Business Performance Newsletter – April 2006

1. Business Performance group update

The next few months see the start of a number of new time series, and the development work on each of the collections drawing to a close. As this occurs, the focus of the group will change from development to use of the information collected, which will present fresh challenges.

The last couple of months have seen the release of the first set of official productivity measures for New Zealand, as well as the second releases for both the Biotechnology and Internet Service Provider surveys. Links to all these are provided below.

As always, we welcome feedback on any of the projects that are underway, as well as comments on other opportunities that you see to use the data being generated.

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2. Productivity

The first official New Zealand Productivity Statistics were released on 28 March. This marks the end of Business Performance involvement in this project. Ongoing work on this series will now be the responsibility of the National Accounts group.

The interest in Productivity will not disappear as the focus will now be on firm-level measures, which form part of the Improved Business Understanding via Longitudinal Database Development (see below).

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3. Information and communication technology: development programme

Internet Service Providers

The six-monthly Internet Service Provider (ISP) Survey measures the nature of the Internet service provision industry in New Zealand. The survey looks at Internet subscriber data, Internet connection technologies, spam and virus filtering, and barriers to Internet service provider growth. Results from the second survey (covering the six-month period to September 2005) were published in March 2006 and can be found here.

The March 2006 ISP Survey is currently in the collection phase and the results will be published in August 2006.

In the near future we will be revising the questionnaire. While we will continue to collect current information, we are interested in hearing from any users of the ISP data to discuss additions or modification which would better suit their needs.

For further information, contact Anna Thorburn (info@stats.govt.nz).

Information and Communication Technologies Supply

The Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Supply Survey 2004/2005 is nearing the end of the data collection phase and preliminary data editing and analysis is underway. Results were due to be published in April 2006, but due to collection and processing delays it will now be published in June 2006.

The ICT Supply Survey 2004/2005 is the first circulation of a new survey that includes both information and communication technologies, bringing it into line with current international best practice. Although it supersedes and is a redesign of the previous Information Technology Survey run by Statistics New Zealand, caution must be applied when comparing the results of the ICT Supply Survey 2004/2005 to the previous information technology surveys as there have been major changes between the two.

For further information, contact Peter McGinty (info@stats.govt.nz).

Business Use of ICT

Data regarding New Zealand businesses’ use of ICT will be collected biennially, as one module of three within the annual Business Operations Survey (BOS). The first data for the business use of ICT module will be collected during BOS 2006, to be posted out in August 2006. Results will be published in the second quarter of 2007. Collecting this information as part of BOS will allow us to analyse any relationship between the use of ICT and firm performance, across a full range of industries and sectors. This survey module is being developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development and the State Services Commission.

BOS will provide information to benchmark New Zealand ICT use against use in other countries. When combined with the new household and government ICT use surveys, this information will establish a clear measure of the use of ICT in New Zealand.

For further information, contact Anna Thorburn (info@stats.govt.nz).

Government Use of ICT

The Government Use of ICT Survey is a new survey, measuring the use of information and communication technologies by government organisations in New Zealand. The survey was developed with the Ministry of Economic Development and the State Services Commission, and is currently undergoing the Ministerial review process. It is scheduled for post-out in August 2006, and will be administered biannually thereafter.

This survey will provide information about current use of ICT within the government sector, the sector's uptake of emerging technology, and factors that hamper ICT use by government organisations. It will also show how new technologies are changing the way government organisations carry out their roles. When combined with the new household and business use surveys, this information on government organisations’ use of ICT will establish a clear measure of the use of ICT in New Zealand.

The results from the 2006 survey are due to be released in the second quarter of 2007.
For further information, contact Irene Rix (info@stats.govt.nz).

Household Use of ICT

The Household Use of ICT Survey aims to measure the characteristics of New Zealand households and individuals who use ICT, including access to and use of the Internet, and mobile phones. A vital aim of the survey is to provide statistics of an internationally comparable standard, to enable useful comparisons within both the New Zealand and international contexts.

The survey is currently going through cognitive testing. The key purpose of this testing is to identify any modifications that need to be made to questions, based on results from a diverse selection of test respondents and their understanding of the questions being asked.

The Household Use of ICT Survey is due out in the field later this year and will be a supplement to the Household Labour Force Survey. The results from the survey will be published in early 2007. The Household Use of ICT Survey will then be produced biannually.

For further information, contact Steve Riley or Gareth Meech (info@stats.govt.nz).
For information on the overall ICT development programme, contact Gareth Meech.

