Statistics ACT 2015

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Statistics Act 2015


Act 7 of 2015





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STATISTICS ACT 2015


Statistics Act 2015 Arrangement of Sections





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Act 7 of 2015 Page 3




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STATISTICS ACT 2015

Arrangement of Sections

Section

PART I - PRELIMINARY 5

1 Short Title .............................................................................................................. 5
2 Interpretation .......................................................................................................... 5

PART II - THE MINISTER, GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN,
STATISTICS DEPARTMENT AND NATIONAL STATISTICS
ADVISORY BOARD 6

3 Statistics Department ............................................................................................. 6
4 Appointment of the Government Statistician ........................................................ 7
5 The duties of the Government Statistician ............................................................. 7
6 Responsibilities of the Government Statistician .................................................... 8
7 Minister responsible for statistics .......................................................................... 8
8 National Statistics Advisory Council ..................................................................... 8

PART III – REPORTING 9

9 Annual report ......................................................................................................... 9

PART IV – PROTECTION OF INFORMATION 9

10 Oath of office and evidence of appointment .......................................................... 9
11 Protection from disclosure of respondent information ........................................ 10
12 Limited disclosure of certain details permitted .................................................... 10
13 Respondent information is privileged .................................................................. 11

PART V – COLLECTION OF STATISTICS 11

14 Census of Population ........................................................................................... 11
15 Surveys and censuses ........................................................................................... 12

Arrangement of Sections Statistics Act 2015





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16 Joint collection of statistics .................................................................................. 13
17 Use of administrative records of departments for statistical purposes ................. 13

PART VI – TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES 14

18 Temporary employees .......................................................................................... 14

PART VII – ACCESS TO RECORDS 14

19 Access to records .................................................................................................. 14

PART VIII – OFFENCES AND PENALTIES 14

20 Offences and Penalty ............................................................................................ 14

PART IX – REPEAL OF STATISTICS ACT 15

21 Repeal ................................................................................................................... 15




Statistics Act 2015 Section 1





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Act 7 of 2015 Page 5




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STATISTICS ACT 2015

Act 7 of 2015

AN ACT TO ENLARGE AND DEVELOP AN INTEGRATED AND

COMPREHENSIVE STATISTICAL INFORMATION SYSTEM AND TO

REGULATE ALL MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO

I assent,

TUPOU VI,

15th October 2015.

BE IT ENACTED by the King and Legislative Assembly of Tonga in the

Legislature of the Kingdom as follows:

PART I - PRELIMINARY

1 Short Title

This Act may be cited as the Statistics Act 2015.

2 Interpretation

In this Act,

“department” or “departments of government” means any ministry

department, branch, bureau, agency or other division of the Government, and

includes a statutory body;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for statistics;

Section 3 Statistics Act 2015





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“respondent” means a person corporate or not-incorporated body including a

non-profit making institution in respect of whom or in respect of whose

activities any report or information is sought or provided pursuant to this Act;

“officer” means every permanent or temporary officer or employee employed

in the Statistics Department; and includes the Government Statistician and any

person engaged on a contract for services to perform any of the duties of

an officer;

“official statistics” are statistics produced by any department to inform the

Government and people of Tonga about the economic, social, cultural and

environmental conditions of the Kingdom and the activities, performance and

impact of the Government, and to measure economic and social progress of the

people of Tonga;

“statistical purposes” means the production of official statistics, and includes

the production, management, protection and use of respondent information

obtained from any statistical and administrative source. It includes making

available for specified research purposes authorised under this Act by the

Government Statistician any collection of unidentified statistical records in the

form of micro-data or unit record files; and

“micro-data” means statistical data files of individual respondent records, with

information identifying individual respondents removed, that shall be used for

statistical purposes.

PART II - THE MINISTER, GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN,
STATISTICS DEPARTMENT AND NATIONAL STATISTICS

ADVISORY BOARD

3 Statistics Department

(1) There shall be a department of the Government of the Kingdom to be known as

the Statistics Department which shall be the principal authority for the official

statistics of Tonga.

