24 June 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