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About Statistics New Zealand

Statistics New Zealand (Te Tari Tatau is its Mäori name) is a government department and New Zealand's national statistical office. It administers the Statistics Act 1975, and is the country's major source of official statistics. Its chief executive has the title of Government Statistician. Prior to December 1994, Statistics New Zealand was known as the Department of Statistics.

Roles, Responsibilities and Functions

The Statistics Act 1975, sets out the Government Statistician's role in, and responsibilities for, all official statistics whether produced by Statistics New Zealand or by other government departments.

To meet its responsibilities under this Act, Statistics New Zealand's main roles are to:

  1. Provide leadership for New Zealand's official statistics.
  2. Be the key contributor to the collection, analysis and dissemination of official statistics relating to New Zealand's economy, environment and society.
  3. Build and maintain trust in official statistics.
  4. Ensure that official statistics are of high integrity and quality and are equally available to all.

To give effect to the principles for government action on the Treaty of Waitangi, Statistics New Zealand will work to ensure Mäori statistical needs can be identified and progressively met.

The functions of Statistics New Zealand arise from the provisions of the Statistics Act 1975 and can be summarised as follows:

  • to collect, compile, analyse, abstract, and publish with or without comment, statistics on New Zealand economic, financial, production, environmental, and social matters, making or constructing such estimates, forecasts, projections, and statistical models as the Government Statistician may consider necessary
  • to advise the Minister of Statistics on statistical policy matters and to keep the Minister informed of the nature, scope, purpose, and usefulness of existing or proposed statistical projects of all government departments
  • to define, lay down, and promote standard concepts, procedures, definitions, and classifications for use in official statistics, and to advise other government departments on the suitability of statistical projects initiated or carried on by them
  • to examine proposals (other than those covered by ministerial waiver) by government departments to commence or commission any new statistical survey or to make a substantial alteration to an existing survey, then, in consultation with the department concerned, to prepare a submission to the Minister of Statistics seeking approval for the new or revised survey to be undertaken
  • to review from time to time the collection, compilation, analysis, abstraction and publication of official statistics prepared by the Department and other government departments
  • to convene a meeting of users of statistics at least once every five years, in order to review user needs
  • to carry out investigations and provide certificates as may be required by any other Act
  • to maintain general liaison with international organisations such as the various United Nations agencies on statistical matters, and to provide, where appropriate, technical advice and assistance and statistical training facilities to developing nations, particularly in the Pacific area.

Review of Statistics New Zealand and its Future Contribution to Official Statistics

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Authority to Collect Information

Under section 14 of the Statistics Act 1975, Statistics New Zealand is authorised to collect, with the written approval of the Minister of Statistics, information concerning any or all of the classes of official statistics specified in section 4 of the Act. The classes cover virtually the entire range of social and economic topics, with provision for other matters to be prescribed by regulation under the Act.

The department has the power, under Part IV of the Statistics Act 1975, to require business undertakings, households or individuals to supply information requested under the Act. It can, if necessary, enter business premises and require access to accounts and other relevant business records.

Part V of the Act defines offences and provides for penalties, on conviction, for failure to provide information required by the department.

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For enquiries and information requests

This page last modified on: 11 March 2003

Footer and contacts

Please feel free to contact our Information Centre

Information Centre:

Phone: 0508 525 525 (toll free within New Zealand)
Fax: +64 4 931 4079


Aorangi House
85 Molesworth St
PO Box 2922


UniServices House
70 Symonds Street
Private Bag 92003


Dollan House
401 Madras Street
Private Bag 4741

Hours: 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).