Options for a new longitudinal household survey in New Zealand

Housing New Zealand

Over the last several decades longitudinal household panel surveys have become essential elements of the social science infrastructure in Europe, the UK, North America, Asia and Australia. They shed new light on a wide range of social and economic phenomena and their effects on wellbeing. They also offer data that can be used to evaluate policy. Currently, no such survey exists in New Zealand, although Statistics New Zealand administered the Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE) from 2002–2010. 

Establishing a new LHS for New Zealand would require significant interest and support from the research, policy, and statistical community. Current work under this project evaluates the case for a new LHS and sets out issues and options for its design, governance, and administration. It has been supported by the Motu Foundation, Motu Research, Statistics New Zealand, the Treasury and MBIE through the Department of Labour.

In July 2012, Dave Maré from Motu Research circulated a paper that outlined options for initiating a new longitudinal household survey in New Zealand, and discussed a range of related issues. Feedback was invited from a range of interested parties. A brief set of prompts was provided to stimulate feedback, though was not intended to constrain the scope of feedback. A copy of the prompts is included as Appendix One.

A half-day workshop was held in Wellington on 20 August 2012. At the workshop, Dave Maré provided an overview of the issues and options and of the feedback received. The workshop also included a presentation by Mark Wooden, the Director of the Australian HILDA study, on ‘Lessons from HILDA’, and a Statistics New Zealand presentation on ‘Longitudinal data - Recent Experience and Future Direction’ by Anton Samoilenko. All of the workshop materials, together with this summary of feedback, are available at

A final version of the ‘Issues and Options’ paper is available as Motu Working Paper 13- 04 (

The current paper summarises feedback received on the prospect for a new longitudinal household survey. It provides a balanced account of the range of feedback received, and summarises the main points made by respondents. In many places, we have included quotations from respondents, indicated by italicisation and quotation marks.

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