Government Statistician Liz MacPherson is facing a contempt of parliament charge after refusing a select committee request for information on last year’s census:
In an unusual move, a select committee invoked a standing order compelling Statistics NZ chief executive to produce the number of partial responses were received in Census 2018.
This is not a partisan request, the whole committee is seeking an answer.
National state services spokesman Dr Nick Smith said the committee unanimously decided such an extraordinary measure was required after MacPherson again refused to answer on the basis it would require “extensive contextual information”.
“It is the first time ever that I have seen a select committee having to use its powers to require a public servant to provide an answer to a basic question.
“I can only draw the conclusion that Stats NZ has something to hide.”
This is public information. The refusal to supply it begs the question: what is she trying to hide and why?
Last year’s census was a shambles and the failure to provide parliament with the information requested does nothing to improve confidence in it.