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Part 2: Annual report for the year ended 30 June 2016

Image, Statistics NZ by the numbers for the year ende3d 30 June 2016.

Introduction from the Government Statistician and Chief Executive

Activity and performance for the year ended 30 June 2016

Enabling customers to maximise the value of existing data

Taking a stewardship role to anticipate and address critical system-wide information challenges

Experimenting, testing, and adopting innovative ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency

Ensuring we are well positioned to enable New Zealand to unleash the power of data to change lives

Statement of responsibility

Independent auditor's report

Introduction from the Government Statistician and Chief Executive

Manu kai mātauranga, manu kai ao.
If I am to take on the world, then my food shall be knowledge.

I am delighted to present my third annual report as Government Statistician and Chief Executive of Statistics New Zealand.

What delights me most is the way in which the organisation is responding to the challenge inherent in our vision of “unleashing the power of data to change lives”. This includes stepping up to a data stewardship role across the public sector data ecosystem. As the trusted source of impartial data and data expertise we are in a unique position to help New Zealand realise the value of its data assets.

I subscribe strongly to the view espoused by Jack Delosa that when we find a purpose that is bigger than ourselves we become more powerful in our ability to create. I see this every day in the way in which Stats people are working with the public and private sectors, NGOs and iwi/Mäori to unleash the power of data. In engaging with our customers, stakeholders, and partners over the course of the year I have received nothing but positive feedback on our direction of travel, a desire to collaborate, and the encouragement to go even faster and harder. In fact the phrase that is used most often is “you have a success problem” – people want more of what we have to offer.

What this means is that when preparing this year’s report it was even more difficult to know what to include and what not to include, so I want to be clear that this report covers only some of the highlights for our people, partners, and customers – my thanks go to all those involved.

Over the course of the next year we will continue to challenge ourselves to lift our pace and that of the system to respond to the demands for greater access to and insights from an increasingly more diverse range of data. We will deal with our “success problem” by prioritising our areas of focus, delivering using agile approaches, and collaborating and partnering with others. I am looking forward to new opportunities to unleash the power of data to change lives.

Liz MacPherson
Government Statistician and Chief Executive

Activity and performance for the year ended 30 June 2016

Our annual report focuses on highlights of activity during the year, demonstrating how we are progressing our ministerial priorities and wider strategic aims, as well as our performance, as per our Statement of Strategic Intentions for Statistics NZ 2015–19 (SOSI 2015–19).

The case studies all sit under the three ministerial priorities, as outlined in our SOSI 2015–19, as well as a fourth priority around our broader operating capability and ensuring we remain a sustainable organisation. The four sections are:

  1. Enabling customers to maximise the value of existing data.
  2. Taking a stewardship role to anticipate and address critical system-wide information challenges.
  3. Experimenting, testing, and adopting innovative ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
  4. Ensuring we are well positioned to enable New Zealand to unleash the power of data to change lives.

In SOSI 2015–19 (p18) we said we would progress our priorities through customer focus, cross-government influence, value, and system-wide efficiency. To make it easier for readers to see at a glance which themes each case study addresses, icons accompanying each performance story will indicate which of these progress themes is met (see figure 11). Of particular note is the icon for value, as these case studies highlight activities that are directly contributing to our goal of increasing the value of data, both in the short term and long term.

Figure 11: Progress themes for 2015/16

Image, progress themes for 2015/16.

Enabling customers to maximise the value of existing data

Our key highlights for the last year include:

Integrated data and the Integrated Data Infrastructure

Customer focus | Efficiency | Partnerships | Value 

There is an increased focus on evidence-based decision-making in New Zealand government practice. This is principally through an investment approach to government spending (with an initial focus on the social sector) that aims to improve the lives of New Zealanders. It also aims to increase the measurability of the impact of government investment. The approach requires evidence before making investment decisions, and the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) is the key data repository for such evidence.

One of the highlights for integrated data and the IDI was the addition of data from the Census of Population and Dwellings in October 2015. This addition has expanded the use of the IDI by approved researchers and will increase the value gained from the census investment. Benefits of including census data include improved information for and about Mäori, greater information on outcomes for smaller population groups, the inclusion of data that is not available through administrative data sources, and the potential to improve census data.

Other datasets added to the IDI as part of a refresh included new Inland Revenue student loans and allowances data; NZ Police recorded crime offenders’ data; and expanded ACC data.

In February 2016, we made progress on our work with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to link CoreLogic data into the IDI. The data from CoreLogic provides unit record information on residential properties in New Zealand, valuation data on these properties, and data about sales and transactions back to 1993. Inclusion of this data in the IDI provides information on the characteristics of residential properties in New Zealand and increases research and policy opportunities in areas such as household crowding, changes in the value of land over time, and rental affordability. It is also an important input into the work MBIE is undertaking to build a measure of housing affordability in New Zealand.

In the last IDI refresh for 2015/16 we also successfully incorporated the motor vehicle and driver licence registers, and Auckland City Mission datasets into the IDI. These datasets were made available to approved researchers on 21 July 2016. The Auckland City Mission dataset is the first non-government organisation dataset to be included in the IDI.

Researchers from across government and academia have been using the IDI to answer a wide range of research, policy, and evaluation questions. Previously unanswerable questions can be studied using the IDI because of the richness of linked data. The IDI supports the government’s approach to drive greater availability and use of data for the public good.

Ultimately, the IDI helps the government and its agencies to prioritise and maximise the impact of expenditure. IDI data can be used in liability modelling, to reduce current and future liability in areas of big government spending, such as the social sector.

An example of its use is the Treasury’s Social Investment Unit using the IDI to identify four key indicators for children at high risk of poor outcomes later in life. This work aims to identify where to invest earlier into vulnerable children and their families, rather than waiting to deal with problems after they emerge. See Social investment insights for more information on this project.

Figure 12: Overview of data available in the IDI

Image, overview of data available in the IDI.  

Reducing the burden on business: Result 9 – Better for Business

Customer focus | Efficiency

Better for Business is a partnership of eight government agencies: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (lead agency); ACC; Callaghan Innovation; Inland Revenue; New Zealand Customs Service; New Zealand Trade and Enterprise; Ministry for Primary Industries; and Statistics NZ.

As a collaborating R9 agency we are actively involved in several work-streams within the programme.

This year, one of the ways we have been responding to our R9 responsibilities is by enabling more businesses to complete our surveys online. Three business surveys have moved online, including:

  • Quarterly Economic Survey of Manufacturing
  • Quarterly Wholesale Trade Survey
  • Quarterly Business Survey (previously the Quarterly Survey of Services).

Businesses in these quarterly business financial surveys will be able to complete their returns online for the June 2016 quarter.

Although there are 320,000 businesses in this population, we now only need to directly survey 1,500 businesses, thanks to the availability of administrative data.

Approximately 600 businesses have been included in the Quarterly Business Survey for the first time and will be able to complete their first survey online.

Responses from these additional businesses support the improvements to national account statistics.

