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Business Performance Newsletter – August 2007

1. Business Performance group update

Since the last newsletter, releases have come out on Research and Development and the Screen Industry. In addition to this, work has started on investigating how to use the data collected more fully, and there are a number of reports due out in the next quarter which will reflect some of this thinking. There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of additional enquires for more detailed data or non-standard tabulations on the data. We are taking this as an encouraging sign that the sources of data we produce are becoming more widely recognised.

The team has also increased its involvement in other across government projects with the focus on making data more available to agencies, businesses and individuals. The greatest challenge, as always, is to find ways to increase the value that our respondents can get out of the information that they provide. With that in mind a number of initiatives are underway to provide various levels of information back to businesses that they would find useful.

We always welcome input from data users, and encourage you to contact us to discuss any of the information we publish, or how our information could be better used.

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2. Information and communication technologies programme

Internet service providers

The six-monthly Internet Service Provider (ISP) Survey measures Internet service provision in New Zealand. The survey looks at Internet subscriber information; Internet connection technology and speed; spam, virus and content filtering; and barriers to ISP growth.

Results from the third survey, which covers the six-month period to September 2006, were published on 3 March 2007 – Internet Service Provider Survey: September 2006.

The questionnaire was revised in September 2006 to clarify some questions and remove some that were not providing useful data. We are always interested in hearing from users of the ISP data to discuss any additions or modifications to the survey that would make it more suited to users’ needs.

Work is continuing with the OECD to ensure a good alignment between our collection and the international definitions.

For further information, contact Guannan Miao (info@stats.govt.nz).

Information and communication technologies supply

After the release of the second ICT supply survey in April (Information and Communications Technology Supply Survey: 2005/2006) we are now preparing for mail-out of the 2006/2007 survey at the end of August. The questionnaire design remains the same, however we are including the Australian New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 industry definitions into the population, which has slightly enlarged the size of the mail-out.

For further information, contact Guannan Miao (info@stats.govt.nz).

Household use of ICT

Highlight results from the first Household Use of Information and Communication Technology Survey (2006) were published in April. Further work is being done on the dataset to produce new and more detailed information in the ICT in New Zealand 2006 report that will be published later in the year. Additional data about personal use of the Internet, purchases and security will be coupled with further demographic information such as ethnicity and income variables.

Data requests are also starting to come in to look deeper into the large dataset at things like lower-level regional data and use of e-government services.

Being a bi-annual survey, the team is also looking at finalising the collection quarter for the next Household use of ICT survey due out in the field in 2008.

For further information, contact Gareth Meech (info@stats.govt.nz).

Government use of ICT

The highlights of the first Government Use of ICT survey (2006) were also released in April. The ICT in New Zealand 2006 report will publish further data items from the survey and compare results with the business use of ICT data also produced for the 2006 year. In May, the team presented a session on day three of GOVIS 2007 to a good reception.

The survey will be undergoing review before finalising the design of the 2008 Government use of ICT survey. Any comments or suggestions on the survey design or data uses would be greatly appreciated. Feedback will be sought between September and November 2007.

For further information, contact Meighan Ragg (info@stats.govt.nz).

Business use of ICT

Data regarding New Zealand businesses’ use of ICT is being collected biennially, as one of three modules within the annual Business Operations Survey (BOS). The initial BOS results were published in April. The ICT in New Zealand 2006 report will investigate data further including comparison and contrast with government organisations from the Government use of ICT survey (2006). The team is also starting to investigate the relationships between the business use of ICT data and the other general business performance data that is enabled by the modular design of the BOS survey.

With the next survey due in the field in August 2008, the team will be discussing the design with stakeholders the later part of 2007. If you are interested in contributing to this review, please contact us.

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

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3. Business operations

The Business Operations Survey (BOS) is a modular survey, developed by Statistics New Zealand 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 2007 questionnaire includes modules on innovation and international engagement (exporting, importing and overseas operations). This will be posted out on 31 August 2007, with results published from April 2008.

With two years of survey results, a range of interesting outputs are now being produced from BOS data. The next will be a report on business practices and performance, which will be released on 31 August 2007. All BOS releases are posted on our website and can be accessed from the BOS information releases page.

Work is in progress to investigate ways to reduce the compliance burden for this survey by sourcing some of the required financial data from other administrative sources.

