Introduction

Kiwis Count 2009 gathered rich information on New Zealanders’ experiences of public services. The findings have been published in full and in summary with reports available 1 . This report examines how different groups within New Zealand’s population – Māori, Pacific people, Asians, seniors and young people – experienced public services in comparison to the wider population, in order to better understand their needs and preferences. These groups were chosen because they represent significant subgroups within New Zealand’s population. Table 1 below shows the proportion of each group within the overall sample of 3,724 New Zealanders. It is important to remember that the groups are not mutually exclusive, for example, young Asian people or Māori seniors will each be represented in two of the groups.

Table 1  Kiwis Count respondents by group

Number

% of total

Māori

520

14

Pacific people

276

7.4

Asian people

278

7.5

Seniors 2

527

14

Young people 3

636

17

The Māori, Pacific and Asian groups all had a younger age-structure than the sample as a whole.

Pacific people, young people and seniors all had a higher proportion of people on low incomes than the sample as a whole. The Asian sample also had a high proportion of non-earners.

The Asian group was well educated in comparison to the other groups and to the sample as a whole. Māori, Pacific people, seniors and young people were all less likely than others to have a higher qualification.

Implications for Service Delivery

Māori

In general, Māori were a little less satisfied with the quality of services than non-Māori, although the differences in service quality scores between Māori and non-Māori were not significant. However, it should be noted that the level of agreement for Māori on the five drivers of satisfaction that are most important to them (i.e. you were treated fairly, staff were competent, staff kept their promises, individual circumstances considered, and example of good value for tax dollars) was generally lower than for non-Māori. Efforts to improve services for Māori should focus on these drivers. Māori are heavy users of the telephone channel and agencies should also focus on the quality of their telephone services. There is also potential for further use of the cell phone channel to increase Māori people’s satisfaction with their interactions with public services.

Pacific People

The two drivers of satisfaction that are most important for Pacific people – public services admitting responsibility for mistakes when they are made and making the process clear throughout – may hold the key to improving services for this group. Pacific people prefer telephone and internet when looking for information about public services but when carrying out transactions, the most preferred method is face-to-face and least preferred is the online channel. In addition, while many Pacific respondents used the internet for a range of activities, they had the least access to a computer, which may limit the potential of this channel for this group.

Asian

Services trying to better meet the needs of Asian people must ensure that they are meeting Asian people’s expectations and that staff interact with Asian service users in ways that are perceived as fair. Improving the quality and range of services and information online is likely to improve service uptake and satisfaction for Asian people as they are more interested in dealing with public services online and less interested in using the telephone or visiting a public service in person.

Seniors

Seniors were likely to be much more positive than others about the service they received. A higher proportion of seniors than of others agreed that their most recently used service met their expectations on each of their top six drivers of satisfaction. They were also more likely to have trust in public services.  Seniors have fewer dealings or transactions with public services than other groups and look for information less often. They have a strong preference for face-to-face dealings and for dealings over the telephone or by mail. The majority of seniors are not keen on dealing with public services over the internet, or by cell phone. In order to ensure they are accessible and user-friendly for seniors, services must continue to offer a personal interface and good telephone services. However, in the future more people moving into the senior age bracket are likely to be confident users of the internet and will expect to access services through this channel.

Young People

Young people had lower expectations of public services than others however, the service quality scores for young people were mixed and there were no service quality scores where the differences were statistically significant. Their responses for the drivers of satisfaction were similar to others. They had a similar degree of trust in public services as other respondents. While young people were more likely to have used the internet to contact public services, they were also more likely to have contacted public services in person, whether to look for information or to carry out transactions. Services addressing the needs of young people need to pay particular attention to electronic and face-to-face channels of communications. Cell phones are an increasingly popular channel of communication with young people and the services young people use would also be advised to explore the potential of cell phones as a channel of communication.

Access

Seniors were the only group who were less likely to experience difficulties accessing services. They were significantly more positive than others. Māori, Pacific people, Asian and young people all reported varying degrees of difficulty accessing services. Agencies need to ensure they improve access for these groups.

To read the full report, go to the PDF version attached at the top of this page.

This report was compiled from research carried out by the State Services Commission's New Zealanders' Experience programme - a multi-year research programme that provides agencies with information to assist monitoring public satisfaction with the delivery of their frontline services. Go to the New Zealanders' Experience section of this website for programme information, publications and reports.

2:  The term 'seniors' refers to the Kiwis Count respondents who were 65 years or older.

3:  The term 'young people' refers to the Kiwis Count respondents who were 18 to 24 years of age.

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