Kiwis urged to complete census after poor turnout in 2018

An independent economist is calling on Kiwis to complete the census and is confident Stats NZ has learned its lesson after a poor turnout in 2018.

Census Day is on Tuesday and is the chance for Kiwis to provide crucial information to help decision-makers.

Infometrics principal economist Brad Olsen understands the census can be a "laborious task" but is calling on Kiwis to take some time out of their day to complete the form.

"It does give us some really detailed, really granular information to make sure that different communities around New Zealand are counted, that we know what's happening across society, what's happening across our economy," Olsen told AM Early host Oriini Kaipara.

Olsen said the census, which is completed every five years, is used to help decision-making in a range of areas.

"It's used for everything from setting how many general electorates there are and how big they might be through to the likes of health care funding, understanding what skills we've got out in the community and what additional skills we might need to train over the next few years," he said.

The Government announced last year a range of measures to help increase the turnout after one in seven people did not complete the 2018 census.

This included 3500 census workers on the ground - twice as many as the last census - a 41 percent increase in forms delivered and a prioritisation of Māori and other groups and regions with lower response rates in 2018.

Olsen believes Stats NZ has learned its lesson from the poor turnout in 2018.

"This stuff does matter and I know that filling out forms and thinking about data is not what most Kiwis think about but it does make sure that the likes of economic researchers, that government agencies have that sort of good information," Olsen explained.

"When we've looked at things before we've understood just how mouldy and damp some homes might be in Wellington. That means we can start to talk to decision-makers about getting more funding for improving our housing standards, so this stuff does make a difference."

Olsen said Kiwis can expect the form to have questions asking them about their skills, qualifications and their income.

"I don't think it takes too long, it's the sort of thing on Tuesday night you can sit down after dinner and fill it out, maybe make it a bit of a race amongst the family or the flat who can get this done the quickest," Olsen said.