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Census has been an utter, utter, utter failure – why isn’t anyone being held responsible?

By   /  April 11, 2019  /  22 Comments

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Just like the Housing NZ meth house abortion, just like the Kiwbuild fiasco, just like stealing Māori children into a state care system that abuses them, just like a dozen other neoliberal hollowing out of a Public Services, we’ve been left with a service that doesn’t serve the public, it serves the bureaucrats and then the bureaucrats get flustered that the public have nothing but contempt for them.

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The Stats NZ logo

So 700 000 NZers didn’t even bother doing the flawed and failed Census…

Stats NZ finally fronts: 700,000 Kiwis didn’t complete Census

Around 700,000 people did not complete the 2018 Census, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Chief executive Liz MacPherson has finally given the country’s politicians more information – and National MP Nick Smith claims the total number of partial respondents and non-respondents totals 700,000.

More than a year since the Census was completed, MacPherson wrote a letter to MPs with more information – but still not the full Census figures.

…after lying and hiding for a year, Stats finally and shamefully admit they fucked it up horrifically, And what is the Minister’s response? Why threats that critics should back off…

‘Back off’: James Shaw’s warning to National over Census criticism

Statistics Minister James Shaw has warned National to “back off” their attacks over the 2018 Census.

For the first time last year, the Census moved from paper copies and door-to-door collection to online.

…back off???? How about Fuck off! This cock up was National’s fault, they went down this rabbit hole because they were conned by the Wellington Mafia (aka the Public Service) that the cool kids were online and so should they be. There was some extra funding allocated, but it was so it would cost less moving forward but what they refused to understand was that NZers wouldn’t trust or willingly engage with an online survey.

Just as TDB predicted, the online Census was a total failure

The 2018 Census had the lowest response in more than 50 years – now a team is looking for answers.

Statistics NZ had urged Kiwis to complete their census online in 2018, however one in ten people didn’t respond, a drop of five per cent from the last census that concerned Statistics Minister James Shaw.

… without a person coming to your door and actually identifying you and prompting you to fill the form in, a lot of NZers didn’t bother.

Only a fool would fill out a census online in the post-Snowden world where everything can be hacked.  The less the Government knows about you, the better.

The greatest joke is how the Wellington Mafia spent so long trying to claim it was a success…

When Stuff asked Stats NZ in July what went wrong, it did not answer the question but instead said: “We’re pleased with the online response and performance of the online system for 2018 census. Eighty two per cent of responses received were online which surpasses our target of 70 per cent.”

…when these Wellington bureaucrats force online voting, it will be a similar failure.

Poor people without access to the internet, crap planning and shoddy follow through mixed with a contempt for giving the Government information that can be hacked all contributed to this fiasco.

Wellington bureaucrats will get away with the incompetence and no lessons will be learned.

So how do Stats NZ intend to recover from this self inflicted fuck up? Why the good old Compulsory Survey…

Take this survey, or else – Stats NZ threatens busy woman with prosecution
A Statistics New Zealand employee appears to have threatened a Hamilton woman with prosecution for not filling out a survey.

The woman’s partner, who asked to remain anonymous, posted a photo of the threat on Facebook.

“This is a compulsory govt survey. I am the local area leader for Stats NZ and we will pursue prosecution if you fail to comply,” the note reads.

“We are somewhat dismayed at you refusing to talk to [us].”

The threat was scrawled on a note bearing an official Statistics NZ letterhead. The pre-printed message reads: “You have been selected to participate in a Statistics New Zealand survey. Sorry I missed you when I called today.”

..that’s right, Stats NZ will threaten randomly selected families to fill out their compulsory survey or else risk prosecution so they can fill in the enormous gaps left by their online abortion.

Just like the Housing NZ meth house abortion, just like the Kiwbuild fiasco, just like stealing Māori children into a state care system that abuses them, just like a dozen other neoliberal hollowing out of a Public Services, we’ve been left with a service that doesn’t serve the public, it serves the bureaucrats and then the bureaucrats get flustered that the public have nothing but contempt for them.

Why hasn’t anyone been sacked?

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  1. Castro says:

    Welcome to No Zealand. What’s that? No one knows. Who’s in No Zealand? No one knows. What’s a No Zealander? Anyone who is here and who wants to be one, including someone who stepped off the plane yesterday but who speaks zero Maori or English (or NZ Sign Language), for example. 😉

    Is No Zealand a First World country? No. Is No Zealand a “western” country? No. Is No Zealand a country? Well.. err.. um… “Go! The Mighty All Blacks!”

