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Analytical paper

Where We Come from, Where We Go – Describing Population Change in New Zealand (AP 18/02)

Issue date: 
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
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This paper describes new sub-national New Zealand population measures that have been developed by The Treasury using integrated administrative data. The paper accompanies the release of interactive online tools that present new data about the changing population of New Zealand and its territorial authority (TA) areas. The Insights Population explorer and Population directions tools can be accessed at The paper provides a technical description of the construction of the data that underpins the tool, a comparison of the data against other sources of similar data, and some high level findings.


The author is grateful to Kim Dunstan, Kirsten Nissen, and Nathaniel Matheson-Dunning from Stats NZ, and Mary Adams from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment for their extremely useful comments on drafts of this paper.

The author is also grateful to Danny Wu, Sam Harvey, Shirley Wu, and Phil Shepherd from Harmonic Analytics Limited for their work on developing visualisations for the Insights tool which sits alongside this report.

Finally the author thanks Tod Wright, Meghan Stephens, and Robert Templeton from The Treasury for their technical advice on the approach taken, and helpful comments on this paper.

Any remaining errors are the sole responsibility of the author.


The views, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this report are strictly those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the New Zealand Treasury, Statistics New Zealand or the New Zealand Government. The New Zealand Treasury and the New Zealand Government take no responsibility for any errors or omissions in, or for the correctness of, the information contained in this Analytical Paper.

The results in this report are not official statistics, they have been created for research purposes from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) managed by Statistics New Zealand.

Access to the anonymised data used in this study was provided by Statistics NZ in accordance with security and confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act 1975. Only people authorised by the Statistics Act 1975 are allowed to see data about a particular person, household, business or organisation and the results in this paper have been confidentialised to protect these groups from identification.

Careful consideration has been given to the privacy, security and confidentiality issues associated with using administrative and survey data in the IDI. Further detail can be found in the Privacy impact assessment for the Integrated Data Infrastructure available from

The results are based in part on tax data supplied by Inland Revenue to Statistics NZ under the Tax Administration Act 1994. This tax data must be used only for statistical purposes, and no individual information may be published or disclosed in any other form, or provided to Inland Revenue for administrative or regulatory purposes.

Any person who has had access to the unit-record data has certified that they have been shown, have read, and have understood section 81 of the Tax Administration Act 1994, which relates to secrecy. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the IDI for statistical purposes, and is not related to the data’s ability to support Inland Revenue’s core operational requirements.

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 18 April 2018