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Household Use of Information and Communication Technology: 2009 – Additional tables

Technical notes

Survey background

The Household Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Survey collected information from New Zealand households and individuals about access to, and use of, computers, the Internet, and mobile phones.

The survey produced official statistics on New Zealand household access to and use of ICT and is used to gain a better understanding of how these technologies are influencing New Zealand's economy and society.

In this release – additional tables

The figures in these tables are rounded. Because each table contains rounded figures, there may be some small inconsistencies between the totals and individual cells. Cells with estimates of less than 1,000 and with percentages of less than 1 percent have been suppressed and appear as ‘S’ in the tables. These estimates are subject to sampling errors too great for most practical purposes.

Data collection

The Household Use of ICT Survey: 2009 was a supplement to the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) during the December 2009 quarter. The supplement was asked of all households and people eligible to take part in the HLFS. Two questionnaires were used. A household ICT questionnaire asked about that household’s access to computers and to the Internet. An individual ICT questionnaire was then asked of all eligible individuals within the HLFS sample. Responses on behalf of other household members were not accepted for the ICT questionnaires.

The survey was carried out from 4 October 2009 to 11 January 2010 (the December 2009 quarter) via personal and telephone interviews.

Target population

The target population for the Household Use of ICT Survey is the civilian, usually resident, non-institutionalised population aged 15 years and over living in private dwellings. The survey population did not include:

  • long-term residents of homes for older people 
  • hospitals and psychiatric institutions 
  • inmates of penal institutions 
  • members of the permanent armed forces 
  • members of the non-New Zealand armed forces 
  • overseas diplomats 
  • overseas visitors who expect to be resident in New Zealand for less than 12 months.

The HLFS target population includes non-private dwellings whereas the Household Use of ICT Survey does not.

The target population for the household portion of the Household Use of ICT Survey is all households from the scope outlined above with at least one eligible individual.

The HLFS sample contains about 15,000 private households and about 30,000 individuals each quarter. Households are sampled on a statistically representative basis from rural and urban areas throughout New Zealand, and information is obtained for each member of the household.

Response rate

The Household Use of ICT Survey: 2009 targeted a 75 percent response rate. The survey achieved an actual response rate of 80 percent, which represented 13,713 households.

Non-response and imputation

Unit non-response

Unit (household or individual) non-response occurs when units in the sample do not complete a questionnaire. The initial selection weight of the remaining units was adjusted to account for the unit non-response.

Item non-response

Item (or partial) non-response is when units complete the questionnaire but some questions are not complete (eg refused). Item non-response imputation was carried out for two variables – personal mobile phone use and personal income. Nearest neighbour imputation was the method used for this imputation.

Measurement errors

Statistics New Zealand endeavours to minimise the impact of measurement errors through the application of best survey practices and monitoring of known indicators (eg non-response). However, the Household Use of ICT Survey results are subject to measurement errors, including both non-sample and sample errors. These errors should be considered when analysing the results from the survey.

Sample errors

The estimates in this release are based on a sample of households. Somewhat different figures might have been obtained if a complete census of the entire population had been taken using the same questionnaire and processing methods. Because the estimates are based on a sample of households, all estimates have a sampling error associated with them. The variability of a survey estimate, due to the random nature of the sample selection process, is measured by its sampling error.

The absolute sampling error estimates for the overall New Zealand household population are presented in tables 1.01 and 1.02. These errors should be used as a guide for judging the reliability of figures contained in the tables.

Table 1.01

Sampling error estimates for household key variables 
Variable  All households Sampling error

 Number (000)

Internet  1,220  11
Broadband access  1,023  13
Dial-up access 202 2

Table 1.02

Sampling error estimates for individual key variables
Variable All individuals Sampling error
Number (000)
Mobile phone  2,854 17
Internet  2,677  19
Online purchases  1,430  17
Used Internet at home 2,450 98

The sampling errors provided above are estimated at the 95 percent confidence level.

How to use the sampling errors:

For example, the estimated number of households with Internet in 2009 is 1,220,000. This estimate is subject to a relative sampling error estimate of approximately 11,000. This means that 95 percent of the possible samples of the same size will produce an estimate between 1,209,000 and 1,231,000.

Smaller estimates, such as the total number of rural centre households with computer networks in the December 2009 quarter (3,000), are subject to larger relative sampling errors than larger estimates. This estimate is subject to a sampling error of plus or minus 1,000 (measured at the 95 percent confidence level). This means that we are 95 percent confident that the true value of rural centre households with computer networks lies between 2,000 and 4,000.

In general, the sampling errors associated with subnational estimates (eg breakdowns by regional council area) are larger than those associated with national estimates.