  2. CLEANGREEN says:

    I hear you Martyn,

    Probably the average kiwi is hiding from these ‘snoops’ when they come to their door to do these surveys because so many people are so secretive now and scarred of the “big brother’ police state collection of our lives and activities.

  3. Afewknowthetruth says:

    Martyn, although the failure of the census may seem important, in the grand scheme of things, it is not.

    The supposed purpose of censuses is to assist in planning for the future, yet all the planning by bureaucrats is dysfunctional…..geared to maintaining business-as-usual, even when it is abundantly clear BAU will not operate for much longer.

    There are dozens of ‘issues’ but planetary overheating is clearly one that will ‘demolish’ BAU. In the face of warnings, bureaucrats have encouraged development (houses and other infrastructure) on land that has been known for decades to be at extreme risk. Even now, with some sectors of officialdom finally admitting sea level rise and other aspects of overheating will be ‘faster than previously thought’, the true risk is not acknowledged.

    Remembering that there is enough ice on Greenland to raise global sea/ocean levels by around 7 metres, we should be horrified that the Arctic ice cover is currently the LOWEST EVER for the time of year and is declining at a phenomenal rate!

    Remembering that Arctic ice is a highly influential in ameliorating runaway greenhouse, should we should be horrified that there is a possibility of an ice-free Arctic THIS SEPTEMBER?


    The ramifications of rapid overheating include disruption to the food supply (as do other factors like Peak Oil), which will clearly impact the population. Yet ignorance, complacency and stupidity continue to reign supreme in official circles.

    • Actually, Afewknowthetruth, I consider it vital for my research and presentation of evidential-based writing critical of government policies.

      Case in point, Stats NZ fudging the definition of what constitutes unemployment. I considered the new criteria so narrow as to make further reporting of unemployment and under-employment an utter waste of time.

      I view Stats NZ’s failure with the recent Census with considerable disquiet. Without good, accurate data, we have no way of measuring a government’s progress or failures. Add to that populist, grinning, deceptive ponytail pullers who are casual with the truth, and we have a real problem.

      • Jody says:

        The Stats NZ definition of employment is not only ridiculous but harmful. One hour of paid work per week? No wonder the employment figures are so buoyant. No wonder government and business inertia and spin has ensured wages and benefits remain dangerously low. Where did they get this definition from? It typically takes more than one hour to drive to work in Auckland.

      • Afewknowthetruth says:

        ‘Without good, accurate data, we have no way of measuring a government’s progress or failures.’

        I totally agree that we need good data, Frank.

        What concerns me is that government officials do not have good data on anything that matters. When it comes to long-term planning, the narratives promoted by officialdom are generally predicated on infinite growth on a finite planet.

        Well, we know that infinite growth [of population, of energy use, of consumption of resources, of generation of pollution] is mathematically impossible and therefore any official plan based on it is absurd.

        The effect of effect of the dysfunctional planning we have been subjected to is to drive society progressively ‘off the cliff’ of overconsumption and the generation of pollution.

    • Paul Schofield says:

      So very true, the truth is that as a billion or two start to starve, or are displaced and are on the move hungry and angry, humanity will turn on each other like feral cats. Those with the means will fish the seas empty and shoot the hills clear. This plus death from heat exhaustion is in the not far off future. Very sad but do we face up to the challenges. Nope. Just carry on starting wars and spend our national treasure on developing ever more evil killing machines to use. Soon the cry will be on many people. Watch out then for biological weapons release. If you doubt this, just study our history.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      God I love AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH;- as the truth comes with riveting words of resonance that we all need to take as gospel now; – because today the Government warned us that “greenhouse gases increased 27% from 1990 to 2017 and was caused by farming and transport as the highest contributors.


      When will they ever learn to do whats right?. – We have called for rail to lower greenhouse emissions greatly but Government ignores our calls.

      Then Greenpeace came out firing on all cylinders. A must watch.


  4. RED BUZZARD says:

    James Shaw is incompetent

    …and the setup was under John Keys watch

    ….probably deliberate

    …how many houses are foreign owned and empty in Auckland?…how much land elsewhere is owned by foreigners?…who?

    • Leaps says:

      Nice deflection.
      The design of the 2018 census was set up under National’s reign and any cockup falls squarely on their shoulders.
      However as always with bureaucrats and politicians they will all want to hide under rocks to avoid any fallout from this.
      If the Labour alliance are smart they will put this under the microscope to find out who made the key decisions and at the very least embarrass the heck out of them.

