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Online census numbers short of goal

Wednesday 6 Mar 2013 11:48 a.m.

More than 1.7 million census forms have been completed online - but that's short of the Government's goal.

A total of 4.6 million individual (including for visitors) and 1.8 million dwelling forms have been delivered around the country.

Of those, 26.5 percent were filled in online by this morning - a day after the official census day.

The Government wants that figure to hit 35 percent - largely to beat Australia, which had 30 percent of forms filled in online during its 2011 census.

"The census is like the Rugby World Cup for statisticians, so beating the Australians will certainly be a moment of pride for Statistics New Zealand," Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson said.

He has previously said he is hopeful the number would be closer to 50 percent filled in online.

A census spokeswoman told NZ Newswire today they were still on track to reach the 35 percent target.

Statistics NZ's census website operated without any issues on Tuesday, handling about 130,000 forms an hour at its busiest - well within its capacity, Mr Williamson said.

People are still able to complete their census forms, which will be collected until March 17.

About 7000 census collectors will head out to collect the paper forms from Wednesday.

Collectors have walked, boated, kayaked and skateboarded in places to get the forms out to every part of the country, and will spend about 550,000 hours delivering and collecting forms.

Every person in New Zealand on March 5 is required by law to fill in a census form, or they could face a fine of up to $500, and a further $20 each day after conviction until they fill in their form.

People can also be fined for providing false information.

However, Statistics NZ says prosecution is a last resort.

NZN

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