“If someone can’t be bothered to spend 10 minutes online completing the Census, they shouldn’t be eligible to receive government benefits. I predict this move will get census completion rates near to 100 per cent over night,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Kiwis who’ve done the right thing and completed the Census are now watching people who couldn’t be bothered get free Warriors tickets. That sums up Labour’s values.

“The Census decides more about who gets what than any election. Schools and hospitals can’t get funded for people the Census says doesn’t exist. People who rely on the Government for income should have more interest in ensuring it is filled out than anyone.

“Beneficiaries who haven’t filled out their forms should have their payments frozen until they’ve completed it. The same should apply to Working for Families tax credits. Once the form is filled out, they can get back paid for what they’ve missed.

“I have no doubt the usual suspects will be outraged by this suggestion. It shows how far New Zealand’s values have slipped. For too many people, receiving Government benefits is sacrosanct, but doing a basic civic duty is out of the question. It needs to stop.

“Statistics Minister Deborah Russell says she’s ‘comfortable doing whatever it takes to get that census across the line’. This is a better incentive than sending emails with Star Wars puns as Stats NZ has been doing.

“It also doesn’t cost taxpayers who are currently shelling out for Warriors tickets and other bribes. The move should be administratively simple. Before receiving a Government transfer, just check if they filled out a census form, first.

“Deborah Russell previously staked her career on the 2023 Census reaching its 90 per cent target. She should take ACT’s advice if she wants to meet the target.”

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