Gender and the census

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, March 4th, 2013 - 101 comments
Categories: Social issues - Tags: ,

Question 25 of the 2013 New Zealand Census asks:

Are you:

  • male
  • female

Spot the problem.

In response to queries on the topic, the very-helpful 2013 Census Twitter account @2013Census has said:

We just ask that people mark the response that shows how they are living their lives

Which is nice, but (a) sex and gender aren’t the same thing and (b) “male” and “female” and “are you” seem pretty inflexible.

A Facebook campaign has kicked off (well, was kicked off in 2011 when the Census was meant to be on) calling on people to tick both boxes for “gender” in order to confound the results.  Unfortunately, it’s not going to work, per @2013Census:

If the question about sex isn’t answered, or there are multiple repsonses, a response is imputed based on other answers

I’ve now asked what happens if you currently “live your life” as a man, but have given birth to babies – and thus would tick male but not skip question 25?  Which ticky-box does the “imputation” favour?  The response is:

If they’re completing their forms online they won’t be able to. If on paper it will come up with an error when the form is processed

At which point I presume they start “imputing” things again.

Here’s the clincher: despite the good key message about “how you live your life”, the fact is that the 2011 Census Content Report, when outlining why the sex question (and yep, they say “sex”, not “gender”) was not changed from 2006, says:

Sex refers to the distinction between males and females based on the biological differences in sexual characteristics.

Which pretty much seems to boil down to “penis male, vagina female”.  Hence the whole “only females can have given birth” assumption.

As 3News (but not Patrick Gower, alas) has recently covered, collecting data in this way is pretty limiting.  It means we just don’t have an overall national picture of sex and gender diversity among New Zealanders as a whole.  Think about this:  all the trans women who tick “female” but have birthed “0” children pull the fertility measurement down, while all the trans men who tick “male” but have had, say, triplets, aren’t included.

You instantly head to the comment box to say “but there aren’t that many trans men who’ve had triplets, QoT, so it doesn’t really hurt the data” but how the fuck would you KNOW?

While other government departments might collect this kind of information in their own ways, the issues are pretty obvious:  when Health collects information it’s only collecting it from people who are ill or injured; when Corrections does it it’s only collecting it from people who get into the criminal justice system.

Census needs to do a better job of collecting meaningful data about New Zealanders.  Unfortunately, double-ticking the sex box (yep, that sounds good and dirty) is only going to take up computer time.

101 comments on “Gender and the census”

  1. vto 1

    I like all this important stuff and I’m especially looking forward to ticking the white middle class male box. Not that I am ONE OF THOSE, but I most certainly likes the idea of confounding the statisticians and shoving their big nosey noses back up their own noses, yesireee.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      ^^ Indicative of a person who has NFI just how important census information actually is to his life.

      • vto 1.1.1

        fair enough – have had plenty people say that over the years. I’m sure you’re right mr bastard but various anti genes simply shove the other genes aside. I’m sure they allow for all types in their parameter machines…

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          fair enough – have had plenty people say that over the years.

          Then perhaps you should start listening.

          • marty mars 1.1.1.1.1

            + 1 You should start listening vto – you might end up learning something/s

            • vto 1.1.1.1.1.1

              You should start saying something useful and talk to the points instead of chasing me around and giving me the bash every single fucking boring time. Abuser.

              • I did talk to the point – the point of you not listening then, now or seemingly into the future.

                I am not chasing you around or giving you the ‘bash’ or being an ‘abuser’ but the non-hidden subtext of what you wrote is there don’t worry bigot.

                • vto

                  Well mr racist you are chasing me around. Do you have anything useful to say or do I have to waste time and energy arguing like a schoolgirl with you.

                  You are a dipshit.

                  • wow three nearly insults in a couple of sentences – going for the record there vot lol. What a sad sack of thickshit you are – following you around? I wish you they had taken up your request to ban you. Just don’t reply if you don’t want more – simple enough for even you to understand duh. Oh and nice to see a racist sexist bigot like you call me that insult FFS do you even know what the words mean thickshit?

                    • vto

                      Schoolgirl it is then. Your actions in following me around and solely commenting on my person instead of the issues are the actions of a bully too.

