Census delayed, missing data
One in seven New Zealanders did not fully complete the 2018 Census, according to information from Statistics New Zealand.
Statistics New Zealand chief executive Liz MacPherson provided information to Government On Wednesday indicating 700,000 Kiwis either didn’t partake in the survey at all, or did not fully complete the survey.
The release of the 2018 data has already been delayed several times.
Motu Economic & Public Policy Research executive director John McDermott said of the 15 staff at Motu, "six will use Census or Census-related data nearly every day".
"This research feeds into policy decisions that make a difference to the future wellbeing of New Zealanders. Without official Census data, anecdote and intuition would reign without evidence to support or debunk partisan vagaries."
"Nobody can deny that the 2018 Census was problematic," McDermott said, and researchers were concerned that the less relevant data wouldn't be taken as seriously, "because in 2019 what politician cares what was happening six years ago?"
University of Otago Professor of Public Health Peter Crampton agreed on the importance of Census data for good policymaking.
"For example, in the health sector, the major funding formula for all DHBs is entirely dependent upon accurate population counts and other demographic data."
He said it was possible to predict which groups would most likely be undercounted by the Census.
"Typically these groups include a preponderance of marginalised, disenfranchised, high-needs people, whānau and communities — those for whom good social policy is of the highest priority."
The SMC gathered expert reaction about the 2018 Census.