Executive Summary

Kiwis Count is a comprehensive survey which measures New Zealanders’ satisfaction with 42 frequently used public services.  This report draws on the experiences of 2,226 New Zealanders who completed the Kiwis Count survey in 2012 and the 3,724 respondents in Kiwis Count 2009.  It is about service delivery via the four service delivery channels.

The Kiwis Count 2012 results show that, in 2012:

  • The majority of New Zealanders had dealings with government.  Within the last 12 months:

    • Eighty five percent had looked for information about a public service and

    • Ninety percent had carried out transactions or dealt with the public service.

  • Ninety one percent of New Zealanders had used the internet in the past 12 months and 66% had used the internet to deal with public services.

  • The internet is the more preferred channel for looking for information about public services and for transacting with or having dealings with public services.  However, the rate of change towards internet use is gradual rather than transformational and there is still heavy use of, and preference for, other channels:

    • Sixty percent of New Zealanders use the internet to look for information .  Fifty percent use the phone, 30% use in person / face to face and 12% use mail / fax 1 .

    • Preference for channels to use when looking for information is very similar to channels actually used.  This suggests New Zealanders are mainly using the channels they prefer to look for information.

    • The three main channels (telephone, internet and in person / face to face) are being used more or less equally for transactions at around 50% each. Twenty two percent use mail / fax.

    • While internet is the most preferred channel for transactions , preference for the internet at 54% is only marginally ahead of in person / face to face at 46% and telephone at 43%.  Fourteen percent of New Zealanders prefer mail / fax for transactions.

  • When asked how they would like public services to get in touch with them, a half of New Zealanders want to be contacted by letter, 44% by email and nearly a third by phone.

  • Use of cellphones to call a public service free phone number is the same as it was in 2009.  Using text to interact with public services has increased but growth is slow and off a low base.  There is more growth (but from a tiny base) in those who have visited a public service website using a cellphone or said they would.

  • All internet services are being used more than in 2009 and there is a wide spread of services being used.  

  • The percentage of New Zealanders not using the internet has declined from 14% in 2009 to 9%.

  • Factors which New Zealanders thought might encourage them to use the internet to access public services over the internet largely followed the same pattern as in 2009.  However, there are large increases in percentages of people who thought “making it simple and user friendly” (from 63% to 83%) and “ensuring my privacy is protected” (from 48% to 64%) would assist this.

  • The percentage results regarding the reasons why the internet was not used to deal with public services are very similar to the 2009 results.  That there is little change suggests there may be potential to increase uptake by actively working to remove the barriers to uptake.

Several reasons for the slow shift to digital are outlined in the report:-

  • Not all services are provided online.  One way to improve digital uptake would be to ensure that more government services can be accessed online.

  • Preference for traditional channels is still strong because many people prefer to stay with what they know rather than adopt something new.  Agencies may need to use different strategies to get more people to move online as strategies which may have worked to get early adopters online will not necessarily work for all.

  • Even if people are using online solutions, they may need multi-channel availability.  People are not switching to online, they are moving to multi-channel.  

    • Online does not necessarily provide all the answers.

    • Other channels may support delivery of online channels.

    • Better service, regardless of channel, is cheaper in the long run.

    • Changes to services must be made based on service demand.

The vast majority of New Zealanders consider that if digital access to public services was simple and user friendly it would encourage them to use the internet to access those public services.  The focus of the government’s Better Public Services programme’s Result 10 is to improve ease of use for the internet channel so doing what the government has specified (improving ease of use) should lead to the goal of increasing internet use. Also, this finding is useful information for agencies in developing their strategies to increase uptake, i.e. they need to provide internet services which are simple and user friendly (secure and linked up).

1:   Note that there are results in this report where percentages do not add to 100.  In these cases, multiple responses were allowed in the questionnaire.  For example, this survey question asked respondents “which of these methods did you use when looking for information about public services in the last 12 months?”

The FULL REPORT is attached above as a PDF file.

See also: More Kiwis interact with public services online - joint media statement from the Minister of State Services, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman and Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Chris Tremain.

For further information about the Kiwis Count Survey go to 
publicservice.govt.nz/kiwis-count .

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