Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson and Government Statistician Geoff Bascand have announced the March 8th census will not be held.
The government says the census could not be successfully completed because of the recent Canterbury earthquake.
“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,” 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 also been extensive damage to Statistics New Zealand buildings with significant impacts on census staff.
Bascand says the decision will have consequences for people who use the census data in their work.
“We will now investigate the feasibility of alternative options,” Bascand said.