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Census vital stocktake of NZ housing

3 February 2006

Cosgrove: Census vital stocktake of New Zealand's housing situation and ownership

It is vital people fill out both 2006 Census forms, in order for the country to best prepare for its future housing needs, says the Minister of Statistics, Clayton Cosgrove.

The March 7 census comprises an Individual Form to be filled out by each occupant of a house, and one Dwelling Form for the entire household.

Mr Cosgrove, who is also Minister for Building Issues, says it's pleasing the media has picked up on the importance of counting who New Zealanders are. But he says the latter form provides an accurate picture of our national housing stock – information that is vital for building companies, the construction industry, retailers, and also for the energy sector, local councils, and government agencies.

The Dwelling Form asks how many people live in the dwelling, what sort of building it is, how many storeys it has, the relationships between people living there, is the dwelling mortgaged or rented, is it owner-occupied, the numbers of rooms, and how the dwelling is heated.

A new question in the 2006 census is whether the dwelling is held in a family trust, to reflect the increasing trend of people transferring home ownership into trusts. "This will help assess the true nature of property ownership, especially given the apparent declining level of private home ownership," says Mr Cosgrove.

He says the data will help show what people's housing needs are, and also help shape government policy surrounding energy efficiency in homes, for example.

Questions about cell phones, phone lines, the internet and other facilities in the house, are also of great importance in understanding New Zealanders' access to information and technology.

"This second form contains important reasons for people to fill in their 2006 Census forms," says Mr Cosgrove.

ENDS

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