Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson and and Government Statistician Geoff Bascand have announced that the census which was due to be held on March 8 has been called off.
The decision has been made after extensive consultation.
“This is not the time to go door to door asking New Zealanders for information when they’re dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake,” Mr Williamson said.
“It’s unthinkable that we would ask this of people. It would be an unfair burden and distraction at a time when they are grieving.”
There has been extensive damage to Statistics New Zealand buildings with significant impacts on census staff.
Mr Bascand said he acknowledges the decision will have consequences for people who use the census data in their work.
“We will now investigate the feasibility of alternative options,” Mr Bascand said.
This is a sensible decision but not one without consequences.
Among those will be the re-drawing of electorate boundaries which is carried out after each
6- 5 yearly census.