Statistics NZ looks at changes to religion categories

  • 09/09/2016
Census (Getty)
Census (Getty)

Marxists, Maoists, Jedis, and Pagans could in future see how many other people in New Zealand identify with their religious, philosophical, or spiritual beliefs.

Statistics New Zealand is considering changes to the standard classification of religious affiliation and has started a public consultation process.

Standards and design senior manager Tony Breen says the aim of the proposed "minor refresh" is to make it easier to collect and release information that accurately reflects contemporary New Zealand society.

"The changes we're proposing reflect the range of responses we get from the census every five years," he said.

"While it's not our role to decide what is, or is not, a religious affiliation or denomination, it is our role to collect robust, independent data that can be used effectively within New Zealand."

Mr Breen said Statistics NZ was also considering expanding the sub-categories that sit under some of the broader religious affiliations, such as Judaism and Islam.

If the proposal went ahead, Statistics NZ would review the classification regularly so that it better mirrored the changes in society.