New Zealand calls off census

New Zealand has cancelled its 2011 census which was scheduled for 8 March, following the Christchurch earthquake which has been declared a national emergency by Prime Minister John Key.

Government Statistician Geoff Bascand and Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson made the announcement.

Williamson said Bascand has advised him the census could not be successfully completed because of the earthquake.

The decision have been made after extensive consultation.

“This is not the time to go door to door asking New Zealanders for information when they’re dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake,” Mr Williamson said.

“It’s unthinkable that we would ask this of people. It would be an unfair burden and distraction at a time when they are grieving.”

There has been extensive damage to Statistics New Zealand buildings with significant impacts on census staff.

Mr Bascand said he acknowledges the decision will have consequences for people who use the census data for their work.

“We will now investigate the feasibility of alternative options.” Mr Bascand said.

The earthquake has so far claimed more than 100 deaths, though there are no reports of any Indians living in New Zealand having died.



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