October 19, 2022

New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (Inc)
Media Release

For immediate release

NZIER Economist Zhongchen Song says, “New Zealand has linked and anonymised data sets that are the envy of many countries, and they provide a great tool for policymakers and their advisors to evaluate policy and programme effectiveness.”

Dr Song says, “the Integrated Data Infrastructure is a hidden gem that allows everyone to focus on the evidence and what works rather than ideology and hope and a promise.” It is in everyone’s interest to ensure the quality of public spending. “There are over 730 research projects producing results using government administrative data like the IDI. There’s huge potential for our government to improve programme performance and public spending using this data.

“I would like to see more Ministers demanding and asking for evidence of what is working and how programmes are being better aligned to purpose. Too many programmes are put in place, and people think – job done. New Zealand is especially well placed to link programmes to outcome performance.”

“It’s useful not just for ongoing government programmes. During the early stages of the COVID pandemic, a lot of short-term funding was made available, and while that may have largely passed, there is a long-term interest in knowing for next time what impact this has made to real people.”

Stats NZ has done a good job of managing access, protecting privacy and ensuring robust research but maintaining a social licence will be important and is the topic of the following project.

For further information, please contact:
Zhongchen Song
021 0221 8502