  5. Lucy says:

    I do care that the census was stuffed up because all decisions for DHB’s, roading, education, and a number of other agencies are based on these statistics. I don’t want a civil servant to be dumped because of the previous Governments failure, but I do want to know that the people in control know how to fix the census going forward.

  6. mgray says:

    The national party have breached the TOW again by not ensuring the Census was conducted properly how are they suppose to protect us as people and treaty partner when they haven’t bothered to collect the necessary data and there lack of action, funding and urgency shows they really don’t care. There policies have also been detrimental to our Maori people and ANY stats will show how poorly they have actually performed as a government.

  7. mgray says:

    the census if done properly would have showed national up so why do a good census when its not in your best interest

  8. Keepcalmcarryon says:

    “Only a fool would fill out a census online in the post-Snowden world where everything can be hacked. The less the Government knows about you, the better.”

    Bearing this in mind I’m going to be interested to hear your views on a gun register in the coming months.

  9. Mike the Lefty says:

    When I was completing the census form, it became apparent just what a total nothing exercise it was.
    Perhaps that was at least partly due to online completion being the default method, and if you wanted a paper form YOU had to do the work to get one.
    A good argument for those who don’t want online voting for elections.
    Trying to do things on-the-cheap often doesn’t work too well, does it?

  10. RED BUZZARD says:

    The census needs to be done again completely with personal deliveries, personal instructions and then a collection again by the same professional people

    …this was the way it was done in the past….thoroughly and professionally….even motor camps and motels were visited on census night…and the illiterate and the unsure were given professional support in answering questions

    ….you could not get out of it because the same people who delivered it came and collected it and made sure you had answered all the questions

    ….it is too important to be stuffed up by John Keys National Government trying to hide the real statistics and the real situation in New Zealand

    ….all sorts of crookedry

    ….and why is James Shaw is trying to cover up ?

  11. KJT says:

    We have already sacked those rresponsible. They are no longer the Government.

  12. Samuel Bellamy says:

    Three years running we were “randomly” selected by Statistics NZ to provide information about our special needs child.
    Interestingly, our child is high functioning, so they are mainstreamed. We have never sought an official diagnosis, treatment, funding or any services – so how did Statistics know? They would not say.
    Each time we were threatened with prosecution if we did not complete their phone survey.
    Needless to say, I was really engaged and really wanted to help Statistics NZ with their very personal questions.

  13. peterlepaysan says:

    Actually what has happened is that the once {mostly) independent public service has been taken over by the ssc which has been manipulated by ruling parties and or their proxy spinmeisters.

    We no longer have an independent public service.

    The statistics debacle is but a pimple compared to what has happened in other areas.

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      As Martyn Bradbury has pointed out, climate change poses an existential threat to humans (and most other species on Earth); it is therefore THE PRIMARY ISSUE (unless you happen to believe some other factor will wipe out humans before overheating of the planet does). Martyn’s assessment is based on scientific evidence, as is mine.

      However, some people have a remarkable capacity for denying scientific evidence. The fact that there is a time delay between emissions and the full manifestation of their consequences makes denial somewhat easier. The rate of change atmospheric CO2 is so fast the Earth is still ‘catching up’ with previous emissions.

      ‘The last time Earth had comparable levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide was about three million years ago, during the mid-Pliocene. Back then, global average temperature was about 3.6–5.2°F (2–3°C) warmer than it is today. Sea levels were also higher, by about 15–25 meters.’


      So, 2-3oC warmer and many metres of sea level rise are already ‘locked in’, even if we were to turn off industrial civilization tomorrow.

      At this point of time I don’t believe the ultra-rapid meltdown narrative promoted by Guy McPherson -that interaction of feedbacks and loss of global dimming will lead to a spectacular rise in temperature in a decade or so that will lead to rapid extinction.


      However, it is blatantly obvious there will be massive changes to society over coming few years, as energy becomes less available and more expensive and as the environment overheats.

      Most people -including those who think the population will continue to rise over coming decades and those who think energy will continue to be abundant and cheap- seem to be totally unaware of the massive changes that have been on the horizon for years and are now starting to bear down on us.

  14. Z says:

    I found the biggest let down to be the questions.

    It missed a great opportunity to delve into why we have people who cannot meet their basic cost of living.

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