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Business Operations Survey: 2008 Tables

This release contains the full set of tables collected by Statistics New Zealand through the Business Operations Survey: 2008. The initial results from the survey can be found in the Hot off the Press.

Survey background

The Business Operations Survey collects information from a wide cross-section of New Zealand businesses with more than six employees. It aims to build a better understanding of a range of business practices and behaviours that may impact on business performance. The information is collected through a modular survey that contains a static business operations module, an alternating ICT or Innovation module, and a contracted module which focused on business strategy and skills for 2008.

Technical notes

Classification change

Since the 2007 results, the Business Operations Survey has moved to the 2006 version of the Australia New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06). This new version reflects the changes that have occurred in the structure and composition of industry since the previous 1996 edition.

The 2007 Business Operations Survey was run as a dual sample, to enable results to be collected and produced in accordance with both 1996 and 2006 versions of the classification. The 2008 survey moved wholly to the ANZSIC 06 based sample used in 2007.

The implementation of ANZSIC 06 has resulted in some changes to the industry classification of businesses. This has caused some to move out of scope of the survey and others to come into scope, resulting in changes to the overall population. For businesses remaining within the population, the 1996 and 2006 versions of ANZSIC are two different classifications. Whilst the two versions share similarities, industry estimates produced on an ANZSIC 06 basis can not be directly compared with those produced on the ANZSIC 96 basis.

Reference period

The survey was posted out in August 2008 and collected information for the last financial year for which the business had data available at that point.

Target population

The target population for the Business Operations Survey: 2008 was live enterprise units on Statistics NZ’s Business Frame that at the population selection date:

  • were economically significant enterprises (those that have an annual GST turnover figure of greater than $30,000)
  • had six or more employees
  • had been operating for one year or more
  • were classified to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification – New Zealand Version 2006 (ANZSIC 06) codes listed as ‘in scope’ in List 1 below
  • were private enterprises as defined by New Zealand Institutional Sector 1996 Classification (NZISC 96) listed in List 2 below.

An enterprise is defined as a business or service entity operating in New Zealand, such as a company, partnership, trust, government department or agency, state-owned enterprise, university, or self-employed individual.

The final estimated population size for the Business Operations Survey: 2008 was 36,075 enterprises.

List 1 – ANZSIC 06 codes in scope

In scope

ANZSIC 06 code – description
 A – Agriculture, forestry and fishing
 B – Mining
 C – Manufacturing
 D – Electricity, gas, water and waste services
 E – Construction
 F – Wholesale trade
 G – Retail trade
 H – Accommodation and food services
 I – Transport, postal and warehousing
 J – Information media and telecommunications
 K – Financial and insurance services
 L – Rental, hiring and real estate services
 M – Professional, scientific and technical services
 N – Administrative and support services
 P – Education and training
 Q – Health care and social assistance
 R91 – Sport and recreation activities
 R92 – Gambling activities
 S94 – Repair and maintenance.

Out of scope

 O – Public administration and safety
 R89 – Heritage activities
 R90 – Creative and performing arts activities
 S95 – Personal and other services
 S96 – Private household employing staff and undifferentiated goods and service producing activities of households for own use.

List 2 – NZISC 96 codes in scope

In scope

NZISC96 code – description
 1111 – Private corporate producer enterprises
 1121 – Private non-corporate producer enterprises
 1211 – Producer boards
 1311 – Central government enterprises
 2211 – Private registered banks
 2221 – Private other broad money (M3) depository organisations
 2291 – Private other depository organisations nec
 2311 – Private other financial organisations excluding insurance and pension funds
 2411 – Private insurance and pension funds.

Out of scope

 1321 – Local government enterprises
 21 – Central bank
 2212, 2213, 2222, 2223, 2292, 2293, 2312, 2313, 2412, 2413 – Central and local government financial intermediaries
 3 – General government
 4 – Private non-profit organisations serving households
 5 – Households
 6 – Rest of world

Sample design

The sample design was a two-level stratification according to ANZSIC industry and employment size groups. This information was obtained using enterprise ANZSIC industry and employment information from Statistics NZ's Business Frame.

The first level of stratification was 36 ANZSIC groupings. Within each of the ANZSIC groups there was a further stratification by employment size group. The four employment size groups used in the sample design were:

  • 6–19 employees (small)
  • 20–29 employees (medium 1)
  • 30–49 employees (medium 2)
  • 50 or more employees (large).

The two medium groups were amalgamated, and the large size group further broken down for this publication, as these businesses were of particular interest for some of the results.

Measurement errors

The Business Operations Survey: 2008 results are subject to measurement errors, including both non-sample and sample errors. These errors should be considered when analysing the results from the survey.

