public services ensure that people can access everything they need from government in person, online or over the phone.

The CAB has been unwavering in its campaign for inclusive public services, first outlining the issues in a report, Facing digital exclusion, then presenting a petition to Parliament in July 2021. The Petitions Committee commended the CAB for its work and agreed that a more human-centred approach was needed, urging the government to act. It is an important step for the Committee on Petitions to isolate a petition for discussion by all political parties.

All are invited to attend the special debate on Thursday 28 July at 3pm in Parliament, in person, or you can watch the debate on Parliament TV https://ondemand.parliament.nz/ or listen to the Parliament debate live on RNZ, AM frequencies https://www.parliament.nz/en/visit-and-learn/parliament-on-rnz/.

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Ashley C. Reynolds