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Stand Up and Be Counted

2006 Census Day: March 2006

7 March 2006

Stand Up and Be Counted

Everyone in New Zealand today will take part in the 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings, including visitors. The facts gathered by the census will provide a complete snapshot of the nation as it is on 7 March 2006.

Government Statistician Brian Pink described the census as an invaluable national resource. "This five-yearly ‘picture’ allows us all to plan ahead," he said. "If anyone has not received their census forms yet, we advise them to call our toll-free helpline so we can get forms to them," said Mr Pink.

The helpline number is 0800 CENSUS (0800 236 787). For more than 100 years, the census has provided the information needed by community groups, businesses and government to make planning decisions.

"Let’s say the census shows an area has a lot of families with young children – that means a new school may be needed, or the parents may decide to make a case for a playcentre," said Mr Pink.

"There may be an opportunity for a new supermarket or service station, or the local council may decide to develop a new swimming pool, sports ground or library."

The census has reflected changes in everyday life in New Zealand over the years. "In the 1945 Census, we asked about flush toilets and hot water; in 1956, we asked whether people owned a refrigerator or an electric clothes-washing machine; in 1966, we asked about radios, television sets, telephones and vacuum cleaners. We now ask about cellphones and Internet access," said Mr Pink.

The information people write on their census forms must be kept confidential by Statistics New Zealand and is protected by the Statistics Act 1975. Census information can only be used to prepare and publish statistics. These statistics must be reported in a way that cannot identify individuals. For example, everyone's census information is combined to produce data such as the average income of New Zealanders, but an individual's personal income cannot be made public.

Mr Pink thanked the public for their cooperation while the forms were being delivered. "We appreciate the positive response we've had from the public. The census relies on everyone in New Zealand taking part, and completing their forms correctly so that the statistics produced are accurate," he said. Collection of completed census forms starts tomorrow, Wednesday, 8 March.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

ENDS

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