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Stop to Think

Entry 294, on 2006-03-06 at 16:43:47 (Rating 3, Politics)

Here in New Zealand we are about embark on our census. Of course, nothing like this could occur without some mis-informed controversy arising as a result. The question which people are concerned about this time is regarding ethnic origins. There is a question which asks if peoples' origins are European, Asian, Maori (original inhabitants of New Zealand), Pacific Island, etc. The problem people have with this is: why is there no option for "New Zealander"?

I would have thought that in order to establish the population's origins we might need something a bit more fine than New Zealander. After all, this is the New Zealand census. Is it not reasonable to assume the vast majority of respondents will be New Zealanders? So if I recorded my origins this way what have we really learned? Nothing. In fact, any conclusions would be so misleading that we would be worse off than if we had not asked the question at all.

This hasn't stopped an email petition circulating demanding the option of New Zealander on the census. I'm sure most people read it, experience a brief surge of indignation, and sign and forward it. If they stopped to think instead, they might not bother!

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