Thousands of pupils continue to dodge school, with the latest Ministry of Education report showing that 76,500 students were away from school each day last year.

That's 10.2 per cent of students, up from 9.9 per cent in 2015.

The data showed 67.2 per cent of students were regularly attending school, down from a five-year peak of 69.5 per cent in 2015.

But it seems many parents aren't too worried - in fact they are contributing to the absenteeism with an increasing number of holidays taken during term time, according to the report.


The amount of holiday taken during term time climbed 50 per cent last year, accounting for 0.6 per cent of all class time, up from 0.4 per cent in 2015.

The average holiday length was 4.5 days.

It's an international issue - in Britain parents can be fined if they let children skip school during term. More than 50,000 tickets were issued in the UK in 2014/15.

The New Zealand data shows in 2016 Asian students were the most likely to go on holiday during term time.

But they also had the highest attendance record, with 77 per cent attending regularly, which is defined as being at school more than 90 per cent of the time.

They were followed by Pakeha and Middle Eastern/Latin American/African students at 70.5 per cent and 69.4 per cent respectively.

Among Pasifika students 57.2 per cent attended regularly, followed by just 54.7 per cent of Maori students.

The percentage of students regularly attending school fell across all ethnicities in 2016, but overall Maori and Pasifika students spent more than twice as much time truant as other groups.

South Island students have better attendance rates than the North Island. Otago/Southland had the highest attendance with 71.2 per cent attending regularly, with Te Tai Tokerau the lowest at just 55.9 per cent.

By high school girls' attendance was falling behind, although their absences were more often for justified reasons such as illness.

Only 43.5 per cent of female students were at school regularly by Year 13 compared with 49.9 per cent of male students.

In March police launched a major truancy operation across Auckland in a bid to reduce crime, targeting young people who were ditching school or not attending alternative education.

It saw officers patrolling locations where youths were known to congregate during school hours.

Inspector David Glossop said then that while truancy itself was not a criminal offence, there was a correlation between truancy and youths being offenders or victims of crime. It was also an indicator that there may be issues at home.