This year we also began collecting survey responses for the 2015 Agricultural Production Survey with an online option. The online option proved popular with farmers, with more than 60 percent of the surveys received completed online.

Better online help for respondents

The Help for Survey Participants section of the Statistics NZ website was recently updated and made more respondent-friendly in time for the Census Test.

The aim was to be able to provide more relevant, findable, and readable help information for survey participants, who come from all walks of life.

The update was a collaborative effort from various branches of the organisation. More than 40 staff from Collection Operations, 2018 Census, Statistical Methods, Questionnaire Methodology and Development, Products Services and Insights, Customer Support, Organisation Strategy and Performance, Strategic Communications, and Applications Services provided content and support.

The layout and contents are new, and will help survey participants understand what to expect during the survey, and after they have completed their survey forms.

Significant changes include:

  • frequently asked questions based on real questions received by field staff and Contact Centre staff
  • consistent contents in the A–Z of our surveys
  • a revised approach to survey compliance
  • latest news about our surveys, for example the Census Test
  • information on how to recognise a legitimate Statistics NZ Field Interviewer or Field Officer
  • a complaints form and process that adheres to government complaints guidelines, and enables respondents to lodge complaints online.

Working with iwi/Māori, Pasifika, and non-government organisations

Customer focus | Partnerships | Value 

During the year we continued to hold hui with customer groups to ensure we are meeting the needs of iwi, Māori, Pasifika, and non-government organisations.

In November 2015, a working group was convened to advise on the six- to 18-month strategy to unleash the potential of our data, including the IDI, for iwi, Māori, Pasifika, and non-government organisations. This group provided us with advice on the opportunities, current barriers, goals, and actions relating to data access.

In December 2015, we co-hosted He Hui Tatauranga Aotearoa with the Treasury. The hui opened with an address by the Minister of Finance, which accompanied a Treasury presentation on youth data. Other items on the agenda included panel presentations on the social investment approach in practice, workshop sessions on data opportunities, needs, barriers, and actions for Statistics NZ, and a presentation on our current and future plans to enable data access and use for the groups attending (the data delivery plan).

The hui provided insights and connections that we have already used to support the achievement of our vision for these key stakeholders. Feedback from attendees was that they were impressed with our approach and intentions to deliver in partnership with them.

An outcome of the December hui was the pilot partnership projects. Early in 2016 we sought expressions of interest from iwi/Māori, Pasifika, and NGOs on proposals for projects to work on real-world issues collaboratively, using the lessons to develop new, relevant, and innovative products and services. See more information on these projects


Keeping it simple adds value for customers

Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have developed a good partnership when it comes to producing regional economic data.

For some years we’ve been providing data and advice to the compilation of MBIE’s Regional Economic Activity Report web tool and mobile app. MBIE have built on their own outputs recently, including increasing the interactive web content about regional economic activity and modelling economic data for smaller areas.

This year, MBIE were challenged to update their own regional data within hours of our own Regional GDP release. The Sector Trends team at MBIE took up the challenge and got in touch with our Regional GDP team about how to make this work. The question was how to get the data into MBIE’s own data warehouse, rebuild the database behind the various tools, and publish the data via their web channels quickly and efficiently.

As it turned out the solution was simple. MBIE were able to use the machine-readable CSV files that are now produced as a standard output to quickly pull in the data.

Using last year’s file as a template, they were able to set up and practise a quick load process in advance. On the day, they picked up the Statistics NZ data and updated their own web and mobile versions of the Regional Economic Activity Report by lunchtime of release day.

It demonstrates that adding value for customers doesn’t necessarily mean increasing the complexity or cost: CSV files are our quickest and simplest output.

Review of the statistical standard for iwi and the classification for iwi

Customer focus | Value 

In December 2015 we began a review of the statistical standard for iwi. This standard is used in official statistics to classify information about the Māori population by their iwi. The purpose of the review is to ensure the standard is relevant to current and future needs and can be used in a range of settings. As part of the review, the criteria for inclusion in the iwi classification was highlighted by stakeholders as an issue for the review to consider.

An inter-agency working group has scoped and supported the review and provided expert advice and robust discussion on:

  • the importance of iwi and other related concepts to current and anticipated statistical needs of government and Māori
  • practical considerations that affect the collection of useful data on iwi and related concepts
  • other parties who may have an interest in the review and should be involved.

In April 2016, led by our Kaihautu, we commenced consultation. This involves hui with iwi and Māori organisations across New Zealand, as well as seeking online and written submissions from targeted stakeholders, such as researchers and academics.

Work on this standard continues into the next year.

Gender identity standard world first in New Zealand

Customer focus | Efficiency | Partnerships | Value 

In July 2015 we released the statistical standard for gender identity, a world first for gender identity information.

The release of this new standard followed consultation with groups representing people with different gender identities, and with the government organisations who will use the new classifications. This new standard expands gender identity categories beyond the current female/ male boundaries, and recommends the term ‘gender diverse’ for use in official statistics.

Gender identity is about how a person feels they are – wholly male, wholly female, or having aspects of either or both. It is different to a person’s biological sex. It is a complex issue, as how people feel and experience their gender can change over their lifetimes.

We worked with a wide range of government and community groups to finalise this standard – and the terminology – and believe the gender-diverse population see it as a step towards being seen, counted, and understood.

Use of the new standard is not mandatory, but several government organisations are considering how to implement it. We will also consider how to use the standard across our own information collections. As gender information is personal, the guidance is that it should only be collected when there’s a good reason to do so.

Performance information

In 2015/16, Statistics NZ has mostly delivered to target with measures associated with customers and the value of the data we provide.

The use and trust survey is run annually. It surveys a revolving set of customers to understand whether the products and services we provide retain high levels of use and trust – a good indicator of perceived value. This year the survey focused on the general public. It found that 20 percent of the people surveyed had used statistics in the previous 12 months (Assessment of performance measure 1, table 1). This is a decrease on the last use and trust survey we ran with the general public in 2012/13, which reported that 27 percent had used statistics in the previous 12 months.

Alongside this result, the number of visits to the Statistics NZ website continued to increase this year, with a result 16 percent above target (2.9 million visits), indicating that statistics accessed through this channel are continuing to increase (measure 3, table 1).

Of those surveyed who reported using statistics this year, 89 percent reported that the government has the information they need – a 16 percent increase on last year (measure 2, table 1). This indicates that the expectations of the group surveyed were well met. Those surveyed also had high levels of trust in the information provided, with 68 percent reporting they trusted a sample of official statistics. This was well above the target for the year of 50 percent or more, but a decrease on the result of 82 percent reported by government workers and businesses last year (measure 14, table 1).

Our assisted advisory services are also important measures to track whether we are enabling customers to maximise the value of existing data (measures 4–6, table 1). The number of free telephone and email enquiries in 2015/16 was 5 percent lower than expected. The counting rules for this measure have changed (see footnote 9) as we ensure the measure is focusing on the right things to provide evidence of our performance against this appropriation. For example, we no longer count non-data- or statistics-related enquiries, and have started counting media enquiries and ‘live chat’ sessions. A 46 percent increase in the number of microdata access requests (measure 5, table 1) is a positive result, and is due to increasing use of the Integrated Data Infrastructure and other microdata services.

