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Operating intentions

This section reports on five of the six strategic priorities that guide our activities, and jointly contribute to the outcome and impact sought from the Official Statistics System, grouped by two of the official statistics outcomes:

  • Trust and confidence in the Official Statistics System
  • Access to official statistics

    We report on the sixth priority in its own section, ‘Organisational health and capability’.


    Figure 3 shows how these strategic priorities relate to our end outcome of having an informed society using official statistics and the impact we can achieve in ensuring there is trust and confidence in the Official Statistics System as well as access to official statistics.

     Figure, Strategic Priorities for Statistics New Zealand.

     

    Trust and confidence in the Official Statistics System

    Lead a coherent Official Statistics System

    What are we seeking to achieve?

    We are committed to developing an Official Statistics System that has integrity, is trusted, and produces quality, relevant, value-for-money official statistics that are sought and used. We focus on the most important statistics, prioritise to fill gaps, and rationalise and minimise duplication.

    Official statistics, and the Official Statistics System, must be valued and trusted by New Zealanders in order to maintain a willing supply of information and inform policy and fiscal decision-making. 

    What have we done to achieve this?

    Update strategies for the Official Statistics System

    We have initiated an update of the Official Statistics System strategy. This strategy will set the direction for the Official Statistics System over the next 3–5 years, taking into account the concerns of the Government to reduce compliance and improve value-for-money; the desire to improve access to information; and ongoing increases in the demand for, and technology to supply, statistics. During 2008/09, we assessed the current state of the system, gathered information about strategic developments in New Zealand and internationally, and held discussions with 20 government agencies to identify their plans for their statistical collections and their expectations of the Official Statistics System.

    We also developed an Official Statistics System Communications and Relationship Management Strategy to support Statistics New Zealand’s role as leader of the Official Statistics System.

    These strategies will guide not only our activities in leading the Official Statistics System, but also our activities in delivering and disseminating official statistics.

    Review Tier 1 statistics

    During 2008/09, we initiated a review of the current list of New Zealand’s most important official statistics, known as Tier 1 statistics. We have consulted with a range of departments on the definition of a Tier 1 statistic. Once this review is complete we will work with the relevant agencies to create the revised list of Tier 1 statistics.

    Monitor the application of the Official Statistics System Principles and Protocols

    Statistics New Zealand regularly audits government agencies’ adherence to the Official Statistics System Principles and Protocols. This is done by asking the producers of official statistics to complete a self-assessment questionnaire for each Tier 1 statistic they produce. During 2008/09, we completed and promoted the results of the audit of the Confidentiality, Privacy, and Security protocol. We are currently conducting an assessment of adherence to the Official Statistics System Release Practices Protocol, which aims to ensure that access to official statistics is equal and open.

    Support the Advisory Committee on Official Statistics

    During 2008/09, the Minister of Statistics appointed four new members to the Advisory Committee on Official Statistics. Topics discussed by the committee over the year included reviewing the Official Statistics System monitoring framework, revising the definition of Tier 1 statistics, and issues and challenges with the current suite of environmental statistics.

    Ensure official statistics are responsive to user needs

    Understanding and responding to user needs is vital to ensuring official statistics are relevant, fit-for-purpose, and will be used. Domain plans determine how best to respond to the needs of users and ensure that official statistics are relevant. These plans identify key statistical information needs, the current supply of data, and priority actions to address agreed shortcomings and gaps.

    A key achievement in 2008/09 was the finalisation of the Crime and Criminal Justice Domain Plan, which brought together four significant agencies in an important policy area. An Official Injury Information Plan was also developed to guide the development of injury statistics in 2008/09. Work continued on the knowledge and skills, standard of living, population, housing, and cultural identity domain plans, as well as the agriculture, horticulture, and forestry domain plan, which will be published in early 2009/10.

    We convene a five-yearly official statistics forum to engage with both users and producers of official statistics. This forum provides an opportunity to meet face-to-face with statistical users in a constructive way, and provides users of official statistics with the opportunity to comment on how the range of statistics currently available meets their needs. Planning of the 2010 forum began in 2008/09, with the theme confirmed as ‘Realising the Value of Official Statistics’. 

    How have we demonstrated success?

