New Zealand Health Survey questions and answers

What is the New Zealand Health Survey?

The New Zealand Health Survey collects information about the health of New Zealanders and the health services they use. Every year, about 14,000 New Zealand households take part in the survey.

Have there been previous health surveys?

The New Zealand Health Survey has run every year since 2011/12. Before this, there were health surveys in 2006/07, 2002/03, 1996/97 and 1992/93.

Who is carrying out the survey?

The Ministry of Health contracts a company called CBG Health Research Limited to carry out the interviews for the New Zealand Health Survey. They are a New Zealand company experienced in carrying out surveys.

Who is asked to participate?

Addresses from across New Zealand are randomly chosen. From each selected household, one adult and one child will be invited to take part in the survey. A parent or legal guardian is invited to complete the survey on behalf of children less than 15 years old.

Why is the survey needed?

Information about your health and your experience of health services is important to help improve health care for all New Zealanders. This information is needed from healthy people as well as from those with health problems. The Ministry of Health relies on your help to find out about important health issues.

What information is collected?

The New Zealand Health Survey collects information about:

  • common health conditions and diseases
  • health services used
  • factors that affect health across all of New Zealand.

These are some examples of questions in the New Zealand Health Survey:

  • Was there a time you had a medical problem but did not visit a doctor because of cost?
  • How good is your doctor or nurse at explaining your health conditions or treatments in a way you can understand?
  • Has a doctor told you that your child has asthma?

The interviewer will also ask to measure your height and weight. If you would rather not be measured you can simply tell the interviewer at the time.

What is the information used for?

The Ministry of Health uses information from the New Zealand Health Survey to:

  • monitor the health of New Zealanders
  • monitor the use of health services
  • develop health policies, programmes and services to help more New Zealanders
  • identify whether additional health research is needed.

Approved health researchers from outside of the Ministry of Health can apply to use information from the New Zealand Health Survey. This information will not contain any details that could identify you.

How long does the survey take?

The interview for adults takes about one hour and the interview for children takes about 30 minutes. Interviews can be done at a date and time that suits you and your family.

Has the survey got ethical approval?

The New Zealand Health Survey operates under strict ethical standards and has been approved by the Multi-region Ethics Committee. The main principles adhered to by the New Zealand Health Survey are respect, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, minimisation of harm and cultural and social responsibility.

Where can I find the survey results?

The results of the New Zealand Health Survey will be published on the Ministry of Health website as they become available.

Can I take part in the survey if my household hasn’t been invited?

No – only people chosen at random can take part in the survey, in order to make sure that the information collected represents all New Zealanders. If people are able to volunteer to complete the survey, this could affect the survey results.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on the New Zealand Health Survey phone CBG Health Research Limited on 0800 478 783 or visit the New Zealand Health Survey section.

If you have any questions or concerns you can contact an independent health and disability advocate for free advice. Telephone: 0800 555 050, Email:

Do I have to have my height and weight measured?

No, if you would rather not be weighed and/or measured, you can simply tell the interviewer at the time.

Doesn’t the Ministry of Health already know some of this information – like whether people have a regular GP?

The survey collects information that we don’t have from other sources, or that we don’t have good enough information on from other sources.

How am I going to benefit from the information collected?

The Ministry of Health will use the information from the survey to gain a picture of the health of New Zealanders, how they use health services such as GPs and hospitals, and to develop health programmes and services.

The information collected can then be used to inform decisions made by the government, Ministry of Health, district health boards or other agencies that have an impact on the health of the nation.

Can I get a copy of the questions I will be asked, in advance?

The survey questionnaires will be placed on the Ministry’s website after the first set of results has been published, which is likely to be in late 2012.

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