Census statistics on ethnicity and sexual orientation will be collected in a ‘inclusive manner,’ according to Stats NZ.

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Stats NZ has revised its data collection criteria for ethnicity, nationality, and sex variants.

It comes after a review completed last year showed there was a need for a more inclusive approach to data collection for trans, intersex, Māori and Pacific peoples.

It found there was a lack of capacity for existing standards to adequately reflect transgender and intersex people.

A further report from the Human Rights Commission recommended data collectors “develop and implement, in consultation with SOGIESC [Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics]-diverse people, a comprehensive plan to collect sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics data in population and household surveys.”

Stats NZ did not collect data on sex, gender, and sexual identity in the 2018 Census.

It has already been announced that will be amended for the 2023 Census.

The new directive, released today, will standardise definitions, as well as the measures of data on gender, sex and variations of sex characteristics, to make them consistent across the board.

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“It’s important we collect data in an inclusive way, and our process for developing the updated standard reflects this,” said government statistician and Stats NZ CEO Mark Sowden.

“The refresh included extensive public consultation, input from government agencies, international peers, and subject matter experts.”

“It also provides guidance for when to collect cisgender and transgender population data.”

According to the government body, the latest statistical standard would put data collection in line with human rights standards and will support the Human Rights Act of 1993.


It will also provide guidelines for those collecting data on when to ask about sex or gender information, when transgender or cisgender identities need to identified, or when intersex population data is needed.


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