    Perceptions of the relevance, breadth, and depth of official statistics

    Statistics New Zealand gauges the relevance, breadth, and depth of official statistics by coordinating several advisory committees. These committees are mandated to represent the wider statistical community and provide independent and reliable advice on official statistics. While the official statistics currently available are considered valuable, discussions with our advisory groups have identified statistics that could be added. These include some economic statistics (eg lower industry level productivity statistics, wealth and savings statistics, and balance sheets), social statistics (eg victimisation and reoffending statistics, the cost of injury, supply and demand for housing, statistics on family structure and dependants), and improved regional statistics.

    Our portfolio of statistics is regularly reviewed with users and our biggest challenge is prioritising our outputs to meet the demand for new statistics. We consult with users and develop domain plans, to guide investment decisions and form the basis of our approach to the development of statistics. During 2008/09, we finalised two domain plans and continued development for a further six. 

    Percentage of Tier 1 statistics that meet the Official Statistics System Protocols

    Our goal is for all Tier 1 statistics to meet the Official Statistics System Principles and Protocols. Audits completed over the past two years show that most Tier 1 statistics have acceptable practices in place to ensure the quality and the confidentiality, privacy, and security of data (see figure 4). Of all Tier 1 statistics, 78 percent have been rated as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ against the quality protocol, and 89 percent have been rated as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ against the confidentiality, privacy, and security protocol. Of the three statistics that were identified in 2007/08 as requiring improvement against the quality protocol, two have since been improved.

    Figure 4

     Graph, Tier 1 Statistics' Ratings against the Official Statistics System Protocols.

    Maintain a willing supply of information

    What are we seeking to achieve?

    Sustaining the trust of respondents is fundamental to producing high-quality and cost-effective official statistics. We are seeking to minimise compliance costs and ensure respondent load is justified by the value of the statistics, so that businesses and households willingly provide the information essential for official statistical purposes. We must balance maintaining high response rates with the need to keep the cost of collection low. 

    What have we done to achieve this?

    Demonstrate the value of official statistics to respondents

    In 2008/09, we held 13 GoStats! seminars across New Zealand, made around 320 visits to individual businesses and community groups, and continued to support the Bizzone Business Expos held in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. These activities are important for highlighting to potential respondents the public value that is gained from their participation in our surveys and questionnaires, as well as educating users and potential users on the range and value of official statistics.

    Reduce compliance costs

    We continue to support standard business reporting as a key area to reduce costs to businesses and government. Standard business reporting will enable businesses to submit information electronically to many government agencies in the same transaction. We will progress this initiative in 2009/10.

    During 2008/09, we instituted a respondent advocate role to provide advice to the Government Statistician on respondent load issues, such as when to re-examine the benefit or value to users for a particular output versus the cost of collection and the burden placed on respondents. Our respondent advocate will deal with complaints from respondents who consider they have received an unfair response from the department about a particular issue they have raised, and work on behalf of respondents to review our survey demands and identify any instances where unreasonable load is placed on individuals, households, or businesses.

    Improve the collection of information from New Zealand’s most significant enterprises

    We have implemented an account management programme for New Zealand’s most significant corporations, which will improve the collection of information, reduce compliance costs, and improve their awareness and understanding of the importance of official statistics. For example, 110 account-managed enterprises will now not have to complete a significant portion of the financial section of the Business Operations Survey, as we identified that this information is already available from another source.

    Increase the use of administrative data

    One way to reduce respondent load is through greater use of data from the New Zealand Government’s administrative systems. Statistics New Zealand’s Longitudinal Business Database provides information on the dynamics of business performance over time, and illustrates the opportunities created by supplementing information provided by respondents in surveys with administrative data that is available from existing sources. In 2008/09, we successfully completed the annual data update.

    We continued our efforts to reduce the load placed on respondents by our Annual Frame Update Survey, with more businesses being updated using mainly administrative data. In 2009 there were 20,000 fewer businesses in the sample. The total sample for this survey has fallen from 111,000 in 2002 to 41,000 in 2009.

    We published new statistics, without any additional respondent load, by integrating benefits data from the Ministry of Social Development with tax, employment, and business data from the Linked Employer-Employee Dataset. This is just one example of the ways in which we work with other government departments to strengthen cross-government relationships, build statistical capability in other organisations, and promote the use of statistical best practice.

    How have we demonstrated success?

    Time taken to complete surveys, per business, household, or individual

    Between 2006 and 2007, the overall time taken by all businesses to complete surveys rose from 150,838 hours to 166,874 hours. This increase in time was due to the 2007 Agricultural Production Census. In 2008, time taken fell to 140,053 hours.

