Information privacy, security, and confidentiality

Your privacy is protected by law under the Statistics Act 1975. 

Stats NZ will ensure:

  • privacy by collecting only the information we need and using it for that purpose
  • security by keeping data safe from unauthorised access and use
  • confidentiality, by not releasing information that could identify individuals or households.

You can check the Statistics Act 1975 and the Privacy Act 1993 for more information.

We work closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure we adhere to the privacy, security, and confidentiality best practice. Further legislation that guides the confidentiality and privacy of information is:

  • Privacy Act 1993
  • Official Information Act 1982
  • Public Records Act 2005
  • New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles.


How will you protect the confidentiality and security of my online form responses?

Stats NZ considers the protection of confidential information to be extremely important. Given the nature and importance of the information provided, we use the highest possible level of security.

Before we allow individuals to send their online form responses over the internet to our secure server, our computers will verify the level of encryption on your computer or your electronic device’s browser. The browser on the computer or electronic device being used must have a minimum of Transport Security Layer (TLS) encryption.

This protocol provides a safe passage for transmitting and authenticating data by encrypting the information. Data cannot be compromised when TLS is in use.

Sophisticated security techniques, such as firewalls, are used to protect your information. For security reasons, we cannot provide more details about these techniques.


How do I know that I am communicating with Stats NZ?

With most browsers, you can verify that you are communicating with Stats NZ by selecting the key or the lock which can be found either on the top or bottom right of your browser page.

This key or lock appears during a secure session. When you select the key or lock, if your browser permits it, you can verify that you are communicating with Stats NZ by reading the certificate information.


Does anyone see my information during transmission?

No, census forms are transmitted to Stats NZ using encryption to prevent unauthorised access. Only Stats NZ can decrypt it.


Who is responsible for the security of my information AFTER I have submitted my online forms over the internet?

Stats NZ accepts responsibility for the security of your information, and we take precautions to ensure the security of data submitted over the internet.


Will my data be kept private if I fill in my form on the internet?   

Yes. All census forms submitted to Stats NZ will not be read by anyone other than authorised staff at Stats NZ. Stats NZ is committed to providing a secure environment for everyone who submits their census information to us via our census website.

For further peace of mind, make sure that you log out when you have completed your census forms and never let anyone outside your household know your access code.


How do I know Stats NZ has received my online form?

Once you have submitted your online form and Stats NZ has received it, you will be returned to the Household Summary Page and you will see a 'Done' status for that form.

If you are staying at a non-private dwelling on census night, for example a hotel, and you fill out an online form, you will be directed to a page that provides you with a reference code for any future correspondence.


What if I want to keep my form(s) private from other members of my household?

Once you submit your Individual Form, no member of your household will be able to see it.


What can I do to ensure my security/privacy after online sessions?

It is helpful to clear your browser’s cache. Most browsers cache images or files that you have viewed and store them locally to improve performance. Please follow the link below to find out how to do this:

It is important to clear your browser’s cache after online sessions to avoid someone being able to view your information later. 
Some browsers have an option to not cache encrypted sessions.

Also, always make sure that you log out when you have completed your census forms and never let anyone outside your household know your access code.


Does the online census form use cookies?

Yes, cookies are used on the website for session and security purposes.


Do you use Google Analytics?

Yes, we use Google Analytics to collect information about when the site is being used, for how long, on what devices and which pages are being visited.

Safeguarding your data - Google Analytics.


Where is the digital certificate?

We have a digital certificate verifying that our census online forms are encrypted and secure. Click on the padlock in the address or status bar when you are logged on.


Why has my session online timed-out?

For security reasons and to protect your privacy, the log-on session will expire after 20 minutes of inactivity on the forms. You can login again and complete your census forms.


I want to be able to view/change/edit my form online.

You are unable to go back to view details or to change anything once a census form has been submitted.

This is to protect your security and privacy.


I need more help with my online forms. What should I do?

Check the Help page for frequently asked questions.

Check the About page for questions on the purpose of the census.

Check the Technical Help page for issues with the website or browser you are using.

If you would prefer to complete your census forms on paper, please request paper forms online.

To make an online enquiry, click on General Enquiries.

Or call our census helpline on 0800 CENSUS (0800 236 787) to speak to a customer service representative.