LGBT community slams Statistics New Zealand's 'gross incompetence'

  • 12/01/2018

The LGBT community is slamming Statistics New Zealand after the decision to leave questions over sex, gender and sexuality out of the 2018 census.

Social activist Aych McArdle, who uses gender neutral pronouns, spoke to RadioLIVE on Friday and says they're "absolutely flabbergasted" by the decision, despite more than 25 years of fighting for change.

"If you don't count someone, you're almost saying they don't count," they say.

"We're just at a loss."

They say the information collected by the census is used to provide health and education and the lack of statistics prevents the Government from effectively providing these services.

McArdle is calling for an "immediate investigation" into Stats NZ's lack of action.

"Is it at worst institutionalised homo/trans/intersex phobia?" they ask on Twitter

"Or at best gross incompetence on a project with no internal momentum with loss of knowledge as staff changes over?"

Statistics Minister James Shaw told RadioLIVE the the Government Statistician and her officials made the decision entirely on statistical grounds.

"Gender identity poses challenges for statistical collection across the world as there is not necessarily a 'one size fits all' resolution to collecting this information as people within the Rainbow community can identify in a range of ways," he says.

"I have encouraged Stats NZ to continue to work on gender and related topics. I am confident that the Government Statistician will continue to work to ensure that Stats NZ can provide high quality data which reflects New Zealand, and I am encouraged by the work her officials are already doing on gender and sexual identity topics."

McArdle points to multiple reports from the Human Rights Commission of New Zealand and the UN calling for data to be collected.

"Stats NZ have even published their own statistical standard on gathering information on gender identity! They got the praise, now USE IT!" they say.

"I call on Minister Shaw and @statsnz to launch an enquiry into ALL of the work that has been done in this area within the department to identify the failure of over 10 years of work in this area."