Northland's health boss is urging people to take part in the 2013 Census as vital health dollars are lost for every person who doesn't, with an estimated annual shortfall of about $10 million.
Almost 73,000 Northland homes and 2800 other dwellings will get forms to take part in New Zealand's largest information gathering exercise - the 2013 Census.
The census is normally carried out every five years, but the 2011 Census was delayed for two years because of the Christchurch Earthquake. Census day is March 5.
The data gathered in the Census by Statistics New Zealand is used to help future planning - from health funding for a region to the number of Maori electorate seats needed.
Northland District Health Board chief executive Nick Chamberlain said that, in every census there is an under-count in Northland, which affected funding.
"We estimate from comparisons of Primary Health Organisation enrolment data and census projections that there is a census shortfall of over 3000 people [in Northland].
"Each person in Northland contributes population-based health funding of $3000 per person, per year, so the under-count equates to $10m."
Maori have traditionally been more reluctant to take part in the Census and this year there's a big push to get more participation by Maori.
Dr Chamberlain said key issues stopping some people from taking part, such as confidentiality, have been addressed so that people understood that the information that is gathered is confidential to Statistics New Zealand. No other government agency has the power to access individual answers to census questions.
"Although the public are legally obliged to provide information in a census, their willingness to do so is directly attributed to the trust they have that their information will remain confidential," he said.
For more information visit www.census.govt.nz or call toll-free on 0800 CENSUS (0800 236 787).