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4. Biotechnology

The initial results from the Biotechnology Survey 2005 were released in a Hot off the Press in early April and can be found here. A more detailed report from the 2005 survey will be published by the end of June 2006.

The survey was previously run in 2004. The Biotechnology in New Zealand 2004 report analyses detailed results from the 2004 Survey.

For further information, contact Nicholas Cox (info@stats.govt.nz).

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5. Business operations

The Business Operations Survey (BOS) is a modular survey, developed by Statistics NZ to give current and accurate information on how New Zealand businesses operate, and what is important to their success. The Business Performance Newsletter - August 2005 has more information on the background to this survey.

The BOS 2005, which had modules on innovation (planned to run every second year, on odd years) and business practices, has been sent to businesses and results are being collected. The initial release of the data will be in June 2006. A full Innovation in New Zealand 2005 report will be published in the second half of 2006, and further reports examining the practices and performance data will follow.

The BOS 2006 questionnaire is currently being finalised. It will include modules covering businesses’ use of ICT and employment practices, and is scheduled to be posted out in August 2006.

For further information, contact Hamish Hill (info@stats.govt.nz).

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6. Screen industry

The annual Screen Industry Survey will produce information to help government and other organisations develop a better understanding of the screen industry in New Zealand. The survey is sent to businesses directly involved in the production and development of screen projects, to enhance understanding of the nature of the industry, its contribution to the economy and its potential for growth.

Information received through the first collection is currently in the process of micro- and macro-editing. Initial results will be released in June 2006. Slow response has extended the closing date of the survey, to ensure reaching the required response rate of 75 percent.

A published paper on the Statistics New Zealand website outlines the background to the Screen Production Industry and justification for a survey of this nature. Results from the first survey can be expected on our website in July.

For further information, contact Coral Aldridge (info@stats.govt.nz).

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7. Research and development

The Research and Development in New Zealand 2004 report was published in September 2005. This report includes detailed analysis of the results from the Research and Development (R&D) Survey 2004.

The R&D Survey is a biennial survey with the 2006 survey to be sent out in August 2006. The new design implemented in the 2004 collection, when the survey moved from a list-based approach (1992 to 2002) to a combination of list and sample methodology, has been investigated over the last three months, and currently we are working on minor improvements to the survey methodology.

For further information, contact Nicholas Cox (info@stats.govt.nz).

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8. Improved Business Understanding via Longitudinal Database Development (IBULDD)

Previously known as Longitudinal Research of Business Dynamics

In July 2005, the Business Performance team received funding from the Cross-Departmental Research Pool to carry out a two-year development project on longitudinal research of business dynamics. This project will integrate business-related data with both administrative data and sample survey data. The project was initially delayed due to recruitment difficulties but started in earnest in January 2006.

The strategic view is to create an annual financial database rich in administrative and sample survey data. National statistics offices throughout the world are continually faced with the need to balance quality against the form-filling burden placed on contributors. The construction of IBULDD will facilitate further analyses of a rich data source, and possibly enable Statistics NZ to reduce the number of questionnaires it sends out by using administrative data more fully. A working team has now been set up to create the initial backbone of the system and this is supported by national experts and international experts from UK, USA and Australia.

The initial feasibility work will join three key elements:

  1. Various financial administrative data.
  2. Longitudinal Business Frame, constructed as part of LEED and which allows businesses to be tracked through time.
  3. Annual Enterprise Survey, which is the main sample survey used to collect financial data.

This will form the backbone of the new system. In addition to the benefits to Statistics NZ, the project is strongly supported by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Department of Labour, the Treasury, and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, as it will provide a powerful research tool of business dynamics over time.

For further information, please contact Claire Powell (info@stats.govt.nz).

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9. Who’s who in Business Performance

Eileen Basher, Manager
Gareth Meech, Project Leader Surveys
Hamish Hill, Business Operations, Project Leader
Nicholas Cox, R&D and Biotechnology Project Leader
Anna Thorburn, Internet Service Providers and Business Use of ICT Project Leader
Peter McGinty Information and Communication Technology Project Leader
Coral Aldridge, Screen Industry Project Leader
Irene Rix, Government Use of ICT Project Leader and Questionnaire Design
Daniel Martin, Statistical Analyst, R&D and Screen Industry
Carmel Tuya, Statistical Analyst, ICT and Biotechnology
Julia Gretton, Statistical Analyst, Business Operations
Steve Riley, Household Use of ICT Questionnaire Design
Meighan Ragg, Statistical Analyst, Questionnaire Design
Antony Kennedy, Statistical Analyst, IBULDD
Claire Powell, Project Manager, IBULDD

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