Non-sample errors

Non-sample errors include mistakes by respondents when completing questionnaires, variation in the respondents’ interpretation of the questions asked, and errors made during the processing of the data. In addition, the survey applied imputation methodologies to cope with non-respondents. Statistics NZ adopts procedures to minimise these types of errors, but they may still occur and are not quantifiable.

Given the nature of the data collected, there are limitations on the level of accuracy that can be expected from the survey. Businesses’ records may not be kept in the form required for the survey and some estimation by the respondent may be required.

Sampling error

The majority of the tables in this release are percentages of the total number of New Zealand businesses within each size and industry. The absolute sampling errors for the overall New Zealand business population are presented in the following table. These errors should be used as a guide for judging the reliability of figures contained in the tables. The table should only be used on the overall estimates that are percentages of all New Zealand businesses.

Table 1.02: Sampling errors for total population of Business Operations Survey: 2008

Size of estimate (%) Sampling error
1 0.4
2 0.6
3 0.8
5 1.0
10 1.3
20 1.8
30 2.1
50 2.2
70 2.1
80 1.8
90 1.3
95 1.0
97 0.8
98 0.6
99 0.4

The sampling errors provided above are measured at the 95 percent confidence level.

How to use the sampling errors:
For example, the estimated number of businesses with export sales in 2008 is 15 percent. This estimate is subject to a relative sampling error of approximately plus or minus 1.55. This means roughly that there is a 95 percent likelihood that the true value lies between: 15 - 1.55 and 15 + 1.55, that is, between 13.45 and 16.55.

Sampling errors vary from estimate to estimate, and with population breakdown and population size. Table 1.02 shows approximate sampling errors for all New Zealand level estimates of the whole Business Operations Survey population. Similar tables of approximate sampling errors at a size and industry level can be provided upon request if required. Exact sampling errors also can be produced for each variable within the survey upon request if required.

Response rate

The Business Operations Survey: 2008 targeted an 80 percent response rate. The survey achieved an actual response rate of 81.1 percent, which represented 5,543 businesses.

Non-response and imputation

Unit non-response

Unit (or complete) non-response occurs when units in the sample do not return the questionnaire. The initial selection weight of the remaining units in the stratum was adjusted to account for the unit non-response (no item non-response imputation would occur for the units that did not return the questionnaire).

Item non-response

Item (or partial) non-response is when units return the questionnaire but some questions are not answered. No item non-response imputation was carried out for units that did not answer 60 percent or more of the questions they were required to answer (based on questionnaire routing rules). The respondents who did not meet this criterion were classified as unit non-responses and the weights were adjusted accordingly.

Imputation of numeric variables

The imputation methods used were weighted mean imputation and donor imputation.

Using the weighted mean method, a weighted mean was calculated from linked responding units for each numeric linecode within each imputation cell. Non-responding units were then imputed with the weighted mean for their imputation cell. Weighted mean imputation was used to impute totals.

Donor imputation randomly selected a donor from within each imputation cell. The non-respondent was then imputed with the value(s) from the donor. Donor imputation was used to impute components and percentages so that the distribution was maintained.

Imputation of categoric questions

For categoric imputation the method used was nearest neighbour imputation, which involved finding a donor with the most similar responses. The donor supplied responses for all categoric variables requiring imputation. If the donor unit did not respond to any of the variables requiring a response, then we chose the next best donor to supply this information. This was continued until all the variables had a response.


ANZSIC: Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification System – New Zealand Version 2006.

Business Frame: A register of all businesses operating in New Zealand.

Employees: The number of employees is defined by an enterprise's rolling mean employment (RME) count. RME is a twelve-month moving average of the monthly employment count (EC) figure. The EC is obtained from taxation data.

Enterprise: A business or service entity operating in New Zealand. It can be a company, partnership, trust, estate, incorporated society, producer board, local or central government organisation, voluntary organisation or self-employed individual.

Goods and Services Tax (GST): Respondents are asked to exclude GST if possible in the financial figures provided in the questionnaire. If they did not, Statistics NZ takes out GST to make all enterprises comparable.

Last financial year: For the purposes of this survey, this refers to the last financial year for which the business had results available as at August 2008, as entered on the questionnaire.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT): this refers to the last financial year for the collection, processing or transmitting of information which can be in the form of voice, images or data. Examples include computers, software, the Internet, telecommunications, networks and new development such as video conferencing and GPS (global positioning system).


Information obtained from Statistics NZ may be freely used, reproduced, or quoted unless otherwise specified. In all cases Statistics NZ must be acknowledged as the source.


While care has been used in processing, analysing and extracting information, Statistics NZ gives no warranty that the information supplied is free from error. Statistics NZ shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of any information, product or service.


Timed statistical releases are delivered using postal and electronic services provided by third parties. Delivery of these releases may be delayed by circumstances outside the control of Statistics NZ. Statistics NZ accepts no responsibility for any such delays.

For more information on the technical notes can be found in the Business Operations Survey 2008 Hot off the Press

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