The result of 72 percent below target for capability building services (measure 8, table 1) is primarily due to a change in practice and counting rules. Statistics NZ no longer conducts a large number of visits that are recorded as ‘capability building’ only. For example, instruction on how to use web tools to extract data is no longer primarily done through visits but through Statistics NZ’s Information Centre, via the free-phone telephone number, or online web support. These are reported under ‘free enquiries’. As a consequence of this change, the number of ‘visits’ in the 2015/16 year is lower than target. This measure is under review.

Customer satisfaction (measure 7, table 1) is now measured with the ‘Net Promoter Score’ (NPS), a method used across several different industries. After receiving services from us, customers are asked to rate to what level they would recommend Statistics NZ services to others. Focusing on customised service requests, the result in 2015/16 of 92 percent of customers rating the services equivalent to ‘good’ or ‘very good’ was 11 percent above target.

The final key indicator of quality is freedom from significant errors (measures 11 and 12, table 1). One public correction notice was published on our website and emailed to subscribers in accordance with our policy for significant errors. This resulted in a 0.5 percent overachievement against our target. All releases were certified by the responsible manager as meeting Statistics NZ’s data quality standards. Across the year, Statistics NZ published 203 statistical releases (measures 9 and 10, table 1).

Statements of revenue and output expenses for each appropriation are published with the appropriation statements.

Table 1: Enabling customers – performance information

Appropriation Assessment of performance by measure  2014/15 Result 2015/16 Target  2015/16 Result  Variance to target 
Official statistics, Output class 1: Coordination of government statistical activities1 1. The number of users of official statistics is increased2 27% of the general public surveyed in 2012/13
actively used New Zealand government statistics in the previous 12 months3
Increase 20% Decrease4
Official statistics, Output class 1 2. The number of users who report that government has the
information they need is increased 
77% Increase 89% 16%
Official statistics, Output class 1  3. Web-based services provide people with access to free information about all statistical services, measured by the number of visits to the Statistics NZ website 2,670,778 2,500,000  2.9 million 16%6
Official statistics, Output class 1 Assisted Advisory services:

4. Requests for customised data

5. Microdata access enquiries

6. Free telephone and email enquiries












Official statistics, Output class 1 7. Responses to statistical enquiries are provided within the timeliness standard and high-quality services are provided, measured through customer satisfaction (80% of clients rate the service as ‘very good or excellent).  92%  80% 97%10 11%
Official statistics, Output class 1 8. Number of capability building services including providing outreach seminars, workshops, and visits 32 150 41  -72% 
Official statistics, Output class 2: Population, social, and labour force statistical information services 9. Number of statistical releases 75 68  75  9%11 
Official statistics, Output class 3: Economic and business statistical information services  10. Number of statistical releases  141 128  128  N/A 
Official statistics, Output class 2 & 3  Free from significant errors:

11. Statistical releases are free from such significant error that they require a public correction notice to be published

12. Certified by the responsible manager as meeting Statistics NZ’s data quality standards







Official statistics, Output class 2 & 3 13. Percentage of statistical releases published on the advertised date as agreed with the Minister of Statistics in the 2015/16 Purchase and Performance Agreement 100%




Official statistics, Output class 2 & 3  14. Users trust official statistics: majority of responding customers trust a sample of official statistics 82% >50% 68%13 36%
  1. Through this output expense, Statistics NZ fulfils the statistical coordination requirement of the Statistics Act 1975. This work contributes to building trust and confidence in official statistics through assuring the quality and delivery of fit-for-purpose statistical outputs.
  2. The Statistics NZ use and trust survey was carried out online this year and targeted our customer sector defined as ‘general public’. 5,346 emails were sent out and 1,000 interviews were completed, a completion rate of 18.7 percent.
  3. Survey respondents were asked if they had used ‘Statistics New Zealand statistics’ in the last 12 months. 69 percent responded ‘no’, 10 percent ‘did not know’ and 20 percent responded ‘yes’. A different sector was surveyed for this measure in 2014/15, with 61 percent of the government workers and businesses reporting using statistics in the previous 12 months.
  4. A different sample was surveyed this year and the result relating to the number of users is not directly comparable to the 2014/15 or immediately prior surveys. However, other ‘use and trust survey’ measures are comparable as they are all surveying customers that have used statistics in the last 12-month period.
  5. This is a positive outcome that indicates there is a high level of general trust in statistical products by the general public.
  6. The number of visits to the Statistics NZ website has steadily increased over the past two years. A new website design due to be launched in 2016/17 may affect the number of visits in future years.
  7. This total includes data requests from international agencies commonly known as international questionnaires.
  8. It is normal that requests for customised data decrease in the later years of the census cycle.
  9. This variance is due to the department no longer including all free enquiries in this count, but only those that are statistical/data enquiries. For example, a respondent calling about a survey they are participating in is no longer counted, as these calls are referred to the Contact Centre. Enquiries from media to Statistics NZ’s Strategic Communications team and live chat sessions on the website have been included from March quarter 2016. They accounted for 69 and 323 enquiries, respectively. Media enquiries and live chat sessions are reported for previous quarters.
  10. This measure is reported through our ‘Net Promoter Score’ survey for customised data requests. 32 of 33 customers rated customer data service as 7 or more out of 10.
  11. The projected number of statistical releases increased to 75 across the year and was met in this result.
  12. A media release on 8 September 2015 advised corrections to some consumer price index (CPI) figures for the March and June 2015 quarters.
  13. This figure includes respondents who reported they completely or mostly trust statistics.

Taking a stewardship role to anticipate and address critical system-wide information challenges

Our key highlights for the last year include:

New Zealand Data Futures

Partnerships | Value | Efficiency 

In October 2015, appointments to the Data Futures Partnership Working Group were confirmed following a Cabinet Appointments process. The Data Futures Partnership follows on from the work of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum, which was set up in 2013 to explore the opportunities, risks, and benefits of sharing data.

The partnership has been tasked with taking the ideas and findings of the forum and creating the data-use ecosystem that it envisioned. It has been designed to embody the four principles of value, inclusion, trust, and control.

It has been mandated by the government to engage with citizens, the private sector, and non-government organisations to help drive change across New Zealand’s data-use ecosystem. A dedicated working group drives the overall programme of work and core deliverables for the partnership. A secretariat based at Statistics NZ supports the overall work programme.

The partnership is focusing on three streams of work to help solve these issues, and to take advantage of the opportunities:

  1. Catalyst projects to demonstrate the value of data use, and help create ethical and practical frameworks.
  2. Diagnose and fix ongoing and emerging issues in the data-use ecosystem.
  3. Facilitate a conversation with New Zealanders about the potential value of data use, and to understand their feelings and perspectives on data use.

