• Jenny Shipley
Women's Affairs

"The Coalition Government has given the final tick of approval to a national time-use survey which will enable us to look at the contribution to our economy of unpaid activities," Minister of Women's Affairs Jenny Shipley said today.

The Coalition Government has agreed to set aside two million dollars over three years for the survey.

Jenny Shipley says she and the Associate Minister of Women's Affairs, Deborah Morris, are delighted that after years of discussion the time-use survey will finally get underway.

"This is occurring as a direct result of the priorities set in the Coalition Agreement.

"Unpaid work, including childcare, care for the elderly, household work and voluntary community work is crucial to the New Zealand economy but its value is largely ignored. This time-use survey will help us better understand how people balance these important social and economic responsibilities.

"Much of this work has traditionally been carried out by women. With our changing society seeing more and more women entering the paid workforce, we need to know who is doing the unpaid work and how that is being managed.

"Information from the survey about the informal contributions people make to keeping our society ticking over will be extremely useful in Government policy development. There are many areas where this will be relevant, for example when we are looking at dealing with the aging population, providing employment opportunities, or improving access to health care.

"Sound policies need to reflect the reality of all aspects of people's lives.

"This survey will also for the first time give us reliable information that will enable us to more accurately calculate the size and shape of our economy as set out in the GDP figures.

"Statistics New Zealand will measure the amount of time people aged 12 and over spend on various activities, and determine whether there are significant differences in time use between different population groups. The detailed design work is now underway, and the field work, the actual collecting of the information, will begin next year," Mrs Shipley concluded.