Online census information out soon

Residents of Oamaru will soon be given details of how to take part online in the New Zealand census on March 5.

Oamaru has been chosen by Statistics New Zealand to act as a ''special administrative area'' for the census, the first since 2006, to test a way of streamlining the process for 2018.

The census was to have been held in 2011 but was postponed because of the Christchurch earthquakes.

Statistics New Zealand strategy and development unit project manager Phillippa Kidd said most residents would be expected to take part solely online, but there would still be an opportunity for those who wanted to fill in forms to do so.

''There will be parts of the very north of Oamaru that are still under the old process, where a collector will be out on the streets from February 16, delivering paper forms and internet access codes,'' she said.

''But for most of Oamaru and the area out to Weston, down to Thousand Acre Rd, fromFebruary 21, those people will start to receive a letter in the mail that will have all the information they need to go online and complete their census form.''

Mrs Kidd said those residents who still wanted to fill in paper forms would be given a contact number to call, to request that forms be posted out.

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz