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Stats NZ has missed another deadline as Census 2018’s Independent Review report, due out in July, has been delayed, National’s Statistics spokesperson Jian Yang says.

“Stats NZ has stated repeatedly that the report would be released in July 2019.

“It is now 1 August and we are yet to see anything. Last year’s Census resulted in a historically low national response rate of 83.3 per cent, down from 92.2 per cent in 2013. New Zealanders deserve to know why it was such a shambles.

“Stats NZ tried to bump up the numbers by quietly changing how they calculated the response rate, but even when counting people who had only filled in their name and date of birth rather than full responses, the national response rate was still only 87.5 per cent.

“Alarmingly, using the original method, the response rates for Māori and Pacific Islanders was just 68.2 per cent and 65.1 per cent respectively, compared with 88.5 per cent and 88.3 per cent in the 2013 Census. The response rate for the Asian population also dropped 10 per cent to 81.7 per cent.

“Just last week, Government Statistician Liz MacPherson admitted to deeply regretting the ‘unacceptably low’ response rates for Māori and Pacific Islanders. Minister of Statistics James Shaw should also be taking responsibility for the botched Census and explaining to New Zealanders where they went wrong.

“The Independent Review was set up to find answers as to why Census 2018 was such a failure, but 16 months on from Census day we are still waiting to see a report, and there must be huge concerns for the validity of the data set to be released on 23 September.

“Census 2018 is an important data tool which affects funding for District Health Boards, schools, and other vital services. The sooner Stats NZ get their act together and explain what went wrong with Census 2018, the sooner they can start regaining the trust of New Zealanders.”

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