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Hon Scott Simpson

Minister of Statistics

25 May 2017

$4.5m to explore census transformation

$4.5 million of new operating funding over the next three years will allow Stats NZ to explore new ways of obtaining and providing census information without the expense and inconvenience to New Zealanders of a full five-year census, Statistics Minister Scott Simpson says.

“Being able to produce census data without being tied to a five-year cycle by using existing government data would mean more information can be gathered at a lower cost and be delivered to users on a more regular basis,” Mr Simpson says.

The investment will investigate whether existing data, such as birth and deaths datasets, can be used to replace what is gathered through the census while maintaining confidentiality of personal information.

“The funding allows Stats NZ to develop new ways of analysing data to provide the information that New Zealand needs most. The result of this investment will be that Stats NZ can confidently recommend a census model fit for the modern data environment we now live in,” Mr Simpson says.

“Census information is incredibly valuable to New Zealand. It helps determine how billions of dollars of government funding is spent in the community. It is also used to help make decisions about which services are needed and where they should be - such as hospitals, kĊhanga reo, schools, roads, public transport and recreational facilities.

“This work complements the upcoming 2018 Census. Investing in how we collect and produce information about New Zealand in the future fits alongside the modernisation already underway for the 2018 Census. In next year's census everyone will be encouraged to take part online if they can, so Stats NZ can deliver data faster and more efficiently.

“Results from the transformation research are being published regularly on the Stats NZ website, including experimental population estimates and technical reports of the new methods being developed,” Mr Simpson says.

Media contact: Brian Anderton 021 919 859

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