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Access To Census Results To Be Free Of Charge

9 May 2002
Budget 2002

From late May detailed 2001 Census results will be available free of charge on the Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) website, Statistics Minister Laila Harré announced today.

She said the new policy will save universities, councils, businesses and communities tens of thousands of dollars.

“Improving access to official statistics was a key priority for me as Minister of Statistics, and free access to census data is a pretty exciting development.”

Speaking at a Social Sciences graduation ceremony in Hamilton today, Laila Harré said SNZ will receive $617,000 over the next four years to fund public access to Census data, $455,000 of which will be allocated in this year’s budget.

Known as Census Table Builder, the programme will be accessible via the SNZ website (www.stats.govt.nz) and allows users to build tables based on census data specific to their information needs.

The table building facility can pull information from over 300 census databases and where comparable can provide comparative information from the 1996 and 1991 census.

Tables can be built around geographical area, ethnic group, age gender, educational qualifications, income and employment.

“For instance, the system could produce information on the characteristics of 15 to 19 year old Maori women living in Tokoroa as a first step in developing local employment solutions,” Laila Harré said.

“It will also help local authorities, community boards, health boards and community organisations to plan services. It will help schools better understand the communities in which they operate.”

Up until now Statistics New Zealand has had to charge for this information via paid subscription to the Supermap service.

This cost a minimum of $3300, and up to about $25,000 depending on the level of information required.

Laila Harré said this cost has been a major barrier to access for many communities, particularly those on limited budgets carrying out important demographic research into the shape of New Zealand society.

“The issue of access to Census data had also been raised with me by a wider variety of people, from journalists to students and others who just wanted to be able to access a rich source of information that they had a hand in generating.

“This change also means that businesses and economic development agencies that would previously have paid for such information can now spend their money in other areas.

“This initiative will contribute to the Labour-Alliance Coalition’s goal of having an inclusive and innovative economy, and provides tangible evidence of the benefits of e-government,” she said.


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