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Some of our recent work

Given our Wellington-based location, almost all of our work is undertaken for public sector clients and most of this involves applying market research principles in a social policy setting.

For example, we assist them with:

Product and service development

Careers New Zealand

Foundation Research to inform the “Skills Transition Project”

Careers New Zealand intends to develop and host an online skills self-assessment tool, targeting 25-34 year old New Zealanders who are described as having ‘low skills’. It has called the project to develop this tool, the “Skills Transition Project”.

The purpose of the tool is to help young people relate their skills and experience acquired in the workplace or elsewhere to potential study or training opportunities. The ultimate aim is to encourage them to re-engage with formal training or study, thereby improving their chances of securing stable employment, in a relatively well-paid job.

Against this background, Research New Zealand was commissioned to undertake two key streams of work:

  • Firstly, to re-analyse statistical information sourced from Statistics New Zealand, in order to more precisely define and segment the target user group and identify its defining demographic and socio-economic characteristics.
  • Secondly, to provide a greater understanding of the values, attitudes and needs of the Target User group, and to provide useful insights for the “Skills Transition Project”. This stream involved the completion of six focus groups:
    • Two focus groups with 25-34 year old Māori with low qualifications.
    • Two focus groups with 25-34 year Pacific people with low qualifications; one Island-born and one New Zealand-born.
    • Two focus groups with 25-34 year olds of mixed ethnicity (one group with low qualifications and the other with university-level qualifications

The results from this research are currently being used by Careers New Zealand to inform the development of the online assessment tool and the information architecture that underpins it.


Understanding clients’ expectations of ACC

The development of effective measures of the quality of ACC’s service delivery is an ACC Board imperative. To this end, the current CMT measures, while providing a gauge of client satisfaction, fall short in terms of providing a clear understanding of what underpins the drivers of satisfaction, and as such, how to improve service delivery.

In a bid to understand more about the core CMT drivers that impact on overall satisfaction ratings, Research New Zealand completed a detailed regression analysis in 2011. While the results of this consistently highlighted the importance of meeting, or exceeding, clients’ expectations of ACC’s services, it was not able to identify the basis of their expectations.

Against this background, Research New Zealand was commissioned to conduct a three stage research programme, with the overriding objective of providing a greater understanding of clients’ expectations of ACC’s services.

The primary objectives of this research were to provide a thorough understanding of:

  • Clients’ service needs and expectations in relation to each of ACC’s three service channels (viz. STCC, Branch and RIS).
  • The needs and expectations not currently being met, and to identify the features of ACC’s service delivery processes and procedures contributing to this situation.

This research employed a building blocks approach, involving three stages. The purpose of the first two stages of this research was to input into the development of the sampling framework and lines of questioning for the final stage. The three stages of the research were as follows:

  • Design and Build (interviews with key informants within ACC).
  • Interviews with frontline staff and Team Leaders.
  • Interviews with clients.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

The Information and Training Needs of Builders Working in the Canterbury Green

The Canterbury rebuild is now well underway, with the rebuilding and repairing of homes in the residential Green Zone involving thousands of builders and other tradespeople.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has published technical guidance to assist with the rebuilding and repairing of homes in the Green Zone, which focused on ensuring the foundations for houses and repairs to existing foundations meet the regulations.

This and other technical information is, by its very nature, is highly complex. However, it is a fact that builders vary greatly in terms of their ability to absorb and understand such information. Furthermore, research and anecdotal feedback from the sector (including from the BCAs) indicates variable levels of knowledge of the New Zealand building regulations in general.

With this in mind, the Sector Education Team at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment commissioned Research New Zealand to run a series of focus groups with builders, in order to ensure that it provided information and training through channels that were most appropriate and would have the greatest uptake.

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The development of public information and education (advertising) campaigns (concept and pre-testing)

Health Promotion Agency

Responding to Infants’ Hunger and Satiety Cues

View the report.

In some countries, such as the United States, evidence shows that overweight prevalence in infancy has increased in recent decades. It is possible that a similar growth trajectory is occurring in New Zealand, particularly in light of the high overweight/obesity prevalence among two-to-four year olds.

Given the Ministry of Health’s strategic direction in obesity prevention that focuses on maternal and infant nutrition, HPA’s Nutrition and Physical Activity (NPA) team consulted with nutrition experts to inform the development of a work stream that involves working with key influencers on infant feeding practices.

Some evidence suggests that a feeding style which responds to infants’ hunger and satiety cues promotes the retention of infants’ ability to naturally self-regulate their food intake.

To assist and inform this work stream, the HPA commissioned Research New Zealand to carry out an exploratory project to learn more about mothers’ knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and experiences relating to their infants’ hunger and satiety cues.

