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Ethnic question in Census still confusing

Gerry Brownlee MP

National Party Deputy Leader

25 February 2006

Ethnic question in Census still confusing

National's Deputy Leader is disappointed that despite 78,000 people describing themselves as New Zealanders at the last Census, Statistics New Zealand still refuses to give them that choice on the official forms.

"Most of us thought we'd won this battle, but that perception is wrong," Gerry Brownlee says.

This year's Census forms do not contain an option for those who nominate themselves as New Zealanders. Instead the Department will now record people who write New Zealander in the space provided, as a distinct and separate category.

"I, for one, will be writing New Zealander in the space provided and I'd encourage others to do the same.

"Agreed, Statistics does need to collect information on our ethnic make-up.

"But why can't it do that at the same time that it provides those of us who were born and bred in New Zealand with the opportunity to say we are New Zealanders? And those who came to this country to become New Zealanders?

"Ethnic make-up is different from national identity. Perhaps it's time officials realised this rather than perpetuating the myth that we are country that is ethnically divided," says Mr Brownlee.


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