Census forms on their way

Census collector Melanie Eady and St Kilda district supervisor Bruce Beath role-play at a...
Census collector Melanie Eady and St Kilda district supervisor Bruce Beath role-play at a training seminar at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Whether you live at the top of the world's steepest street, on an island in the middle of Otago Harbour or are staying on a cruise ship, census staff will track you down.

From today, census staff will visit homes throughout the country to hand out forms in preparation for census night on March 5.

The Census of Population and Dwellings is a chance to find out who New Zealanders are, and where and how they live. The information is used by many groups to decide how to provide the things New Zealanders need, such as hospitals, schools and roads, Statistics New Zealand says. As the 2011 census was deferred because of the February Christchurch earthquake, the 2013 census is even more important.

Otago-South Canterbury area manager Bryan Bishop said there were 19 district supervisors, including 10 in Dunedin, organising the distribution of papers in their areas.

In Dunedin, 180 collectors would each visit about 250 dwellings during the next few weeks, issuing papers and guide notes.

Census forms could also be filled in online, with a provided user code.

''It's secure, quick and easy,'' Mr Bishop said.

People could start filling out their forms as soon as they received them. In Dunedin, forms would be left at all accommodation providers to cover the 2500 visitors expected in the city for the New Zealand-England cricket test match, being held at the University Oval from March 6 to 10.

Also, 3200 forms would be distributed to those on board the cruise ship Carnival Spirit, which would berthed at Port Chalmers on the day.

''It's a snapshot of the night in the city.''


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