The project involved conducting six focus groups with first-time Māori, Pacific, and low-income mothers of infants aged six to 23 months, to explore their perceptions of a feeding approach that recognises and responds to infants’ hunger and satiety cues.

Heritage NZ

Public Opinion of New Zealanders’ Attitudes Towards New Zealand’s Built Heritage

In 2010, the Historic Places Trust commissioned Research New Zealand to undertake a survey of the general public’s perceptions of New Zealand’s built heritage.

The objectives of the survey were to gain a greater understanding of: the ‘weight’ New Zealanders attached to the importance of New Zealand’s built heritage, in comparison to its natural heritage; the perceived benefits of protecting and preserving places and sites of importance to New Zealanders; and prioritising which built heritage places and sites were of greatest importance.

In 2014, Heritage New Zealand re-commissioned the survey with the aim of understanding to what degree New Zealanders’ perceptions about the importance of New Zealand’s built heritage had changed since the benchmark survey.

Both surveys were completed as CATI-based telephone surveys. For the 2010 baseline survey, a nationally representative sample of n=1,000 New Zealanders, 15 years of age or more, was surveyed and Māori were over-sampled so that their results could be examined with confidence. The 2014, 2015 and 2016 follow-up surveys were completed with n=500 New Zealanders.

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The monitoring and evaluation of the impact of campaigns

Maritime New Zealand

Public Opinion Survey of New Zealanders’ Attitudes and Behaviour with Regard to the Use of Safety Devices when involved with Recreational Boating

In 2013 Maritime New Zealand commissioned Research New Zealand to undertake a CATI-based telephone survey to measure current rates of participation in recreational boating with a particular focus on the use of safety equipment.

The objectives of the survey were to gauge the size and distribution of the recreational boating community; identify key characteristics of that community both behaviourally and demographically; and assess safety-related attitudes and behaviours in relation to the use of lifejackets, means of communication, checking marine weather forecasts and alcohol consumption before and during boating.

These four safety aspects target the four key risk factors identified as key contributors to the annual recreational boating toll, and which are reflected in Maritime New Zealand's safety awareness and educational campaign.

The 2013 survey was completed with a nationally representative sample of n=1,500 New Zealanders aged 18 years and older. In 2014, this baseline survey was updated with a further nationally representative survey of n=1,000 New Zealanders. The 2016 survey has just been completed.

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Monitoring customers' satisfaction with the services and products they provide


ACC Service Delivery Satisfaction Research Programme

Research New Zealand has a long-term relationship with ACC; working with them for well over 15 years. We provide the Corporation with a range of research and evaluation services on a preferred provider basis, including its Service Delivery Research Programme and general survey research involving the general public and the business community.

The major survey relating to the Service Delivery Research Programme is the Claims Management Survey. This involves surveying approximately 12,000 clients with entitlement claims per annum, from three management streams; that is, those managed by the Short Term Claims Centres, those managed by the Branch network and those managed by the RIS division.

The Claims Management Survey provides one of ACC’s most important KPIs; namely, the KPI relating to client service satisfaction. Recent developments have also focused on collecting more qualitative information for the purposes of service improvement and increasing service satisfaction.

Another recent development, aimed at improving the access of managers and staff within ACC to the Survey results is the development of various e-reporting tools.

Department of Internal Affairs

SDO Customer Experience Monitor

The Department of Internal Affairs serves and connects people, communities and government to build a safe, prosperous and respected nation. They achieve this by providing New Zealanders and New Zealand organisations with valuable services through their Passports, Citizenship, Charities, Community Operations, and Births Deaths and Marriages services.

Given the critical services which it provides to New Zealanders and New Zealand organisations, the Department decided to seek feedback about its services from customers to ensure it delivers services people value, in ways that best meet their needs.

Of particular interest to the Department are its clients’ service experiences across the five different business groups noted above, through four different service channels: Department or Ministry of Justice branch offices, online, by post, and by telephone through the Department’s 0800 contact centre.

The SDO Customer Experience Survey is now on-going and completed using a mixed telephone and online methodology, depending on the audience of interest each year.

The objective of the SDO Customer Experience Monitor is to ensure that the Department obtain statistically robust feedback from their customers about the quality of the service the Department has provided them, and whether this met their needs. Reporting on the survey’s results is completed on a quarterly basis, using a suite of online reporting tools that have been customised to meet the varying needs of different end-users within the Department.