The working group is chaired by Dame Diane Robertson, who was previously the Auckland City Missioner. Dame Diane was chosen for her experience instigating and managing databases for a variety of agencies. She was responsible for collecting and analysing data gathered for the Auckland City Mission’s Family 100 research project, which has become one of New Zealand’s leading sources on families living in poverty.

The work group reports quarterly to their lead ministers – Minister of Finance, Minister of Justice, and Minister for Statistics. A review of the work programme is scheduled for October 2017.

Review of statistics legislation

Partnerships | Value | Efficiency

Does our current Statistics Act 1975 meet the needs of an increasingly data-driven and digital environment? This is something that the Statistics Legislative Review team is looking at in what they describe as an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ‘get it right’.

In June 2016, the Cabinet Economic Growth and Infrastructure Committee (EGI) agreed to recommendations made in the Statistics Legislative Review – Scope and Timing Cabinet paper on Wednesday, 29 June 2016 (EGI-16-MIN-0138).

Any new legislation needs to enable government and all New Zealanders to have the information they need to make decisions and enable our vision of unleashing the power of data to change lives.

The challenge is finding the right balance between generating greater value from data, with maintaining the trust of New Zealanders. It also needs to support our core functions in a modern environment.

This is a fast-paced project, aiming for final Cabinet decisions by the end of the 2016.

Policy development at this pace, engaging a wide range of stakeholders, requires an innovative process, and the team are using an open policy-making process, with the views of those inside Statistics NZ, other government agencies, and those outside of government shaping policy development at an early stage.

Environmental reporting

Partnerships | Value | Efficiency

In August the Government Statistician, in consultation with the Secretary for the Environment, officially approved the statistics for Environment Aotearoa 2015, ahead of the Environmental Reporting Bill being passed into Act in September.

The Act makes responsibilities for environmental reporting explicit. It sets the broad framework for the scope of reporting and timing for reporting products. Under the Act, the Government Statistician and the Secretary for the Environment have responsibility for environmental reporting. The involvement of the Government Statistician ensures that reporting is conducted at arm’s length from the government of the day and is released in line with Principles and protocols for producers of Tier 1 statistics.

The framework for environmental reporting divides the environment into five domains for the purpose of
reporting. Under each domain we report on three main types of information: pressures, states, and impacts.

Topics for each domain have been identified and set in the Environmental Reporting (topics for Environmental Reports) Regulations 2016, under the Environmental Reporting Act 2015.

In October 2015, in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment, we released the first national environment report, Environment Aoteroa 2015. Environment Aotearoa 2015 was produced in the spirit of the Environmental Reporting Act. Future reports will be part of a three-year cycle, in which individual aspects of the environment are assessed as well as an overview, like Environment Aotearoa 2015. The next report – about the marine domain – will be released in October 2016.

30 years, 122 releases, and five Government Statisticians

2016 marked 30 years of the Household Labour Force Survey. To celebrate, Statistics NZ and the NZ Work Research Institute, which is based at the Auckland University of Technology, held a symposium in Auckland in April.

After 30 years, 122 releases, five Government Statisticians, and countless hours of work, a lot of information has been released about New Zealand’s labour market.

This means we have an incredibly rich data source with a long history to draw insights from.

A lot has changed over this time, in terms of the labour market, but also in terms of the way we collect, process, and publish the data.

For example, these days it is a lot harder to get in contact with people in their homes due to changing work hours, fewer households having landlines, and mobile populations.

Other factors such as natural disasters, recessions, policy changes, and migration fluxes have all provided challenges for the survey, yet it still goes on strong.

Many different organisations use the data in many different ways. Sessions included:

  • a history of the HLFS
  • how the labour market has changed over time
  • research into effects of the minimum wage
  • gender pay gap analysis
  • lives of ordinary New Zealanders
  • use of socio-economic data in councils
  • overview of the redevelopment of the HLFS.

Social investment insights

Partnerships | Value | Efficiency

We have worked closely with the Treasury to develop Social Investments Insights. The aim of this tool is to make complex data more easily accessible, so it can be used to inform timelier and better-targeted services. The online tool and analysis reports have been made possible through the Integrated Data Service.

The tool demonstrates what is possible through collaboration, better use of administrative data collected by government, and making detailed analytical results available and accessible to the public.

Social investment is an approach that seeks to improve the lives of New Zealanders by applying rigorous and evidence-based investment practices to social services.

This work is part of the Treasury’s commitment to higher living standards and a more prosperous, inclusive New Zealand.

Through the collection of data from across the public sector (such as health, education, and justice), Statistics NZ is enabling analysis and greater understanding to improve social and economic outcomes for New Zealanders.

The result was an interactive online tool which displays information on children and youth who are at higher risk of poor outcomes, by detailed geographical location.

The tool takes complex and sensitive data and provides it in a format which easy to use, fast, free, and interactive. As well as meeting user needs, this tool maintains individual privacy and confidentiality – thereby maintaining trust with the public over the use of their information.

Reviews of official statistics production and dissemination

Customer focus | Value | Efficiency

This year we engaged with government agencies to review how official statistics are being produced and disseminated. Reviews of this type form a key part of our stewardship role. Two key reviews involved looking at tourism statistics, produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and the New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey, for the Ministry of Justice.

Tourism statistics

In early 2015, officials from Statistics NZ and MBIE agreed that Statistics NZ would lead a review of MBIE’s tourism statistics.

The key purpose of the review was to assess the systems and processes used to produce the tourism statistics and to identify areas for improvement. In addition, the review assessed progress made against the recommendations from the 2011 Tourism Data Domain Plan.

The final report, released in November 2015, found that overall MBIE are doing a good job of producing tourism statistics. We recommended that improvements should focus on communication with customers to help them better understand the data and to give more warning of delays to releases. We also recommended that MBIE continue to work on regional estimates and publish these if they are of sufficient quality.

MBIE does well in production of tourism statistics, including the use of cutting-edge dissemination tools, focusing development on high-priority areas, and regularly seeking input from industry experts.

New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey

The Ministry of Justice commissioned Statistics NZ to review the New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey (NZCASS) in the context of social investment and availability of other data on victims and perception of crime. The report, which was published on Statistics NZ’s website on 11 July 2016, contained recommendations based on consultation with key stakeholders, current international practice, literature on crime victim surveys, and Statistics NZ standards.

In particular, the report recommends exploring options for redeveloping NZCASS. These include annual collection
of crime volumes (both reported and unreported), expanding the crime type coverage, and improving the cost efficiency.

The report also recommended bringing NZCASS data into the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), and matching it with reported administrative crime data at individual victim level to improve analysis of volumes and types of offences.

At the end of the 2015/16 financial year, we were working on a plan of actions based on the report recommendations.

Advisory group created to collaborate on producing economic and labour market statistics

An external advisory group, consisting of senior economists and labour market research managers, was set up this year to collaborate and co-design with our project executives on key projects focused on producing economic and labour market statistics. The group meets on a quarterly basis.

