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Official statistics and the Official Statistics System

This page defines official statistics and the Official Statistics System, including Statistics New Zealand’s role in the Official Statistics System.

What are official statistics?

Official statistics are all statistics produced by government departments and specified Crown entities.

The United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics provides the basic framework for official statistics in member countries. Many of our statistics, particularly in the economic area, are produced according to international standards and frameworks allowing for comparisons between countries.

What is the Official Statistics System?

The Official Statistics System is the government-wide system of policies, practices, processes, underlying data sources, and people that are involved in producing and disseminating official statistics.

What is Statistics New Zealand's role in the Official Statistics System?

Statistics NZ’s job is to make sure New Zealand has the statistical information it needs to grow and prosper. We do this by making sure the right statistics are produced, and that as many people as possible use them to support informed decision making that benefits them, their communities, businesses, and our country.

We have two roles to help achieve our vision of an informed society using official statistics. These are:

  • leading the Official Statistics System to ensure that all government statistics efficiently meet the country’s needs for relevant, trustworthy, and accessible information
  • being the major producer of New Zealand’s official statistics that cover economic, environmental, and social areas.

What is the Government Statistician's role in the Official Statistics System?

The Government Statistician, who is also the Chief Executive of Statistics New Zealand, has a legally mandated role to coordinate statistical activity across government by:

  • driving the overall performance of the Official Statistics System and ensuring New Zealand gets the information it needs, and that this information is value-for-money at the lowest possible cost to government, the community, and suppliers of data
  • providing direction to the Official Statistics System and engaging other government departments to build shared ownership, minimise duplication, and maximise reuse of data
    defining and agreeing on the results that agencies will focus on together
  • coordinating statistical activities across government, including setting statistical standards, reviewing and commenting on the validity of statistics, monitoring progress and performance, and ensuring that action is taken if expected results are not achieved
  • advising the government on policies, priorities, and the costs and benefits of statistical activities.

There are exciting opportunities to increase the value gained from New Zealand’s investment in its official statistics. As leader of New Zealand’s Official Statistics System, it is our role to ensure that as a country we capitalise on these opportunities.

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