HOME Technology 2003
Surfers wasting less time
Ferreting around the web to find information about banking, make on-line purchases or trying to cut to the chase with government departments can be extremely frustrating and time wasting unless you know where you are going and how to get there.

People are rapidly waking up to the fact that haphazard browsing can be a major time waster and becoming more discerning about where they go and book-marking useful and reliable sites for easy return.

Its clear New Zealand users want functional services that make life easier including on-line, bill payment and airline reservations. Government pages, including local authorities, banking and search engines ( www.google.co.nz , www.yahoo.com  )rate consistently in the top 10 sites visited by New Zealanders in any month.

Hitwise says New Zealanders are becoming more confident with on-line transactions as evidenced in the 40 per cent growth in visits to its on-line Shopping and Classifieds category over the past 12 months. The most popular among New Zealanders were electronics, music, hardware/software, and books. 

However over the past 18 months banking became the ‘killer application’ overtaking on-line shopping as the most frequently used service and in September there was 10.5 per cent increase in the on-line banking category.

According to an independent survey more than half of regular internet users bank on-line at least once a week and more than 100,000 bank this way on a daily basis. Most of them view account balances, recent transactions, transfer funds between accounts and pay bills.

In September, in the banks and financial institutions, Hitwise says the most traffic went to ASB ( www.asbbank.co.nz ) 25 per cent, Westpac ( www.westpactrust.co.nz ) 19 per cent, National Bank ( www.nationalbank.co.nz ) 15.3 per cent, ANZ ( www.anz.com )  13 per cent, BNZ ( www.bnz.co.nz  ) 8.5 per cent and Kiwibank ( www.kiwibank.co.nz ) 2.5 percent.

According to a government survey looking at those who used its websites about half of New Zealanders used the internet to access government pages. Their main reason was seeking information and a growing number were downloading official forms to submit later by post or fax. Increasingly we’re supplying personl details to government departments over the internet and paying for products and government-related services or products on-line using our creditss or bank account numbers.

In all there are about 266 government sites and the best way to maintain your sanity while navigating them is to start from and return to the new central portal ( http://www.govt.nz/ ).

And to make life easier for people paying tax the Inland Revenue Department ( www.ird.govt.nz  )has also been working to make its services available on-line and more intuitive to use. The IRD has received 69,000 GST returns since the on-line service went live in January 2003 and more than 3000 IR3 returns were filed electronically since that became possible in April. Companies have been able to view their returns and related forms on-line since September.

The department is keen to make more use of on-line services and is working to make its offerings easier to use.

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