Be counted online

Excellence in the use of IT in government

Statistics New Zealand’s system, Online Census Option, provides New Zealanders with the option of completing their census forms online. The 2006 Census of Populations and Dwellings was the first time people could use either the internet response system or the traditional paper-based system.

The online questionnaire, which was designed to retain the look and feel of the paper forms, provides a secure and highly accessible option. An online help resource, to assist with form completion and general census inquiries, is also provided. The help resource went live on October 10 and the Online Census Option was available from February 17 until March 31.

Users were provided with a unique login ID which gave access to the Online Census secure website. Each form was delivered as a single page which used JavaScript features. An HTML version was also available. When submitted, the forms were sent to Statistics New Zealand and a receipt number was issued to the user. Simultaneously, collection staff were informed of the successful online submission via SMS.

The main benefit of the system is that it offers choice to the New Zealand public. The system also reduces the need for collectors to make return visits to collect forms, and it reduces the need for scanning and storing paper forms.

The Online Census Option has provided a base for the development of future online censuses as well as moving other survey collections to the web, says Statistics New Zealand.

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