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Household Economic Survey (Expenditure) – field test

Help for participants

If your household has been selected to take part in the Household Economic Survey (Expenditure) trial 2014, the information on this page may help answer any questions you have about the survey. 

What is the Household Economic Survey (Expenditure)?

The Household Economic Survey (Expenditure) is a face-to-face survey that gathers information about how people earn and spend their money. We use information from the survey to produce statistics that New Zealanders and the government rely on to help make decisions.

What is a survey trial?

The Household Economic Survey (Expenditure) has been updated. We trial major survey changes to ensure we are continuing to collect good quality information, and to test new systems and processes.

Why have I been selected?

Your address was selected as a result of random sampling the addresses in your area. Once selected, a household cannot be replaced by another household, as this would affect how representative the survey is. This means your participation is very important in ensuring that all groups in the community are properly represented.

Why should I participate?

By taking part in our survey trial, you will help ensure the survey is capable of producing accurate statistics on matters that affect the whole community, including income inequality and housing affordability. We rely on your support and goodwill – participation is not compulsory.

Who else in my household is expected to participate?

Each person aged 15 or over living at your address is asked to take part in the survey.

Will my information be kept confidential?

Yes – the law protects the information you provide. We do not release information that can identify individuals or households.

No other organisation – including the New Zealand Police, Immigration New Zealand, Work and Income, or Inland Revenue – can get information from us that identifies you.

How is the survey carried out?

A Statistics NZ interviewer will visit your household to arrange a time to interview household members. During the survey, the interviewer will interview each person, using a laptop to record responses. The survey will take about one hour, but may be a bit longer or shorter depending on your household.

What sort of questions will I be asked?

The survey includes questions about your:

  • ethnicity, sex, marital status, and country of birth 
  • sources of income 
  • household spending (eg mortgage or rent payments, food, goods, services).

Each household member will be asked to keep an expenditure diary to record their spending during the diary period.

We will also ask one person in your household some general questions about their standard of living.

What information should I gather to prepare?

As we will be asking you questions about your income and expenditure, you may find that the survey is easier and quicker if you gather the following details and documents beforehand.

We only need your most recent details. We don’t need to see any of your documents, and not all the items listed below will apply to you. Your information will remain confidential.

Your interviewer will help you if you have any questions, or if you’re unsure about what you might need.

Details about what you spend your money on

  • Rent payments 
  • Body corporate payments 
  • Mortgage and/or loan payments 
  • Local and regional council rates payments
  • Telecommunication bills (eg phone, TV, Internet) 
  • Power bills (eg electricity, gas, other power) 
  • Any major spending in the past year (eg household renovations, appliances, holidays, car repairs). You may find it useful to gather purchase receipts or banking records.

Details about what you earn 

  • Income from jobs
  • Income from benefits, supplements, allowances, and pensions 
  • Investment income (eg shares and dividends)
  • KiwiSaver
  • ACC insurance payments

Can I see the results?

No – the results will be used to test and improve the survey, and will not be published.
See Household Economic Survey – information releases if you are interested in the results from previous surveys.

If I have questions, who should I talk to?

If you have any questions about the survey, your interviewer will help you. Alternatively, call 0800 104 744, or email

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