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Media advisory – 14 April 2011

Statistics New Zealand restarts regular surveying in Canterbury

Statistics New Zealand has restarted regular surveying of Christchurch businesses and households, aside from residential areas and businesses identified as being most affected.

Statistics New Zealand stopped all information collection in the South Island for three days after the February 22 earthquake. It then resumed collection in the South Island except Canterbury. On 7 March it reduced the survey exclusion zone, meaning only the Waimakariri, Selwyn, and Christchurch local authority areas were not to be surveyed.

Government Statistician and Chief Executive of Statistics New Zealand Geoff Bascand said the organisation had now further reduced the surveying exclusion zone to enable it to keep providing information about what’s happening in New Zealand, including the impact of the earthquake.

Mr Bascand said Statistics New Zealand had resumed surveying businesses throughout the Canterbury region about employment, accommodation, building activity, and for the balance of payments and consumers price index. Letters and survey questionnaires are now going out to businesses for data on retail and wholesale trade and manufacturing.

“We will not be contacting some businesses we know to have been severely impacted and we will take care with businesses that we can expect to have been affected given their location,” Mr Bascand said.

Christchurch households selected to participate in the Household Labour Force Survey and Household Economic Survey are now being approached.

“Sampling for these household surveys are not including homes in the worst affected residential areas. We’re balancing respecting what Christchurch people have gone through and wanting to avoid asking people for information who have other priorities, against the need to collect information so we can provide useful statistics.

“There is an obligation to participate in our surveys in order to ensure the results are representative and high quality, but we’re taking a sensitive approach in Canterbury to responding given the varying situations of businesses and people.

“We urge people to participate where they can. The information we collect is important to agencies assessing the impact of the earthquake on the region and nationally. The statistics help them plan for the future.”

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician  

14 April 2011

For media enquiries contact:
Colin Marshall, Senior Media Advisor, Strategic Communications
04 931 4630 or 021 285 9191

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