Countdown to the big head count

Preparation is well under way in Manawatu and Horowhenua for the start the March 5 census.

Sixteen pallets of census forms and other associated material was delivered to Palmerston North yesterday while next month the recruitment of the hundreds who will distribute them will begin.

Census manager for the Manawatu and Horowhenua region Janet Thompson said yesterday's delivery was a key step. It was also the first day at work for her team of district supervisors.

"We're about to start recruiting our collectors," she said. "We really want local people collecting in local areas. It's just about getting good local people who care about their community so we can make sure everybody gets counted."

The five-yearly census counts every person in New Zealand and information about them to aid Government departments with the provision of services. Among the first uses of the data will be for the redrawing of electoral boundaries next September for the 2014 election.

The census was to be held in 2011 but was delayed by the population upheaval that followed the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Those interested in being collectors can register at Recruitment formally begins on December 7. Each collector will be given about 200 houses to deliver census forms to in the fortnight leading up to March 5. They will collect the forms in the two weeks after.

Manawatu Standard