An Alexandra man is calling foul over an ''unfair'' prosecution following the 2018 census.

Grant ''Tussock'' Sanders is one of 60 cases which Stats NZ have lodged throughout the country over people not completing census forms last year.

The 67-year-old landscaper now has a court date next month for neglecting to fill in individual and dwelling census forms, a breach of Section 43(1) of the Statistics Act 1975.

The maximum penalty for a charge is a $500 fine.


Sanders said he only recalled one visit from Stats NZ about a month after the census day of March 6, 2018. He confirmed he was unable to complete the census electronically as he does not have the internet.

''The law states statistics filled in prior to or on that day [census day]. If you're signing it, you're signing a document you can't guarantee.''

He said his conversation with a census collector lasted no more than two minutes and there was no talk of any repercussions.

A charging document which Sanders received a fortnight ago outlines one prior visit when Mr Sanders refused the census form packs. Two refusal letters, and a notice of liability were also sent to Mr Sanders' address with census forms to complete.

''I'm pretty certain they didn't,'' he said.

A Stats NZ spokesman confirmed seven cases in the Otago and Southland districts. Three had been convicted and fined and one other had been convicted but had escaped a fine.

Mr Sanders is one of two yet to appear in Otago.

The handling of gathering the census last year has come under heavy criticism.


Stats NZ announced last month 89% of the total number of records come from 2018 census forms and 11% comes from other government data.

National MP Nick Smith claimed the total number of partial respondents and non-respondents totalled 700,000.

A Stats NZ spokesman said while it was a legal requirement to take part in the census, it was not practical to prosecute everyone who had not taken part.

''Cases have been prioritised based on a number of criteria, including whether there was an active refusal to take part in the census or a strong negative or abusive attitude displayed towards census staff.''

Mr Sanders said it was ''unfair to pick out a handful of people''.

Last month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government would spend $6million to remedy census issues.

Minister of Statistics James Shaw also announced $10million would be provided to enable Stats NZ to get ahead of the next census.

Stats NZ will begin releasing the census data from September 23.