A census will be held in March 2013, after this year's March 8 count was deferred due to the February 22 Christchurch earthquake.

The Duties of Statutory Officers (Census and Other Remedial Provisions) Bill was passed by Parliament last night, and amends the Statistics Act 1975 and the Statutes, Drafting and Compilation Act 1920, Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says.

The census is the official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand and gives a unique snapshot of our communities.

"Businesses, community groups and local government need this critical information," Mr Williamson says.


"It also means the Maori Electoral Option and the review of electoral boundaries can still go ahead before the 2014 election."