Next census target 70% online

20/05/2014

Statistics Minister Nicky Wagner has announced that a new internet first model will transform how the next census is delivered and collected, and will increase the use of administrative data.

“The 2018 Census will have a target of 70 per cent of forms completed online, a workforce half the 7,500 used in 2013, and investment in systems and processes that support a future model that further utilises administrative data.

“A modernised census will deliver more timely and relevant data, which is important for regions that are changing rapidly and it will help inform decisions on how billions of dollars of government funding is spent.

“Modernising what was a dated model is also consistent with, and will contribute to, the government’s ICT Strategy, Better Public Services and the New Zealand Geospatial Strategy. . .

A trial was carried out in Oamaru with last year’s census to encourage people to fill in their forms online, although they could request paper versions which were delivered and collected.

About 65% of people used the online option which was nearly double the national rate.

This shows the online version was more convenient for the majority.

It shouldn’t take much to encourage most people to use the electronic version and it will result in a considerable saving in time and money.

 


If NZ was a village

04/12/2013

Statistics NZ has produced a graphic based on census data showing what New Zealand would look like if it was a village of 100 people.

Forty nine of the people are male, 51 female.

Fourteen of them are Maori and five of those are aged under 15.

Seventy people in  he village were born in New Zealand, 24 were born overseas and six don’t know where they

were born.

Seventy are European, 14 are Maori, 11 Asian, 7 Pacific, 2 are described as other and 1 is Latin American/MIddle Eastern/African.

Ninety people speak English, three speak Maori, 2 each speak Samoan or Hindi, and 1 each speak Northern Chinese,  French, Yue, Sinitic not further defined, German, Tongan, Tagalog, Afrikaans, Spanish or Korean.

Sevens peak other languages including NZ sign language.

Eighty people are aged 15 or older.

Four out of 5 have a formal qualification and three out of 5 Maori aged over 15 are in full time work.

The village has 10 professionals, 8 managers, 5 clerical and administrative workers, 5 trades people and technicians, 5 labourers, 4 community and personal service workers, 4 sales workers and 2 machinery operators or drivers.

Three men and one woman earn more than $100,001.

Four men and two women earn $70,001 – $100,000.

Thirteen men and 12 women earn $30,001 – $70,000.

Fifteen men and 25 women earn $30,000 or less.

Four men and four women didn’t state their earnings.

The difference in median income for men and women is $13, 400. The median for Maori is $22,500 with a median for Maori men of $27,200 and Maori women $19,900.

Two things stand out: there are no New Zealanders in the village and no-one involved in the agriculture, horticulture or other food production.


Cunliffe’s gloom not supported by stats

16/10/2013

Labour leader David Cunliffe dashed out a media release on Monday saying the census would show a regional exodus under National.

Census data being released tomorrow will depict a widespread exodus from the regions as provincial New Zealanders flee small towns forgotten by the National Government, Labour Leader and Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe says.

“Labour understands data being released tomorrow will show Kiwis are leaving towns that have been gutted by the hands off approach of this National Government.. .

But his understanding was wrong and his gloom is not supported by the statistics.

Results from the 2013 Census shows Labour and its leader have been caught making stuff up with population growth spread right across the country, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“Population growth occurred in 15 of the country’s 16 regions between 2006 and 2013 – hardly the widespread exodus from the regions as claimed by the Leader of the Opposition,” Mr Joyce says.

“Mr Cunliffe claimed people were leaving regions such as Taranaki in droves. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Taranaki grew by 5.3 per cent between 2006 and 2013 and has 5484 extra people now living in the region.

“He is also way off beam with his claims that incomes in the regions have fallen.

“Mr Cunliffe stated that real median weekly incomes have dropped by $24 in Taranaki. Wrong again. Since the 2006 income survey, real after tax weekly incomes in Taranaki have increased by $85. And the other examples he used for Southland and Waikato are also totally incorrect.

“This is a stunt that has backfired. There will be red faces all round in Labour following David Cunliffe’s embarrassing exaggerations and made up statistics.

“Labour will clearly stop at nothing to talk down the good progress being made across our regional economies.

“It confirms a bad start in the integrity stakes for the new Labour leader. He’ll have to do a lot better than this if he wants the public to trust him.”

The media release from Statistics NZ says Auckland grew fastest and South Island Districts grew most.

. . . “After Auckland, Nelson was the next-fastest-growing region, followed by Waikato. Southland turned around a declining population, growing by over 2,000 people in the seven years since the last census,” Ms MacPherson said. . .

