Still time to fill out your census


Northland's 286 Census collectors are back on the streets today to collect the forms filled out on census day from 73,000 homes and 2800 other dwellings in the region.

For census day - Tuesday - 6.4 million census forms were delivered to 1.8 million homes around the country, and now they have to be collected.

"Census collectors are back on the streets today beginning the pick-up of forms that have not been returned online," Census 2013 General Manager Carol Slappendel said.

"The delivery to, and collection of census forms from, all households in New Zealand takes at least 550,000 working hours. If one person had to do the job on their own working eight hours a day, 365 days a year, it would take them 188 years."

"Luckily Statistics New Zealand has a team of 7000 trained collectors who will do most of this task over a six week period."

Ms Slappendel said if people have not completed your census forms there is still time.

"If everyone in your home completes your forms online, the collector may not need to call back. If you want to fill in your forms on paper you just need to do so before your collector calls back," she said.

"If for some reason you still have not received your census forms, or if you need extra forms, please contact the census Helpline on 0800 CENSUS (0800 236 787). Everyone who was in New Zealand on the night of March 5 must complete a census form."

Apart from census information being important for future planning decisions by businesses, councils and community groups, it is a legal requirement to participate in the census, Ms Slappendel said.

Under the 1975 Statistics Act, those who don't participate or provide false or incomplete information can be fined up to $500, with a further $20 a day until the forms are completed. About 70 people were prosecuted for failing to complete the 2006 survey, with more than half convicted.

Go to www.census.govt.nz for more about the 2013 Census.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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