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The census isn’t adding up, what’s Stats NZ hiding?

Jian Yang - Statistics

6 April 2019

Statistics NZ is refusing to disclose the proposition of completed responses to Census 2018 in an extraordinary standoff with Parliament, National’s Statistics spokesperson Jian Yang says.

“We know Census 2018 was a shambles with the lowest participation rate ever and over 400,000 people not counted. It now appears there is a major problem with the completion rates for those who did participate,” Dr Yang says.

“The Chief Statistician is further damaging the reputation of Statistics NZ by playing games with Parliament by refusing to disclose this number, despite repeated requests.

“The refusal by the Chief Statistician to provide this information was critically commented on in today’s Governance and Administration Committee Report tabled in Parliament.

“The Chief Statistician told the committee when she appeared on 13 February that this number was available and would be provided in writing, she then wrote declining to provide the figure, saying it needed ‘extended contextual information.’

“The Select Committee was not satisfied with the response and asked her to reappear yesterday but she again refused to give the number. The Committee has taken the extraordinary step on invoking Standing Orders and requiring an answer.

“Parliament is entitled to know the size of the statistical hole from those who did not participate, as well as those who did not complete Census 2018. The refusal to provide this information is inconsistent with the Government’s pledge to be the most open and transparent ever.

“There are huge implications for New Zealand from the botched 2018 Census with tens of billions of dollar in funding allocated on the basis of the data, as well as the important electoral boundaries for the 2020 election.

“Statistics New Zealand needs to come clean on the problem so good decisions can be made for the future of New Zealand.”


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