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Dress Rehearsal for Census 2001

Statistics New Zealand is holding a dress rehearsal for the 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings on Tuesday 7 March this year.

Around 12,000 households in Tauranga, Gisborne, the Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata are being asked to participate in the dress rehearsal. These areas have been selected to help test the design of the census forms, the methods of delivering and collecting the forms and the processing of information.

Statistics New Zealand has found a dress rehearsal to be invaluable when planning previous censuses and is hoping that the response from the public will be just as positive for this one. The Government Statistician, Mr Len Cook said, "although participation in the dress rehearsal is voluntary, the contribution of all the selected households will be really important in making Census 2001 work well".

The dress rehearsal is the final large-scale test of the processes that are being put in place for census day on Tuesday 6 March 2001. The aim of the dress rehearsal is to make sure all parts of the census run smoothly. This will help make taking part in the census easier for people and ensure that the best possible census information is provided.

The dress rehearsal will use two different form types - English forms and M ?ori and English language forms. Bilingual forms were first introduced in the 1996 Census. In two of the areas the M?ori and English language bilingual forms will be delivered to all households taking part and in the other two areas bilingual forms will be provided on request. They can be requested from the enumerators, who deliver and collect the forms, or by phoning the census Helpline on 0800 80 2001.

Statistics New Zealand is sending a letter to notify households that have been selected to take part. Enumerators will call on these households from around 22 February to deliver the forms. After the dress rehearsal day on Tuesday 7 March, enumerators will begin collecting the completed forms, and they will continue to collect them up to Sunday 19 March 2000. Statistics New Zealand has set up a toll free Helpline, 0800 80 2001, to help those taking part in the dress rehearsal with any queries they may have.

The confidentiality of information provided in the dress rehearsal is protected by the Statistics Act 1975, as is the case for the census. Information can only be used for statistical purposes and the disclosure of information that would identify an individual is prohibited. As the dress rehearsal is a test, no data will be published and, after the dress rehearsal, the forms will be destroyed.

The census is a five-yearly stocktake of the New Zealand population and its housing, which involves everyone in New Zealand on census night. The information it provides underpins good decision making for communities, iwi and government.

Len Cook

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