Over the next couple of weeks New Zealanders will be asked to complete their census form on Tuesday 6th March
Every five years Statistics New Zealand takes a “snapshot” of the country by asking exactly how many people live in our towns and cities.
The results help us plan for our future and this year can be completed online.
WHAT IS THE CENSUS?
The census is the official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand.
WHO IS COUNTED AND WHO IS NOT?
The census counts every person who is present in New Zealand at midnight on that night. Whether you’re a citizen, resident or tourist, you are counted. Census forms are delivered to hostels, hotels and even cruise ships to ensure visitors to New Zealand or those who are away from home can take part.
Forms are also taken to hospitals, camp grounds, workplaces, and the airport: Anywhere people might be found at midnight.
WHY DO WE DO THE CENSUS?
By asking everyone to complete a set of questions about themselves and their household, Statistics New Zealand is able to get a snapshot of who is living in, and visiting, New Zealand. It provides information to ensure good decisions are made for New Zealand’s future.
DO I HAVE TO?
Yes, the Statistics Act 1975 requires everyone in New Zealand on census day to take part. If you don’t participate, or if you provide false or incomplete information, you could be fined. People who choose not to fill out their census forms can be fined between $50 and $500.
In 2013, Statistics NZ announced about 100 people would be prosecuted for not completing their census forms.
WHEN IS IT?
The official day is March 6. Historically, the census has always been held on a Tuesday in March. According to Stats NZ, this is the month and weekday that New Zealanders are least likely to be travelling.
WHAT DOES IT ASK?
You will be asked all the usual questions: Your name, age, sex, marital status and how many children you have.
You’ll also get to talk about your ethnicity, iwi affiliation, birthplace, languages spoken, and religious beliefs, whether you smoke or have a disability as well as your education and qualifications.
There’s a section on location: That’s your census night address, dwelling address, usual residence, how long you’ve lived there and where you lived five years ago.
The census will also ask how many people live in your home, how many rooms there are, how many vehicles you own, and what you pay in rent.
This year there is also a range of new questions on housing quality, asking about dampness and mould.
WHAT IS MY INFORMATION USED FOR AND WHO CAN ACCESS IT?
Population information from the Census then helps determine how billions of dollars of government funding is spent in the community, McGregor said. It is used to make decisions about services like hospitals, schools, roads, public transport and recreational facilities.
Information taken from the census can only be used for statistical purposes.