Calls grow for Census to be postponed as flood victims come to terms with devastating damage

Napier's mayor is pleading for the census to be pushed back.

The national head count is less than two weeks away and officials have already put preparations in Hawke's Bay on hold.

But, Napier mayor Kirsten Wise said there's no way people will be ready.

The Census is on March 7 - that's the Tuesday after next - and Napier's mayor said there's no way anyone in Hawke's Bay will be able to provide a snapshot of their lives by then.

"To do it piecemeal like this will just result in data that is not of the quality that we need," said Wise.

The date's also a concern for Auckland Councillor Jo Bartley who's still working to house people left homeless by the floods of almost a month ago.

"I don't know how they'll be able to get accurate results when a lot of families have been displaced by flooding and by the natural disasters. So I do question the timing of pushing ahead with the census," said Bartley.

Gisborne's mayor Rehette Stoltz said she understands the importance of the census, saying she's had discussions with census officials already and they are aware that they might need additional support and time.

They will support the effort as best as they can, taking their circumstances into account.

Statistics New Zealand said 86 percent of the country is ready to go but the census is on pause in flood-affected areas.

"There will be nobody from Stats NZ that will be knocking down doors demanding that there be a census right here and now," said Census deputy chief executive Simon Mason.

Wise urges for the Census to be pushed back.

"My plea is that the whole Census actually be delayed, postponed and not just by weeks but by months."

Statistics New Zealand officials are in the affected regions discussing the options.

"It's certainly one of the options that is being considered, [which] is a deferral, is a delay," said Mason.

Cabinet will discuss all options next week.