Jian Yang - Statistics
13 August 2019
Statistics Minister James Shaw needs to take responsibility for his part in the abysmal handling of the Census 2018
debacle, National’s Statistics spokesperson Dr Jian Yang says.
“The resignation of Chief Statistician Liz MacPherson is appropriate given how badly Census 2018 was botched. But she
should not be a scapegoat for James Shaw whose failure to show leadership played a significant part in this mess.
“The Minister needed to be more involved in his department. He should have asked more questions of his Statistics NZ
leadership team and demanded better results from them.
“But he chose to be a hands-off Minister instead. He was missing in action when things were going wrong – off on a
Pacific Island junket while his officials were left to clean things up.
“He let things spiral out of control to the point where much of the data may no longer be useful. That creates enormous
problems for the billions of dollars in funding for health, education, police and other vital services that depend on
reliable Census numbers.
“This failure also has massive implications for the next election with reliable data required to draw accurate electoral
boundaries and decide the number of seats in Parliament. Māori risk losing an electorate seat because of the delay.
“James Shaw was too relaxed about the problem. He brushed off any criticism as ‘scaremongering’, but today’s damning
report shows there were very real issues he wasn’t across.”