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RESULTS

Trials conducted a year before suggested a 20 percent uptake of the electronic census form option (Statistics New Zealand, 2005).

Field staff were instructed not to oversell this option as there were fears that 30 percent uptake would be too much for the computer system. During the delivery phase staff reported a high uptake in some areas (as much as 80 percent, particularly in inner city suburbs and the CBD). Although the forms were to be completed as of census night (March 7, 2006), the system was available from February 20 (the beginning of the delivery phase) till the end of March. The peak period though was on census night and few problems1 were encountered with the use of the Internet forms. However some of the OFFICE messages to the enumerators were not received during this time. It should be emphasised that the forms themselves were received in the census system. There were also performance and other problems with the FMS, especially considering that access to it from the district offices scattered throughout the country was via dial-up lines (Jackson, 2006). Exacerbating this, many more mailback forms were received at the central office in Christchurch and the district offices. Each of these was to be entered in the system so that FMS could text the enumerator with the corresponding OFFICE message. This was not feasible in the district offices and the information entered at the central office lacked addresses (omitted to cut down the time it took), so it was difficult to determine the correct dwelling when the forms had been miscoded.


  

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