Members of the group represent a number of public and private organisations including: the Treasury, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, Bank of New Zealand, New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, and Business New Zealand.

The focus of meetings to date has been on:

  • improving data and statistics about the labour market (Household Labour Force Survey redevelopment)
  • improving the coherence of our Gross Domestic Product data and statistics about the economy (Macroeconomic Accounts Transformed and Integrated project)
  • maintaining the relevance of our data for price indexes including the consumers price index (CPI) (Prices Statistical Maintenance programme)
  • developing data and statistics about New Zealand’s investment, savings, and wealth (Financial Flows and Balance Sheets development).

Performance information

Measures relating to Statistics NZ’s stewardship role are spread across two appropriations: the Official Statistics multi-category appropriation and the Data Futures Partnership appropriation.

The first stage indicators of success within the first six months of establishing the Data Futures working group were on track at the end of the 2015/16 year (measure 1, table 2), including development of objectives and goals for the initiative.

More broadly, the health of Tier 1 statistics being produced was maintained by producing 129 Tier 1 statistics over the year (measure 2, table 2). This is a 20 percent positive variance on the target of 107 in 2015/16. This is the first year we have reported this measure. It is intended to track New Zealand’s delivery of these statistics that are the most important for understanding how well the country is performing.

Statistics NZ’s performance against its output plan (Purchase and Performance Agreement) with the Minister was positive, with the Minister of Statistics indicating that he is ‘satisfied’ with the policy advice and ministerial servicing received in 2015/16 (measure 3, table 2).

Revenue and output expenses for each output class are published with the appropriation statements.

Table 2: Taking a stewardship role – performance information

Appropriation Assessment of performance by measure  2014/15 Result 2015/16 Target  2015/16 Result  Variance to target 
Data Futures Partnership (M67) 1. First stage indicators of success within six months of the establishment of the working group New measure On track On track N/A
Official statistics, Output class 1:
Coordination of government
statistical activities  
2. Ensure the right statistical information is produced by the Official Statistics System to better support decision-making and under- standing: Maintain the total number of Tier 1 statistics New measure  107  1291 20%
Official statistics, Output class 1 Ministerial satisfaction that the Official Statistics System programme is delivered, as agreed with the Minister in the Purchase and Performance Agreement, and as varied by agreement during the year 100%  100% 100%2 N/A
  1. As at March 2016, 129 of 162 Tier 1 statistics are being produced.
  2. The Minister of Statistics has indicated that he is ‘satisfied’ with the policy advice and ministerial servicing received in 2015/16.

Experimenting, testing, and adopting innovative ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency

Our key focuses in 2015/16 included:

2018 Census

Value | Efficiency

A key part of modernising the census is to alter the ways that we collect census data in 2018. To this end, we are:

  • promoting and prioritising online completion of the census
  • introducing mail-out letters (sending unique access codes to households across New Zealand).

This year, we have begun our testing programme – to check that the systems and processes we are building for 2018 are fit for purpose, robust, and will enable everyone in New Zealand to participate in the census.

In March 2016, we asked 22,000 households in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, and Canterbury to participate in the Census Test. Our response rate for the test was 59 percent. Sixty-five percent of households used the online form.

This test gave us confidence that the new approach we will be taking – sending access codes, followed by waves of reminders and targeted follow-up activity from our field officers – works in a New Zealand setting. For the first time, our field officers used hand-held devices to check addresses and manage their workloads.

This was the first of three public tests we will conduct in the lead-up to March 2018. The second test was held in July 2016, the third will be held in March 2017. They will focus on proposed new and changed questions, and a full end-to-end test of all processes and systems, respectively.

This year, we have also checked our address list, which confirmed both the quality of our information and where we need to focus our efforts over the next financial year.

We have appointed some of our key suppliers for the 2018 Census. Clemenger BBDO are our creative agency for the 2018 campaign; Telnet will be providing our contact centre; and we are working with SilverStripe to build our online collection system.

Census Transformation

Customer focus | Value

Our Census Transformation programme is investigating different ways of running the census. Its purpose is to modernise the current census model in the short to medium term, and to investigate alternative ways of producing small- area population, social, and economic statistics in the long term. This includes the possibility of changing the census frequency to every 10 years, and exploring the feasibility of a census based on administrative data.

We have been committed to publishing the results of our investigations into Census Transformation. It is important not only for keeping interested stakeholders informed of our progress, but also for providing confidence in the robustness of the research.

In the past year, seven research papers have been published:

  • Comparison of ethnicity information in administrative data and the census (June 2016)
  • Identifying Māori populations using administrative data: A comparison with the census (June 2016)
  • Identifying the New Zealand resident population in the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) (April 2016)
  • Enduring census information requirements for and about Māori (January 2016)
  • Quality of geographic information in the Integrated Data Infrastructure (December 2015)
  • Comparing education and training information in administrative data sources and census (December 2015)
  • Quality standards for population statistics: Accuracy requirements for future census models (December 2015).

This research output is a significant achievement for a small team. It represents a substantial body of work that is contributing to the understanding of future requirements for census information, and the ability of administrative data to meet those requirements.

The Census Transformation programme will be reporting back to the Cabinet Economic Growth and Infrastructure Committee on progress towards an administrative-data census, by 31 October 2016 (EGI-15-MIN-0111 refers). In preparation, work is underway to: 

  • research methods that reduce the impact of coverage errors in the population of New Zealand as derived from administrative data
  • design a coverage survey of population and dwellings for testing in conjunction with the 2018 Census and 2018 Post-enumeration Survey
  • produce the first release of an experimental series of population estimates compiled from available administrative data
  • identify the investment required for census transformation beyond 2016/17
  • develop cross-agency plans to improve the quality of administrative data for an integrated environment
  • continue research into the potential for administrative data to replace or complement some census questions.


Salesforce now live for business surveys

In June, phase two of the new Enterprise Collection Platform (ECP), Salesforce, went live with our Collection Operations.

Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that will enable greater efficiencies in data collection, and easier management of survey and respondent relationships and the data and information associated with these. The new platform replaces our current CRM and other legacy systems. It will provide the organisation with greater functionality as well as a single collections platform.

Salesforce will allow our front line staff to provide a better service to our respondents. Customer service Representatives will now be able to manage responses for multiple surveys or businesses on one call, instead of a respondent receiving multiple calls for each individual survey.

Customer service representative (CSR) Sarah Little began using Salesforce during our Census Test, and says it’s easy to use the new platform.

“It’s a one-stop shop. CSRs are able to make calls, action tasks, and wrap up calls all in real time and in one screen without having to jump from screen to screen between different databases like before. It’s going to make us more efficient and able to provide a better service.”

Pilot partnership projects

Customer focus | Value | Efficiency

An outcome of the December 2015 hui (see Working with iwi/Māori, Pasifika, and non-government organisations) was the pilot partnership projects. Early in 2016, we sought expressions of interest from iwi/Māori, Pasifika, and non-government organisations (NGOs) on proposals for projects to work on real-world issues collaboratively, using the lessons to develop new, relevant, and innovative products and services.

From this process we shortlisted 10 projects. The four pilot partnership projects progressing with iwi/Māori and NGOs were announced in May 2016. They present a diverse set of projects that are in the public good, and will enable greater learning for the organisations involved and Statistics NZ. In addition, the projects will benefit the broader iwi/Māori and NGO sectors.

The four projects are:

  • Dunedin Methodist Mission
  • Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou
  • Te Mana Raraunga – a network of Māori data practitioners
  • Te Tihi.

Dunedin Methodist Mission

This project consists of a set of specific customised data requests that fall within four broad categories: early childhood education; youth aged 15–24 years; young mothers aged 15–24 years; and incarcerated men and their whānau. We intend to work with Dunedin Methodist Mission to establish which topics can be addressed with available data.

This project enables us to better understand NGO data needs, as well as find ways to respond to customised data requests and make recommendations to improve this.

Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou

This project involves developing an outcomes measurement framework, with a strong focus on strengths-based analysis.

The demand for strengths-based analysis is strong and consistent across iwi/Māori-affiliated organisations. Working in partnership with Ngāti Porou to develop such a framework will have wide-reaching applicability.

Te Mana Raraunga – a network of Māori data practitioners

This project is to create an iwi-verified rohe geographic variable to link with the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). This project will involve working with nominated representatives of iwi to map meshblock units to
iwi-defined geographic areas. Te Mana Raraunga have signalled their intent to work in partnership with the Iwi Chairs Forum Data Leadership Group, who may suggest two or three iwi to test the project’s concept with.

This project will provide a model for iwi engagement on data sovereignty. It will create a standard and variable that provides value for future research using location- based information

Te Tihi

This project involves the placement of a Te Tihi staff member at Statistics NZ to improve their analytical and statistical capability.

This project provides potential to establish a more formal programme with iwi/Māori and/or NGOs for placements or secondments at Statistics NZ to raise data capability, overall.

The pilot projects above sit alongside existing Statistics NZ commitments to three partnership projects with iwi and NGOs:

  • Auckland City Mission: a project testing integrating NGO data with the IDI (see Pilot partnership projects)
  • Ngāi Tāhu: a project researching life pathways for tribal youth
  • Ngāi Tūhoe: a project aiming to provide insights on children at risk and on the significance of te reo Māori.

In addition, the Government Statistician recently met Waiora Pacific to discuss a future partnership regarding democratising data for and about Māori, with Statistics NZ as data provider.

Statistics NZ will meet each pilot project organisation to refine the scope of each project and determine criteria through which their success can be evaluated.

Statistics NZ innovation site

Customer focus | Value | Efficiency

At Statistics NZ, we strive to put customers at the heart of what we do, and to do this we need to better understand our customers’ needs. In February 2016 we launched our innovation site, with three data-driven initiatives that aim to help customers with a range of capabilities to access and use data.

The innovation site is a place for customers to explore and provide feedback as we experiment with new ideas and initiatives. The site will also keep customers up to date as we develop, test, and refine our products and services.

The purpose of the site is to engage with customers and provide them with a channel to tell us what they want from our information. The site philosophy is one of learning by doing, and is focused on an outside-in approach.

At launch, the first initiatives on the site included the Social Investment Insights tool, Data Finder, and the Indicators Dashboard. By the end of the year, three more initiatives were added, including the Business Performance Benchmarker; an experimental series measuring monthly labour market statistics; and an interactive data tool that looks at four cultural measures for all iwi with respondents in Te Kupenga 2013.

Redevelopment of surveys to meet the country’s needs

Customer focus | Value | Efficiency

During the year we have redeveloped several surveys to ensure they meet international standards and are fit for the 21st century.

Economic Survey of Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade Survey, and Selected Services Survey

In March 2016, we completed our redevelopment of the quarterly Economic Survey of Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade Survey, and Selected Services Survey, to support new national accounting statistics, including the quarterly income measure of gross domestic product (GDP).

This work was designed to ensure the country can better monitor the financial markets and household outcomes.

These redeveloped surveys close significant gaps in New Zealand’s national accounts – including the until now unfilled Tier 1 ‘quarterly profit survey’ statistic, by enabling estimates of business profits by broad industry groups.

With suppliers in mind, we have worked hard to ensure the redeveloped surveys are simple and easy for large businesses to comply with.

Household Labour Force Survey

The redeveloped Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) went into the field on 3 April 2016, to collect data for the June 2016 quarter.

The key purpose of the 2016 HLFS redevelopment was to improve the relevance and quality of our labour market statistics. New content included more information about the nature of people’s employment conditions and work arrangements. This data can be used to better understand different patterns of employment. The new content included:

  • type of employment (eg permanent or temporary work arrangement)
  • length of time employed in current job
  • employment agreements (eg collective or individual)
  • union membership
  • preference for change from temporary employment or self-employment to permanent work.

Statistics NZ released a paper titled Household Labour Force Survey – summary of 2016 redevelopment, which informed customers about changes to the survey, following its recent redevelopment. A new webpage, Improving labour market statistics, was also launched to provide further updates relating to the HLFS redevelopment once information became available.

On 29 June 2016, Statistics NZ published a technical paper, Household Labour Force Survey – revisions to key labour market estimates. This paper informed our customers of upcoming revisions to HLFS statistics, which were a result of improvements introduced to the survey. Statistics NZ expected the HLFS historical time series to be revised, so it was important to communicate these changes to customers before the release.

Accompanying this report, we included tables showing the magnitude of these revisions, but also a CSV file that includes the revised estimates at a detailed level.

Labour cost index

Early in the year we began to consult with stakeholders on the labour cost index (LCI) to better understand the value customers obtain from the annual non-wage component. This was to ensure that the statistics provided continue to remain relevant and add value for customers.

The LCI is a Tier 1 statistic under the ‘labour costs’ category. The LCI for all labour costs is a measure of changes in salary and wage rates and non-wage labour costs combined. This is produced annually for the June quarter, while the LCIs for salary and wage rates and unadjusted salary and wage rates are produced quarterly.

The LCI for non-wage labour costs measures changes in the following non-wage costs to employers:

  • annual leave and statutory holidays
  • superannuation
  • ACC employer premiums
  • other non-wage costs (medical insurance, motor vehicles available for private use, and low-interest loans).

To identify the impacts of ceasing the LCI non-wage and all labour costs, we consulted organisations that have high interest in labour market measures. We engaged with ACC; Business New Zealand; Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Ministry of Social Development; NZ Council of Trade Unions; Reserve Bank; State Services Commission; and the Treasury. We also sought public feedback through our website to get the views of other customers. Palmerston North City Council and NZ Trade and Enterprise responded.

Following consultation, the Government Statistician agreed to replace the largely survey-based indexes of the LCI non-wage and all labour costs with non-wage labour cost indicators based on administrative data.

