Statistics Minister Craig Foss says the use of tablet computers is making data collection faster and more efficient.
This month, Statistics NZ began using iPad Minis to collect fruit and vegetable prices from shops in 12 regions around New Zealand.
The data is used in the Food Price Index, and the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation.
“Every week, about 15 Statistics NZ data collectors have had to visit shops around the country, write down the price of 31 different fruit and vegetables, then courier the information back to Wellington,” Foss says.
“This data, which has been collected with pen and paper for 100 years, is now in real time — data collectors enter the price on their tablets and it goes straight back to Statistics NZ. A whole lot of paper work will disappear and a whole lot of time will be saved.
“This means Statistics NZ can start analysis sooner and focus on getting people the information they need.”
Foss says Statistics NZ records the price of about 700 different goods and services for the CPI. Some data still needs to be collected manually, but this is the first stage in rolling out tablet-based price collection.
“This is an excellent example of a government department utilising technology to ensure its services are efficient and provide value for money.”