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Shaw defends Census shambles: 'We didn't create this mess'

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 30 April 2019, 9:59AM
Statistics Minister James Shaw has defended the information received from the latest Censis. (Photo / Getty)

James Shaw is offering assurances that the information used to determine hospital funding and electoral boundaries is accurate, despite the debacle around the last Census.

Statistics New Zealand has been left scrambling to fill in the gaps after 700,000 people didn't fill out last year's form. 

The Government has announced they will be pumping $6 million into fixing the issues, along with an extra $10 million to get ahead of the next Census.

However, Statistics Minister James Shaw told Mike Hosking the information from the last census that determines funding for District Health Boards and electorate boundaries is very good. 

"When it comes to the general population count, that's the high-level data..that we use for DHB funding and electorate boundaries, it actually looks like that is going to be even more accurate than previous Censuses and that's because it has been subject to a level of rigour that no other Census population count has been."

He said while the Government didn't create the mess, it is their job to fix it and that's what the extra funding is for. 

"I have met with Stats officials virtually every week since I got into office and the Census has been on the agenda at most of those meetings.'

Shaw said the red flags that were raised were mostly surrounding the online component of the Census. 

"When I came in, we went through those and made sure that they had a good risk mitigation plan [and] in fact, the online component of the Census appears to have been far more successful than they were anticipating."

He said Statistic New Zealand have been working incredibly hard to plug the gaps in data.  

"We need to let Stats get on with the job of plugging the holes."

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