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How our scheduled releases will be managed during COVID-19 – Media release

30 March 2020

All scheduled statistics releases will be published as planned in March and April, Stats NZ confirmed today.

Stats NZ will continue to deliver key economic releases for economic growth (GDP), balance of payments, unemployment, and inflation (CPI).

The next key releases are CPI (March 2020 quarter) due on 20 April, followed by Labour market statistics (March 2020 quarter) on 6 May.

Stats NZ staff are working from home, following the country’s move into COVID-19 Alert Level 4 on 26 March. Staff continue to prepare key economic and social statistics releases and carry out other work, such as surveys, by phone or email rather than through face-to-face interviews.

This is an uncertain time for all New Zealanders. Stats NZ will continue to provide key information to show how the country is going across a range of statistics, including trade, travel, spending, inflation, employment, and so on.

We are also providing new data to assist in decision-making around COVID-19. An example of this is the provisional weekly trade data for imports and exports – for the first time, Stats NZ has been able to provide weekly rather than monthly trade data. We are also publishing provisional weekly travel data. This has become of much greater public interest during the COVID-19 outbreak. We will do our best to continue to innovate during this time.

Producing social statistics, which show the wellbeing of all New Zealanders, also remains a priority. Te Kupenga, the survey of Māori wellbeing, including data on the use of te reo Māori, will be published as scheduled on 6 April.

Survey responses are critical

We want to thank all the households and businesses who provide their information for our surveys.

Stats NZ stopped face-to-face survey collection from Sunday 22 March 2020 until further notice, but will continue to collect survey information by email and telephone.

See Surveys by email and phone continue.

“The vital information you provide in our surveys helps inform important decisions, particularly in this critical time for New Zealand and the world,” general manager social and population insights Jason Attewell said.

“We know this is a very stressful time for everyone. However, we may also be in touch with households and businesses to ask some important questions that will help us find out how New Zealanders are affected by the changes in the way we live because of COVID-19,” Mr Attewell said.

Updates on changes to releases

Changes may occur to the release calendar as we shift into the new normal. Stats NZ will let you know as soon as possible when data is not going to be delivered on schedule.

“We are confident about releases in the coming weeks. However, there may be some unavoidable changes or delays in the months ahead,” general manager economic and environmental insights Richard Evans said. “It may be challenging to collect data because many non-essential businesses have temporarily closed, though staff of many other organisations continue to work from home.”

As usual, we will also inform users if we use different methods to collect data or if data is provisional for any reason.

“Where possible we will aim to provide information on different collection methods and other caveats before the data is actually published, so users are well-informed,” Mr Evans said.

See COVID-19 updates on our website.

Some data may also be delayed for reasons unrelated to COVID-19 Alert Level 4.

Stats NZ will move any delayed releases to a ‘to be confirmed’ section on the release calendar, so users will know in advance about any delays. We plan to update the release calendar on a weekly basis, or as needed, to show original and revised publication dates.

See our Release calendar.

2018 and 2023 Censuses

Further data from the 2018 Census is due for publication over the next few months. Planning continues for the 2023 Census, which remains subject to government budget approval later this year.