Tuesday, 19 February 2013

" Keep The Home Fires Burning - With Your Census Form"

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR'S: This week, Dr Richard McGrath is getting his matches ready...

Yes, it's that time again: when freedom lovers across the land express their antipathy to that recurrent symbol of bureaucracy and the Nanny State -- the five yearly census form --by turning it into a carbon footprint.

Libertarians object to being told to fill in a census form for two reasons: first, being ordered to fill in a questionnaire (they never just ask nicely, do they) is a violation of a peaceful person's right to be left alone; second, the information obtained via the census is utilised for all manner of central planning by the State.

This central planning prolongs the existence of many government agencies that libertarians believe lie outside the scope of limited government --departments and ministries such as education, welfare, tourism, ethnic affairs, health, finance, agriculture, trade, transport, employment, fundraising, the voluntary sector and environmental protection, to mention just a few.

By refusing to hand over details of your private life to bureaucrats, even if it doesn't make someone in government sit up and reflect on the violation of civil liberty that the census represents, at least you will annoy a few of them by creating more work.

Should you choose not to warm your dwelling by oxidising your census forms, at least drag your feet on completing them by the due date. Let the lapdogs of the State come running to you and, when they do, refer them to the Privacy Commissioner, whose office "seeks to develop and promote a culture in which personal information is protected and respected". Ultimately, ask them to meet you in a public place where they can kneel down with hands clasped and beg you to fill their forms in. Surely they will if the information is that important.

And when or if you do hand it over, be aware that the only information their own law compels you to supply is your name and address.  Which they already have.

Click here to read the Libertarianz Party's response to news of the coming head-count-at-the-point-of-a-gun.

See ya next week!

Richard McGrath
Libertarianz Party leader


  1. I find the usual census form to be relatively innocuous, however, a few years ago I was confronted at my door by a representative of the Department of Statistics demanding my family participates in the Household Labour Force Survey (and "confronted" is not too strong a word - he actually tried to push his way into my house).

    The HLFS is far from innocuous, requiring about three months of form-filling about every aspect of your life - what you eat, how you spend your leisure time, etc.

    I told this turkey to "fuck off" and threatened to call the police if he did not leave my property forthwith. He threatened me with prosecution and this was followed up with several threatening letters from Statistics. My response was "bring it on - I'll see you in court."

    Like most bullies when challenged, they backed down and did not prosecute.

  2. Would be useful to know in a brief summary exactly what we are compelled to do and what the consequences are if we don't obey. You say that we only have to supply name and address, but that sounds a bit unlikely. What is that based on? Surely if that was the case there would be a lot more people filling in the minimum.

  3. I found out some years ago and it is on their web site, that the only mandatory part is the first page and to sign the back page.
    This was confirmed by the nazi that finally came for me after I had a public burning party in the deputy mayors hotel.

  4. The Statistics Amendment Act 2010 makes this census different to prior ones, so people who have found legal loopholes in the past should be more careful in disseminating legal advice this time around.

    Here is a link to the 2010 Act: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2010/0086/latest/DLM3044401.html

    As for information that needs to be supplied, note that section 24 of the Statistics Act 1975 reads:

    "Particulars to be collected at census
    (1)At every census of population and dwellings particulars relating to all of the following matters shall be obtained from every occupier or person in charge of a dwelling:
    (a)the name and address, sex, age, and ethnic origin of every occupant of the dwelling:
    (b)particulars of the dwelling as to location, number of rooms, ownership, and number of occupants on census night.
    (2)At any census of population and dwellings the statistician may, if he considers it in the public interest so to do, obtain from every occupier or person in charge of a dwelling particulars relating to all or any of the following additional matters:
    (a)the profession or occupation and industry in which employed, nationality and citizenship, health, marital condition, religion, birthplace, duration of residence in New Zealand, address where living at previous census or previous year, number of children, number of hours worked per week for wages or salary or financial reward, status in employment, name and address of employer, mode of transport to and from work, time taken to travel to work, income, address of usual residence, and service in the armed forces of every occupant of the dwelling:
    (b)particulars of the dwelling as to type and tenure of dwelling and nature of materials of structure, household amenities, rent paid, and details of any livestock:
    (c)any information relating to the kinds of statistics for which information may be required pursuant to section 4 or as may be prescribed by regulations under this Act."

    Here is a link to the updated Statistics Act, reprinted just last year: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1975/0001/latest/whole.html

    I'm no lawyer, but if push comes to shove, I do not see any loopholes that would legally permit one to avoid filling out all pages of the form except to be out of the country on the day.

    If someone reading this is a lawyer, or has received professional legal advice, and I am wrong, then your clarification or correction would be most appreciated.

  5. This is the link to the census site FAQ.

    How does Statistics NZ decide which questions to ask?

    Several topics must, by law, be included in the New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings. Under the Statistics Act 1975 we are required to ask every person in New Zealand on census day for their:

    name and address

    For every occupied dwelling in New Zealand on census day we must ask for that dwelling's:

    number of rooms
    number of occupants on census night.


  6. I can't recall when I last filled in a census form.

  7. Interesting... by putting the link to the press release into the article (rather than reproducing it in its entirety) the press release is the most viewed political news item on Scoop as of two minutes ago!

  8. Thanks for the doing that research, Terry.

    Don't mean to rain on everyone's parade, but if you are considering burning your census form, might I advise you at least be acquainted with Section 45 of Part 5 of the updated Statistics Act: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1975/0001/latest/whole.html

    But, as others have asked, if there anyone is aware of a way of getting around this legislation, I would be more than happy to hear about it.

    PS: Also of note, among many other parts or the Act, is Section 35 of Part 4 (Right of Entry).

  9. Second Amendment & Castle Doctrine will do the trick.

  10. Helen's comment about the fine for not filling in the census being comparable with that for dangerous driving or theft is Quote of the Day in today's Wairarapa Times Age.

    And I did a five minute interview on Radio bFM this afternoon, about the Libz Party's plans to light up the night on March 5.


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