The three fastest rates of population growth in district or city council areas were:

  • Selwyn district, up nearly a third to 44,595 people
  • Queenstown-Lakes district, up 23 percent to 28,224 people
  • Waimakariri district, up 17 percent to 49,989 people.

These three areas were also the fastest-growing between 2001 and 2006.

Earthquake refugees will have boosted population numbers in all three of these Districts but that’s not the only factor as they were growing before the quakes.

There is a case for slower growth in Auckland and faster growth in the regions.

But contrary to Cunliffe’s gloomy forecast, the regions are growing and National’s policies have done far more to help that than Labour’s high tax, high spending agenda would.


Why and where’s Waitaki grown?

08/10/2013

Population projections for the Waitaki District have been gloomy for years.

The trend has been for fewer people and the average age of those left getting higher.

But yesterday’s announcement by Statistics New Zealand of electorate populations from this year’s census shows that the Waitaki Electorate’s population has increased from 60,135 to 64, 962.

The electorate includes not just the Waitaki District but most of Central Otago, all of Waimate and Mackenzie Districts, part of Queenstown Lakes and part of Timaru City.

QLDC was expected to increase in population because of Queenstown’s growth but that town is in neighbouring Clutha Southland electorate, not Waitaki.

Wanaka, which is in Waitaki, has grown but more than 3,000 extra people would almost have doubled its population which is unlikely.

There’s been a mini boom in grape growing in Central which will have brought more people into the area but again I’d be surprised if it’s thousands.

Both Waimate and Waitaki Districts have had a big increase in dairy farming which increases employment opportunities on and off farm.

Could it be that anecdotal evidence of a population increase, and a lowering of the average age, because of dairying is reflected in official statistics?

The answer to why Waitaki has grown and where will come when more census data is released.


One of biggest electorates will get smaller

08/10/2013

Statistics New Zealand’s release of census data yesterday gives the first indication of changes in electorates.

  • The number of electorates will increase from 70 to 71 at the next general election.
  • The number of North Island general electorates will increase from 47 to 48.
  • The number of Māori electorates will remain at seven.
  • The number of general electorates in the South Island is set at 16 by the Electoral Act 1993.
  • In a 120-seat parliament (excluding any overhang seats), a total of 71 electorates will result in 49 list seats being allocated. This is one less list seat than in the 2011 General Election.
  • The Representation Commission can now review the electorate boundaries for the next general election.

The excel sheet under downloads on the link above shows population changes in electorates.

Kiwiblog has checked that out and found:

Since the 2006 census, the SI electoral population has grown by 3.7%, the NI by 6.6% and the Maori electoral population by just 0.9%.

The seats that are the most over quota and must lose territory are:

  1. Auckland Central 70,406
  2. Hunua 68,951
  3. Helensville 68,026
  4. Selwyn 67,818
  5. Rodney 67,134
  6. Wigram 65,433
  7. Waitaki 64,962
  8. Hamilton East 64,577
  9. Waimakariri 64,454
  10. Wellington Central 64,374
  11. Rangitata 64,142
  12. East Coast Bays 64,005
  13. Maungakiekie 63,274
  14. Epsom 62,990
  15. Tāmaki 62,779
  16. Tauranga 62,741

So those 16 seats must shrink. What seats are under the 5% tolerance and must grow:

  1. Christchurch East 45,967
  2. Port Hills 53,667
  3. East Cost 53,960
  4. Christchurch Central 54,104
  5. Rangitikei 56,364

The other 49 seats can stay the same size in theory. But it is likely many will have some change because of flow on effects from neighbours.

The migration after Christchurch’s earthquakes is probably the reason for most of the growth in Waimakariri and Selwyn.

They will lose some ground to boost the Christchurch electorates which now have too few people.

Selwyn might have to push south into Rangitata which will then extend into Waitaki, both of which are over quota. It would make sense for the area closest to Timaru which moved from what was the Aoraki Electorate into Waitaki, to be in Rangitata.

Waitaki will have to shrink. It is now 34,888 square kilometres in area, the third biggest general electorate in the country. Any reduction in its size will be welcomed by its MP Jacqui Dean and her constituents.


Who am I?

05/03/2013

Who am I is a fundamental question of identity.

Ethnicity is a fundamental piece of the jigsaw that provides the answer.

For census purposes an ethnic group is defined as:

 . . . people who have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • a common proper name 
  • one or more elements of common culture which need not be specified, but may include religion, customs, or language
  • unique community of interests, feelings, and actions
  •  a shared sense of common origins or ancestry 
  • a common geographic origin.

The group into which I best fit with that definition is New Zealander.