Ministry of Health

Maternity Consumer Survey of Bereaved Women

In 2011, for the first time, the Ministry of Health extended its Maternity Consumer Survey (which has historically been aimed at mothers who have experienced a live birth) to also include the views and experiences of women who had lost a baby in the perinatal period between 20 weeks of pregnancy and 28 days following birth.

The overall objective of the Maternity Consumer Survey was to measure the level of satisfaction amongst women who have experienced New Zealand’s maternity services. In addition, it was intended that the results of the survey would:

  • Provide the Ministry with a comprehensive analysis of women’s perceptions of maternity services.
  • Enable the Ministry to assess the current framework for maternity services;
  • Provide information to inform future planning.

Although some key aspects of the Maternity Consumer Survey of Bereaved Women were aligned with the main survey of women who had live babies, as the survey was the first of its type, particular care was taken in its development.

The survey questionnaire was initially pre-tested and then piloted with a group of bereaved women in order to test; the methodological approach; the appropriateness of the question wording; the general flow of the survey; and technical aspects of the questionnaire script.

Following the pilot interviews, pre-notification letters were sent to all prospective respondents, informing them of the survey and inviting them to contact Research New Zealand, if they were willing to take part. All n=102 interviews completed (including those from the pilot) were conducted by telephone between 28 April and 30 June 2011.

Sands NZ is a parent-run, nationwide group, specifically providing support and information to families who have experienced the death of a baby. Sands NZ was involved in all stages of the development and piloting of the survey due to their experience in this field as a community-based, consumer support organisation,

The 2014 Maternity Consumer Survey of Bereaved Women has been undertaken again in February 2015.

Environment Protection Agency

The 2016 Annual Client Satisfaction Survey

In 2012 the EPA commissioned Research New Zealand to conduct an annual online survey of clients and stakeholders who have had contact with the EPA in relation to: HSNO, the Emissions Trading Scheme, a Nationally Significant Proposal, Māori National Network activity and/or the EPA’s website in the 12 months prior.

Following on from the 2012 benchmark survey, the 2013-16 surveying period has involved the completion of a number of online surveys with various stakeholder groups, in relation to their contact with the EPA.

Importantly, the survey questionnaire is updated each year in relation to the EPA’s annual reporting requirements, against its Statement of Intent.

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'Market' segmentation

Māori Television Service

Tracker Survey

Māori Television has two key objectives; maximise the size of its viewer audience and assist with the revialisation of the Māori language. In order to monitor and evaluate how well it is achieving in these two objectives, it conducts a "Tracker Survey" each year.

Research New Zealand assumed responsibility for this survey in 2011 and repeated it again in 2013. The survey involved interviews with 1,000 New Zealanders; two-thirds of who were to identify as Māori and one-third as non-Māori.

The survey was conducted by telephone and examined respondents' attitudes and use of the Māori language, their awareness, perceptions and viewership of Māori Television, as well as their viewership behaviour in general.

The fact that the survey is conducted bi-annually, means that changes over time can be identified and evaluated; thereby directly informing Māori Television's audience strategy, moving forward.

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'Brand' image and 'market' positioning (trust and confidence)

Statistics New Zealand

Use and Trust in Official Statistics Survey 2013

In 2010, Statistics New Zealand commissioned Research New Zealand to conduct a survey to measure the New Zealand public’s trust and confidence in the information produced by the Department and other government departments (i.e. the body of Official Statistics produced in New Zealand). In 2013, Statistics New Zealand re-commissioned Research New Zealand to conduct a follow-up of the survey.

The specific objectives of the initial and follow-up surveys were to measure the awareness and knowledge of statistics produced by New Zealand government departments; the use of such statistics; whether they were derived from the agency concerned or reported in articles or papers; what purpose they were accessed for; and whether they had met the information needs of the user. Beliefs about the confidentially of information provided to Statistics New Zealand in the course of the Census and its surveys was also measured.

The survey population was resident New Zealanders aged 18 years and over. The data was weighted to ensure that Māori and non-Māori were represented in the correct proportions in the population estimates.

The sample sizes for Māori and non-Māori were such that differences between the two populations could be measured reasonably accurately. The total number of persons interviewed was 1,845. The maximum sampling error based on this sample was is ± three percent, at the 95 percent confidence level.

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Monitoring stakeholder relations

New Zealand Transport Agency

Survey of Stakeholders’ Perceptions of the NZTA

The New Zealand Transport Agency recognises the importance of having positive working relationships with a range of stakeholders, in order for it to achieve its goals and objectives. These stakeholders include those in Central and Local Government, various supplier groups/agents, and industry and lobby groups.

The Transport Agency has developed a Stakeholder Relationship Strategy and commissioned Research New Zealand to conduct on-going survey research to monitor the current status and progress it is making to develop positive working relationships with these stakeholders.