    The total load placed on households and individuals increased from 13,323 hours in 2002 to 31,288 hours in 2008. The number of eligible responding individuals increased in 2006 when the Disability Survey was undertaken with over 30,000 individuals responding to the survey. An increase in time taken is projected between 2009 and 2010, due to the introduction of the General Social Survey, the Time Use Survey, and the fourth wave of the Longitudinal Immigration Survey of New Zealand.

    Response rates meet set targets

    During 2008, 92 percent of surveys met their target response rate. This was lower than both the ideal target of 100 percent and the 94 percent of surveys that met their target in 2007. While 98 percent of the 62 business surveys met target response rate, only 44 percent of the nine social surveys met their rate (see figure 5).

    Figure 5

     Graph, Surveys meeting target response rate.

    Although six surveys did not meet their target response rate in 2008, the survey response remained within acceptable bounds and the lower rate did not adversely affect the quality of the resulting statistical outputs.

    The most frequently unmet target response rate has been for the Household Labour Force Survey, which met its target response rate of 90 percent only once between March 2006 and December 2008. We are currently investigating redevelopment options for collecting information for the Household Labour Force Survey.

    Refusal rates for business and social surveys

    Compared with the number of questionnaires in the field (over 40,000 by 31 December 2008), the number of refusals to complete a survey was small. During 2008, there was an increase in the number of respondents who refused to complete a questionnaire, resulting in additional follow up and correspondence with these respondents. Refusals to complete business surveys increased from 21 in 2007 to 46 in 2008. Refusals to complete social surveys increased from 26 in 2007 to 49 in 2008.

    Complaints from respondents

    Compared with the number of questionnaires in the field (peaking at over 70,000 in August 2008), the number of complaints from respondents in 2008/09 was small. The number continues to follow the number of questionnaires in the field (see figure 6). As the number in the field decreased over the year, so did the number of complaints received. The most common complaint was that the survey was an unnecessary and unwelcome compliance issue.

    Figure 6  

     Graph, Number of questionnaires in the Field and Number of Complaints.

    Perceived compliance costs

    The annual Business New Zealand–KPMG Compliance Cost Survey monitors the perceived cost for businesses to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements, and the perceived change in this compliance burden. From 2003 to 2008, perception of change in the cost of compliance for Statistics New Zealand has remained steady, indicating that businesses perceive there has been little change in the compliance required by Statistics New Zealand over this period. 

    Deliver fit-for-purpose statistical outputs

    What are we seeking to achieve?

    Creating statistics that are fit-for-purpose is about balancing relevance, cost, and quality of data in a transparent manner. We are seeking a portfolio of official statistics that reflects New Zealand’s priorities and supports decision making and monitoring of progress. These official statistics will be relevant, trusted, and used because they are impartial and reliable. The most important user needs are identified and met, and Statistics New Zealand will be regarded as a role model, both within New Zealand and internationally.

    What have we done to achieve this?

    Develop and produce statistics on New Zealand’s society

    Develop statistics on New Zealand’s society
    In 2005/06, we established the Programme of Official Social Statistics in order to provide a coherent system of official social statistics across the government sector. In 2008/09, we finalised the General Social Survey, which is a significant achievement for this programme. We have now completed the development of and interviewing for the General Social Survey, which had a successful response rate of 82 percent. The first release for this survey, which will include information on a range of social topics, will be published in 2009/10.

    As part of the Programme of Official Social Statistics we are also developing a Time Use Survey to collect information on changes in the way New Zealanders use their time. We have completed a field test of the survey, with 300 randomly selected households throughout New Zealand. This testing identified changes that needed to be made before the start of interviewing for the main survey, which is scheduled for late 2009.

    Other significant social statistical developments to be progressed in 2009/10 include a Māori Social Survey, which is a survey on the wellbeing of Māori, a programme of research on families, and a post-censal Disability Survey.

    Produce statistics on New Zealand’s society
    During 2008/09, we published 96 statistical releases on New Zealand’s society (see the appendix).

    A significant release was the publication of longitudinal data from our survey of new migrants to New Zealand. The Longitudinal Immigration Survey: New Zealand (LisNZ) involves interviews of the same group of migrants at 6 months (wave 1), 18 months (wave 2), and 36 months (wave 3) after taking up residence. The survey is designed to provide a detailed, ongoing information base of migrants’ experiences and settlement outcomes. During 2008/09, we published results from the second wave of interviewing, and reported on information collected during the first two waves.