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

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4. Screen industry

The Statistics New Zealand Screen Industry Survey collects information used to measure the size and nature of the screen industry in New Zealand. The survey is a census of all businesses operating within all aspects of the screen production, broadcasting, exhibition and distribution sectors of the economy.

Currently the research report is being drafted to be released in October 2007. The research report delves deeper into the data collected. As this is the second year that the survey has been run, we are able to compare the two years of data.

The 2006/07 survey will be sent out on 31 August to more than 2,600 businesses. We are aiming to have a 75% response by 15 December.

For further information, contact Deborah Harkin (info@stats.govt.nz).

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5. Research and development

The Research and Development (R&D) Survey is a joint collection conducted every two years by Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST).

The survey measures the level of research and development activity, and employment and expenditure by private sector enterprises, government departments, and government-owned trading entities.

Initial results from the 2006 survey were released in 25 June, with the 2006 survey report due to be released on 17 September 2007. This will have detailed information on R&D activity for the 2006 reference year.

For the 2008 R&D Survey, an investigation is underway on the feasibility of including polytechnics and other educational institutes in the higher education sector collection.

In addition, Statistics New Zealand is currently working with other agencies to determine the best way to manage collection of R&D data going forward, given the tax credits to be introduced by Inland Revenue for R&D activity carried out from 2008/09. The R&D tax credit was announced as part of the 2007 Budget. More information can be found here.

For further information, contact Ritesh Anand (info@stats.govt.nz).

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6. Biotechnology

The next iteration of the Biotechnology survey will be in the field in September this year. This iteration includes some new questions to collect regional data about the biotechnology industry, focussing on areas of application, expenditure and employees and a new question about partnerships and alliances. It is hoped that this will fill information gaps that were identified from previous collections.

For further information, contact Meighan Ragg (info@stats.govt.nz).

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7. Improved Business Understanding via Longitudinal Database Development

The last quarter has seen the Improved Business Understanding via Longitudinal Database Development (IBULDD) Project and Research Programme go forward by leaps and bounds. Four papers were presented at the New Zealand Association of Economists (NZAE) conference, these were:

  • Firm level patterns in merchandise trade
  • Firm dynamics, market structure and performance
  • Do exporters cut the hedge?
  • Comparison of quantitative and qualitative performance measures.

Link to these papers can be found here. The session at the conference was extremely well received and we will be building on this over the coming months by producing further research papers and meeting with stakeholders as we prepare the bid to government for a production model.

There is strong interest in IBULDD across government and in the research community. We are currently considering a budget bid to build a production version in the 2008 budget process. IBULDD would form a key part of our statistical architecture moving forward and is seen as the prototype of the Annual Business Database.

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

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8. Research projects

Work is continuing on the OECD Innovation Indicators Project which Statistics New Zealand, the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and The Treasury are currently working on together. The objectives of this project are to investigate new innovation indicators and to use microdata to develop some international benchmarks. A workshop, ’Measuring innovation and its impacts’, was run on 22 August to report on this and other work that is currently underway on the topic of innovation. The focus of the workshop was to encourage discussion on innovation and to inform the work going forward.

The other joint agency project that is currently being worked on is looking at government assistance to business and the impact that has. This project uses the IBULDD work as part of its data source. The agencies involved are MED; MoRST; New Zealand Trade and Enterprise; Te Puni Kōkiri; the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology; the Department of Labour; and the Ministry of Social Development. Data for this project has now been assembled and the analysis has just commenced, with the initial report due later this year.

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9. Who’s who in Business Performance

Eileen Basher, Manager
Gareth Meech, ICT Project Manager
Hamish Hill, Science and Technology Project Manager
Claire Powell, IBULDD Project Manager
Guannan Miao, Internet Service Providers and ICT Supply Project Leader
Ritesh Anand, Research and Development Project Leader
Deborah Harkin, Screen Industry Project Leader
Meighan Ragg, Biotechnology and Government Use of ICT Project Leader
Carmel Tuya, ICT Statistical Analyst
Julia Gretton, Business Operations Statistical Analyst
Carolina Escola, Screen Industry Statistical Analyst
Catherine Li, Business Operations Statistical Analyst
Kathy Jackson, Science and Technology Statistical Analyst
Will Lu, Screen Industry Statistical Analyst
Korena Cunningham, ICT Statistical Analyst
Belinda Buxton, Questionnaire Design

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