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Census Form Processing Starts

2006 Census Processing: April 2006

4 April 2006

Census Form Processing Starts

With the collection phase coming to a close, the task of processing data from the 2006 Census has begun. Government Statistician Brian Pink thanked the public for their support, "I am very pleased with how well the census has gone to date. The public response has been very positive and all but the last few forms have now been collected," Mr Pink said.

District Supervisors are following up forms that still need to be collected with reminder letters and visits. "If anyone has not had their census forms collected, we ask them to call the helpline or post their completed census forms back, free of charge," Mr Pink said. The helpline number is 0800 CENSUS (0800 236 787), and the postal address is Census 2006, Statistics New Zealand, Freepost 189240, Private Bag 4950, Christchurch.

"Improvements to the processing system and questionnaire design have reduced the time required to compile census information," Brian Pink said. "Around 400,000 forms submitted online are already entered in the system".

Processing starts with the scanning of completed paper census forms. Three scanners will take 50 days to scan all the questionnaires, operating six days a week, and each scanning 40,000 questionnaires a day. Specially designed software converts the marked boxes, numbers and handwritten words into digital format.

Once the forms are scanned, 128 staff will spend five months processing the data. They will key in information the software has not recognised, code those responses, and check the information.

The first information from the 2006 Census will be the provisional counts of all people and occupied dwellings in New Zealand on Census Day. These counts provide an early indication of the number of people and dwellings present in New Zealand on 7 March and will be released on 29 May 2006. Statistics New Zealand will release final census data from late November 2006, just eight months after Census Day. More detailed information and analysis will be provided from February 2007.

Information provided by individuals in the census is kept totally confidential. An individual's information cannot be identified in the statistics that are released. Names and addresses are not included in the statistical records.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician


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