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Business Performance Newsletter – August 2005

1. Business Performance group update

Most of the work on the 2004 surveys is now complete and links to the reports are given below under the individual subjects. The 2005 surveys will be posted out during August, with collection continuing until the end of the year. Preparation is now underway for designing the 2006 surveys. As such, it is an important time of the year for users of our various data sources to tell us about their data needs in the areas covered by Business Performance.


2. Information and communication technology: redevelopment programme

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) survey redevelopment programme is progressing well. The programme currently consists of one new and one redeveloped industry survey, three new uses of ICT surveys, and new publications.

2.1 Information and communication technology supply

The annual Information Technology (IT) Survey, which measures the output of the IT and telecommunications industry, was published in April 2005. See here for details of the IT Survey 2004.

The IT Survey has been redesigned to bring it into line with current international best practice. It was also realigned with the wider information and communication technology (ICT) industry and is now called the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Supply Survey. The questionnaire for the 2005 ICT Supply Survey will be posted to businesses during August 2005 and results will be published in April 2006.

2.2 Internet service providers

The Internet Service Provider (ISP) Survey measures the nature of the Internet service provision industry in New Zealand. The survey looks at issues such as subscriber data, connection technologies, spam filtering and virus filtering. The survey will produce a core set of official statistics on ISPs and will build a better understanding of how these new technologies are influencing the New Zealand economy and society.

The first survey was posted to ISPs in April 2005. Responses are currently being processed and analysed. These results were published in a Hot Off The Press information release on 26 August 2005, and are available here.

2.3 Business use of ICT

The use of ICT technologies in businesses will be surveyed in 2006 by Statistics New Zealand. Stakeholder and industry consultations started in August 2005 after initial information was gathered in 2004. This survey will be part of the Business Operations Survey in August 2006. Results will be published early in 2007.

2.4 Government use of ICT

The use of ICT technologies within governmental organisations will be surveyed in 2006 and results will be released in 2007. Stakeholder consultation began in July 2005 and design work on the survey is due to start in August 2005.

2.5 Household use of ICT

The way households and individuals use ICT (including the Internet) will be surveyed in the Household Use of ICT Survey. This survey will be a supplement to the quarterly Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) in September 2006. Statistics New Zealand is now consulting internal and external stakeholders, and field testing of the survey will start in the last quarter of 2005. Results will be collected from July to September 2006 and published early in 2007.

For further information on the ICT programme, contact Gareth Meech (info@stats.govt.nz).


3. Research and development

A full report on Research and Development (R&D) will now be released on 6 September 2005. There has been a delay in delivering this report, largely because the survey methodology was changed between the 2002 and 2004 survey periods. This report will include full analysis of results from the Research and Development Survey 2004.

Work is now starting on the 2006 survey. While this survey will continue to collect current material, we are interested in hearing from any users of the R&D data to discuss how it can be modified or added to.

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


4. Business finance

The Ministry of Economic Development (MED) commissioned Statistics New Zealand to develop a new survey on demand-side finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The survey's core objective is to provide information on the capital structure of businesses in New Zealand, the sources of finance they use and their recent financing experiences. Businesses with between 1 and 500 employees were surveyed across a wide selection of industries.

The initial release of key results from the 2003/04 survey was released on 2 May 2005. The full report of survey results will now be published on 3 October 2005 and will also be available free from the Statistics New Zealand website.

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


5. Business operations

The Business Operations Survey is a new survey. It is an integrated survey made up of modules, which has been developed by Statistics New Zealand in response to the need for an increased range of data from New Zealand businesses in order to have current and accurate information on how they operate and what is important to their success. Collecting this data in an integrated survey has benefits over collecting the same information in separate surveys by minimising the overall load on respondents. The survey will also allow cross-cutting research on data within a single, consistent population and survey design.

The Business Operations Survey will build better understanding of the practices and behaviours businesses in New Zealand undertake that may impact on their performance. In doing so, the survey encompasses generic performance measures and also some broad areas that have previously been covered by separate surveys, as follows.

5.1 Innovation

The Innovation module in the Business Operations Survey measures the contribution made by technological innovation to the New Zealand economy, by collecting information on innovative activity of businesses.

A stand-alone innovation survey was previously run in 2003. A full report of results was released in July 2004, and is in the available files (Innovation in New Zealand: 2003). Before 2003, innovation data was collected as part of the Business Practices Survey 2001 (refer to detailed notes on this survey below). A full report of results on innovation from 2001 is also available (Innovation in New Zealand: 2001).

