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Source: New Zealand Government

  • 3500 census workers on the ground, twice as many as last census
  • More forms to be delivered – 44% compared to 3% in 2018
  • Prioritisation of Māori and other groups and regions with lower response rates in 2018

Major work to ensure the delivery of a successful census in 2023 is underway, after a low turnout in 2018 was caused by the previous Government’s decision to move the 5 yearly survey to a mostly online approach. 

Statistics New Zealand announced today that the next census will be held on 7 March, 2023.

“The 2023 Census will have more of everything – more boots on the ground, more paper forms, more hours worked and more community engagement,” Statistics Minister David Clark said. 

“Census data is used to plan infrastructure like water and roads, to build and resource services such as hospitals and schools, to support community applications for funding, and in the setting of electoral boundaries, so it is critical we get it right.”

The previous National-led Government decided to shift the census to a mostly online survey and, at the same time, directed Stats NZ to cut costs over two census cycles. That resulted in a lower than usual coverage.

“In particular the 2018 Census did not achieve a comprehensive population coverage for Maori and Pacific peoples.

“As a result we are doubling the number of census workers on the ground and increasing the number of paper forms that will be delivered. This will help to plug any gaps we experience from digital returns.

“The 2018 Census was underfunded by the previous Government. Since then the Government has invested approximately $110 million more into the census to ensure a successful result in 2023.

“A big focus of the additional funding is investment in particular initiatives to raise response rates for population groups that have faced the most barriers, or have had the lowest response rates, historically,” David Clark said.

Associate Minister of Statistics Meka Whaitiri said a lot of work has gone into ensuring the nationwide survey will increase the response rate for Māori.

“Census data is used to make decisions about the planning, funding and delivery of services that impact Māori, whānau, hapū and iwi,” Meka Whaitiri said.

“One of the new initiatives for the 2023 Census includes Te Mana Whakatipu, a pilot to build iwi data analytical capability and to deliver iwi-led collections in two locations where response rates have been lower in the past.

“Led by Te Kāhui Raraunga, the operating arm of the Data Iwi Leaders Group, 2023 Census data will be collected by iwi collectives in the Far North by Te Ōhua and on the East Cape – by Toitū Tairāwhiti.

“I encourage all iwi groups to participate and promote Census 2023 to ensure the Government can meet iwi data needs. The aim is to increase response rates across the motu, ensuring the 2023 Census delivers quality data for Māori,” Meka Whaitiri said.