    We released Mapping Trends in the Auckland Region, a new online report that focuses on the region’s geographical patterns and how they are changing. Topics include population density, ethnicity, education, labour force, and commuting.

    Commuting patterns in New Zealand have come under increasing scrutiny because of growing public and government interest in sustainability. We published Commuting Patterns in New Zealand: 1996–2006, which gives a statistical overview of these patterns that focuses on the cities in the Auckland and Wellington regions, and Christchurch city. This online report is based on information from the Census of Population and Dwellings, and includes interactive maps that allow the viewer to track the size and direction of commuting flows dynamically for various commuting populations in 1996 and 2006.

    We have made significant progress in planning and developing the 2011 Census of Population and Dwellings. During 2008/09, we carried out and reported on public consultation on proposed changes to the 2011 Census content. The consultation aimed to assess the impact of proposed changes on users, and achieve the best possible design for those changes. We received 105 submissions from government agencies, health boards, non-government organisations, academics, researchers, and individuals. We also completed a small field test, involving around 1,250 randomly selected households in the Canterbury region. This testing helps ensure the 2011 Census is respondent-friendly and meets information needs.

    Improve the relevance of statistics on New Zealand’s society
    During 2008/09, we reviewed the international travel and migration outputs to ensure information remained relevant and easily accessible. This involved reviewing around 152,000 separate time series, and resulted in several changes to table variables, as well as adding or deleting some tables.

    During the year, we began publishing more detailed statistics on international travel and migration, linking visa and permit information that is held by the Department of Labour with data collected from arrival and departure cards held by Statistics New Zealand.

    We also began a review of our vitals outputs, which include statistics on births, deaths, marriages, civil unions, and divorces.

    Develop and produce statistics on New Zealand’s economy and environment

    Develop statistics on New Zealand’s economy and environment
    In 2008/09, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, stating that we would carry out the Energy Use Survey. This survey gathers information on the amount and type of fuel used for energy by primary industries such as meat, dairy, and horticulture. This had been identified as a significant statistical gap in the Domain Plan for Energy Sector: 2006–2016.

    Until 2008, the Local Authority Census was a paper-based questionnaire. In 2008/09, with the Department of Internal Affairs, we redeveloped the survey to provide for electronic data collection. The new survey will reduce duplication of reporting by local government, and increase the available financial information about local government that is available. The survey will align better with local authorities’ accounting systems, and coordinate information into one consistent collection.

    We have worked with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to assist with our public sector productivity feasibility study. This work contributes to our efforts to include more service industries in our productivity statistics.

    We continued work on the significant new release Measuring New Zealand’s Progress Using a Sustainable Development Approach: 2008. Due for publication in early 2009/10, this report will present an overarching view of New Zealand’s environmental, economic, and social progress and whether that progress has been consistent with sustainable development. The selected indicators provide information about whether we are meeting our current needs, how our resources are distributed, how efficiently we are using our resources, and what impact our actions may have on the stock of resources that will be available in the future.

    Produce statistics on New Zealand’s economy and environment
    During 2008/09, we published 142 statistical releases on New Zealand’s economy (see the appendix).

    We supported the Prime Minister’s Summit on Employment by providing a briefing for ministers and central government agencies to ensure the best possible labour market information was available to those at the summit. Additionally, we published the 106th edition of the New Zealand Official Yearbook, which had an environmental focus with conserving the natural environment as its unifying theme. The Yearbook documented conservation-related developments in New Zealand’s government, business and social sectors, including agriculture, tourism, science, transport, the arts, and education.

    Improve the relevance of statistics on New Zealand’s economy and environment
    During 2008/09, we updated the representative basket of goods and services used to calculate the consumers price index. This included updating the basket for the food price index and the relative importance of food items, to reflect household spending patterns. These reviews aimed to introduce goods and services that have become available or have grown in importance since the previous review, and to remove goods and services that have declined in importance.

    We continue to look for ways to increase the relevance of our statistics. While we have increased the timeliness of some of our releases, informal feedback from users has indicated that they do not want timeliness to be improved at the expense of the quality of the data. A significant achievement in 2008/09 was to improve the timeliness of two of our Hot Off the Press releases: the monthly Electronic Card Transactions and annual National Accounts releases.  