The baseline survey was completed in 2012 and is updated annually.

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Monitoring the impact of policies and programmes

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitionersí (RNZCGP)

Workforce Survey 2016

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) conducts an annual survey of its members. One of the key benefits of this survey is that it provides the College with a strong evidence base from which to inform future decision-making about General Practice in New Zealand.

Recently this survey has been organised and managed in-house, but for the 2016 survey, it was decided to outsource the survey for 2016.

A steering group was formed to provide advice and general assistance to help design the survey, and this included both staff of the College as well as member GPs in the field.

The survey was successfully completed online with over 2,000 members of the College responding.

A key feature of the reporting for this year’s survey has been the production of five mini reports; namely: Demographics, Work and Wellbeing, Ownership and Employment, Income and Technology. The Work and Wellbeing, and Ownership and Employment reports have been released and may be viewed by clicking the links below.

Another important feature of the reporting for this year’s survey has been the development of an e-reporting tool which gives managed access to the results of the survey to a wider group of College stakeholders.

Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (Superu)

The Wellbeing of New Zealand Families or Whānau

Superu publishes an annual report on the wellbeing of New Zealand families or whānau, based on wellbeing indicators to be sourced from existing sources (i.e. official statistics and administrative data). The first Status Report was published in 2013 and the report for 2014 has just been published.

To support the annual Status Reports, Superu plans to undertake primary research to collect information on the opinions and perceptions of New Zealand families or whānau. This research is intended to provide a new source of information about families or whānau, to complement the analysis of the wellbeing indicators published in the Status Reports.

In this regard, Superu commissioned Research New Zealand to complete a review of the research literature on the current practice of measuring the opinions and perceptions of families about their wellbeing. The purpose of this review was to identify the primary research options that are realistically available to Superu.

The main conclusion arising from the literature review was that there is currently no general consensus on the best approach to the measurement of family wellbeing. A number of recommendations were also made as a result of the review, including the need to undertake fundamental qualitative research with New Zealand families or whānau, in order to understand how they judged their wellbeing and the factors they took into account in this regard.

This qualitative research was subsequently undertaken (a.k.a. the "voices" study), involving two phases of research; an initial exploratory phase and a main phase in which the interviewing was completed.

In terms of family structure, there were five families of particular interest, based on the official New Zealand-based definition of family (and as recorded in the Census of Population and Dwellings):

  • Two parent families
  • Single parent families
  • Couples without children that are under 50 years of age
  • Couples without children that are 50 years and over
  • Multigenerational families.

The adult members of each participating family or whānau were interviewed together. A feature of the reporting for this qualitative study was the production of a number of vignettes for 10 of these families or whānau.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Better Public Services for Business

Research New Zealand currently works for the multi-agency group responsible for the Government’s Result Area 9 (Better Public Services for Business). This group is led by MBIE.

One of the key goals of this Result Area is reducing the ‘effort’ expended by businesses when dealing with government departments (including local government) by 25 percent between 2012 and 2017. ‘Effort’ is not only defined in terms of financial cost and time, but also incorporates such aspects of business as opportunity cost and emotional stress.

Some of the research that Research New Zealand conducts in relation to this Result Area involves identifying the ‘pain points’ that result when businesses interact with government departments. The backbone of the research programme is a large baseline survey of n=2,000 businesses, which is being used to monitor the progress being made towards the achievement of the main goal.

Businesses were initially randomly selected from a population of New Zealand businesses, provided by ACC. These businesses were sent a survey invitation letter (on multi-branded letterhead), inviting them to join the panel. An Information Sheet about Result Area 9 and what participation would involve was included in the letter. An endorsement from the Minister-in-Charge, Steven Joyce, was also included in these communications, in order to add credibility to the project.

Businesses interested in participating were asked to register by visiting a Result Area 9 website that we had established specifically for this purpose. In the process of registering, they were asked to provide the name of a contact person in their business and their contact details (email address, preferred contact numbers, etc.). This email registration process was supported by a Helpdesk function.

Approximately 20 percent of businesses registered online. The remaining 80 percent of businesses, that had not registered via the Result Area 9 website, were subsequently contacted by telephone (from our CATI-enabled call centre) and invited to register. Their names and contact details were stored in the Master Database that underpinned the Result Area 9 website, together with those who had registered online.

Since 2013, when the baseline survey ws completed, approximately n=2,400 have been interviewed each year.

Inland Revenue

SME Tax Compliance Survey

In 2004, Inland Revenue measured the tax compliance costs of nearly 2000 SMEs and 275 tax agents. These results provided a baseline, before the introduction of several initiatives aimed at making tax easier for small businesses (e.g. GST and provisional tax alignment, subsidised payroll intermediaries, a discount for early payment of provisional tax in the first year of business).

