Looking after your information

Looking after your information

We are committed to keeping your census information completely secure and confidential. Your privacy is important to us.

E pono ana mātou ka haumaru, ka noho matatapu rawa ō pārongo tatauranga. E hira tō tūmataititanga ki a mātou.

It’s what we do

Everyone employed by Stats NZ, and all of the researchers who use the information we hold, sign a statutory declaration of secrecy before they start working for us, or using the information. This declaration is a lifetime obligation.

We never share identifiable information with other government agencies without your consent and our published statistics and research do not identify individuals, households, or businesses. We remove all names, addresses, and other identifiable information before we make data available to other government agencies for statistical and public interest research.

Improving the way we collect your information

In 2018, we’re aiming for most people in New Zealand to take part in the census online.

Your household will be sent an access code that will allow you to set up forms for everyone in the household using a tablet, phone or desktop computer. Everyone will be able to complete their own information securely, without other people in the household seeing each other’s responses.

We have built new systems to run the census online. We’ve checked and tested that the systems and processes we have designed are robust, so that we can meet our commitment to look after and store your information securely.

If you choose to take part in the census using our paper forms, we will process the information in a secure facility and combine it with the information we have collected online. This will enable us to build a complete picture of the people who are in New Zealand on census day, and the places they live.

Find out more about how we look after information at Stats NZ

Why we look after your information

We look after your information because we respect your privacy and we understand the value of the data we collect. Processed information is used by government, iwi, businesses and community organisations all over New Zealand to help them make informed decisions and plan for our future.

When we collect census information every five years, we are refreshing the information we look after that indicates how our country has changed over time. Official census information has been collected in New Zealand since 1851, and for some types of information, like how our households and families are structured, or the qualifications that we have, it’s the highest quality information we hold as a nation to help us make decisions.

How we look after your information

Your information is protected by our legislation, the Statistics Act 1975, and by the safeguards that we have put in place to collect, process and store the information you provide.

The system we have built to collect your census information is hosted on the Common Web Platform, a service that allows New Zealand government agencies to create and host safe and secure websites.

How we look after your information

Your information is protected by our legislation, the Statistics Act 1975, and by the safeguards that we have put in place to collect, process and store the information you provide.

The system we have built to collect your census information is hosted on the Common Web Platform, a service that allows New Zealand government agencies to create and host safe and secure websites.

When you complete your census, the information you enter is encrypted and can only be unlocked once it is received by Stats NZ systems.  When Stats NZ receives your data, your responses to questions are stored in data centres that are in the Government private cloud.  While we do use some public cloud systems, they are used for managing the way we run the census.

Suppliers that provide Government private cloud services have been approved by the Department of Internal Affairs following a rigorous evaluation process, and are used by a significant number of other government agencies. For all of the cloud services we use, Stats NZ also carries out its own rigorous selection and assurance processes.

Where your information is used

Census information is used to produce the official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand and to produce population, social and economic statistics at a community and small population group level.

We also link census information to other sets of data held by Stats NZ in our Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). The IDI is a large research database that contains microdata about people and households, including the 2013 Census.

Before making the decision to include the 2013 Census data set in the IDI, we conducted a Privacy Impact Assessment to make sure we had assessed the risks and benefits. Census information is linked by matching names and addresses to information already held in the IDI. Data in the IDI has name, address and day of birth removed before it is made available for research and analysis.