                      Kind of fits with your silly immature approach to most everything else like the treaty, where you show zero thought application and merely follow the popular girls around.

                      do you have any original thoughts? do you have anything original?

      • muzza 1.1.2

        Spoken like a person who has NFI what else the census is used for!

        • vto 1.1.2.1

          Well muzza and dtb just above, I am more persuaded by the points below at 5 and 5.1 than your opinions on this matter.

          The rest of New Zealand, represented via government, has lost my confidence in the way it acts against me and my family as a government and it simply will not happen. I do not trust the government. Its current leaders are corrupt and are liars. Many government departments either intentionally or purposefully misuse exactly this information. Government misuses its power all the time.

          When I get honesty, credibility, competency and reasonableness of action (e.g. EQC) then I will reconsider. But quite frankly NZ has created an organisation that fails and I’m against it. There will be no cooperation until then. Unfortunate isn’t it.

          That may well be a case, to an extent, of biting off one’s nose to spite the face, but it aint quite is it. It is something different.

          • muzza 1.1.2.1.1

            VTO, my comment was aimed at DTB – check the indenting – edit not working so could not amend it to include DTB..

          • handle 1.1.2.1.2

            It pays to bite the right nose. The Statistics department has no relationship with the problems you and others have been having with EQC.

            • vto 1.1.2.1.2.1

              Not my problem handle, and that is pathetic reasoning in light of the points made. Noted mr muzza, woops

    • McFlock 1.2

      Combination of European/pakeha, Male, and income bracket.

  2. the pigman 2

    file under: “first world problems”

    • TheContrarian 2.1

      Heh

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Yep. Mind you, we are a first world nation. Having said that, the statisticians will not want to see this question removed or changed as it will obliterate comparability with all previous data.

      • QoT 2.2.1

        As my post notes, they have seriously considered the question on several occasions, and there are plenty of other questions which have changed (like “New Zealander” as an ethnicity option *shudder*), been added, or been removed over time as data needs have changed.

        • vto 2.2.1.1

          why would you shudder at that?

          • Colonial Weka 2.2.1.1.1

            NZer isn’t an ethnicity. It’s a nationality. Big difference.

          • Pascal's bookie 2.2.1.1.2

            I shudder at it.

            Firstly, NZer is a nationality not an ethnicity.

            now that might sound a bit pedantic, but it matters,

            because,

            If you conflate them you are saying that in your mind this an ethnic state. That there is a thing called an ethnic New Zealander, (whatever that is), and some others, who are what exactly? Not New Zealanders? So who are these non-New-Zealanders then? Those who describe themselves as being Maori, Pacific Islander, Asian, Celtic, you get the point. Those people are not New Zealanders, not really, not ethnically, not in the way New Zealanders are.

            That’s fucked up for starters.

            Secondly the sole reason it’s included, even though it makes no sense, is because people objected to being categorised as ‘european’, (and fair enough), but also objected to the word ‘Pakeha’, which means exactly the thing they were saying European doesn’t mean for them. But they don’t want to call themselves Pakeha because err, reasons, but can’t think of anything to call themselves, so decided that they are the real NZers, and that everyone else, isn’t.

            So that’s why it makes me shudder.

            It’s lame arsed childish racism at best, and proto-fascist racial statism at worst.

            • vto 2.2.1.1.2.1

              Well I did wonder all those types of things, but firstly what you describe there doesn’t fit a definition of ethnicity.

              Secondly, your sentence “Those who describe themselves as being Maori, Pacific Islander, Asian, Celtic, you get the point. Those people are not New Zealanders, not really, not ethnically, not in the way New Zealanders are.” kind of defeats itself.

              Thirdly, why do you assume only white NZers may want to identify with New Zealand culture?

              Fourthly, how on earth is it racism? If anything it removes race entirely from the issue. The third point above in fact points to the racism being in the other direction.

              Fifthly, is it not possible to identify with more than one ethnicity? Is it not possible to have an ethnicity and then a ‘sub-ethnicity’? (without any inference of inferiority).

              Sixthly, the point was more about the shudder than the actual point of QoT’s. She has shown a consistent hostility towards white NZ over a considerable period and it was aimed more at this stereotyping and abuse (stereotype plus abuse equals bigotry).

