Be counted - Census 2018 01 March 2018 Don't forget to set some time aside for the upcoming census Tuesday, 6 March. The census is run every five years by Statistics NZ, New Zealand's official data agency and is the official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand. Information from the census helps determine how billions of dollars of government funding is spent across New Zealand. The information collected is about everyone in New Zealand, it can be used to inform decisions and make plans about services and where they should be. Letters are starting to arrive at every household in New Zealand and this year Stats NZ are doing things a little differently encouraging "digital-first" participation. "This time, we're encouraging as many people as possible to take part online, on or before census day, which is Tuesday, March 6," says 2018 Census General Manager, Denise McGregor. "Instead of a census collector delivering paper forms before census day, and then returning to collect them after the day, we're sending all households an access code letter. It contains all the information a household needs to take part in the census online," says Ms McGregor. "The census is important for us because it takes a snapshot of how many people are living here and helps us with funding and planning for our future," says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. "If you don't have access to the internet at home or struggle with technology please visit our district libraries staff in Thames, Tairua and Whitianga and they will be able to assist you. Our customer service staff in our Whitianga, Whangamata, Thames and Coromandel area offices are also on-hand to help." The data collected will also feed into the legislative requirements of councils, and will help to inform public health action and target resources. It is also used to inform important decisions, including where to spend taxpayers' money on services like schools and hospitals. The "access to basic amenities" data will also be used for civil defence and emergency management planning. The funding for the 2018 census is spread over five years, totalling $119 million. It's compulsory for everyone in New Zealand on census day to take part. If you don't participate, or if you provide false or incomplete information, you could be fined. If you can't or don't want to take part online, you can contact 0800 CENSUS (0800 236 787) once your household access code has arrived to request paper forms and then these will be posted to you. Visit www.census.govt.nz for more information.