Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says the census is important for all communities.
It’s just a pity that one of those communities – New Zealanders – is an afterthought in the ethnicity category.
The NZ Centre for Political Research has a poll asking people if New Zealander should be an option in the census.
Muriel Newman explains that a change in the ethnicity questions in the 1980s means that the number of Maori is exaggerated.
I don’t know if she is correct. My concern is that the current choices are discriminatory.
What message does having European New Zealander at the top of the list of choices and having to tick other send to people who consider themselves New Zealanders but happen to be of Maori, Pacific Island, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, African . . . or any other descent?
If statisticians want to know about race, that is what the question should ask. If they really want to know about ethnicity then New Zealander ought to be an option.