Almost two million forms were completed online in the 2013 Census, or about 35 percent of the total census forms submitted, Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson has announced. The online figure matches a prediction made by Statistics New Zealand on the eve of the census. “The uptake of the online option makes New Zealand a world leader in terms of collecting census forms online," says Williamson in a statement. "At its peak on Census Day on March 5 the system handled 130,000 forms an hour." Online uptake was higher in Oamaru, according to the ministry, where a pilot scheme was run that gave residents letters containing internet access codes only. Those people had to request hard copy forms if they wanted them. The rest of the country had forms and access codes hand-delivered. Results are still being worked through for Oamaru, but Statistics says more than 65 percent of census forms were completed online in the pilot area. “The success of this pilot will help in planning for the next census," says Williamson. “In the meantime, Statistics New Zealand now has the enormous job of processing more than 5.6 million forms (online and hardcopy), with the results being available from December this year."