    Implement standard classifications

    Implement the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006
    We are progressively implementing the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC06) in our statistical releases. During 2008/09, statistics from the following five surveys – Business Operations Survey, Information and Communication Technology Supply Survey, Research and Development Survey, Screen Industry Survey, and the Annual Enterprise Survey – as well as statistics for business demography and work stoppages were released using the new ANZSIC06 categories.

    Development of other standards and classifications
    The 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings raised debate about our ethnicity classifications, including a high-profile public campaign for the inclusion of a ‘New Zealander’ tick-box in the census ethnicity question. As a result of this debate, we reviewed the ethnicity measure through consultation and a programme of research. Following the evaluation of the public feedback, we plan to publish a final report of the review in late 2009. The findings of this report will be used to improve ethnicity statistics across the Official Statistics System, starting with the 2011 Census of Population and Dwellings.

    During 2008/09, our Standards Governance Board approved 14 statistical standards. New standards included partnership status in current relationship, legally registered relationship status, child dependency, household composition, tenure of household, and the activity classification for our Time Use Survey.

    We have also implemented a standard for reporting data quality. The purpose of this standard is to ensure that the data quality information is reported consistently across Statistics New Zealand, and that users of our data are informed of the data quality and are able to evaluate the ‘fitness for use’ of the data. 

    How have we demonstrated success?

    Perceptions of the usefulness of official statistics

    We engage with government agencies, businesses, researchers, and individuals, who use official statistics every day to inform important decisions. Some specific uses of official statistics are detailed in table 1 (see page 4). 

    Perceptions of the reliability of official statistics

    Perceptions of the reliability of official statistics may be influenced by the number of releases that do not meet target publication date and response rate, and the number of releases that have errors. During 2008/09, Statistics New Zealand maintained a reasonably high percentage of releases reaching target release date, response rate, and accuracy (see figure 7).

    Figure 7

     Graph, Reliability Measures for Official Statistics.

    While there has not been a significant increase in the number of errata issued (9 were issued in 2008/09, compared with 8 in 2007/08), we began a quality management programme to ensure that current processes are the most suitable and efficient for producing fit-for-purpose and error-free statistical outputs.

    Perceptions of the responsiveness of the Official Statistics System

    We consulted with our advisory committees and with key stakeholders when developing domain plans, and have identified numerous gaps in the suite of official statistics available. These include economic indicators, such as balance sheets, income and wealth statistics, and industry-level productivity statistics; social indicators, such as transport statistics, reoffending and life-course offending statistics, supply and demand for housing, and statistics on family structures; and improved regional level statistics.

    To respond to user needs, during 2008/09, we:

    • began a review of the official ethnicity statistical standard
    • completed interviewing for the General Social Survey
    • started an Energy Use Survey programme
    • developed a report on New Zealand’s progress against sustainable development indicators
    • initiated a programme of research on families
    • improved the timeliness of Electronic Card Transactions releases, by bringing the monthly release date forward two weeks
    • released Infoshare, to provide free access to a range of time series data
    • released the web-based, interactive Classification Coding System.

    Access to official statistics 

    Facilitate access to official statistics

    What are we seeking to achieve?

    We are seeking an informed society in which the use of statistical information will lift the growth and progress of New Zealand. We aim to increase the benefits to New Zealand from government investment in official statistics by increasing the availability and use of official statistics and maximising the re-use of published statistics by new audiences.

    What have we done to achieve this?

    Promote awareness of the range and value of official statistics

    We continue to promote the Official Statistics System through our series of seminars for users and producers of official statistics, and by publishing The Source online. This newsletter reports on statistical news and events from across the government sector. We held 14 Official Statistics System seminars in 2008/09, 13 GoStats! seminars, and made around 320 visits to individual businesses and community groups.

    We continued to work in partnership with Business Mentors New Zealand to promote the use of statistics to businesses. We produced Using Stats DVD – Real life examples for real businesses, a DVD that focuses on the importance of statistics for small businesses. The primary purpose of this DVD is to assist small businesses in business planning and assessing their market potential. The DVD is being distributed as part of an information kit to all business mentor agencies and small business organisations throughout New Zealand. 