              Seventhly, surely you can see that an ethnicity can develop from a group fo people living in one place for a period of time and developing their own culture. That is after all how all other ethnicities have developed. Or can that not happen in these islands..

              Eighthly, see point firstly. I fail to see how anything you said there relates to ethnicity and its definition.

              • QoT

                She has shown a consistent hostility towards white NZ over a considerable period

                Citation or fuck off out of my post.

                • vto

                  Ban me.

                  The post you did on the land deal at the naval base.

                  The post you did on tv3 racism just last week.

                  Proof. Want more?

                  Bigot.

                  • Colonial Weka

                    Quote and link, vto.

                    • QoT

                      Well, and then he’s got the trouble of establishing that I hate all white people, or something. Because apparently “being critical of racism” is the same thing in vto’s head.

                    • vto

                      heh, look sorry for the vibrancy of my go at you. (Need to keep calm calm and be more diplomatic). Let’s take that issue up again some other time and not derail your post.

                    • QoT

                      No, vto, let’s not take the issue up again, because I’m sick of your bullshit misrepresentation of my arguments.

                    • vto

                      What, let’s not discuss what are weaknesses in your opinions in my opinion? That doesn’t seem to fit within the realm of blog thrashings on here.

                      And here is a link to that Devonport article. The post of yours which referenced no evidence to support the claims made. Not even a search of the linked docs referred to any of those assumptions of yours. In my opinion it simply showed a real deepset animosity towards certain ethnic types in NZ. /new-record-set-in-ironic-racism/#comment-458064

                    • Colonial Weka

                      One link doesn’t demonstrate ‘consistency over a period of time’. And being sarcastic about Devonport pakeha doesn’t demonstrate ‘hostility towards white NZ’.

                    • ahh such sweet memories – that thread you linked to doesn’t do your credibility any favours vto – try listening to what others are saying – it’s not that fucken hard mate, jeez

                    • vto

                      Oh look, there’s marty mars again not addressing the subject in any sense, just me.

              • Pascal's bookie

                All righty, define ethnicity.

                But however you do it, you’re going to be left with the idea that, if you have NZer as an ethnicity, then you are saying that it is different from Maori, as an ethnicity.

                Which will be saying that ‘Maor’i aren’t ‘NZers’ unless they subscribe to being this NZer ethnicity (whatever that is).

                Which is what I said. That you are conflating the nationality with an ethnicity. Can you give me a good reason to do that?

                • vto

                  Well a quick google comes up with this “The fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.”

                  Other online and written versions refer to its origin being in a form of “nation”.

                  And no, identifying with NZ ethnicity does not in anyway mean you cannot identify with Maori ethnicity. Or that one is somehow better or worse or has an effect on another. As I said, it is entirely possible and reasonable to have multiple ethnicities, layered up in many ways. Pretty simple.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Sigh.

                    What if you don’t identify with this Nzer ethnicity. If you don’t tick that box?

                    Do you consider yourself to be the same ethnicity as every New Zealander. Ooh look, that’s a tautology, because you defined your ethnicity as being ‘New Zealander’ so of course you are, and someone sees themself as other than you, then they are not, by definition, a New Zealander.

                    What’s simple, is that I see myself as Celtic, and Pakeha. I don’t see myself as Maori, or Chinese or Indian or Samoan or Fijian, or any other ethnicity, but I have no problem with all of those ethnicities being New Zealanders to exactly the same extent as I am.

                    When you say you are a New Zealander, you are saying others have to also claim that ethnicity if they want to be New Zealanders.

                    There was a time when nations were ethnically defined. But times have changed. What Nations are, has evolved, and that’s a good thing all told. Unless you’re, you know, a racist.

              • Colonial Weka

                “Seventhly, surely you can see that an ethnicity can develop from a group fo people living in one place for a period of time and developing their own culture. That is after all how all other ethnicities have developed. Or can that not happen in these islands..”

                Yes, it can happen here, just not in 200 years. Ethnicity develops over very long periods of time, and intrinsic to it is blood relations. When the various cultures that formed NZ (Maori, British, European, Pacifican, Chinese etc) have been living TOGETHER and intermarrying for a long time, then we might see a NZ ethnic identity evolve.

