Information and Communication Technology in New Zealand and Australia

The rise of the ICT industry in the past 50 years has spurred a worldwide change in the way people communicate and work. Internationally, it has been recognised that the contribution of the 'information economy' to a country’s overall economic growth and performance is related to the consumption of, and investment and innovation in, ICT. As such, information about the sales of ICT goods and services provides good insight into an economy’s use of this technology.

This section compares the sales of ICT goods and services between New Zealand and Australia using data from Statistics NZ’s ICT Supply Survey and the ABS’s ICT Industry Survey. The surveys use similar ICT definitions and the same industry classification but differ in population coverage, time period, and currency.

To increase comparability, some adjustments were made to the industries included in this analysis. Those that were not covered by Australian data were excluded from New Zealand’s (for more information, refer to ‘Technical notes’). Apart from being only a minor contributor to the total ICT sales of goods and services in both countries, the communication equipment manufacturing industry was excluded from both countries for confidentiality reasons.

To compare sales between both countries, percentages based on the gross domestic product (GDP) of New Zealand (year ended March 2008) and Australia (year ended June 2007) were used. It should be noted that these percentages are indicative of relative size only, and do not represent the actual contribution to GDP. GDP is a measure of value added while the ICT surveys measure sales. Value added is gross output (ie sales) less intermediate consumption (the value of goods and services consumed while producing the output).

Table 1

Table, ICT sales of goods and services

Table 1 shows the total sales of ICT goods and services for the industries included in this analysis were lower in New Zealand in 2008 (NZ$17 billion) than in Australia in 2007 (AU$97 billion). However, when these values are expressed as a percentage of GDP the results are close (9.9 percent and 9.3 percent for New Zealand and Australia, respectively).

A comparison of ICT sales as a percentage of GDP at industry level yields similar results, with the largest difference at 1.5 percent in New Zealand and 0.6 percent in Australia (other electrical and electronic goods wholesaling industry, which involves the sale of TVs, radios, and MP3 players). The closest results were in the telecommunication goods wholesaling industry (0.6 percent both in New Zealand and Australia).

Table 2


The telecommunication and Internet access services industry had the largest share of total ICT sales in both Australia and New Zealand, accounting for 38 percent of total ICT sales in both countries.

ICT sales from the computer system design and related services industry was the second largest in both Australia and New Zealand. This industry contributed 25 percent of Australia’s total ICT sales in 2007 and 17 percent of New Zealand’s total in 2008.