This section sets out the outcome and impacts sought from the Official Statistics System and how Statistics New Zealand will contribute to the achievement of these.
End outcome: An informed society using official statistics
In an informed society, governments, businesses, communities and citizens use official statistics to make decisions that contribute to New Zealand’s economic and social development. Official statistics are used to inform debate and research, and to help us to understand New Zealand’s environment, economy and society.
For this to happen users must:
- have trust and confidence in the Official Statistics System
- be able to access and use official statistics.
Impact 1: Trust and confidence in the Official Statistics System
To gain public trust and confidence in the official statistics produced by government agencies, the statistics must be relevant to current and prospective user needs in government and the wider community. They must be produced using sound statistical methodology as well as relevant and reliable data sources.
The production of quality statistics is dependent on the cooperation and goodwill of data suppliers. This is maintained by protecting the information that they supply and by ensuring that the cost of compliance is kept to an acceptable level.
Official statistics are public goods, funded by government through tax revenue. It is important that they are produced efficiently and provide value for money.
Statistics New Zealand’s contribution
At Statistics New Zealand, we focus on three activities to build trust and confidence in the Official Statistics System:
- Leading a coherent Official Statistics System.
- Delivering fit-for-purpose statistical outputs.
- Maintaining a willing supply of information from respondents.
Impact 2: Access to official statistics
Official statistics must be accessible and users must have the skills and capability to use them. Statistical information is more valuable if it is easily accessed by users, presented in a format that meets their needs, and is sufficiently documented for users to understand the data and judge the quality of the fit with their needs. Information must also be stored in a way that allows future users to both access and use the data.
Statistics New Zealand’s contribution
As the national statistical office we are responsible for ensuring the availability of statistics now and in the future. We also have an interest in ensuring that users can understand and analyse the statistics in order to use them in the best possible way. We focus on two activities to ensure the accessibility of official statistics:
- Facilitating access to official statistics.
- Maintaining an enduring national statistical resource.
How we will measure progress toward our outcome
We have developed measures to chart our progress toward an informed society using official statistics as well as the impacts we are seeking from the Official Statistics System. These measures are shown in figure 2.
How we contribute to the Government’s strategic direction
In 2006, the Government determined three themes to guide investment: economic transformation, families – young and old, and national identity. We support these three themes by leading the Official Statistics System, and producing statistics on New Zealand’s economy, society and environment.
We enable users of official statistics to understand the economic environment, and to assess the potential impact of policy options. This is primarily accomplished by creating data resources that enable economic performance to be monitored over time and compared with information about firms and individuals. Key outputs that contribute to this theme include the system of national accounts, balance of payments, price statistics and a range of annual and sub-annual statistics on economic and labour market performance, and the five-yearly Census of Population and Dwellings.
Families – young and old
We provide social statistics to enable decision makers to understand the increasing diversity of New Zealand society. The Programme of Official Social Statistics will collect new information about families, and extend the range of statistics that support this theme.
Official statistics help all New Zealanders to understand who we are, where we live and what we do. In the next three years, the production of statistics relating to culture and identity will be guided by a cross-government plan.