November 29, 2018
Low Census uptake means iwi information deficit
Gaps in collecting Census data could affect both the make up of the next parliament and the ability of iwi to plan for the needs of their people.
Statistics New Zealand says it can't release the first results of the 2018 Census until at least next April, as it struggles to incorporate other government data sets to make up for a lower than expected response rate.
University of Auckland statistics lecturer Andrew Sporle, a founding member of Māori data sovereignty group Te Mana Raraunga, says there was a push for people to fill out the census online, and there weren't enough resources put into reaching people who weren't able to do so.
The result was a response rate of only 90 percent, with the Māori rate likely to be signficantly lower.
The census is used in setting the number of Māori seats, and it is also used to measure iwi populations.
"For most iwi the Census provides the kind of profile of what is going on for their people, all the demographic stuff and the income and even where people are. We may not end up with good quality iwi information because if the Māori count is as low as some of us suspect, that is going to affect the accuracy of the iwi information we get from the 2018 Census," Mr Sporle says.
Census data is used to allocate Government resources, so Māori and regional interests could miss out.
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