In 2009, Inland Revenue conducted a second measure of SMEs’ tax compliance costs, using methods comparable to those used in 2004, to identify and assess trends in tax compliance costs during the preceding five years, as well as to gauge the impact of major initiatives on tax compliance costs such as the introduction of KiwiSaver.

Inland Revenue commissioned Research New Zealand in 2013 to conduct a further survey. The objectives of the survey were to identify and assess any further trends in tax compliance costs which have occurred since 2009 and provide additional information in relation to Government’s Result Area 9 target.

Self-completion questionnaires, along with a reply-paid envelope, were sent to 5,500 businesses on 8 November 2013. Initially, 5,000 long questionnaires and 500 short questionnaires were despatched. In addition, booster mail-outs were sent to an additional 1,000 and 1,200 businesses on 26 November 2013 and 27 January 2014, respectively.

Survey packs, including using Inland Revenue branded envelopes were sent with a covering letter from Inland Revenue explaining the purpose of the research and Research New Zealand’s involvement as an independent market research company contracted to administer and process the survey on Inland Revenue’s behalf.

To help maximise the response rate to the survey, the following activities were also undertaken:

  • Reminder letters with replacement questionnaires.
  • Telephone reminders.
  • A supplementary tax advisor sub-survey was conducted to gather information in order to apportion external Tax Advisor tax compliance costs to different tax types. The information was collected from Tax Advisors in regard to long questionnaire clients, who had participated in the survey and who had given their consent for their Tax Advisor to be contacted for information about the tax compliance costs they had paid in relation to different tax types.
  • The analysis and reporting for this project involved a significant amount of data imputation, as well as inflation adjustment of the historic 2004 and 2009 survey data, in order to make comparable comparisons between the different years’ survey results.

Ministry of Health

Green Prescription (Green Rx) Patient Survey

In 2011, Research New Zealand was commissioned by the Ministry of Health to take over the Green Prescription (Green Rx) survey that had previously been implemented and reported by SPARC.

The objectives of the Green Rx Scheme are to encourage New Zealanders to get more physically active, in order to improve their health and general wellbeing. The Green Rx Scheme is administered by 17 licensed providers throughout New Zealand, who until 2013, received funding directly from the Ministry to provide Green Rx recipients with advice and support to improve their levels of physical activity and their dietary habits.

In 2013, the funding for the Scheme was devolved to the various DHBs. However, the Ministry continues to take responsibility for monitoring the success of the Scheme. 

The Green Rx Patient Survey is undertaken each year to collect robust evidence of the Scheme’s success, as well as how the Green Rx providers (contract holders) are performing in relation to nine KPIs they are expected to meet.

The survey is conducted as a hybrid online, telephone and paper-based survey during April and early May each year. The population of interest for the survey is GRx patients who had contact with a GRx contract holder over the six months from July-December in the year prior.

A total of 10,000 participants are randomly sampled from the approximately n=18,000 Scheme participants put forward by contract holders, against an agreed stratified sampling scheme developed with the Ministry.

Each sampled patient is sent a letter on Ministry letterhead inviting them to participate, along with a paper copy of the survey, and a reply-paid envelope. In addition to introducing the survey and its purpose, the letter also includes instructions for completing the survey online, should respondents prefer to do so. Approximately three weeks later, non-respondents are sent a reminder letter about the survey.

The following week, all patients, who have not yet responded, receive a reminder call from Research New Zealand, and are given the option of complete the survey by telephone as a CATI-enabled telephone interview.

The survey data is weighted to be representative of the number of patients referred to providers/contract holders during the July to December period in the year prior. Survey results are reported in detail, at an aggregate level, for each provider/contract holder, with any statistically significant differences based on respondent demographic characteristics highlighted (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, employment status and socio-economic status).

Summary profile reports are also produced, detailing the results for Māori, Pacific people, patients aged 65 plus and patients with a self-reported disability.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

A Survey of the New Home Buying Market

As part of its wider interest in housing affordability, the Building and Housing division of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment commissioned Research New Zealand to conduct a survey of new home buyers, in order to enhance its understanding of the participants in the new home buying market (including who they are, and what influences their purchasing decisions) and its understanding of what (if any) impact a buyer’s desire to customise standard plans has on price and affordability (where the buyer has purchased from a home building company).

The Survey of the New Home Buying Market was conducted between 1 February and 6 March 2013, with a nation-wide sample of n=754 respondents. A mixed online-telephone interviewing methodology was used for this piece of research.

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