A Hastings man summoned to court after failing to fill in the
2013 census has completed the forms and talked his way out of
Thomas Martin appeared in the Hastings District Court this
morning after he received a court summons last month
informing him he was facing a charge of failing to supply
Outside court Mr Martin told the Hawke's Bay Today he had
decided to plead guilty to the charge and fill in the forms
after getting legal advice.
But he still disagreed with being forced to fill in the
"I feel they get enough information in the first place. I got
served over not filling in papers. I just don't get it but
(duty solicitor Richard Stone) advised me to do it."
When the case was called Mr Martin told Judge Bridget
MacIntosh he didn't think he should be fined as he had
already filled in the forms.
Judge Mackintosh initially said she would fine Mr Martin $150
of the maximum $500 fine.
"They need all this information so they can collect it all up
and use it as they see fit for allocating funding, that's why
you've got to play the game."
Mr Martin told the Judge he didn't think it was right for him
to be fined.
"I don't think I should be paying a fine in the first place,
I've filled it out."
Judge Mackintosh decided that Mr Martin would instead be
convicted and discharged as it was the first time he had
appeared before the court.
She told him to go and post the forms before leaving town.
Mr Martin said he was "rapt" to have avoided the fine.
Jo Reilly, a lawyer acting on behalf of Statistics New
Zealand, said Mr Martin's partner had already filled in forms
for the dwelling. Mr Martin told the Hawke's Bay Today last
month that he has never filled in a census.
"I'm definitely defending it. I don't fill the census in on
principle, I never have. They get enough information about us
anyway from various departments."
He believed the prosecution was a "money grabbing scheme".
"It's a piece of paper, is it worth fining people and taking
people to court over? Haven't they got better things to do?
Just because I wouldn't put pen to paper, I can't see the
sense in it."
Statistics New Zealand Census general manager Sarah Minson
said last month prosecuting those who refused to fill in the
Census was standard practice.
"After every census we identify a number of cases to take
through the prosecution process. There are 100 from the 2013
census that are going through the District Courts at the
According to the Statistics New Zealand website, population
information from the census helps determine how billions of
dollars of government funding is spent in the community.
It is used to make decisions about services like hospitals,
schools, roads, public transport and recreational facilities.
The website states Census information is also used to decide
electorate boundaries and by councils, community groups and
businesses to plan for the future.
- Hawke's Bay Today