Changing the method of collection will reduce data supplier load by about 2,000 hours per year. The LCI non-wage has a total of eight surveys, which translates to over 9,000 questionnaires sent to data suppliers every year. In addition, we expect cost savings in collection and compilation with additional savings every three years in processing costs.

Our key customers were informed about the decision to cease the LCI non-wage and the decision was published on the Statistics NZ website.

We hope to begin producing these indicators regularly from October 2016 (when the next LCI non-wage would have been released).

We will continue to publish LCI salary and wage rates indexes every quarter. We will ensure they remain relevant by reviewing the relative importance of industries and occupations following the 2018 Census.

Data mash-up pushes the boundaries

In December 2015, Statistics NZ hosted a two-day ‘data mash-up’ with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). Twelve participants across both departments brought together an array of subject matter, geospatial, and technical statistical expertise.

Statistics NZ and LINZ already have a close working relationship, but are keen to take this to a new level. As such, the vision for the data mash-up was to push the boundaries, to better align and realise the departments’ ambitions to ‘unleash the power of data’ and ‘the power of where’.

The outcome of the data mash-up exceeded expectations, with participants demonstrating the value of integrating location-enabled statistical data with spatial data in different ways. This included using publicly available business information to improve the location information held by Statistics NZ and LINZ, and informing the discussion on child poverty. In addition, the data mash-up also highlighted constraints and privacy considerations.

Statistics NZ and LINZ are committed to holding more of these events to progress thinking, improve collaboration, and be more agile and innovative in the way the departments work. The departments will also seek to fast-track any promising ideas resulting from the data mash-up.

Performance information

Due to the cyclical nature of the census, there is no reporting required against the 2018 Census of Populations and Dwellings multi-year appropriation in 2015/16. The coverage and response rates for the 2018 Census of Population and Dwellings will be measured and reported after the census is run (measures 1 and 2, table 3).

The Post-enumeration Survey is used to check the accuracy of coverage (undercount and overcount) and the response rate to the census. It will be conducted after the 2018 Census of Population and Dwellings (measure 3, table 3).

Revenue and output expenses for each output class are published with the appropriation statements.

Table 3: Experimenting, testing, and adopting innovative ways – performance information

Appropriation Assessment of performance by measure  2014/15 Result 2015/16 Target  2015/16 Result  Variance to target 
2018 Census of Population and Dwellings 1. National coverage rate for the 2018 Census of Populations and Dwellings (target 98%) N/A N/A N/A N/A
2018 Census of Population and Dwellings 2. National response rate for the 2018 Census of Populations and Dwellings (target 95%) N/A N/A N/A N/A
2018 Census of Population and Dwellings 3. Post-enumeration Survey (target 90%) N/A N/A N/A N/A

Ensuring we are well positioned to enable New Zealand to unleash the power of data to change lives

Our key highlights for the last year include:

  • Organisation strategy and new operating model
  • Integrating the Statistics 2020 programme into the departmental investment portfolio
  • Building capability for the future
  • Business Improvement Forum
  • Performance information

Organisation strategy and new operating model

Value | Efficiency

As detailed in the 2016/17–19/20 strategic intentions, Statistics NZ has further developed its strategy for the future of Statistics NZ and the New Zealand data ecosystem this year. We have defined the operating model we will work towards to make our vision a reality.

The fundamental components of our strategic direction are:

  • our four roles
  • our organisational character (IDARE)
  • our four core offerings
  • the way we will deliver our services and data in the future (strategic delivery model) (figure 1).

Together, these components will put us in a strong position to unleash the power of data to change lives.

Integrating the Statistics 2020 programme into the departmental investment portfolio

Value | Efficiency

In November 2015, in consultation with the Minister of Statistics, we decided to integrate the Statistics 2020 Te Kāpehu Whetū (Stats2020) portfolio of projects into the wider departmental investment portfolio. We made the decision on the understanding that our investment portfolio is governed and managed in a manner appropriate to its scale and level of risk.

Specifically, we:

  • adopted the remaining Stats2020 aspirations, including benefits and savings targets, into the Vote Statistics four-year Plan and investment profile
  • replaced the existing full-time equivalent (FTE) targets in Stats 2020 with the department’s FTE cap set by the State Services Commission
  • transitioned the existing Stats2020 delivery programme into our Enterprise Investment Portfolio, while maintaining visibility of the current Stats2020 business case benefit commitments
  • integrated the Stats2020 central agencies’ monitoring into the overall Vote Statistics four-year plan monitoring regime
  • worked with the Treasury to agree which of Cabinet’s expectations for managing investment and assets applies to Statistics NZ, and subsequently to meet agreed targets through State Sector processes.

Building capability for the future


A ‘people strategy’ is being developed to support our four-year plan and organisational priorities. This includes:

  • refreshing the current statistical competency framework
  • investing in corporate learning and development support to improve and broaden our mix of in-house and externally sourced teaching
  • development of metrics to enable us to better track workforce capacity and capability.

We are also looking at possible redesign options for our performance management system, which would see us moving away from a system with annual performance appraisals against set goals and objectives, towards a system based on ongoing, real-time performance and coaching conversations with staff.

As an equal opportunities employer we continue to base all our appointments on merit, while recognising the employment aspirations of Māori, ethnic and minority groups, women, and people with disabilities.

Integrating equality and diversity in the Public Service is a key aspect of strategic planning and performance, and our Chief Executive provides the lead in working towards this. Equality and diversity in the Public Service, as the State Sector Act 1988 requires, enables the best service to government and New Zealanders.

In 2016/17 we will be undertaking work, in partnership with the Public Services Association, to better understand whether our approach to equal opportunities is effective in practice.

Business Improvement Forum


The joint Business Improvement Forum was a key outcome from the settlement of the Collective Employment Agreement in 2015. Its goal is to support business improvement and to strengthen the relationship between Statistics NZ and the Public Service Association (PSA) by working towards a shared goal.

The five key principles for the forum are:

  • make Statistics NZ a better place to work for all staff
  • an opportunity to work differently with the shared goal of enhancing the organisation
  • a collaborative forum that values everyone’s contribution
  • another channel for the voices of staff to be heard
  • a catalyst for positive change.

The first meeting of the forum was held in November 2015.

In March 2016 the forum ran face-to-face meetings in Statistics NZ’s three offices, as well as an online ‘ideas jam’ to gather ideas from those who missed out on the meetings and as a way for staff to indicate support for ideas suggested by others. Another round of meetings for field interviewers ran in May.

Following the jam, the forum evaluated over 100 ideas for how to make Statistics NZ a better place to work. The forum clustered these ideas into five themes:

  • process improvements
  • systems and tools
  • the work environment
  • development and performance
  • engagement.

Two major projects were identified from the exercise. These were improving performance management and enabling better connections across locations and teams.

In the last quarter of the year, the forum began to progress the work associated with making better connections. This will involve bringing together a group of people to identify the problem areas and opportunities.

