Census trouble

Insights Newsletter
27 October, 2023

Hey, you. Yeah, you. Did you fill out your census form? I expect you did.

Everyone fills out their census form. It is our sacred duty as proud New Zealanders to inform the government of our address, occupation, and favourite colour.

I expect you did your duty? Of course you did.

What was that sorry? You… didn’t? WHAT?

How could you? We sent you so many letters!

We gave you a hard deadline to fill out the census form. Then we gave you another hard deadline. Then another one.

When that didn’t work, we thought we might sweeten the deal. We knocked on your door asking you to kindly fill out your form. After all, if you’re unwilling to engage with the government, surely the government rocking up to your house unannounced will change your mind.

But some people still didn’t fill out their form. So, we had to get nasty.

If you weren’t affected by Cyclone Gabrielle (an inventive way to get out of census duty, we must admit) then we told you you’d be fined $2000 by the end of June.

Well, guess what? June has been and gone (as has July, August, September and most of October) and some of you still haven’t returned your forms! This is unacceptable!

You leave us no choice. We’re going to prosecute you now for everything you have, assuming everything you have adds up to exactly $2000.

Well, we were going to. But now we can’t.

It turns out that when we sent you all those letters you didn’t read, we accidentally didn’t tell you all the legal jargon we were supposed to tell you. As a result, we’re not allowed to prosecute you.

You might say that such a basic and obvious error is a damning indictment of the entire census-taking process.

To this we say, “please fill out your census form.”

So, you got away with not filling out your census. Enjoy it while it lasts.

But we’ll regroup, figure out what went wrong, and catch you next time.

Eventually, the census will get you. You cannot escape.

Because remember, at the end of the day, we don’t know where you live.

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