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Earthquake forces cancellation of census

Friday 25 Feb 2011 10:08 a.m.

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson (NZPA file)

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson (NZPA file)

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The Government has announced the cancellation of the March 8, 2011 census this morning .

Tuesday’s devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch has made it impossible for the census to be successfully completed, Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson said.

“This is not the time to go door to door asking New Zealanders for information, when they’re dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake,” he said.

“It’s unthinkable we would ask this of people. It would be an unfair burden and distraction at a time when they are grieving.”

It is not yet known when the next census will be.

Statistics New Zealand buildings in Canterbury have been extensively damaged, with significant impacts on its staff.

Government Statistician Geoff Bascand acknowledged the decision would have consequences for people who used the census data in their work, but said the Government would now “investigate the feasibility of alternative options”.

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