Monday, 6 March 2006

Where there's a census, let there be fire!

Tomorrow night I shall be burning my census form. That is, I would be if I had one. Apparently I am amongst the third or so of central Aucklanders who haven't yet had a form delivered. How sad. Perhaps I'll need to download a form in order to burn it.

Why will I be burning it? Because the answers are none of the Chief Statistician's business. But you need my answers in order for the government to plan ahead, you say? But I don't wish you to plan ahead -- your past 'planning ahead' has been a signal failure, and I have no better expectations for your future planning. The only plans I wish you to make are to get the hell out of my way. But this is "an exercise in national cooperation," you say, in which we must all take part? Must? Must? Where is 'cooperation' when the word 'must' is wheeled out? When compulsion is the means by which 'cooperation' is obtained? If our respect for individual liberty is so thin, what about our respect for the meaning of words?

This is not an exercise in national cooperation; it is an exercise in compulsion -- a not-so-gentle reminder that the state can issue instructions, and we sheeple all have to comply -- and over matters which are either already known or able to be easily established in the free market by voluntary means.

The issue is not that there is anything about my affairs that I wish to hide. The issue is that they are my affairs. If you want to know about them, then ask nicely. And if you do I'll tell you just as nicely to go away. Census rebel Bill Weddell deserves the final word. He had this to say on the matter back in 1978 in his statement to the court:

In failing to comply with a government order to disclose private information concerning my private life and private property, my intention is not to flout the Law as such, but to lodge formal protest against the Statistics Act, and to register my rejection, on moral grounds, of the widespread practice of State expropriation of private property and related information under threat of forcible punishment.

I hold, as a moral absolute, the conviction that in a civilised society all relationships between men must be voluntary; that compulsion abolishes morality altogether, and must be outlawed; that no man shall gain a value from another by the use or the threat of force; and that it is the only proper function of the Law to protect men against those who do.

I have declined to plead or to offer any legal defense since the very existence of the Statistics Act abolishes objective justice, the only legal principle that could defend me. The Law as it stands arbitrarily declares the contradiction that guilt defined by Law can co-exist with and overrule provable innocence in objective reality.

I do not regard my actions as a crime, but as an act of self-defence. Every man possesses the absolute right to own private property and, in acting solely in defense of that right, no offence against, or violation of the rights of others is possible. Yet my actions have been twisted in legal terminology into an ‘offence’, and my alleged victim is held to be the very Act of Parliament by which the theft of my property has been legalised.

The Law is of necessity an instrument of physical force; therefore theft perpetrated by an armed government against legally disarmed citizens is an act of civil war. In addition, the Law functions by a process of deriving logical consequences from established precedents. The Statistics Act is an empowering Act enabling the State to take stock of its citizens’ wealth and furnishes clear evidence of its intention to escalate from partial confiscation by taxation to outright plunder by total control. In this case I regard blind obedience to a blatantly coercive law to be no excuse for inaction. The sanction of the victim, implied in this case by my silence or inaction, would be the worst of evils.

This census, I would urge you to be a principled opponent of the census instead of a smart-arsed clever dick. Don't fill out the form as a Jedi. Don't tell them you're an acrobat. Burn your form as an act of defiance, and tell them to go to hell. And if you do end up being compelled against your will then either make your simple, principled statement in court, or, if you can't face the fine, concede only to supplying the minimum necessary information required: Name, address, age, citizenship. And on the final question, if you do decide to fill it in, tell them you're a New Zealander.

LINK: Politically Incorrect Show 15 Feb 2001 - Lindsay Perigo

TAG: New Zealand, Libertarianism, Libz


  1. This census is going to go down in history as a total failure; not necessarily because of people bucking the trend and burning/shredding/eating the document, but because tens of thousands of people don't have the thing.

    I don't have it either.

  2. I filled my form in a few days ago and lost another layer of enamel from grinding my teeth in the process. Agree utterly with the sense of intrusion - the work related questions looked like they were there for WINZ and IRD to do cross-checks, frankly.
    So why did I fill it in? Because as a keen family historian who has benefited from census records, I want to leave a trace of where I was on 7.3.06. Laugh if you like.
    By the way, PC, they don't ask for citizenship. That would be easy to answer. They ask for ethnicity. The more definitions of that that I read, the more confused I become.

  3. Germany had a census in 1939 and you can of course guess what the data from that census was used for! The USA also used census data for rounding up Japanese-Americans during WWII.

    Germany discontinued full censuses in 1987. How on earth Germany manages to get any "planning" done, I don't know.

    BTW, the penalties for non-compliance are $500 + court costs. And $20 per day thereafter if you have still not complied. Oh, it is also an offence to encourage others not to fill out their census forms.

  4. "Oh, it is also an offence to encourage others not to fill out their census forms."


    Well in that case. If you don't fill out your census forms, I'll buy you a beer if and when I ever get back to New Zealand!

  5. Question 1: How many people didn't fill it in last time?
    Question 2: How many people did they prosecute?

  6. Robert - I will soon be joining you overseas, so make sure you have that beer waiting!

    This is what the Communications Advisor at Statistics New Zealand wrote me when I enquired about penalties:

    "We may well take legal action against anyone who encouraged others not
    to take part in the census or to be less than honest in their
    responses or stopped others from taking part. We generally prefer to
    co-operate and work with people, however, rather than punish them. If
    further action is necessary the fine is usually $500 per form plus
    court costs. If the person still doesn’t fill out the form, the
    ongoing cost is $20 a day until they do."

    I love the bit about co-operating and working with people. They are going to co-operate with me? How does that work? Guess I won't find out because I haven't got any forms.

  7. MED fired a man who was a contractor for sending an email around joking about filling in the last census with the religion Jedi.

    Cheerless bitch who was responsible said that the information collected was valuable and it was wrong to encourage people to break the law by filling it out frivolously.


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