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There’s a lot of change in the government space lately, and expectations about the quality and effectiveness of our online delivery are rising. We’ve all been challenged to deliver better services for less cost.

In order to accomplish this, government agencies need to change. For starters, we need to share information more freely with each other and collaborate across the boundaries of our agencies to deliver quality services to our end users – the New Zealand public.

As part of this aim, the Digital Engagement team at the Department of Internal Affairs is making improvements to some of the key resources we provide.

Web Standards to Web Toolkit

We decided to morph the old “Web Standards” website into this new Web Toolkit, and to provide this blog, as a way to make it easier for government web and communications specialists to share and access information about online delivery.

Please note that there is absolutely no change to the New Zealand Government Web Standards 2.0 at this point. They remain exactly as they were. They are simply now part of this new site that has a new name and a broader focus. [Update (10 July 2013): New Government Web Standards were issued 01 July 2013.]

The Web Toolkit provides guidance, tips, and strategic advice on how to effectively use the online channel. While it’s aimed at government web and digitally-minded comms teams, it’s fully open to other members of the public who are interested in all-of-government projects – such as vendors, web enthusiasts, and government employees in other jurisdictions.

Other jurisdictions have good resources for this kind of information and sharing, and if we’re going to up our game in New Zealand government, we need to follow suit.

Some good resources for information on online delivery overseas are:

What Web Toolkit Provides

We’re hoping that the Web Toolkit will provide a space for you to easily read up on and debate current issues in online delivery across government.

We’ll use the blog to:

  • provide fortnightly posts on various topics relevant to the government web community, such as information architecture, usability, accessibility, etc.
  • share information on all-of-government projects that are key to online delivery, such as Common Web Services and our planned rebuild
  • invite guest bloggers from across government in order to facilitate cross-govt communication and recognise the clusters of expertise that already exists in other agencies.

Simple to Start

This is a WordPress site with a custom theme that we’ve built from scratch to meet accessibility requirements (more on that process in a future post). We’ll tweak the visual design and make iterative improvements as we progress, but for starters we’re okay with a basic, simple theme.

Let us Know

We’re keen to receive suggestions or requests from the community for articles on specific questions or topics. Also, if you’d like to do a guest post, flick us an email at with your ideas and let’s chat.

What do you think? Tell us below.

Post your comment


  1. Simon 03/09/2012 1:09pm (7 years ago)

    When will we see Webstandards 3.0?

  2. Jason Kiss 03/09/2012 2:06pm (7 years ago)

    Hi Simon,

    I'm Senior Advisor on the Digital Engagement team at DIA responsible for the Web Standards.

    A review of the Web Standards is currently underway. While nothing is set in stone at this point, it is likely that the review will include:

    • public consultations with stakeholders, including disability communities, government web practitioners, and external vendors;
    • simplifying the Web Standards with some custom provisions intended to increase the focus on web accessibility; and,
    • setting priorities that meet the needs of citizens while making implementation practical and achievable for agencies.

    We are hoping the review to result in the next version of the Web Standards early-to-mid next year.

    Thanks for your question.

  3. Fraser 04/09/2012 8:40am (7 years ago)


    I think this is great. I seldom can get to the Government Web Community meetings, but sharing the experiences of others in this way seems...dare I say it...a good use of technology.

    Nice work.

  4. Jared Gulian 04/09/2012 10:14am (7 years ago)

    Thanks Fraser. We're keen to hear feedback on what works and what doesn't with the site as we progress - so that we can tweak things and improve as we go. And always feel free to flick through topics you'd like to see posts on.

  5. Rob Pearson 05/09/2012 6:33pm (7 years ago)

    Is there a place to list websites with accessibility problems? And preferably with a method to keep track of who is responsible to correct it and their progress? The MOH fund a web based database called InterRAI it is only accessible from IE6/7/8, in March2013 it will support IE9, but we don't use Windows. The database will be used nationally by most contracted residential providers, there are no other options. There must be almost a 1000 providers in NZ so that is public isn't it? We're 1 provider and we employ 1300 staff! We have been complaining since 9 Sept 2011, with absolutely hopeless progress.

  6. simon 06/09/2012 4:46pm (7 years ago)

    Under IE9 this page does not seem to display past the sentence

    "We decided to morph the old "Web Standards" website into this new Web Toolkit, and to provide this blog, as a way to make it easier for government web and communications specialists to share and access information about online delivery."

    perhaps the hundreds of lines of this sort of nonsense has something to do with it

    <!--[if gte mso 9]&gt;-->



  7. Jason Kiss 06/09/2012 4:58pm (7 years ago)

    Thanks, Simon.

    Should be fixed now.

  8. Jason Kiss 07/09/2012 8:47am (7 years ago)

    Hi Rob,

    The best way to raise concerns about websites with accessibility problems is to go directly to the owners or maintainers of those websites. The W3C has a useful guide on how to do this at

    Cross-browser compatibility is a best practice. Regarding the issues with the InterRAI application, its implementation is led by district health boards and the InterRAI NZ governance group. The Ministry of Health participates in a facilitating capacity only. So the implementation of the InterRAI application isn't subject to the NZ Government Web Standards.

    I hope this helps clarify the situation. The best thing for you to do is to contact the InterRAI NZ governance group directly.

  9. simon 17/09/2012 11:48am (7 years ago)

    NZGWS 3.0 follow up question
    Is there a consultation draft available?
    If we are talking about mid 2014 is there scope to deprecate some of the 2.0 standards, eg reference to the Yahoo Graded Browser Support (now the YUI Target Environment).

    For example guidance along the lines of the following would be great

    Web browser user interfaces will provide support, through progressive enhancement, of web browsers on the Ministry's web browser whitelist, and will be tested against them.
    The Ministry's browser whitelist is Internet Explorer, versions 8 and higher, Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version), Opera (latest version), Safari (latest version), independent of operating system. Operating system testing priority should be aligned with the user base.
    Browsers must be supported on the specified Web client devices.
    The concepts of graceful degradation and progressive enhancement are often applied to describe browser support strategies, and they are closely related approaches to the engineering of "fault tolerance".
    These two concepts influence decision-making about browser support. Because they reflect different priorities, they frame the support discussion differently. Graceful degradation prioritises presentation, and permits less widely-used browsers to receive less (and give less to the user). Progressive enhancement puts content at the centre, and allows most browsers to receive more (and show more to the user). While close in meaning, progressive enhancement is a healthier and more forward-looking approach. Progressive enhancement is a core concept of Graded Browser Support.

    We want to be smart and not develop to a backward view of browsers, when security and functionality dictate that we should be targeting current and future standards.

  10. Jason Kiss 17/09/2012 12:19pm (7 years ago)


    Thanks for your suggestions. The next version of the Web Standards is slated for early-to-mid 2013. As noted previously, nothing is confirmed at this moment, but it is expected that there will be some form of consultation with stakeholders regarding any changes to the Standards. Discussions in-house are already pointing towards providing guidance much along the lines you indicate. Among other things, this would include promoting progressive enhancement and a more adaptable, forward-looking, and evidence-based way of dealing with browser support.

    As soon as our next steps are confirmed, we will be letting you know and looking for further feedback at that time.

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