Our Executive Leadership Team progressed improving performance management with the Chief People Officer. To assist, the forum prepared a full report containing all the ideas captured regarding performance management.

In addition to the two major projects, the forum identified some ‘quick wins’. These included:

  • creating a comprehensive organisational chart so that people can easily see different parts of Statistics NZ
  • enabling staff feedback on their managers’ performance review
  • improving facilities in the Auckland office.

Performance information

The services to other agencies RDA and capital expenditure appropriation measures are reported in this section. We achieved our goal of supporting shared services with other government agencies (measure 1, table 4) by delivering services we committed to in our co-location agreements with other agencies. Eight of the nine target agencies successfully moved into the co-located CIGA building in Christchurch (measure 3, table 4). One agency has not moved in. They have not formally withdrawn, but are still in discussions with the Government Property Group and their monitoring agency to determine their approach. We continued implementing the legacy mitigation programme (measure 2, table 4), achieving 96 percent completion.

Revenue and output expenses for each output class are published with the appropriation statements.

Table 4: Ensuring we are well positioned – performance information

Appropriation Assessment of performance by measure  2014/15 Result 2015/16 Target  2015/16 Result  Variance to target 
1. Services to other agencies RDA (M67) Support the provision of shared services with other government agencies New measure Achieved Achieved N/A
2. Capital expenditure Continued implementation of the legacy mitigation programme 85% 95% 96%1 1%
3. Capital expenditure Agencies successfully transitioned into co-located CIGA building New measure 9 8 -11%
  1. In systems numbers, the legacy programme had mitigated 15,219 out of the original 15,718 applications in scope by the end of June 2016. The remaining systems are deemed to run to end of life, or will be replaced by other projects, and the programme is now closed.

Statement of responsibility

For the year ended 30 June 2016

I am responsible, as Chief Executive of Statistics New Zealand, for:

  • the preparation of Statistics NZ’s financial statements, and statements of expenses and capital expenditure, and for the judgements expressed in them
  • having in place a system of internal control designed to provide reasonable assurance as to the integrity and reliability of financial reporting
  • ensuring that end-of-year performance information on each appropriation administered by Statistics NZ is provided in accordance with sections 19A to 19C of the Public Finance Act 1989, whether or not that information is included in this annual report; and
  • the accuracy of any end-of-year performance information prepared by Statistics NZ, whether or not that information is included in the annual report.

In my opinion:

  • the financial statements fairly reflect the financial position of Statistics NZ as at 30 June 2016 and its operation for the year ended on that date; and
  • the forecast financial statements fairly reflect the forecast financial position of Statistics NZ as at 30 June 2016 and its operations for the year ending on that date.

Liz MacPherson
Government Statistician and Chief Executive
30 September 2016

Independent auditor’s report

To the readers of Statistics New Zealand’s annual report for the year ended 30 June 2016.

The Auditor-General is the auditor of Statistics New Zealand (the Department). The Auditor-General has appointed me, Clint Ramoo, using the staff and resources of Audit New Zealand, to carry out the audit on her behalf of:

  • the financial statements of the Department on pages 59 to 82, that comprise the statement of financial position, statement of commitments, statement of contingent liabilities and contingent assets as at 30 June 2016, the statement of comprehensive revenue and expense, statement of changes in equity, and statement of cash flows for the year ended on that date and the notes to the financial statements that include accounting policies and other explanatory information;
  • the performance information prepared by the Department for the year ended 30 June 2016 on pages 33 to 54; and
  • the statements of expenses and capital expenditure of the Department for the year ended 30 June 2016 on pages 83 to 84.


In our opinion:

  • the financial statements of the Department:
    • present fairly, in all material respects:
      • its financial position as at 30 June 2016; and
      • its financial performance and cash flows for the year ended on that date;
    • comply with generally accepted accounting practice in New Zealand and have been prepared in accordance with Tier 1 Public Benefit Entity Accounting Standards.
  • the performance information of the Department:
    • presents fairly, in all material respects, for the year ended 30 June 2016:
      • what has been achieved with the appropriation; and
      • the actual expenses or capital expenditure incurred compared with the appropriated or forecast expenses or capital expenditure;
    • complies with generally accepted accounting practice in New Zealand.
  • the statements of expenses and capital expenditure of the Department on pages 83 to 84 are presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with the requirements of section 45A of the Public Finance Act 1989.

Our audit was completed on 30 September 2016. This is the date at which our opinion is expressed.

The basis of our opinion is explained below. In addition, we outline the responsibilities of the Government Statistician and our responsibilities, and we explain our independence.

Basis of opinion

We carried out our audit in accordance with the Auditor-General’s Auditing Standards, which incorporate the International Standards on Auditing (New Zealand). Those standards require that we comply with ethical requirements and plan and carry out our audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the information we audited is free from material misstatement.

Material misstatements are differences or omissions of amounts and disclosures that, in our judgement, are likely to influence readers’ overall understanding of the information we audited. If we had found material misstatements that were not corrected, we would have referred to them in our opinion.

An audit involves carrying out procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the information we audited. The procedures selected depend on our judgement, including our assessment of risks of material misstatement of the information we audited, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, we consider internal control relevant to the Department’s preparation of the information we audited in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Department’s internal control.

An audit also involves evaluating:

  • the appropriateness of accounting policies used and whether they have been consistently applied;
  • the reasonableness of the significant accounting estimates and judgements made by the Government Statistician;
  • the appropriateness of the reported performance information within the Department’s framework for reporting performance;
  • the adequacy of the disclosures in the information we audited; and
  • the overall presentation of the information we audited.

We did not examine every transaction, nor do we guarantee complete accuracy of the information we audited. Also, we did not evaluate the security and controls over the electronic publication of the information we audited.

We believe we have obtained sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for our audit opinion.

Responsibilities of the Government Statistician

The Government Statistician is responsible for preparing:

  • financial statements that present fairly the Department’s financial position, financial performance, and its cash flows, and that comply with generally accepted accounting practice in New Zealand.
  • performance information that presents fairly what has been achieved with each appropriation, the expenditure incurred as compared with expenditure expected to be incurred, and that complies with generally accepted accounting practice in New Zealand.
  • statements of expenses and capital expenditure of the Department, that are presented fairly, in accordance with the requirements of the Public Finance Act 1989.

The Government Statistician’s responsibilities arise from the Public Finance Act 1989.

The Government Statistician is responsible for such internal control as is determined is necessary to ensure that the annual report is free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error. The Government Statistician is also responsible for the publication of the annual report, whether in printed or electronic form.

Responsibilities of the Auditor

We are responsible for expressing an independent opinion on the information we are required to audit, and reporting that opinion to you based on our audit. Our responsibility arises from the Public Audit Act 2001.


When carrying out the audit, we followed the independence requirements of the Auditor-General, which incorporate the independence requirements of the External Reporting Board.

Other than the audit, we have no relationship with or interests in the Department.

Clint Ramoo
Audit New Zealand
On behalf of the Auditor-General Wellington, New Zealand


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