    Make more information freely available

    Statistics New Zealand provides free access to the statistical information most needed by businesses and community organisations. During 2008/09, we released our new online data access tool, Infoshare. The target for Infoshare was to achieve 1,000 unique visitors by the end of June 2009. Results for June 2009 showed 3,115 unique visitors to Infoshare either viewed or downloaded one or more tables.

    Population projections for area units were made available progressively between April and September 2008. Population projections look at the likely population of areas in the future, given scenarios of migration, and birth and death rates. Area units are roughly the size of suburbs. Projections for area units are calculated every 2–3 years, and include a break down by age group and sex. This information is widely used by businesses for planning purposes, including identifying the size and characteristics of their local market, evaluating areas for locating outlets, and allocating franchise areas. It is also used by central and local government to plan services and amenities.

    During 2008/09, we launched the Classification Code Finder on our website, a tool which allows businesses to determine which industry they are in, for statistical purposes, so they can compare themselves with others in their industry group. The code finder expands the services we offer to users.

    Provide channels for users to access official statistics

    We provide a range of tools that people can use to find and manipulate data to suit their needs. Our online tools, such as Table Builder and the recently released Infoshare, attract a strong number of users, and we continue to look for ways to improve access to microdata, which refers to unit-record and aggregate data that cannot be made publicly available unless the data is modified to protect respondent confidentiality.

    We have been revamping our website, www.statistics.govt.nz, which is the primary access channel for official statistics. The new website, due to go live in early 2009/10, is expected to provide a better browsing experience, a new ‘look-and-feel’ to aid navigation and readability, easier access to tables and data, and an advanced search functionality using more than just key words.

    Sharing our statistical infrastructure with our Official Statistics System government partners has the potential to strengthen the coherence of the Official Statistics System, as well as provide valuable and useful data to government agencies. With this in mind, we have agreed to give producers of Tier 1 statistics controlled access to Statistics New Zealand’s business register. Access will be controlled through the data laboratory to ensure the information is used only for appropriate statistical purposes and that the confidentiality of businesses’ information is protected.

    Develop and implement a dissemination strategy

    To maximise the value to be gained from our investment in statistical information and data, we need to maximise the use of our statistics. This requires more than just making information available – users and potential users need to know of its existence, they need easy access to it, and they need to understand the data and know how to apply it to their situation to enhance their knowledge and decision making. During 2008/09, we identified areas where we could develop new products and services, to help us disseminate our data effectively and efficiently, and enhance user capability. We are currently prioritising these, and considering where best to apply our funding and effort.

    Build competency in the use and analysis of statistics

    Statistics are used to inform a wide range of decisions. As the outcomes of these decisions potentially have a high impact on New Zealand (see table 1, page 4), it is vital that the decision makers have sufficient competency to understand, analyse, and use statistical information.

    The pilot programme for the Certificate in Official Statistics was completed, with 11 of the 14 candidates completing the course. A graduation ceremony was held at Statistics House, Wellington in November 2008. There are 15 candidates in the course that started in June 2009, from a range of government departments.

    Encourage research in official statistics

    We encourage and support other government departments, private researchers, and academics to conduct research into official statistics, as a way to increase the use of official statistics and produce new knowledge.

    The fourth volume of the Official Statistics Research Series was published during 2008/09. These publications include the final reports from projects funded by the Official Statistics Research Programme, with the latest volume having four articles.

    During 2008/09, we developed one basic and one expanded confidentialised unit record file (CURF) so researchers can access detailed data from the 2007 Survey of Dynamics and Motivations for Migration in New Zealand. The basic CURF is a subset of variables from the survey, modified to protect the confidentiality of respondents while also maintaining the integrity of the data. It is available on CD for universities, as well as through our remote Access to Microdata tool. The expanded CURF has more variables, and the data can only be obtained by submitting a code through the web to access selected Statistics New Zealand datasets that are held on secure servers.

    Statistics New Zealand and the Australian Bureau of Statistics signed a joint agreement in June 2009 to enable academics, researchers, and teachers at universities in New Zealand and Australia to access CURFs. This agreement will enable staff at New Zealand universities to access the extensive range of CURFs available at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, through their Remote Access Data Laboratory, and the reverse for staff at Australian universities – they will be able to access the range of New Zealand CURFs through our remote Access to Microdata service.

    How have we demonstrated success?

