New Zealand now leads the world in the use of automatic voice recognition.

Some 1.4 million Inland Revenue customers have signed up for its voice ID phone service -- giving New Zealand the world's highest level of voice biometric enrolments per capita.

Revenue Minister Todd McClay, who announced the uptake figures today, said the voice ID service had saved 15,000 hours of phone time each year.

Between 60 to 70 per cent of customers who call IRD use the service on any given day.


"Every customer who calls IRD using voice ID saves around 40 seconds per call, which equates to 15,000 hours each year customers don't have to spend on the phone answering personal security questions to verify who they are," Mr McClay said.

The voice ID service was launched in January 2012.

It allows customers to automatically check the balance and payment dates of their IRD accounts, receive child support information, retrieve their IRD number, activate their online services account and reset passwords -- even if they call outside opening hours.