Census army hits Rotorua streets

By matthew.martin@dailypost.co.nz, Matthew Martin

With more than 24,000 homes to cover in the district, staff at Statistics New Zealand's Rotorua base have their work cut out for them.

All know their work is hugely important for the nation as the information gleaned is used to plan for the future.

Census staff are out and about delivering census forms to each of the 24,542 dwellings in the district in time for census day on Tuesday, March 5 when a snapshot of the entire country's population will be taken.

Staff started delivering forms on Saturday and will return to collect forms after March 6, but if you complete your form online they will not need to return.

Waiariki/King Country area manager Tracey Curry is encouraging everyone to complete their forms, preferably online, but she said the important thing was for everyone to complete one.

The census is the official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand.

The information is used by government, councils, iwi, businesses and community groups to plan for the future and can determine how much is invested into each part of the country.

Questions cover everything from age, ethnicity, religion, language and income.

A census is usually taken every five years but, due to the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, was postponed until March this year.

"We have had no current data for seven years, so this census is very important. Agencies all over the country are screaming out for the new data," Mrs Curry said.

"Every person, regardless of age, gets a form and there's one for each dwelling as well.

"Information is used to set electoral boundaries for next year's general election and for things like how many pre-school children there will be in an area so the Government can plan for more schools and teachers."

Mrs Curry said the hardest part of the census was getting the information from people who fall into the non-private dwelling category, which includes people staying in hotels or motels, hospitals, prisons, oil rigs and the homeless.

For example, staff will be heading down to Kuirau Park with pizzas in an effort to get some of the city's "rough sleepers" [homeless] to fill in forms as well.

"We even have a DoC worker out visiting all of the DoC huts in the region ... and every tourist in the country gets one too," Mrs Curry said.

The census form has 48 questions to answer for individuals and 22 for each dwelling.

You will not be able to complete an online census on a smartphone.

All the information collected is confidential and is only used for statistical purposes - Statistics New Zealand does not share any of the information with any other government department.

Census information will be released by the Government Statis-tician in December.

Census staff will be set up in the Rotorua District Library from 10am to 2pm on March 2, 3, 4 and 5 to help people fill out their forms. You must bring your form with you. For more details visit www.census.govt.nz.


New Zealand Census

  • Is held every five years

  • Is a snapshot of the nation taken on March 5

  • The March 2011 census was postponed due to the Christchurch earthquake

  • Costs the Government $72 million to complete

  • Filling in census forms is compulsory under the Statistics Act 1975

  • Is completely confidential, no other private or government agencies have access to census forms

  • Is for statistical purposes only

- Rotorua Daily Post

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