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2006 Census sets new benchmarks

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Minister of Statistics

Embargoed tilll 10:45 am on 6 December 2006 Media Release
2006 Census sets new benchmarks

Statistics Minister Clayton Cosgrove today welcomed the release of the first results of the 2006 Census, saying that this Census in particular had set new benchmarks for New Zealand in quality data collection.

Speaking to journalists at the official launch of the 2006 Census in Wellington this morning, Mr Cosgrove said the 2006 Census was the first to offer a national Internet option for people who preferred to fill their forms online.

"The results show nearly 400,000 people or around 7 per cent of New Zealanders took up this new online option," he said. "The successful uptake of this technology has paved the way for reducing processing costs and making responding to future surveys easier and faster."

Mr Cosgrove said the 2006 Census was also the first to ask if people had placed their homes in family trusts – a factor that was likely to affect the perception of home ownership rates in New Zealand.

"As Minister for Building and Construction I am very keen to see the Dwelling form data that will show household occupancy rates, the types of dwellings people live in, home ownership levels and peoples' home heating choices. There have been many changes in these areas and the 2006 Census will give us a stronger understanding of who owns houses and other dwellings, and the impact of factors such as family trusts."

Mr Cosgrove said he was also pleased the Government Statistician has been able to release Census regional data three months earlier than the 2001 Census.

"These Census results offer a major contribution to understanding who we are and how we are changing as a nation," said Mr Cosgrove. "Getting this important data to local authorities and other decision makers quickly puts them on a strong footing for making the right decisions, by having the latest information."

Mr Cosgrove said ethnicity was just one of the questions raised in the Census that offered an insight into New Zealanders' national identity.

"The Census, above all other sources of information, tells us where and how we live, how much we earn, our qualifications, and who we are as a people. It helps us to better understand New Zealand families and how we can plan for their needs," he said. "The location of businesses, schools, parks, police districts, and electorate boundaries for example, all use statistics from the Census."

Mr Cosgrove said he would like to thank all those who worked to make the 2006 Census a success.

ENDS

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