Census was a missed opportunity – NZ First

But one demographic expert supports it, saying it adds to NZ's "richness".

This week's census was a lost opportunity to ask new and pertinent questions, according to New Zealand First.

And a top analyst who submitted question ideas in advance forgot to suggest one about whether households had enough to eat.

New Zealand First internal affairs spokesman Andrew Williams says a question about home heating should also have asked about insulation or if there were leaky building issues.

As well as asking people how they got to work on a single day, he says people should also have been asked how often they used public transport and whether they lived within walking distance of public transport.  

Mr Williams says there could have been a range of new questions to reflect major issues facing the country.

"The census cost the government a lot of money, doesn’t come around often, and we should maximise every opportunity to get relevant information so the country can progress."

Waikato University's National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis director Dr Natalie Jackson says there could have been new questions added to reflect today’s society, including one about whether households are getting sufficient food to eat.

Dr Jackson submitted question ideas in advance of the planned 2011 census and says, in hindsight, she could have suggested that one.

But she told NBR ONLINE most questions need to be the same or similar from census to census in order for statisticians to compare apples with apples.


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