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National Accounts (Industry Benchmarks): Year ended March 2011
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  21 November 2013
Data quality

Period-specific information

This section contains information about data that has changed since the last release.

General information

This section contains information about data that does not change between releases.

Period-specific information

Revised figures

Changes are included in the international and national accounts in 2013. These affect some of our information releases, including this one.

The key changes are:

  • spending by international visitors to New Zealand
  • imports of low-value goods purchased directly by households
  • revisions to dairy cattle farming and dairy product manufacturing industries.

Spending by international visitors to New Zealand

We have improved our methodologies for estimating expenditure by international visitors to New Zealand. The changes are:

  • moving the International Visitors Survey (IVS) to an online collection from a face-to-face interview
  • improving the coverage of the IVS
  • incorporating improved estimates of international students’ living costs.

These improvements result in revisions to New Zealand’s current account, household consumption expenditure, and household saving.

Exports of education-related travel are estimated using tuition-fee data from the Export Education Levy, combined with an estimate for international students’ living costs. Business and other personal travel are estimated using data from the IVS, which the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) runs.

Statistics NZ has worked closely with MBIE, the Ministry of Education, and Education New Zealand to compile these estimates.

See Revisions to New Zealand's macroeconomic accounts to December 2013 for further information about changes to the IVS.

MBIE’s IVS commentary has additional information on the effect of changes to the IVS.

Spending by international students in New Zealand

Education New Zealand commissioned a study into the economic impact of export education during 2012/13. This study followed a similar study in 2008, the results of which we did not fully implement at the time.

We have used the benchmarks produced as part of the 2008 and 2012/13 studies to revise our exports of education-related travel series back to 2004. This incorporates the improved estimates of international students’ living costs.

See the economic impact of international education 2012/13 for more information.

Impact of changes to the IVS and improved estimates of international student living costs

The main effect of the updated IVS and improved estimates of international student living costs is an increase in exports of travel services, which will increase the current account balance and household saving.

Exports of travel services are split between business travel and personal travel (which includes education-related travel). Revisions to business travel are lower than those to personal travel and increase industry output and the production measure of GDP. The increase in exports of personal travel results in a decrease of household expenditure and therefore an increase in household saving.

Imports of low-value goods purchased directly by households.

A time series for low-value imports of goods purchased directly by households is included in this release, from 2000 to 2013. Household imports of goods have increased in recent years as a result of consumers changing their spending patterns towards online purchasing, including direct purchases from overseas businesses.

Graph, Imports of low-value goods purchased directly by households, current price, annual, 2002 to 2011.

Spending on imports of goods valued at less than $1,000 has been an area of known undercoverage in balance of payments and national accounts data. There is limited information available from NZ Customs administrative data on the value of imports under $1,000, and a high level of misreporting.

See table 2.12 Household final consumption expenditure in National Accounts (Income and Expenditure): Year ended March 2013 for the full series.

Impact of low-value imports estimate

The revision to low-value imports will have a flow-on effect to other variables, particularly household consumption and saving. By including these activities that were previously not included in the national accounts or balance of payments data, imports of goods increases. This upwards revision has a negative effect on the current account balance. This also flows through as an increase in the expenditure measure of GDP, with an increase for household consumption expenditure (HCE).

This increase in HCE results in a decrease in household savings and subsequently national saving. Supply-use balancing is unaffected, as the increase for goods imported is balanced with an increase in HCE.

Methodology for calculating imports of low-value goods

The 2013 estimate for low-value goods purchased directly by households is based on the New Zealand Online Importation of Goods and Services survey conducted by Inland Revenue in May and June 2013. We used the results of this survey to derive an economy-wide estimate for online household imports of tangible goods. We envisage that Inland Revenue will publish the full results of their survey early in 2014.

We took the 2013 estimate as a benchmark to create a current-price time series of this spending back to the March 2000 year. The current-price time series of this household activity was compiled using changes in the number of low-value parcels, and we applied a customised price index to the 2013 benchmark of this activity.

We sourced parcel time-series data from the New Zealand Customs Service. It includes the number of parcels that were valued at less than $1,000 and imported across the following parcel types:

  • simplified import entries
  • electronic cargo information
  • parcels and express mail.

The customised price index used information about the top four countries that goods were imported from. This included price indexes from these countries on the types of goods purchased, along with exchange rates for those countries.

The Inland Revenue survey also included imports of intangibles, such as software and other downloads, which was estimated at $265 million for 2013. We will be conducting further work to include intangibles in future releases.

Low-value exports continue to be excluded from the national accounts and the balance of payments. These are very small in volume and expected to be significantly smaller in value than low-value imports.

Revisions to dairy cattle farming and dairy product manufacturing industries

We’ve made a small change to the methodology used in calculating the gross output of the dairy cattle farming industry. The methodology better reflects the March balance date for publishing the national accounts.

We adjusted dairy product manufacturing intermediate consumption to reflect the output of the dairy cattle farming industry. Overall this change does not affect total GDP, but has changed the value-added components of the dairy cattle farming and dairy product manufacturing industries. These changes offset each other.

The methodology was used to backdate to 2008 only, as using the methodology on earlier years did not produce significantly improved results.

 Revisions to dairy cattle farming and dairy product manufacturing
 Year ended March  Dairy cattle farming value added Dairy manufacturing value added
 Published Nov 2012 Published Nov 2013  Published Nov 2012 Published Nov 2013 
 2008  5,981 5,701   639 919 
 2009  2,933 3,271  3,932 3,595 

We expect the changes to have a limited effect on the volume measure of GDP, through chaining weights, as the current-price variables affected are not used as benchmarks.

General information

Information about the tables

GDP and expenditure on GDP

GDP is a measure of the value added from all economic activity in New Zealand. This account shows the main forms of income generated by the economy and the categories of final expenditure on the GDP.

Supply and use balancing

Annual current-price production and expenditure estimates of GDP components are reconciled within the supply and use framework. This framework provides a powerful statistical and analytical tool within which to balance the flows of goods and services in the economy. It presents a detailed analysis of the production and use of goods and services, and the incomes generated in that production.

The accounts are balanced when, for all industries, total inputs equal total outputs; and, for products, total supply equals total demand. As a result, the statistical discrepancy between the measures of GDP is zero in the years for which balancing is carried out.

The supply and use approach also provides the basis for checking the consistency of the measures of the supply and use of goods and services, which are estimated from quite different statistical sources. This data confrontation results in balanced GDP and expenditure accounts. Analytical tables produced for supply and use data confrontation are known as supply and use tables. This approach leads to improvements in the accuracy of key national accounts measures, such as GDP, gross national expenditure, national disposable income, and their components.


Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC06) data is published in categories specified in the New Zealand Standard Industry Output Categories (NZSIOC) classification.

See New Zealand Standard Industry Output Categories classification tables for a table showing NZSIOC levels. 

The annual national accounts are published at NZSIOC level 3, which has 55 industry categories, more than the ANZSIC96 equivalent. As with ANZSIC96, some industries may be grouped to preserve the confidentiality of individual businesses.


While all care and diligence has been used in processing, analysing, and extracting data and information in this publication, Statistics NZ gives no warranty it is error-free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use directly, or indirectly, of the information in this publication.


Our information releases are delivered electronically by third parties. Delivery may be delayed by circumstances outside our control.

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