Code of Conduct of the NZSA


The New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) has as its object the encouragement of theoretical and applied statistics in New Zealand.

In general, the public has no ready means of judging the quality of professional service except from the reputation of the provider. Membership of an association of professionals, such as the NZSA, will often be taken by the public as an assurance of ability and integrity. Thus it is essential that the highest standards are maintained by all members of the NZSA whenever they are acting professionally and whatever their level of qualification.

This code aims to provide guidance to members of the NZSA in matters of ethics. It is expressed in aspirational terms as a standard to which all can aim. The NZSA accepts for membership all those with an interest in statistics, and membership in itself does not give any guarantee of ability.


The constitutional authority for the ethical code derives from its formal adoption by the NZSA at its Annual General Meeting on 31 August 1995. The NZSA binds itself to observe the principles of the code.


As an aid to understanding, these guidelines have been grouped into the principal duties which all members should endeavour to discharge in pursuing their professional lives.

The Public Interest

  1. Members should ensure that within their chosen fields they have appropriate knowledge and understanding of relevant legislation, regulations and standards and that they comply with such requirements.
  2. Members should in their professional statistical practice have regard to basic human rights and should avoid any actions that adversely affect such rights. Enquiries involving human subjects should, as far as practicable, be based on the freely given informed consent of subjects. The identities of subjects should be kept confidential unless consent for disclosure is explicitly obtained.

Duty to Employers and Clients

  1. Members should carry out work with due care and diligence in accordance with the requirements of the employer or client and should, if their professional judgment is over-ruled, indicate the likely consequences.
  2. Members should not disclose or authorise to be disclosed, or use for personal gain or to benefit a third party, confidential information acquired in the course of professional practice, except with prior written permission of the employer or client, or at the direction of a court of law. In respect of personal information members should observe the provisions of the Privacy Act 1993. Members should seek to avoid being put in a position where they may become privy to, or party to, activities or information concerning activities which would conflict with their responsibilities in 1 and 2 above.
  3. Members should not purport to exercise independent judgment on behalf of a client on any product or service in which they knowingly have any interest, financial or otherwise.
  4. Members should not allow any misleading summary of data to be issued in their name. In particular, a statistical analysis may need to be amplified by a description of the way the data were selected, and the way any apparently erroneous data were corrected or rejected. Explicit statements will generally be needed about the assumptions made when selecting a method of analysis. Views or opinions based on general knowledge or belief should be clearly distinguished from views or opinions derived from the statistical analyses being reported.

Duty to the Profession

  1. Members should uphold the reputation of the profession and seek to improve professional standards through participation in their development and use, and should avoid any action which will adversely affect the good standing of statistics and statisticians.
  2. Members should seek to advance public knowledge and understanding of statistics, and to counter false or misleading statements which are detrimental to the statistical profession.
  3. Members should encourage and support fellow members in their professional development and, where possible, provide opportunities for the development of new entrants to the profession.
  4. Members should act with integrity towards fellow statisticians and to members of other professions with whom they are concerned in a professional capacity, and should avoid engaging in any activity which is incompatible with their professional status. Whilst members of the NZSA are free to engage in controversy, no member should cast doubt on the professional competence of another without good cause.
  5. Members should not make any public statement in their professional capacity unless competent to do so and, where appropriate, authorised to do so. It is not permissible for a member to speak in the name of the NZSA without the authorisation of the Executive Committee of the NZSA.

Professional Competence and Integrity

  1. Members should strive to upgrade their professional knowledge and skill and maintain awareness of technological developments, procedures and standards which are relevant to their field, and should encourage their colleagues to do likewise.
  2. Members should seek to conform to recognised good practice including quality standards which are in their judgment relevant, and should encourage their colleagues to do likewise.
  3. Members should only offer to do work or provide service which is within their professional competence and should not lay claim to any level of competence which they do not possess.
  4. Members should accept professional responsibility for their work and for those under their direction.
  5. The standards of integrity required of a professional statistician should not normally conflict with the interests of a client or employer. Members should aim to avoid any such conflict and clearly advise their client of any such potential or actual conflict. If the conflict cannot be resolved satisfactorily the public interest and professional standards must be paramount.
  6. Members acting in private practice, or acting independently of salaried employment, have the right of disengagement in the face of a dilemma involving professional standards or conscience. They may wish to seek advice and support from the NZSA.
  7. Members in salaried employment who are in serious conflict with their employer over a matter of professional standards or conscience are advised to notify the employer in writing of the contentious circumstances. If they are unable to resolve the conflict to their satisfaction, they may refer the matter to the NZSA, which may be able to advise and to take such action as seems appropriate.