RealMe identity verification service falters

An award-winning secure online identity verification platform developed by the New Zealand government is struggling to win users.

The New Zealand government's lauded online identity verification system, RealMe, has fallen well short of its major adoption target, according to a parliamentary review.

Launched in July 2013, government-backed RealMe provides two services: A RealMe basic account, and a RealMe verified account. The first offers users a single login to multiple online government services, while the second works as an online ID with a wider range of organisations, including some banks.

The latter, however, is struggling to win users.

During the 2014 financial year, RealMe gained 15,212 new verified accounts, well short of its target of 50,000 to 100,000.

The service added 532,591 basic accounts in the same period.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), which manages RealMe, acknowledged the shortfall, saying the Electoral Commission was the only major government agency to have integrated the service, and others have only been using it for a short time.

The department said it is looking at co-designing services with various agencies to expand the range of participating organisations.

The DIA itself implemented RealMe for its register of births, deaths, and marriages in March, allowing parents to register the birth of a new child online.

"We want to encourage parents to register the birth of their child, and putting birth registration online is already having a positive effect, with more than 1,000 online registrations since our launch on last Monday," registrar-general of births, deaths, and marriages Jeff Montgomery said on Tuesday.

In addition to registering births, a RealMe verified account allows users to get copies of birth, death, and marriage records, 175th anniversary Treaty of Waitangi birth and citizenship certificates, and civil union and name change records.

Last August, RealMe won the security and online safety category at the Australia/New Zealand Internet Awards.