The Kiwis Count survey measures the trust and confidence of New Zealanders in the Government and the Public Service.

The information gathered helps government to improve the services it provides. Results are shared with the public and given to agencies to help identify areas where issues may be developing and remedial action might need to be taken. The survey gives the government a valuable insight into New Zealander’s views, trust and confidence in government and its role in society.

Latest quarterly results

Every quarter the Kiwis Count survey asks 1,000 people about their trust and confidence in government and public services as well as a range of demographic information that helps Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission understand who we are listening to.

Headline Measures as at April 2021:

  • 79% of New Zealanders trust public services based on their personal service experience.
  • Trust in the public sector brand is 63%, down from its latest high of 69%.
  • Trust in the private sector brand is 50%, up from 48% and a new high.

The graph below shows the scores given for each quarter.

Results from 2020 identified a spike in trust and confidence in the government and whilst some of this may be attributed to a recent change in methodology, some of it is likely to be related to Covid-19 as the public service was core to the national response to the pandemic in 2020. The expected ‘normalisation’ of the results as the NZ Covid-19 context has moderated is likely to be behind the reduction in the trust and confidence score, although it is still higher than pre-covid 19.

There is a gap in the survey results for 2020 due to the Covid -19 lockdown and a number of technical issues that prevented the survey from running. See information here on the changes in the survey over time.

Annual results 2019

This section presents the findings for the latest annual report – 2019 – which covers the period of January – December 2019. This will be updated in July 2021. The headline measures are:

  • 79% of New Zealanders trust public services based on their personal service experience
  • Trust in the public sector brand is 49%
  • Satisfaction with the quality of services received is a record high 77 points

Overall the 2019 Kiwis Count results show satisfaction with public services and trust of New Zealand’s public sector remains high with an upward trend continuing since Kiwis Count began in 2007 across the public sector brand and service satisfaction. In 2019, 79% of New Zealanders trust public services based on their personal experience. This is 12 percentage points higher than 2007, and one percentage point down on 2018. This one percentage point decrease is neither statistically significant nor considered meaningful with trust based on experience around the high level of 80% for the past few years. Within this number over half of informants have very high trust scoring 5 on a 5-point scale. With little movement over the past year it is difficult to analyse whether there has been any particular shifts as there has not been much change. There is, however, some interesting observations once you analyse through the lens of a subset of public services, customer demographics and usage. The highlights are:

  • Women report higher levels of trust and service satisfaction than men for trust based on personal experience.
  • Women report lower levels of trust than men for trust in the public sector brand.
  • In 2019, people of Asian, NZ European and Pasifika ethnicity had similar and high results for trust based on personal experience (79%, 81% and 76% respectively). Results for Māori for this measure are significantly lower (65%).
  • In 2019 those of Asian ethnicity have the highest trust in the public sector brand (57%), followed by Pasifika (51%) and then NZ Europeans (48%), with Māori lower at 40%. Over time the gap between Māori and non-Māori has decreased and is now 10 percentage points, down from 17 percentage points in 2018.
  • All ethnic groups report high levels of satisfaction with public sector services, but Māori are lower than all other ethnicities.
  • Respondents with a disability had less trust based on personal experience in 2019 than 2018 and more trust in the public sector brand in 2019 than 2018 than respondents without a disability.
  • Satisfaction with public services is lower for respondents with a disability than those without.
  • Satisfaction with public services among those aged 65+ is higher than for younger people.
  • The improvement in New Zealanders’ satisfaction with the quality of public services over the past decade is reflected in the fact that 21 out of the 32 services measured since 2012 or earlier have had statistically significant increases since they were first measured.
  • Only one of the services has had a statistically significant decline in 2018, and this came after a higher than usual result in 2018, which may have been an outlier.
  • New Zealanders access public services most often via the face-to-face channel (37%). This has reduced since 2012 (52%). Sending or receiving an email is the second most common channel (16%). This has increased from 6% in 2012.
  • Only 1% or respondents in 2019 used social media to get information or to give feedback (g. Facebook or twitter).

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