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The economics of change – statistics for decision-making in a data-rich and fast-moving world

Statistics New Zealand hosted a panel discussion focused on the economics of change on 13 June under the banner of the International Year of Statistics. The event was designed to stimulate debate and discussion on the role of statistics in an economic context.

Discussion topics included:

  • Big data, instant information, and the role of statistics in informed decision-making.
  • Identifying a source of truth among many sources – is there a need for a framework?
  • Accessibility – how important is this?
  • Quality, reliability, and timeliness – are they mutually exclusive?

Panel members Dr Oliver Hartwich (NZI), Lilllian Grace (Wiki New Zealand), Paul O'Connor (Datamine), and Shamobeel Eaquab offered a broad range of views to stimulate discussion. The debate was facilitated by media commentator Kim Hill. Acting Government Statistician Mrs Dallas Welch opened the event and was followed by an address from the Minister of Statistics, Hon Maurice Williamson.

The general consensus was that the challenge for Statistics NZ is between keeping data reliable and finding out what people want to know.

The breakfast provided an opportunity for Statistics NZ to discuss with industry leaders the importance of data in their field, and understand their needs.

The event was promoted to predominantly private sector/large corporates (in particular data producers and users), which offered Statistics NZ a great opportunity to engage with new and existing audiences.

The event was also noteworthy due to its embracing of social media to promote discussions. Tweets were posted live from the event and attendees were encouraged to tweet about the event. This allowed Statistics NZ to leverage and maximise the engagement opportunity in a controlled environment not only with attendees but with existing Twitter followers and staff. It also demonstrated the organisation's continued commitment to using new media.

The poster provides more information about the event.

Breakfast attendees Lillian Grace founder Wiki NZ Lillian Grace speaking
Lillian Grace Wiki NZ Minister of Statistics, Hon Maurice Williamson Minister of Statistics, Hon Maurice Williamson
Panel: l-r Dr. Oliver Hartwich, Paul O'Connor, Lillian Grace, Shamubeel Eaqub Shamubeel Eaqub Statistics2013 presentation