                And in that time, nationality can change. New Zealand IS already a nationality, and I don’t share ethnicity with Maori or Indian people who share the same nationality as me. Get it?

                I’m ethnically celtic/gaelic. But it doesn’t make sense to call myself ethnically Scottish, does it? Scotland hasn’t been around that long (nations change suddenly), but the culture and genealogy that makes up celtic ethnicity has.

                • vto

                  See my reply above to P’s b. My opinion is that ethnicity can develop in a much shorter period, going by the definition. It is just a “common national or cultural tradition”. If that common tradition involves a mix of other traditions it is still a tradition. I don’t see any requirement for uniqueness in there, just a shared tradition of a form.

                  I think the definition of ethnicity on here has been assumed to be much narrower than it is.

                  Personally, I can identify with more than a couple of ethnicities, including NZ. Each of a different form, some weaker some stronger, but each still very real.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    So who isn’t ethnically New Zealander then? What are the boundaries? How is it defined?

                    • vto

                      I think a definition was already outlined above.

                      Who isn’t? Well, someone who doesn’t “… belong to the social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.”. Going by the definition that is.

                  • Colonial Weka

                    ““… belong to the social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.””

                    Going by that definition the local rugby club or flower arranging group are ethnicities.

                    I can see that are you ignoring the points I raise in favour of repeating your assertions.

                    • vto

                      I thought I had answered them – your points about the time necessary to develop traditions and the difference between nationality and ethnicity? Most definitions of ethnicity refer to nationality of a kind and a component. And there is no reference to how such common traditions must be formed – merely that they exist.

                      A bit like the struggle recently with the definition of homophobic, there seems to be a difference in opinion over what ethnicity actually means. If only there was some independent arbiter, like a dictionary…

                      It would seem that what we may have here is a bit of classic kiwi cultural cringe (even saying that can make some poor people cringe). You know…. the old “we don’t have a culture” crappola. Sheesh, that particular one drives me nuts with its idiocy and blatant incorrectnesses. People need to mature I think – cultural cringe begets cultural cringe.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      Nah, we have NZ culture alright, and I don’t cringe about it at all. I like NZ culture (except for the racist, dominating bits of course). But culture does not equal ethnicity. I think you are seriously missing the ethnic part of ethnicity.

                      If you say that NZ is an ethnicity, then you are equating ethnicity with citizenship or residency. Is the Cambodian refugee who is given NZ citizenship ethnically NZ? That’s just silly.

                      And you are still not responding to my points as I raise them.

                    • vto

                      ” But culture does not equal ethnicity. I think you are seriously missing the ethnic part of ethnicity.”

                      I never said it did. The definition refers to a social group with common culture and traditions, nothing more nothing less.

                      “If you say that NZ is an ethnicity, then you are equating ethnicity with citizenship or residency. Is the Cambodian refugee who is given NZ citizenship ethnically NZ? That’s just silly.”

                      I am doing nothing of the sort. Residency and citizenship are clearly different things again. Sheesh, surely you can see that you can be a resident and yet share none of the “social groups common national or cultural tradition.”

                    • vto

                      I’ve got it. To avoid the confusion around New Zealander as an ethnicity, given its relation to residency, citizenship and nationality (even though ethnicity requires a form of nationality about it), how about we create a new ethnicity called Aoteroan, or something similar. Something which refers to the unique mix of cultures and traditions from many fine parts of the world and which exist together as our social group.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      vto, I like ‘pakeha’ – referring to white NZers, and can’t be used by white people anywhere else. But honestly I see such huge differences between pakeha and maori cultures that the idea we are part of one ethnicity just grates.

                      “how about we create a new ethnicity called Aoteroan, or something similar.”

                      ‘cept lots of us live in Te Wai Pounamu 😉 (many Mainlanders see their place as culturally distinct from the North Island) See how complicated it gets? Plus I don’t think ethnicity is something created intentionally. It’s something that evolves out of certain circumstances.

                      Like I said, I think it will happen in time, but not at the moment. I think pakeha culture will be assimilated into polynesian culture, and at the point pakeha will better understand the value of ethnicity 😉

                      btw, I think the dictionary definition you are using is too limited. eg many ethnicities have evolved without nationhood existing.

