Minister needs to be up front on census strategy

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson needs to be up front about his plans for the national census, says Labour’s Statistics spokesperson Raymond Huo.

“There has been speculation for some time that the Minister is considering a shift from the current five-yearly, to a once-in-a-decade census.

“This would be a bold move and New Zealanders deserve to know if that decision is in the pipelines,” Raymond Huo said.

The 2011 census was cancelled due to the Christchurch earthquake, making the 2013 census in March of critical importance for the allocation of health, education and local government resources into the future.

“With rapid international advances in census technology, New Zealand should be well-placed to improve any inefficiencies in the system without the need to alter its frequency.

“Yet it seems the Minister has no plan for a progressive rethink, no plan to align our census with global settings, and contrary to his IT background, he has no sign of embracing modern technology in census-taking models and approaches.

“I believe he should view this census as a chance to catch up, to raise the profile of the census and make a real contribution in terms of how New Zealand manages itself into the future.

“But instead, the Government’s resident ‘Rip Van Winkle’ impersonator is saying nothing – he’s probably still sleeping off his Christmas dinner,” Raymond Huo said.