But those of us who consider ourselves to be of New Zealand ethnicity will have to tick other and write New Zealander in the box because the census doesn’t consider it important enough to have a category of its own.

At least this year we will be counted under that category. Until the last census anyone who wrote New Zealander was considered to be a European New Zealander. That gross act of official and discriminatory presumption must have miscounted a whole lot of people of all sort of descent who considered their ethnicity to mean a lot more than where there ancestors happened to come from.

But it is ridiculous that still New Zealander can only be a self-selecting after thought and not a category in its own right as it is in Australia.

If we can’t count in our own country how can we answer who we are – or should that be whaddarya?


Make census important for NZers

27/02/2013

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says the census is important for all communities.

It is.

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.

 

 

 


Time to count Kiwis

16/02/2013

The delivery of census forms starts today.

New Zealand is gearing up for the largest government-run activity this year, the Census on March 5th.

 Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says more than 7,000 census collectors will from tomorrow start delivering census forms to every home.

 “Included with forms is an internet access code for people to complete them online, which is a secure, quick and easy option.

 “The Government has set 10 Better Public Services results, including, New Zealanders can complete their transactions with the Government easily in a digital environment. The 2013 Census is an example of how we are doing that by making it easy for people to take part in this important event online.”

 Statistics New Zealand expects more than two million census forms will be completed online on Census day.

“If everyone in a household completes forms online then the census collector will receive a text saying they don’t have to return that address to collect them,” Mr Williamson says.

Official census collectors will be wearing a yellow identification badge and carrying a blue census bag.

The 0800 CENSUS helpline is also ready to take calls from the public.

The census is designed to count us all, but count us as what?

It’s entered the 21st century with the ability for people to complete the forms online.

But it’s still stuck in the 20th century with the options under ethnicity.

Ethnicity is defined as  a measure of cultural affiliation, as opposed to race, ancestry, nationality or citizenship. 

An ethnic group is made up of people who have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • a common proper name 
  • one or more elements of common culture which need not be specified, but may include religion, customs, or language
  • unique community of interests, feelings, and actions
  •  a shared sense of common origins or ancestry 
  • a common geographic origin.

But the options given are are New Zealand European, Maori, Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Tongan, Niuean, Chinese, Indian, Other such as Dutch, Japanese, Tokelauan.

This suggests that people of Maori, Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Tongan, Niuean, Chinese, Indian and all sorts of other descent aren’t ethnic New Zealanders  which is divisive and does not reflect our multicultural society.

If it’s  ethnicity not race they’re measuring, why are the only people who count as Kiwis, European New Zealanders or those who choose New Zealander in the other category.

It is high time our statistics moved into the 21st century and gave New Zealander as a proper option rather than an afterthought.

If enough of us choose that option it might force a change for the next census.


Census miscounts NZers still

09/01/2013

The census, which was cancelled in 2011 after the February earthquake in Christchurch, is taking place in a couple of months.

It will be very like the 2006 one which allowed us to  choose New Zealander as our ethnicity, but only in the other category.

A review of the official ethnicity statistical standard was initiated by Statistics NZ in 2008, after ‘New Zealander’ responses in the last census rose to 11.1 percent, from 2.4 percent in 2001. The scope of the review was wider than census but was used in conjunction with the census cognitive testing and research programme in decision-making for the 2011 Census. For more information about the research completed by the review and what this involved, see the Final Report of a Review of the Official Ethnicity Statistical Standard 2009.

In the review, most key users of census data stated that the format of the census ethnicity question should remain unchanged. They emphasised the importance of consistency in statistics across the Official Statistics System and the comparability of the ethnicity measure over time. These views reflect concerns that even a minor change in a questionnaire’s format can have unintended but significant impacts on responses and subsequent statistical outputs.
Some submissions to the review expressed a desire for greater visibility for ‘New Zealander’ responses. As with outputs from the 2006 Census, this will be done by having ‘New Zealander’ as a separate category (under ‘Other’) in several of the 2011 Census outputs. For an example of how ‘New Zealander’ responses in the 2006 Census were output, see QuickStats About a Place on the Statistics NZ website.   . .

The importance of consistency is obvious if those who use statistics are to be able to make comparisons between one census and another.

But some things change and cultural identity is one of those.

My mother used to refer to Britain as Home, even before she’d been there. That wasn’t uncommon for her generation and they probably didn’t think twice about claiming European ethnicity.

That is no longer the case for most of us.

Although, when you look at the definition of ethnicity, I’m not sure it ever really was:

Ethnicity refers to the ethnic group or groups that people identify with or feel they belong to. Ethnicity is a measure of cultural affiliation, as opposed to race, ancestry, nationality, or citizenship. Ethnicity is self-perceived and people can affiliate with more than one ethnic group.

