Minister of Statistics Maurice Williamson has announced the next census will be held in March 2013.
This follows cancellation of this year's census after the February 22 Christchurch earthquake. The government is legally required to hold a census every five years, beginning in 1976, meaning a law change to the Statistics Act is required sometime this year to allow the census to be held in 2013.
"The 2011 Census could not have been successfully completed given the national state of emergency and the probable impact on census results," Williamson said.
"The census provides critical information for the Government and is a gold mine for researchers, councils, community groups and iwi trying to plan,” he said.
There were major benefits to holding a census in 2013, including being able to revise the electoral boundaries and hold a Māori electoral option ahead of a 2014 General Election. Population data could also be updated.
Williamson said the Government and Statistics NZ had considered holding the census in March 2012, however it was agreed the time period was too short to ensure the census could be planned accurately.
"Statistics New Zealand will now begin planning and work on the 2013 Census," Williamson said.