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CENSUS debacle must never happen again

NZ Maori Council sees another Maori electorate on the horizon but more needs to be done to ensure the CENSUS debacle never happens again

The New Zealand Maori Council has cautioned the nation and policy makers on the 2018 Census figures released today and indicated that while some work has been done the fact that Maori remained unrepresented as a national figure in the tally on the day more must be done. The Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council has also said that while the number of Maori electorates has remained the same the fact that Maori continue to be one of the fastest population growth demographics that nothing should count out an additional Maori electorate into the future:

“We all know the way the last Census was conducted was pretty average. We all know that Maori were hugely under represented and that the plan to go online missed the point that not everyone had access or was able to access the forms. There continues to be a lot to be said for boots on the ground. We also know that Stats NZ was trying to develop other counting and referencing methodologies but at the same time the statements around the fact they would be of a high quality and high standard have missed the mark – the Data Quality Panel has already lowered that to moderate.” Tukaki said

“The other point I made several months ago was the way Iwi data was going to be assessed and rounded out – and I am pleased to see that the decision not to publish, even though it should have been forefront of their minds at the outset, is probably the right decision. But; my caution is to those policy makers, Treasury officials and others out there who would use the absence of high quality data to pull back from funding; especially rural and remote areas of the country with known high Maori population groups.” Tukaki said

“In 2015 the estimate of the Maori population was 712,000 and by the time we arrived at 2018 it had trended to more than 740,000. According to Stats NZ we will reach an estimated 910,000 by 2025 – and our growth rates are seeing higher than average birth rates, we are younger and more highly mobile. We explore more, we do more and we are more. In order to really understand the Te Ao Maori world many were relying on a high quality of data – that didn’t happen and it can never happen again.” Tukaki said

“That is why the Council has been engaging with Statistics New Zealand over the last several months and have Had conversations with them about where to go from here and what more needs to be done. I am convinced they have learnt the lessons of the past and again commend Liz McPherson for taking responsibility – I wish more senior public servants and politicians followed her example.” Tukaki said

“I also have a message for the former National Government under who’s watch this debacle unfolded – you have not escaped the scrutiny of Maori and you need to front up and apologize for this occurring on your watch. And as for the current Minister – spinning your wheels doesn’t always make the car move forward – you’ve learnt your lesson now get on with fixing the problem.” Tukaki said

ends

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