5.2 Business practices

The Business Practices module measures the adoption of various practices by New Zealand businesses. A stand-alone Business Practices Survey was previously run in 2001. A number of reports were produced using results from this survey, and are outlined below. Each report is available free from the Statistics New Zealand website:

The Business Operations Survey will be run annually from 2005. The questionnaires will be posted out in August each year and results will be available from April of the following year.

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


6. Biotechnology

The Biotechnology Survey 2005 questionnaire is being posted out this month. The survey is sent to businesses that are likely or known to be involved in the use of biotechnology techniques. The purpose of the Biotechnology Survey is to collect information on the use, production and uptake of biotechnology in New Zealand. It also measures the size of the biotechnology sector and identifies constraints to biotechnology activities.

Information gathered from the 2005 survey will be published in a Hot Off The Press information release in April 2006, and a full report will be published in June 2006.

Biotechnology in New Zealand: 2004 details survey findings and results from the Biotechnology Survey 2004.

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


7. Screen industry

The annual Screen Industry Survey is sent to businesses involved in some way with the screen production industry in New Zealand. A detailed survey of the screen production industry will recognise the industry’s contribution to the New Zealand economy and identify the potential for, and impediments to, its continuing growth. Information from the survey will help government and other organisations develop a better understanding of the needs and practices of screen production businesses in New Zealand.

A paper, based on currently available information, outlines the “Background to the Screen Production Industry” and reasons for a detailed survey of this kind.

Post-out of the first Screen Industry Survey is already underway. Information gathered from the 2005 survey will be published in a Hot Off The Press information release in April 2006, and a full report of the 2005 results will be published in June 2006.

For further information, contact Lisa Hardie (info@stats.govt.nz).


8. Longitudinal research of business dynamics

The Business Performance team has recently begun a project on the “Longitudinal Research of Business Dynamics”. This developmental project will integrate business-related data from both administrative data and sample survey data. The project has been granted funding for two years through the Cross Department Research Pool. Statistics New Zealand will be working on the project in collaboration with representatives from the Treasury, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Research, Science & Technology and the Department of Labour.

This research project has three main objectives:

  1. to create a prototype business data set with longitudinal depth based on linking selected existing survey and business administrative data;
  2. to model the missing information; and
  3. to conduct policy-relevant research that provides information on business dynamics specifically relating to firm productivity growth, finance constraints, economic development and Research & Development investment decisions.

This kind of research project will generate information on business dynamics within New Zealand that is currently not possible to produce. The project is expected to have several ongoing benefits:

  • establishing new methodologies for modelling business data, providing the framework for future longitudinal research;
  • enabling policy-relevant research by key government policy agencies;
  • developing collaborative links with non-governmental research providers; and
  • developing research capabilities across government departments.

As part of the project, the methodology employed will be subject to international peer review and the project team will call on international experience in the area. Statistics New Zealand is holding a general “Users Conference” on 26-27 October 2005. The day before the Conference, Statistics New Zealand is holding a specialist Data Integration Seminar. This targeted seminar will build on the workshop held at the beginning of the Linked Employer-Employee Database project (LEED) in 2002, looking at lessons learnt on these types of integration projects in the intervening years and the direction now being taken by them. The seminar will include selected international experts to discuss issues related both to the modelling of the data and the analysis of the resultant data set. It is also expected that the research findings from this project will be presented in suitable subsequent conferences and other government forums, particularly on the Statistics New Zealand website.

For further information, please contact Janet Dickson (info@stats.govt.nz).


9. Productivity

Statistics New Zealand has received funding for a five-year period, through the Government’s Growth and Innovation Framework (GIF), to develop official measures of productivity.

Developing productivity measures involves several stages. Stage one involves developing an experimental labour input and capital series which, when combined, will give a multifactor productivity (MFP) index series. Stage one of the project is complete for the 1995 – 2004 data series. The project team is now working to back cast the series to 1987 before the planned release date for results of 1 December 2005. Until this date the series will remain confidential. Once released, the productivity measures that have been developed will become regular releases of annually updated data by Statistics New Zealand.

Following the planned December release of results, Statistics New Zealand will then research feasibility of, and issues involved in, developing industry-level MFP measures.

For further information, contact Janet Dickson (info@stats.govt.nz).


10. Who’s who in Business Performance

Eileen Basher, Manager
Gareth Meech, Project Leader Surveys
Hamish Hill, Innovation and Business Financing Project Leader
Nicholas Cox, R&D and Biotechnology Project Leader
Lisa Hardie, Screen Industry Project Leader
Janet Dickson, Research Coordinator
Carmel Tuya, Statistical Analyst, Biotechnology and ICT
Daniel Martin, Statistical Analyst, R&D and Business Finance
Matt Welham, Statistical Analyst, Questionnaire Design
Irene Rix, Statistical Analyst, Questionnaire Design


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