Make census important for NZers


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.




ETS survey


The New Zealand Centre for Political Research is carrying out a survey to acertain support for an Emissions Trading Scheme.

It asks: 

 1. Do you support the introduction of an Emissions Trading Scheme into New Zealand?

2. Do you believe that man-made carbon dioxide is causing global warming and endangering the planet? 

3. Do you believe that an Emissions Trading Scheme will reduce global warming?

4. Do you believe that an Emissions Trading Scheme will impose significant costs on the economy?

5. Do you believe that New Zealand needs an Emissions Trading Scheme? 

My responses are:

1. Probably not in general and definitely not in the form before parliament now.

2. I don’t know.

3. No, and it may do more harm to the environment by exporting production from countries with higher environmental standards to others with lower requirements.

4. Yes – and consequently increase social problems associated with a declining economy.

5. Regardless of the science, politics demands we do something to reduce carbon emissions. If we don’t our trade will suffer because of non-tariff barriers. The challenge is to find a “something” which will have the greatest environmental benefit at the lowest economic and social cost.

We have only one world. We have a responsibility to look after it and there are good economic, social and environmental rasons for doing so. But that requires an emission reduction scheme not a trading scheme.

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