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Background

Census Transformation programme

In March 2012 the New Zealand Government agreed to a Census Transformation strategy that has two strands:

  • a focus in the short-to-medium term on modernising the current census model and making it more efficient
  • a longer-term focus on investigating alternative ways of producing small-area population and social and economic statistics. This includes the possibility of changing the census frequency to every 10 years, and exploring the feasibility of a census based on administrative data (Statistics New Zealand, 2012a).

The next census in 2018 will be significantly modernised, including an online completion target of 70 percent and re-use of administrative data to support collection and processing.

Continuing to meet critical information needs must underpin decisions on the future of census. Investigations into the long-term direction for census are focused on developing an understanding of future census information requirements, and the ability of administrative sources to meet those requirements.

See Census transformation in New Zealand for further information about the census transformation programme.

About this paper

This paper outlines enduring census information requirements for and about Māori. In particular we wish to distinguish which aspects of census information are absolutely essential to provide, regardless of the approach to obtaining census information.

We outline the Treaty of Waitangi obligations and legal obligations for Statistics New Zealand to provide census information for and about Māori, and present other key customer requirements.

We find that variables that define Māori populations (Māori ethnicity, Māori descent, and iwi) and information about te reo (Māori language) are all essential requirements for a census to provide. These variables establish what information for and about Māori must be provided by any future census model and they form part of the criteria against which potential future census models will be assessed. In addition, there is an established need from both Māori and the Crown for information across the broad topics of education, income, work, health, households and families, and housing.

The feasibility of obtaining these and other census information from administrative data sources is being investigated in other Census Transformation work.

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