Statistics Minister James Shaw needs to take responsibility for his part in the abysmal handling of the Census 2018 debacle, National’s Statistics spokesperson Dr Jian Yang says.
“The resignation of Chief Statistician Liz MacPherson is appropriate given how badly Census 2018 was botched. But she should not be a scapegoat for James Shaw whose failure to show leadership played a significant part in this mess.
“The Minister needed to be more involved in his department. He should have asked more questions of his Statistics NZ leadership team and demanded better results from them.
“But he chose to be a hands-off Minister instead. He was missing in action when things were going wrong – off on a Pacific Island junket while his officials were left to clean things up.
“He let things spiral out of control to the point where much of the data may no longer be useful. That creates enormous problems for the billions of dollars in funding for health, education, police and other vital services that depend on reliable Census numbers.
“This failure also has massive implications for the next election with reliable data required to draw accurate electoral boundaries and decide the number of seats in Parliament.
“James Shaw was too relaxed about the problem. He brushed off any criticism as ‘scaremongering’, but today’s damning report shows there were very real issues he wasn’t across.”
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.”
The mismanaged and incompetent process behind the 2018 Census is so substantial I’ve published a full report into it, National Spokesperson for Statistics Jian Yang says.
“Census 2018 is a debacle on many levels, it has been a failure of organisation, leadership, equity and transparency from the Coalition Government. My report ‘Census 2018 – A multi-fold debacle‘ highlights what went wrong and the effect it will have.
“The Census is a critical component in the planning process for issues around social and economic wellbeing, political participation, electoral boundaries, the planning of health, education and other social services.
“We’ve seen 700,000 non-completions, multiple delays to the release of the data, and now they’re trying to plug the missing data gaps with inadequate information from Government agencies.
“A change in definition of ‘non-completions’ has also meant that the already poor 10% of non-completions would actually have been 15% under the previous definition.
“It’s appalling that such an important process has been so poorly managed, and Statistics Minister James Shaw continues to ignore the mistakes that have been made.
“My report distinguishes the sheer scale of the issue at hand, how it got to this point, and dissects the misinformation being spread by the Government to cover themselves.
“Census 2018 has been a disaster, and the Government needs to acknowledge what has gone wrong.”
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.”
Statistics NZ is refusing to disclose the proposition of completed responses to Census 2018 in an extraordinary standoff with Parliament, National’s Statistics spokesperson Jian Yang says.
“We know Census 2018 was a shambles with the lowest participation rate ever and over 400,000 people not counted. It now appears there is a major problem with the completion rates for those who did participate,” Dr Yang says.
“The Chief Statistician is further damaging the reputation of Statistics NZ by playing games with Parliament by refusing to disclose this number, despite repeated requests.
“The refusal by the Chief Statistician to provide this information was critically commented on in the Governance and Administration Committee Report tabled in Parliament this week.
“The Chief Statistician told the committee when she appeared on 13 February that this number was available and would be provided in writing, she then wrote declining to provide the figure, saying it needed ‘extended contextual information.’
“The Select Committee was not satisfied with the response and asked her to reappear but she again refused to give the number. The Committee has taken the extraordinary step on invoking Standing Orders and requiring an answer.
“Parliament is entitled to know the size of the statistical hole from those who did not participate, as well as those who did not complete Census 2018. The refusal to provide this information is inconsistent with the Government’s pledge to be the most open and transparent ever.
“There are huge implications for New Zealand from the botched 2018 Census with tens of billions of dollar in funding allocated on the basis of the data, as well as the important electoral boundaries for the 2020 election.
“Statistics New Zealand needs to come clean on the problem so good decisions can be made for the future of New Zealand.”
Statistics Minister James Shaw’s failure to show leadership and be out of the country when Census 2018 was falling to bits has meant that next year’s Budget will be developed on 2013 population statistics, National’s Statistics spokesperson Dr Jian Yang says.
“This is the second time Stats NZ has announced the data release is taking longer than expected. Stats NZ delayed publishing statistics from October 2018 to March 2019.
“Stats NZ is now unsure when the data will be released, stating it will not be in a position to confirm this until at least April next year – 13 months after the Census was conducted.
“Census data is central to the funding allocation model used by the Ministry of Health for the 20 District Health Boards (DHB) involving over $10 billion a year. The Ministry intended on using the 2018 census data for the Budget 2019 process.
“But it is now looking more likely that the Ministry of Health will be forced to allocate funding based on 2013 population estimates. With strong population growth occurring since the last Census, this has the potential to adversely affect DHBs as usually reliable statistics are turned into guesswork.
“DHB’s won’t be the only ones affected, the funding formula for the operating grants for our 2500 schools is derived from the census as are decisions about the allocation of resources in social services, police, sports, transport and other services.
“The makeup of the next Parliament due to be elected in 2020 depends on the census data as electorate boundaries are re-drawn. Mr Shaw’s absence is increasingly make it look like electoral boundary changes that are vital to our democracy will have to be rushed through at the last minute.
“This will confuse New Zealanders in 2020 as they will not have much time to confirm their electorate should changes happen.
“The entire handling of the 2018 Census has been abysmal. The Minister needs to step up and take some responsibility and assure New Zealanders that this debacle will not happen again.”
媒体联系人 杨健 博士
联系电话 09 5221535