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The announcement of another delay for the release of the 2018 Census data means it will be almost a year since the first deadline, showing the complete and utter shambles the Census has turned into, National’s Statistics spokesperson Jian Yang says.

“It’s staggering the first tranche of data is being released almost a year late and will not only be missing iwi affiliation data, but the more detailed information, such as data around housing quality, households and smoking is likely to be low quality.

“Not only are we missing key data, but some of the data we do have is going to be substandard.

“Iwi affiliation information is particularly important for us to better understand the socio-economic difference within Māori and to facilitate ethnic reconciliation.

“The Census is also our only source of detailed socio-economic information about local communities and other small population groups, such as migrants, children, older people, and single-parent families.

“Stats NZ says they’ll use Government agencies to plug the gaps, but they’ve also admitted how inadequate that is, as using Government data to compensate for missing data is not a silver bullet for all the information that a Census traditionally provides’.

“But with 700,000 Kiwis failing to complete their Census forms, those are significant gaps Stats NZ is trying to plug with unreliable data.

“Stats NZ has already missed the deadline for Budget 2019, if they miss their new deadline and don’t get the data out this calendar year it’s likely they will miss Budget 2020 too.

“Census 2018 has been a botched job. The Government showed how much interest it’s taken in the Census when the Stats Minister wasn’t even in the country on Census day.”

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