Stats NZ’s confirmation that the problems with Census 2018 is not just with the record low response rate, but a doubling in the partial response rate compounds the problems for the State Sector, says National’s State Services Spokesperson Nick Smith.
“We now know over 700,000 people or one in seven New Zealanders did not complete Census 2018. This leaves a huge data hole that will create problems for years in allocating tens of billions of dollars in funding for central state services like health and education, as well as affecting electorate numbers and boundaries for Election 2020.
“Stats NZ needs to accept responsibility for the 2018 Census shambles. It cannot blame the funding when it was 36 per cent greater than Census 2013 and when this budget was underspent. It cannot blame the digital strategy when Australia successfully delivered its 2016 Census with a 95 per cent response rate using a similar strategy.
“Stats NZ botched the delivery of Census 2018 by excessively relying on online responses and providing insufficient neighbourhood backup for others. It compounded the problem by dismissing concerns expressed by Census field offices, commentators and the National opposition when the Census could have been retrieved.
“The problems with Census 2018 are so bad that consideration should be given to deferring the electoral boundary changes for 2020 and bringing forward the next Census to 2021.
“It is bizarre that on the same day Stats NZ has admitted major holes in its Census data, it is proposing a raft of new indicators for ‘spiritual health’, ‘sense of belonging’, ‘ability to be yourself’, ‘locus of control’ and ‘sense of purpose’.
“Stats NZ needs to focus on hard data like accurately counting population.”