Stats NZ opens up consultation on measuring sexual orientation

People holding hands in front of a rainbow flag.
Photo credit: Getty

Stats NZ has begun consulting on the best way to measure sexual orientation to collect more data on LGBT Kiwis.

New Zealanders are invited to submit via an online survey or by printing a form and emailing it to Stats NZ. 

Dean Rutherford, insights general manager for Stats NZ, said it hopes to produce data that better reflects New Zealanders.

"A statistical framework for sexual orientation will enable Stats NZ and other agencies to collect data that will give a clearer picture of the sexual orientation of New Zealanders," he said.

Stats NZ has recently faced criticism for not collecting data on LGBT people after the census failed to ask about gender or sexual orientation.

It was slammed by members of the community, including social activist Aych McArdle.

"If you don't count someone, you're almost saying they don't count," they told RadioLIVE. "We're just at a loss."

At the time, Statistics Minister James Shaw said people putting "silly answers" into the census had caused the omission.

"The problem is that people put down different answers and they use different language to describe the same thing," he told The AM Show.

"There's also a lot of people who, frankly, spoil the result by putting in silly answers.

"You see in the questions on religion, for example, something like 51,000 people put down that they followed the Jedi religion."

The consultation appears at this stage to only be seeking feedback on sexual orientation, and does not ask for an opinion on questions relating to gender.

Online submissions will close on May 1, 2018.