Trust in Official Statistics – New Zealand's Experience
Gary R. Dunnet, Geraldine Needham-Girven
Statistics New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand

Official statistics enable effective government by providing credible information required for policy decisions as well as that required by New Zealanders to enable us to monitor and understand our society. Statistics New Zealand has a leadership role over all official statistics as well as being the main provider of official statistics.

It is crucial that increasing numbers of people use official statistics and that users and our respondents trust the results. The OECD Committee on Statistics has recognised the importance of trust and New Zealand participated in a working party to develop measures of trust. Also, in keeping with the Treaty of Waitangi, Statistics NZ recognises the need for baseline information about Mâori use and trust in official statistics.

To meet these needs, we developed a survey based on the OECD recommended approach and adapted it to cover both the Official Statistics System and Statistics NZ and to include a sufficient sample of Mâori. The survey was run by an external agency and asked questions about respondents' level of awareness of government statistics, their trust and use of them, the importance of the statistics, and how they accessed statistics. This presentation outlines some of the survey results.

Keywords: Official Statistics; Trust; Independance

Biography: I have been working as an official statistician in National Statistical Offices for nearly 25 years. During this time I have primarily been based at Statistcs New Zeland, but also spent 2 years at the Irish CSO, and 4 years at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. I am a methodologist by training, but have worked in a wide variety of areas within these NSOs, including strategy, subject matter, and dissemination roles.