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In 2007, for the first time, the State Services Commission asked a sample of New Zealanders about their experiences and views of public services. Known as the Kiwis Count survey, this provided rich information on how New Zealand's public services were performing in the eyes of the people who use them. The survey ran for a second time in 2009.

In late 2011, the State Services Commission contracted Nielsen to manage the collection and reporting of Kiwis Count. Nielsen and Commission staff worked together to turn Kiwis Count from a point-in-time survey into a continuous survey with ongoing data collection and regular reporting. This enables trends over time to be examined and the earlier identification of issues.

Based on the methodology of a Canadian government survey called Citizens First, Kiwis Count measures satisfaction in public services. Public services means all services provided by government and includes central and local government services, tertiary institutions, schools and hospitals.

Kiwis Count is part of a wider research initiative called the New Zealanders' Experience Research Programme (NZE) designed to find out how New Zealanders experience public services, and to develop tools through which services can improve (see figure 6: New Zealanders' Experience Research Programme (NZE) on page 14.

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