The following categories of individuals have small sample sizes. Data estimates for these categories have high sample errors and should therefore be treated with caution:

  • individuals within the age groups 70–74, 75–79, and 80+
  • Pacific peoples ethnic group
  • those within the income groups ‘$150,001 or more’ and ‘loss’.

The household category rural centre also has a small sample and has estimates subject to high sample errors, so should therefore be treated with caution.

Non-sampling errors

Non-sampling errors are all errors that are not sampling errors. They are present in both sample surveys and censuses. They cannot be directly numerically measured. There are many potential sources of non-sampling error.

Statistics NZ adopts procedures to minimise these types of error, but they may still occur and are not quantifiable. Non-sampling errors include unintentional mistakes by respondents when completing questionnaires, variation in the respondents’ and interviewers’ interpretation of the questions asked, and errors made during the processing of the data. In addition, the survey applied imputation methodologies to cope with non-respondents.

Given the nature of the data collected, there are limitations on the level of accuracy that can be expected from the survey. Even though detailed descriptions of technical terms were given, there may still be differences in respondent and interviewer interpretation.

Definitions of labour force category

The following definition is from the Household Labour Force Survey.

Employed: All persons in the working-age population who during the reference week worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self-employment; or worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business or professional practice owned or operated by a relative; or had a job but were not at work due to: own illness or injury, personal or family responsibilities, bad weather or mechanical breakdown, direct involvement in an industrial dispute, or leave or holiday.

Not employed: All persons aged 15 years and over, not defined as employed.

Ethnic statistics

Prioritisation of ethnic groups occurs when one ethnic group is assigned to an individual who has answered with more than one ethnicity.

People with multiple responses to the ethnicity question are assigned to one ethnic group using the following prioritisation:

  1. Māori
  2. Pacific peoples
  3. Other ethnicity
  4. European.

For example, if an individual responds as both Māori and European, then the ethnic group assigned to this person would be Māori.



Broadband is a high-speed connection to the Internet and is also referred to as non-analogue. For the purposes of the Household use of ICT questionnaires, broadband was self-identified by the respondent, and then the way the broadband was provided was asked, for example, via a satellite dish.


A broadband transmission technology using coaxial cable or fibre-optic lines that were first used for TV and are now being used for Internet access.


Dial-up access is a way of connecting a computer to the Internet using a modem and the telephone line.


Digital subscriber line (DSL) is a type of high-speed broadband Internet connection that transmits data over regular copper wires (phone line). DSL allows for simultaneous voice and data transmission.

Information and communication technology (ICT)

This refers to the electronic technologies for collecting, processing, or transmitting information which can be in the form of voice, images, or data. Examples include computers, the Internet, and telecommunications.

Online purchase

Those purchases which are paid for online, for example, by credit card or web-based Internet transaction systems. This does not include online banking, or when the payment for the purchase is made by cash or cheque.

Personal use of a mobile phone

The phone need not be owned or paid for by the person but should be reasonably available through work or family. This excludes occasional use, for instance, borrowing a mobile phone to make a call.

Regional council areas

Regional councils cover every territorial authority in New Zealand with the exception of the Chatham Islands Territory. There are 16 regional council areas in New Zealand. To allow publication of smaller areas, these areas have been combined into 12 regions for this release.

Sharing files via peer to peer exchanges

Directly accessing other computers’ files through Internet networks, and software programs.

Urban and rural areas

All urban areas

Statistically defined areas with no administrative or legal basis. There is a three-part hierarchical subdivision of urban areas. The urban population is defined internationally as towns with 1,000 people or more.

Main urban area

Very large urban areas centred on a city or major urban centre. Main urban areas have a minimum population of 30,000.

Secondary urban area

Urban areas with a population between 10,000 and 29,999 and centred on the larger regional centres.

Minor urban area

These are urbanised settlements (outside main and secondary urban areas), centred around smaller towns with a population between 1,000 and 9,999.

All rural areas

Statistically defined areas with no administrative or legal basis. They have a population of less than 1,000.

Rural centre

Centres with a population between 300 and 999.


Rural areas have a population of under 300.

Web radio and web television

Radio and television stations which can be accessed through the Internet, also called 'webcasting'.


Access to the Internet via wireless networks (other than cellular technology).


Information obtained from Statistics NZ may be freely used, reproduced, or quoted unless otherwise specified. In all cases Statistics NZ must be acknowledged as the source.


While care has been used in processing, analysing and extracting information, Statistics NZ gives no warranty that the information supplied is free from error. Statistics NZ shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of any information, product or service.


Timed statistical releases are delivered using postal and electronic services provided by third parties. Delivery of these releases may be delayed by circumstances outside the control of Statistics NZ. Statistics NZ accepts no responsibility for any such delays.

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