                    • McFlock

                      if we’re talking census, you might want to use the statsNZ definition:

                      4.2.3 Currently, an ethnic group is defined in official statistics (Statistics New Zealand
                      2005, p2) as people who have some or all of the following characteristics:
                      • a common proper name
                      • one or more elements of common culture, such as religion, customs or
                      language
                      • a unique community of interests, feelings and actions
                      • a shared sense of common origins or ancestry
                      • a common geographic origin.

                      Their 2009 review of ethnicity statistical standard also had a nice discussion about the entire “NZer” issue.

                  • Beryl Streep

                    I don’t care what the Standard considers to be a New Zealander. I come from a Pacific Island, German and English background but I was born and brought up here. When people ask me where I’m from, I’m from New Zealand and I’m a New Zealander.

                    The sheltered white folks here might find it easy stating their ethnicity but those of us with more complicated backgrounds would like to identify with the country we feel is our home. That’s why I’d prefer to say I’m a New Zealander than tick a multitude of ethnicity boxes. Please stop painting this as the racist’s option. It’s a very myopic and eurocentric viewpoint.

                    • lprent

                      “the standard” is a dumbarse computer program. As the system operator I tend to regard people thinking of it as a “person” as having a serious mental deficiency known as “being a troll”. I suggest you address the actual person and explain why you disagree before I decide you need a bug treatment. And FFS read the policy. It may save you from my moderating attention..

                    • Beryl Streep

                      My apologies, I was responding to Pascal’s bookie’s comments specifically and not “the standard” as a whole.

                      Policy read and bookmarked for future reference.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      Beryl, I understand what you are saying about identity however I think for the census, it is useful for the govt to have the details.

                      “When people ask me where I’m from, I’m from New Zealand and I’m a New Zealander.”

                      Yes, me too. Doesn’t tell that person anything about my ethnicity though.

                      “The sheltered white folks here might find it easy stating their ethnicity”

                      IME, many sheltered white folks have difficulty talking about their ethnicity. And when they get round to thinking and talking about it, it’s not necessarily an ‘easy’ thing for them. But generally it’s ultimately positive, because it takes them back to where they have come from and gives them a sense of connection. I’ve seen many pakeha feel better about themselves and the country they live in after going through that process.

                    • Beryl Streep

                      The thing is Colonial Weka, if you’re not white or maori then you tend to get the “where are you from?” question quite often. When you say you’re from New Zealand, the next question is invariably “Where are you REALLY from?”

                      I find that line of questioning quite insulting and I doubt it’s something that white New Zealanders come up against.

                      Sure, I understand that a different accent might tip people off but my kiwi accent is more twangy than Rhys Darby’s! I feel offended when people treat me as a foreigner in my own country.

                    • vto

                      Colonial Weka and Beryl, you make good points (especially the one about te wai pounamu he he). However for these purposes I think the knockout punch comes from the census definition pointed out by McFlock.

                      It would seem that New Zealander could fit within that definition quite easily (or pakeha, but what about people who are not pakeha but identify as a NZer? So, doesn’t quite get there. Although pakeha could very easily be an ethnicity of its own separate to NZer).

                      It seems still that people can have multiple ethnicities and that that is appropriate in a country such as this. Imo, New Zealander is a legitimate ethnicity as is Maori, Celt, Pakeha, on it goes.

                      Perhaps this issue is all part of our growth as a nation …….

                    • McFlock

                      lol

                      Yes, people can have different ethnicities. They can even change ethnicity over time. But “New Zealander” seems to conflate nationality and ethnicity, and does nothing to describe the population – although the census report I linked to does mention that “New Zealanders” tend to be middle aged, slightly rich, previously Euro/pakeha males.

                      Basically, if you put NZer on the form and I did too, it’s quite likely that the only commonality we have is geography and language. “New Zealander” is a poor term to describe your cultural heritage and ancestry.

                    • vto

                      It’s not just about “cultural heritage and ancestry” is it though mcflock. Check the definition you posted yourself.

                    • McFlock

                      You are precisely correct while single-handedly trying to make the ethnicity question a tautological waste of space.

