Kiwis Count Survey - 2019

The State Services Commission (SSC) runs a nationwide survey asking New Zealanders about their experiences using public services, how they have been treated when using those services and how they rate the quality of the services they have used. Results from individual services are then aggregated up to give overall scores of service quality and trust in public services.

SSC has run the Kiwis Count survey since 2007. The information gathered helps government agencies to improve the services they provide. Annual results are shared with the public and interim (half-yearly) results are given to agencies to help identify services where issues may be developing and remedial action might need to be taken.

Headline Measures

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.

Trust in the public sector brand is 49% in 2019, which is five percentage points higher than 2015 though slightly down on last year. This result does not alter the overall upward trend since 2007.

The overall service quality score (SQS) for 2019 is a record high 77. This is nine points higher than 2007 and is the same as in 2018. This remains the highest ever.

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).

How the Headline results are measured

Trust in public services based on personal experience is measured by asking respondents to think about their most recent public service interaction and to answer: “Thinking about your most recent service contact, can you trust them [public servants] to do what is right?”

Trust in the public sector brand is measured by asking respondents: “Thinking about your overall impressions and from what you know or have heard from family, friends or the media, to what extent do you trust the public service?”

Satisfaction with service quality is measured by asking respondents if they have used any of 43 commonly used public services and, if so, to rate their satisfaction with that experience. The results for all 43 services are then aggregated to give the overall service quality score (SQS) or headline result for satisfaction.



Customer Insights

Background and Technical Information


Previous Reports

From 2016, Annual Reports are based on December year end data.

Results from June 2012 to June 2015 were published quarterly (using six month rolling average results) and can be downloaded below. Annual reports during this period were based on July to June data.  “The Channels Report 2013” and “How New Zealanders access public services” reports are also included – these reports draw on a module of questions about channel use and preference which were included in the survey in 2009 and 2012

Copies of Questionnaires

The Kiwis Count survey is modular with the main part of the survey measuring New Zealanders’ satisfaction with frequently used public services.

Over time, the survey has changed with modules being swapped in and out as trust and satisfaction data on different aspects of services provision has been required. Copies of all questionnaires are available below.

Information for Survey Participants

Participants are selected from names on the electoral roll. Approximately 500 people will take part every quarter (three months) and around 2,000 every year. For those who have been invited to take part in the survey, SSC publishes information on our website on what's required of you.

Survey Methodology

Technical information about the survey, including methodology, field work, the questionnaire and the response rate are available in the Technical Reports.

Related Data Files

This section is where you will find the data from previous Kiwis Count surveys. You will also find related information at - this is a directory of publicly-available, non-personal New Zealand government held data and links to datasets held on other government organisation's websites.

All Kiwis Count survey datasets are in csv format and are available on our website.

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