Information systems for policy-making
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Statistics New Zealand are engaged in an ongoing joint project to improve the quality of the statistical information available on the New Zealand cultural sector. The first publication, New Zealand Framework for Cultural Statistics Te Anga Tatauranga Tikanga-ā-Iwi o Aotearoa, was published in 1995. It defines the cultural sector and activities, and categorises them into nine major sections, each with data specifications.
In 1996, Household Spending on Culture Ngā Whakapaunga Moni a-Kainga ki ngā Mahi Whakapuaki Tuakiri focused on a segment of cultural consumption, by gathering data on the spending of private households on the consumption of cultural goods and services. This report was updated as part of the Measure of Culture report in 2003 and again in 2006.
In 1998, Employment in the Cultural Sector was released. Based on the 1996 Census of Population and Dwellings this report provides information on employment patterns and trends in the sector. Employment in the Cultural Sector also outlines the age, sex, occupation, educational background and ethnicity of these workers. This report was updated in 2005 and again in 2009, with both reports showing that employment in the cultural sector continues to grow at a faster rate than employment overall.
Government Spending on Culture was released in 2000. This report examines the amount spent by both local and central government to enhance New Zealanders access to cultural goods and services from 1990 to 1999. A second report updating government spending to 2004 was released in 2005. A third report is scheduled for release in 2010.
In 2002 the first specially commissioned survey in the cultural statistics programme was undertaken. Funded through the Cross Departmental Research Pool, the survey asked New Zealanders about their cultural experiences - whether they had experienced various cultural activities over either a four-week or 12-month period. It also asked how often they had experienced these activities, how interested they were in New Zealand content in each activity, and whether any barriers had prevented them from experiencing these activities at all or more often. The report, A Measure of Culture, was released in 2003. This report also contains an update on Household Spending on Culture.
Data from the Time Use Survey conducted by Statistics New Zealand from July 1998 to June 1999 was released in 2004 as Time for Culture.
In 1994 and 1997, the Ministry also commissioned surveys on New Zealanders attitudes towards culture. These are published in a series entitled How Important is Culture? An updated version of this report was released in 2009. In that version, questions were added relating to the perceived importance of the role of culture and cultural activities as factors in national identity. Additional questions about attitudes to culture and cultural activities in local communities were also included.
When the Cultural Statistics Programme was established in 1993, the production of a report which brought together key indicators for the cultural sector was identified as a priority. In 2006, the programme released Cultural Indicators for New Zealand. This report presents, for the first time, a set of cultural indicators. The key cultural indicators within a framework of five theme areas, which broadly reflect key goals for the New Zealand cultural sector and those involved in it. The five theme areas are: Engagement, Identity, Diversity, Social Cohesion and Economic Development.
Under each of these themes, key desired outcomes have been identified. While the information available may not allow direct measures of the extent of progress towards an outcome, the indicators are designed to provide insight into the extent to which the outcomes are being achieved.
The report is an important contribution towards making information about he cultural sector accessible to the public.
In addition to its benefits in terms of policy development, the establishment of a set of robust cultural indicators ensures that debates about the cultural sector’s value and contribution to New Zealand society can take place in the context of greater knowledge and understanding than at present. They also allow the ‘health’ of the sector to be monitored over time. While the indicators presented in this report are high-level sectoral indicators, they are also intended to reflect the broad outcomes that the government seeks to achieve for the cultural sector as a whole. A second report was published in 2009, and includes a number of new indicators.