Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Access to telecommunication systems


'Access to telecommunication systems' measures whether a household has access to: a cellphone/mobile phone (that is in the dwelling all or most of the time), a telephone, a fax and/or the Internet, to communicate with people outside the dwelling and to use services provided through these media. This requires the device to be in working order and for there to be a working connection.

Relationship to questionnaire(s)

Data on access to telecommunication systems comes from question 17 on the dwelling form (PDF 783kb).

Subject population

The subject population is the people, families, households or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

The subject population for this variable is households in private occupied dwellings. Visitor-only private dwellings are excluded.

Non-response rate

The 2006 non-response rate was 3.9 percent.

In 2001 the non-response rate was 4.1 percent.

Quality Management Strategy priority level

Access to telecommunication systems is a supplementary variable. 

The Census Quality Management Strategy assigns a priority level to all census variables.

Supplementary variables do not fit in directly with the main purpose of a census, but are still of importance to certain groups. These variables have third priority in terms of effort and resources.

All data must meet minimum quality standards in order to make it suitable for use.

Comparability with 1996 and 2001 Census data

There are issues affecting the comparability of this data with 1996 and 2001 Census data. The scope of this topic has changed in each of the previous three censuses:

  • In 1996 only access to a telephone was asked.
  • In 2001 access to a telephone, a fax and the Internet was asked.
  • In 2006 access to a telephone, a fax, the Internet and a cellphon was asked.
  • In 1996 and 2001 access to a cellphone was included in the access to a telephone category.
  • In 2001 and 2006 a 'none of these' option was included, indicating no access to any telecommunication systems.

Because of the changes to the questionnaire, 1996 and 2001 Census data should not be compared with 2006 Census data on access to telephones and cellphones.

Significant issues

There are no significant issues that users should be aware of.

Other things to be aware of

  • All census data was subject to considerable checks (including edits) during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it meets quality standards and is suitable for use. These checks were applied to data supplied both on paper and on Internet forms. In addition to these quality checks, the Internet form had built-in editing functionality that directed respondents to the appropriate questions and ensured that their responses were valid. As a result of this, data from Internet forms may be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms. The significance of this will depend on the particular type of analysis being done.
  • There were differences between how the forms were completed on the Internet and on paper for this variable:
    • The Internet form did not allow the inconsistent multiple response of 'none of these' to be selected at the same time as response options for access to any telecommunication systems. If the 'none of these' box was marked, any other response(s) to access to telecommunication systems disappeared. Inconsistent multiple responses to this question were possible when forms were completed on paper.
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+