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Feedback sought on ethnicity statistics

Embargoed until 10:45am – 27 April 2009

Feedback sought on ethnicity statistics

Statistics New Zealand is looking for feedback on the way official ethnicity statistics are collected and reported.

Official ethnicity statistics count the number of people in different ethnic groups in New Zealand, such as Māori, Pacific peoples, Chinese, and Indian.

Ethnicity statistics are used by government, service providers, and communities to plan and deliver programmes, particularly in the health and social services sectors.

During the 2006 Census there was much debate about ethnicity, including a high-profile public campaign for the inclusion of a ‘New Zealander’ tick-box in the census ethnicity question.

Given the level of public concern and the need to ensure the ongoing quality and usefulness of statistical information gathered in the census, Statistics New Zealand decided to review the ethnicity measure through research and consultation.

Statistics New Zealand today released a discussion paper that details preliminary views of the issues and includes draft proposals to address them.

The paper recommends no changes to the ethnicity question for the 2011 Census.

Initial consultation and research suggests that including a ‘New Zealander’ tick-box would alter the meaning of the question so it is more about nationality and less about ethnicity. This could affect the accuracy and usefulness of the data collected.

Interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the views and proposals in the discussion paper. The Government Statistician will consider this feedback when deciding what, if any, measures or changes are required in future.

Feedback is required by 25 May 2009.

Geoff Bascand

Government Statistician
27 April 2009


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