An ethnic group is made up of people who have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • a common proper name 
  • one or more elements of common culture which need not be specified, but may include religion, customs, or language
  • unique community of interests, feelings, and actions
  •  a shared sense of common origins or ancestry 
  • a common geographic origin.

If ethnicity is a measure of cultural affiliation, as opposed to race, ancestry, nationality or citizenship why are the choices for ethnicity New Zealand European, Maori, Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Tongan, Niuean, Chinese, Indian, Other such as Dutch, Japanese, Tokelauan?

All of those seem to owe at least as much to race, ancestry, nationality or citizenship as they do to culture.

If some of us are supposed to be European New Zealanders, which particular European culture are we affiliated to?

I like Spain and its culture, I lived there for three months and have been back three times since then. But I couldn’t claim to have Spanish ethnicity and have even less connection to the many other European cultures.

Given the diversity of Europe it would be difficult to claim a cultural connection to it as a whole. If I identify with any culture outside New Zealand it would be, thanks to my tartan gene, the Scottish one. Scotland is now, thanks to EU membership politically aligned to Europe but that is very different from cultural affiliation.

The form acknowledges this by giving Dutch as an example under other.

Why do only those who regard themselves as having a European cultural affiliation get to claim to be New Zealanders?

It suggests that it isn’t culture but skin colour which matters.

It’s discriminatory and insulting that people of Maori, Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Tongan, Niuean, Chinese, Indian or any other descent don’t count as New Zealanders except under other.

I have a great niece and great nephew born here whose father is a Kiwi and mother is Argentinean. They are too young to define their cultural affiliation now but I am quite sure it wouldn’t be European.

The more I travel the more I am aware of New Zealand culture which includes elements of different cultures and races but which transcends them, recognises what we have in common and unites us as New Zealanders.

Consistency is important in censuses but so too is accuracy and the ethnic category is no longer accurate for our multi-cultural country.

The Australian census has New Zealander as an ethnic category.

It’s more than time we did too, recognising  New Zealander as category and not lost as a footnote among the others.


Enrolment stats

05/07/2012

Political tragics might be interested in the Electoral Commission’s enrolment statistics.

They compare the estimated population of eligible voters with those enrolled for the whole of the country with a breakdown by age:

Links below the graph take you to figures for individual electorates.

These figures are estimated for people 18 and older, not total population which is used for determining electorate boundaries.

Electorate size is calculated by dividing the total South Island population by 16. That number determines the number of people in each electorate with a 5% tolerance over or under that figure. The North Island is then divided into areas with a similar number of people, plus or minus 5%.

Last time boundaries were changed – in 2007 – the population of South Island electorates was 57,562 plus or minus 2,878 and in the North Island 57,243 plus or minus 2,862.

Boundaries are usually calculated every five years, after a census. Last year’s census was postponed because of Christchurch’s February earthquake, it will take place next March. The Boundaries Commission will then do its work.

Political parties will have to hold special general meetings in any new electorates or existing ones which undergo major boundary changes. There will be a degree of urgency about that so they can select candidates in plenty of time for the 2014 election.


Dalziel not ruling out mayoralty bid

30/11/2011

Quelle surprise – Labour MP Lianne Dalziel isn’t ruling out moving from central government to local government.

Dalziel said yesterday there were no guarantees the seat would remain within its current boundaries, or even exist, after the March 2013 census.

“I will stay full term but I’m not going to rule out going for the mayoralty because I don’t know what’s going to happen to the boundaries,” she said.

“I’m committed to serving my electorate for the next three years.

“I’m not going to retire from politics early and I will announce if I’m going to stand at the following election when we have the details of the new boundaries. That won’t be until the census has been taken.”

This is not unexpected, there’s been speculation that she would swap a seat in parliament for the Christchurch mayor’s chair for some time.

But what if the boundaries don’t change in the next three years?

The census was supposed to have taken place this year which would have left plenty of time for boundary changes to be worked out before the 2014 election.

But the postponement to 2013 would put pressure on the boundary setting process and even more on parties which wouldn’t be able to begin selecting candidates until the new boundaries were settled.

Parties usually start preparing for candidate selection early in the year before the election which is the year of the next census.

It would be at least the end of that year before boundary changes were confirmed, less than 12 months before the next election.

That doesn’t give parties much time to set up electorate structures, hold the special general meetings needed to form new electorates then select candidates.

The census was postponed because of the earthquake, it might be better to postpone the boundary changes too so they don’t take effect until the 2017 election.


Census on hold

25/02/2011

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.


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