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The problems with Census 2018 continue with the population data out today, a year late, and the scramble to complete electorate boundaries for the 2020 election, National’s Electoral Law spokesperson Dr Nick Smith says.

“It is difficult to have confidence in today’s population figures and the decisions on the allocation of General, Maori and List seats when 16 per cent of New Zealanders did not complete Census 2018 and when Statistics New Zealand acknowledges eight per cent of people cannot be placed in a specific place.

“National’s preference was for Election 2020 to be conducted on the same boundaries as for 2017 and for a new census to be conducted in 2021.

“The timetable is becoming incredibly tight with the new electoral boundaries now not to be finalised until April 2020 and the election scheduled to be only a few months after that.

“The key issue for National is the accuracy of this population data. It is inevitable that the backfilling of data for the 800,000 people who did not complete the census will not be as reliable.

“National has doubts as to whether these numbers are sufficiently robust for determining the boundaries for electorates for the 2020 Election.

“We will be closely scrutinising today’s reports and the process through the Representation Commission to determine whether we can have confidence in the final outcome.”

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