Statistics NZ expects up to 35 percent of forms – about two million - will be submitted online tonight. If this total is achieved, it will beat the 28 percent achieved by the Australian census in 2011.
The department is readying itself for a peak of online census form submissions between 7pm and 9pm tonight.
Helpdesk staff will be ready on a Statistics number 0800 CENSUS to give first-line assistance, and any problems they can’t answer will be escalated to staff from Datacom, which is managing the digital census processing.
The actual computing resource is provided by Revera through the government’s infrastructure-as-a-service network, from fully replicated datacentres in Wellington and Auckland, says Statistics manager of census development Sarah Minson.
The complexity is not confined to real-time support of the transaction, she points out; an important part of it is making sure the manual form collectors are notified who has filled in forms online, so they won’t need to visit those addresses.
Statistics staff have tested the form-filling process with all types of browsers and run end-to-end user tests, Minson says.
Those who have not filled in forms manually or online, will be chased up next week, but there will be collectors in the field until the end of March and the online site will not be turned off until April, Minson says.
New Zealand planned a census in 2011, but it was postponed following the Christchurch earthquakes. Statistics plans the next census in 2018.