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Comment from Research Partner

The Kiwis Count results show how hard government agencies are working to improve citizens' experiences, perceptions and trust in government services. Citizens around the world expect more transparent, accessible and responsive services from the public sector and those expectations are rising[4].

As this report shows, one size does not fit all, for example what works for our youth is not always the best solution for our older New Zealanders.

Recently, Nielsen has been looking at key trends among New Zealanders and many of these will impact the way public services are accessed. Some of these key trends include:

  • More connected - In 2005 Nielsen's Consumer and Media Insights (CMI) Research found that 51% of all people aged over 10 and 65% of those aged over 50 had not used the internet in the last week for anything other than email. The picture today is quite different, with seven out of ten New Zealanders over the age of 10 actively using the internet and half using smart phones and tablets.[5]
  • Aging population - It is well known that we have an aging population. In the next 25 years, Statistics NZ projects the number of people aged 65+ will more than double. Also interesting is that the percentage of women increases as age increases; for example at the time of the 2013 Census up to 64% of those aged 85+ were women.[6]
  • Less landlines - Based on data from Nielsen's CMI research, one in three New Zealanders do not have a landline at home (with this increasing to two in three of those aged 20 and under).[7]
  • Ethnic diversity - In the 2013 Census, Statistics NZ found that, between 2001 and 2013, the size of Asian ethnic groups almost doubled, with over a quarter of people living in New Zealand identifying with an ethnicity other than European. In addition, a quarter of the usually resident in NZ population was born overseas, with Asia being the most common region or origin. Currently English is our most commonly spoken language followed by Māori, Samoan and Hindi.[8]

The implications of these trends affect all public services. With less use of landlines, increased use of internet (particularly tablets) it is no longer possible to allocate channels to customer types (e.g. landlines for older people, online for youth). With the impact of the aging population considered alongside these trends, it is clear that the way New Zealanders access public services is constantly changing.

Design of internet access of public services will need to be tailored to meet the needs of its audience. Some services may need to tailor their apps and website design to meet their older customers' needs. This will mean reviewing aspects such as navigation and font size to ensure it is intuitive and easy for older users. But one size won't fit all; other services with a younger customer base, such as StudyLink, will have quite different expectations from their users.

The Kiwis Count results show that satisfaction, trust and perceptions can differ based on the ethnicity of the respondent. Public services will need to take into account the changing ethnic mix of New Zealand when designing, redesigning or improving their service delivery, including the mix of languages that websites, forms and other sources of information are available in.

The challenge is similar for many governments around the world. As stated in McKinsey & Company's report “Part of the problem is that, despite their best intentions, many governments continue to design and deliver services based on their own requirements and processes instead of the needs of the people they service”.[9]


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