                      The criteria are broad. But the point I was making was that people who insist on calling their ethnicity “New Zealander” are generally of one narrow socio-economic group. Seeing if Maori have median incomes significantly lower than European/Pakeha is more interesting and more useful from a policy perspective than “New Zealanders have higher incomes than Maori”.

                      Additionally, we have a “some or all” qualification in the criteria. The more precise in ethnic description one gets, the greater number of criteria will be satisfied. “New Zealander” is probably the weakest grouping we can have with a proper name. It says nothing about you or me other than that we have citizenship. Guess what – that’s another question on the census form.

                    • vto

                      McFlock “You are precisely correct while single-handedly trying to make the ethnicity question a tautological waste of space.”

                      Rubbish. Do you think my intentions are something different from what is expressed? And it is solely your view from within NZ that makes it so if so, which is only relevant to the silly sensus.

                      McFlock “The criteria are broad. But the point I was making was that people who insist on calling their ethnicity “New Zealander” are generally of one narrow socio-economic group. Seeing if Maori have median incomes significantly lower than European/Pakeha is more interesting and more useful from a policy perspective than “New Zealanders have higher incomes than Maori”.

                      I’m sure you’re right when it comes to the usefulness of the data collected, if that is the overriding criteria for determining ethnicity, but your second sentence is shitbull.

                      McFlock “Additionally, we have a “some or all” qualification in the criteria. The more precise in ethnic description one gets, the greater number of criteria will be satisfied. “New Zealander” is probably the weakest grouping we can have with a proper name. It says nothing about you or me other than that we have citizenship. Guess what – that’s another question on the census form.””

                      citizenship is nothing to do with ethnicity except by coincidence but I’m sure you knew that having read the posts above. And, sure your first two sentences are again about the usefulness of the sensus and less about what constitutes ethnicity.

                      What was your point?

                    • McFlock

                      oh, okay, when it doesn’t suite you the Census is silly, but when it does suite you it’s a “knockout punch”.

                      In case you haven’t noticed, this conversation about ethnicity is in the context of the census: should you tick “NZer” or “white middle class male”?

                      And yes, seeing correlations between differences in ethnicity and, e.g. income is the first step to identifying systemic ways this country excludes people from full participation.

                      Getting bored.

      • the pigman 2.3.1

        I embrace and encourage people to live as whatever gender they wish to live. I agree that the State should acknowledge and recognize those individuals and their way of life.

        Yes, we are all free to share our hopes of what a utopian society might look like. A reality, and concession, entailed in that is that the Left faces being caricatured into a grab-bag of assymetric issues and is painted as having lost its way on those that have resonance and significance to the electorate.

        You might think it populist, equate it to the crying shame of New Labour or the Mallarfia, but my experience is that getting worked up about something which is relatively small in the context of political battles dilutes and factionalises the Labour movement. And whilst we have to advocate for the socially disposessed, don’t be surprised if you find them dancing on stage with Key at the Big Gay Out in some masochistic attempt to become a part of the mainstream.

        • QoT 2.3.1.1

          Gee, pigman, life must be really difficult for you if you think political activists are incapable of caring about multiple issues at a time. Also? You might like to reconsider referring to my opinions as “getting worked up” about something, because it contributes to a culture which marginalises women’s activism and anger and also I will delete your comments if you do it again.

          • ropata 2.3.1.1.1

            The reason Labour lost power:
            – over emphasis on identity politics
            – minimal effort to fix worsening *economic* inequality
            – being nasty to people who expressed reservations, acting like the thought police
            – lack of connection to the “ordinary bloke”

          • the pigman 2.3.1.1.2

            What has it got to do with women’s activism? How is it that you’re always able to personalise a throwaway packet of language by drawing the very long bow between my comment and the inference you draw that you’re being told you’re “just a hysterical wimmin”. no no no no no, I am all for analyzing the semiotics of language, but that was NOT in there. (For the record, I think a male is equally capable of “getting worked up”.)

            Your post may be LGBT activism, but it is not women’s activism. Off the cross, please.

  3. lprent 3

    I was considering… All of you non-religous types (like me). Lets pick a religion and push it. Not Jedi this time – they ignore that…

    Make NZ catholic or even better MUSLIM… Lets call it the Prosser effect.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Convert to Islam for a day, then repent?