    Awareness of official statistics, as measured by requests for statistical information

    A proxy for awareness of official statistics is the number of requests received for statistical information. Enquiries to the Information Centre and requests for customised data fell between 2007/08 and 2008/09 (from 27,317 to 23,495, and 1,716 to 1,423, respectively). This drop follows the rise in requests for data from the 2006 Census, as users sought newly available information from the Census.

    The number of people accessing official statistics, as measured by an increase in the number of unique visitors to our website

    Our website, www.statistics.govt.nz, is the primary access channel for official statistics. The number of unique visitors to the website continued to increase in 2008/09. The average number of unique visitors per month increased from 83,604 during 2007/08, to 87,481 in 2008/09.

    The number of statistical users, as measured by the use of specific tools such as Infoshare

    The number of unique visitors to Table Builder fell by 13.2 percent between July 2008 and June 2009. This decrease may be due to there being less promotional activity for Table Builder during 2008/09, and the release and promotion of Infoshare, Statistics New Zealand’s new data access tool.

    Infoshare was launched in October 2008, with nearly 1,000 unique visitors viewing the new tool in its first month. The number of visitors fell during December and January, as promotion of the tool slowed. Following a promotional campaign in May 2009, there was a large increase in the number of people using the tool, with 3,115 unique visitors in June 2009 (see figure 8).

    Figure 8

     Graph, Infoshare unique visitors.

    We also facilitate access to unit-record data, through the Statistics New Zealand onsite Data Laboratory, accessible from our offices in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. The number of Data Laboratory sessions has continued to increase, from 1,354 in 2007/08 to 1,612 in 2008/09 (see figure 9).

    Figure 9

     Graph, Data laboratory sessions.

    User capability, as measured by feedback from participants in statistical education events

    During 2008/09, we ran 14 Official Statistics System seminars for producers and users of official statistics, with 644 attendees. This was an increase on 12 seminars in 2007/08, with approximately 350 attendees. Of those who completed an evaluation of the seminars in 2008/09, 89 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they enjoyed the seminar, and 72 percent felt the content was relevant to their work.

    Maintain an enduring national statistical resource

    What are we seeking to achieve?

    We must ensure official statistics are available to both current and future generations. Important statistical data, documentation, and publications must be well managed while they are in use, and preserved when they are no longer operational in case they are required in future.

    What have we done to achieve this?

    Develop a standard metadata framework

    A standard metadata framework will standardise the definitions and terminology for our metadata and ensure it is stored consistently. We have developed a proposed metadata model, based on an international model that is being refined for use within Statistics New Zealand.

    Archive Tier 1 statistics

    During 2008/09, we successfully placed 28 studies into Statistics New Zealand’s data archive, bringing the total to 41. The Government Statistician has also agreed to have the Crime Victimisation Survey, carried out by the Ministry of Justice, placed into the data archive. This is a key achievement in our efforts to establish trusted deposit agreements with other producers of Tier 1 statistics.

    During 2008/09, we archived the 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings paper forms. This was a major undertaking, involving re-boxing approximately 7 million forms into approved archival boxes that are fire and water resistant. We began planning for digital archiving the 2011 Census of Population and Dwellings forms.

    How have we demonstrated success?

    The number of official statistics accessible through the data archive

    By the end of 2008/09, there were 41 studies in the data archive. The 28 studies added to the data archive in 2008/09 was more than double the 13 added in 2007/08 (see figure 10).
    Statistics New Zealand has identified a further 37 studies to be archived in 2009/10.

    Figure 10

     Graph, Studies added to the Data Archive.

    Ensuring statistical data is well-managed and available for future use, as measured by the number of internal retention, preservation, and disposal statements that have been reviewed in the last two years

    Retention, preservation, and disposal statements are important for ensuring our collections are archived and stored appropriately, so they will be available in future. By the end of 2008/09, we had completed and signed off retention, preservation, and disposal statements for 50 percent (ie 77 in total) of our studies.

    In 2008/09, we started six reviews of retention, preservation, and disposal statements. We have scheduled 53 reviews for 2009/10, with the remaining statements to be reviewed in following years.

    The number of important historical publications produced and held by the department, as measured by the number of international standard book and serial numbers

    International Standard Book (ISBN) and Serial (ISSN) Numbers serve as unique identifiers for published material. These identifiers help international audiences find and access our publications. During 2008/09, Statistics New Zealand was issued 63 ISBNs, more than double the 30 issued in 2006/07 and 2007/08 combined. In the past three years, Statistics New Zealand was issued six new ISSNs.

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