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Breaking down barriers to digital access: New Zealand introduces Zero Data initiative

New Zealand has introduced a new Zero Data initiative to allow members of the public access to key health sector websites via their mobile phones, without incurring data use charges.

Launched by Te Whatu Ora, an organisation that leads the day-to-day running of the health system across New Zealand, the programme aims to support those who are unable to access health and wellbeing information – as well as digital health services.

Zero Data has emerged as part of a joint initiative with a range of agencies, including ACC, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice, Kāinga Ora, the Ministry of Social Development and the Department of Internal Affairs.

In terms of the types of content users are able to access, Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand states that “the focus of Zero Data is on websites that provide key health information, support your mental health and wellbeing, or allow you to access digital health services.”

Zero Data aims to remove this barrier by providing free access to key health sector websites accessed through the website for anyone using the Skinny, Spark, Vodafone, 2degrees, Warehouse Mobile, Slingshot or Orcon mobile networks.

All of the mobile data charges accrued from accessing content through this portal, are automatically charged back to Te Whatu Ora. This ensures citizens won’t incur mobile data charges when they access essential health information and resources, the health agency stated.

In their announcement, Te What Ora adds that any health and care organisations can be included in the project.

For more information on the Zero Data scheme, please click here.