    • TheContrarian 3.2

      lets make NZ more secular.

      Tick no religion

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        The people need something to believe in. If not religion it will be free markets, consumerism or the temple of the self.

        • TheContrarian 3.2.1.1

          “The people need something to believe in”

          Maybe, but orgainsed religion – something provably false, is not one of them

      • felixviper 3.2.2

        “lets make NZ more secular.”

        Or maybe we could just get an accurate picture of what NZ really is and not pointlessly game the collection of such data.

        • muzza 3.2.2.1

          What NZ is….

          NZ is a bad lab experiment, and playing agent of *the crown* while filling out the forms is going to do nothing other than confirm it, and assit with future messing with people!

          This post is an example of the mess NZ has been turned into!

    • toad 3.3

      Not Catholic – that will still preclude us acceding to the Throne, despite the legislation before Parliament.

      A Muslim can be King or Queen and head the Church of England, but a Catholic, by law, cannot.

      • GregJ 3.3.1

        A Muslim can be King or Queen and head the Church of England,

        Actually I doubt that you could be – the Act of Settlement requires the monarch to “be in communion with the Church of England” which implicitly prevents those of other faiths and even other Christian sects (other Protestant, Orthodox etc.). It is just that the Act is explicit about Catholics not succeeding to the throne (and the marrying of Catholics).

        The monarch is also required to make a declaration on their accession (the Accession Declaration Act 1910) which states: “I [here insert the name of the Sovereign] do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the Throne of my Realm, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law.”

        – so I’m not sure you could make it if you were not a Protestant Christian.

        A quick look at the wording of the New Zealand Bill doesn’t change the requirement to be in communion with the Church of England.

    • Beryl Streep 3.4

      Question 18: What is your religion?

      Can’t all us non-religious people just tick the first option ‘no religion’ instead of making up a religion or picking a religion to push. I believe New Zealand would be a more caring society if more people ticked ‘no religion’ if they aren’t really religious.

      http://www.humanist.org.nz/

  4. karol 4

    I just filled in most of the form. There were a couple of questions I had difficulty with – not enough space and no space for exceptions. For my permanent job I spend exactly equal time in 2 locations, but there’s only space to put the one where I spend MOST of my time…? My job activities over the last week have been quite diverse and hard to give one short label to cover them all.

    My minor disability – I can tend to my daily requirements, but can’t do some activities the way most people do them… and occasionally I need to ask someone for help – so I’ve opted for can do most daily tasks that everyone can do.

    etc, etc.

    And, if I don’t state that I am male/female, they will not be able to decide for me, on the basis of my answers to other questions – except through making an assumption about my first name. What if I answer “male” and they think I answered incorrectly based on my name?

    • karol 4.1

      Edit: the question is a disability that “stops you from doing everyday things other people can do?” No “most” in it. I say “no”.

      • handle 4.1.1

        I can see your reasoning Karol. How did you answer the more detailed question just before that one?

        • karol 4.1.1.1

          Yes, and one of them was a bit difficult to answer too. So my form does indicate a bit of a disability in spite of me saying I can do everyday things other people can do…. though, I can’t quite do everything and have work-arounds, as well as organising one or two aspects of my living space and accessories so I can do what I need to do.

    • QoT 4.2

      except through making an assumption about my first name

      I’m pretty sure they’ll have some big fancy algorithm for imputing sex where it’s left unnoted.

      • lprent 4.2.1

        I did that by looking through the electronic electoral roll when I was working on it (and authorised to do so) and looking at the Mr/Ms/Miss/Mrs and the first name. Turns out out that I was only “probably female” – that was a surprise as I’d set it to be at least 10 to be not assertively statistically “female” or “male”. Turns out that “Sue” was probably female as well……

  5. vto 5

    Given the privacy breaches of government departments over the last while, how are we supposed to believe that the information is kept confidential or not used for any other purpose?

    This is of course doubly triply so given the brazen lying and corruption that John Key and the current government undertakes.

    They are not to be trusted and it must be assumed that your personal information is going to be used for god knows what purpose. This must be the default position. As such there exists an obligation to mash it up.

