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Unpaid Work Valued at $40 Billion in 1999

Measuring Unpaid Work in New Zealand : 1999

Unpaid Work Valued at $40 Billion in 1999

The value of productive unpaid work by New Zealanders aged 15 years and over was estimated at $40 billion in 1999, according to a report released today by Statistics New Zealand. This is equivalent to 39 per cent of gross domestic product.

Measuring Unpaid Work in New Zealand 1999 presents estimates of the value of productive unpaid work that falls outside the measures of production found in the national accounts. The estimates are based on information from the recently-released Time Use Survey which collected data on how New Zealanders spend their time. Survey information on the number of hours per week spent on unpaid productive household activities has been combined with a median housekeeper wage rate to derive the unpaid work values.

The report shows that persons aged 15 and over spend, on average, four more hours per week in unpaid work (27.6 hours per week) than in paid work (23.6 hours per week). Applying a median housekeeper wage rate results in the equivalent of an annual salary of $13,820 per person for unpaid work.

Eighty-seven per cent of the estimated value of unpaid work was on activities such as cooking, cleaning, gardening and providing care, which were for the benefit of the same household. The remaining 13 per cent was for other households and the community. New Zealanders devoted 247 million hours per year to unpaid volunteer work for community organisations, with an estimated value of $2 billion.

Work done by females accounted for 64 per cent of the total value of unpaid work ($25 billion). This result highlights the significant contribution of women to total productive activity through their role in unpaid work. Work done by Mäori accounted for 13 per cent of the total value of unpaid work ($5 billion). This is very similar to the proportion of Mäori to the total population aged 15 and over.

Measuring Unpaid Work in New Zealand 1999 was produced with the support of the Ministry of Women's Affairs. It follows similar studies recently done overseas and the choice of method used to define and, more importantly, value unpaid work is consistent with an emerging international consensus. Besides providing estimates of the value of unpaid work, analysed by type of activity and individual, the report sets out guidelines on how to develop a full 'household satellite account' for New Zealand. Household satellite accounts provide a means of extending or altering the conventional national accounting definitions of, for example, gross domestic product, while still maintaining clear links to the standard framework.

Measuring Unpaid Work in New Zealand 1999 can be ordered through publications@stats.govt.nz, or can be downloaded from Statistics New Zealand's website, www.stats.govt.nz.

Brian Pink GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN END

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