    • RedBaronCV 5.1

      Don’t get me started. They go on and on about how secret it is. Well, four minutes under urgency in parliament one afternoon and Stats will be data sharing with the rest of the government. It’ll give Paula the chance to read out everybody’s details over the air. What’s the bet that something in Christchurch will mean that Gerry has to absolutely access all that detail. Save the Nact party a bundle for profiling.
      If they were serious about secrecy they would not ask for names and allow households to identify themselves as resident A,B C etc.

      Then there’s all the rubbish about the size of the mesh blocks- about 40 houses but I suspect closer to 30. Just how many gay couples, single parents, single old folk are there going to be in some of these blocks. About 1, so anybody who can afford to buy mesh blocks (priced for corporate affordability only so no chance of the peasants checking their own details) will be able to pretty much identify the exact details of these households. In some entire suburbs there may be only 3-4% of some household types so deductions “like wow all the same sex relationships in our burb earn over $50000” are right out the front.

      Then there is the demand that one member of the household invade the personal privacy of all the others (not legal?) or they will be prosecuted. Those who have been fibbing about their age for years are going to be outed and what about all the teenagers who have been having a few smokes more than they should -time to front up?

      Stats have also gone very quiet too on who is sponsoring some of the questions. All the ones around Family Trust ownership are apparently requested by the IRD, coming to a Penny v Hooper mesh block near you.

      Then there is the general useless nature of some of the questions – how does looking for a job in the last few weeks morph into a long term demographic trend? Looks more like Paula will be coming around to check up on you.

      Notice all the grooming going on, fill it out on the web, and soon it that will be the only way you can do it. Limits the creativity!

      Still my all time favourite is the question that asks if you have “difficulty learning, concentrating or remembering.” If you can remember to tick this then I guess that it would be okay to colour in the rest of the form with crayons and do doodles in the margins, on the grounds that the other answers have escaped you.

  6. Sosoo 6

    My sister is a tranny (her preferred term). She will tick female.

    The number of people whose gender does not match their biological sex at birth is statistically insignificant. The number who care about this census question, even more so.

    • QoT 6.1

      Nice to know you didn’t read the post. Sosoo. Also, fun fact: “biological sex” is not the pure little binary you want to pretend it is.

      • Swan 6.1.1

        Are you talking about chromosomal conditions? Otherwise it is binary. X and Y chromosomes are very different and do not lie on a continuum.

      • Sosoo 6.1.2

        You’re overlooking the fact that the census has to be completed by regular people who are mostly unaware of the theoretical artifact that is the distinction between sex and gender. Most people who have been to university probably have only a vague idea of what it means.

        The number of cases that will diverge from the norm is statistically insignificant. Given that fact it isn’t worth confusing a large proportion of people who will be taking the census and creating more noise in the results than would be eliminated by having a more detailed question.

        The census has to be completed by ordinary people. That means there is always going to be a trade off between accuracy and getting people to understand what they are answering. This is one of those cases. It’s not some right wing plot.

        • QoT 6.1.2.1

          Oh, fuck off, Sosoo. If people can remember the exact address they lived at 5 years ago and calculate their total 12-month-prior income they can cope with “what gender are you” and multiple ticky-boxes.

        • felixviper 6.1.2.2

          “The census has to be completed by ordinary people. “

          Nope, by everyone.

  7. Colonial Weka 7

    Yeah, this is pretty fucked. The NZ govt is saying that trans and intersex people are not relevant to govt services or the country. I can’t see how the numbers of transgender and intersex people is statistically insignificant. Don’t we want to know how many there even if the numbers are small relative to female or male?

    • Sosoo 7.1

      Yes. But it’s not as if the government or other agencies can’t conduct other more targeted surveys to that end. A census is a blunt instrument.

  8. Descendant Of Sssmith 8

    A born as + currently living as, two question option would keep both continuity with past census data and represent current situation and give quantitative data about numbers.

    I’d like to think there would be acceptance these days of the variety of human diversity to the point that planning and policy bowfins should have the information to consider issues such as sexuality. I haven’t seen this years questions yet – they should by now be asking about sexual preference and diversity but one suspects not.

    Don’t want to scare the horses do we?

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