(2) The Statistics Department shall collect, from people, businesses and other

organisations in the Kingdom, information relating to their activities and

economic and social situation, in order to compile, analyse, abstract and publish

official statistics relating to the condition of commerce, people, their

communities and the environment, as well as the activities, performance and

impact of the Government.

Statistics Act 2015 Section 4





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Act 7 of 2015 Page 7




4 Appointment of the Government Statistician

An appropriately qualified person shall be appointed in accordance with the Public

Service Act to be the Government Statistician and he shall be the chief executive

officer of the Statistics Department, and be responsible to the Minister.

5 The duties of the Government Statistician

(1) The Government Statistician shall monitor and demonstrate regard to the

demands placed on respondents when determining the form and frequency of

the statistical obligations that are imposed, and shall:

(a) ensure the continued scientific integrity of the methods used in the

production, analysis and publication of statistics;

(b) protect from disclosure all identifiable information obtained for

statistical purposes, unless explicitly referred to in section 13;

(c) make full use for statistical purposes of information available to

departments of government; and

(d) establish rules for the publication and impartial release without delay of

official statistics.

(2) The Government Statistician shall co-ordinate the practices of departments in

the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics and related

information, by publishing standards and guidance with particular regard to:

(a) enabling the integration of statistics compiled by departments of

government by ensuring the compatibility of classifications, reference

frames and statistical units;

(b) avoiding duplication in the collection of information for statistical

purposes by departments of government; and

(c) supporting the development of national registers of business, land

parcels, dwellings and significant structures for advancing public

administration including official statistics.

(3) The Government Statistician shall advance the quality and relevance of each

field of official statistics by:

(a) publishing information about the methods used in the production of

statistics, and assessments of their quality;

(b) organising and publishing periodic reviews of their relevance, scope and

quality;

(c) advising the Minister on matters of statistical policy, including giving

advice on the statistical programs of the departments of the government

of Tonga; and

(d) co-ordinating international statistical co-operation, including Pacific

regional collaboration on standards, methods and information

management.

Section 6 Statistics Act 2015





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(4) The Government Statistician shall report to the Minister at the end of the first

year of this Act, and every three years thereafter, on the official statistics to be

produced by departments in Tonga over the following three years, with a review

of the achievements of the most recent three year period.

6 Responsibilities of the Government Statistician

(1) The Government Statistician shall be responsible for deciding the statistical

methodology and professional statistical standards used by the Statistics

Department, and the timing, form and content of statistical releases and

publications issued by the Statistics Department.

(2) The Government Statistician shall release statistics at the same time to all users,

at a time prescribed in advance by the Government Statistician, and shall

establish rules when Ministers or departmental officers might have access under

embargo to statistics prior to their public release by departments.

(3) The Government Statistician may promote public understanding of the official

statistics at the time of any release by comment of an impartial manner, and

may examine and comment on the interpretation of any published statistics

where they consider that necessary and appropriate.

7 Minister responsible for statistics

(1) The Government Statistician is accountable to the Minister for the proper

supervision of the administration of this Act and the control of the operations

and staff of the Statistics Department.

(2) The Minister may issue directions for the implementation of this Act.

(3) The Minister shall table before the Legislative Assembly each year the report

of the Government Statistician on the administration of this Act, the activities

of the Statistics Department and any matter concerning official statistics, for

the preceding year ending 30 June.

(4) The Minister may make regulations as are necessary to give full effect to the

provisions of this Act and its administration.

8 National Statistics Advisory Council

(1) The Minister may appoint appropriately qualified persons from government,

business and the community to a National Statistics Advisory Council created

by the Minister to meet the needs of the time for advice to the Minister on the

range and scope of official statistics necessary for economic and social

development planning and management of the Kingdom.

(2) The Government Statistician shall be an ex-officio member of the National

Statistics Advisory Council.

Statistics Act 2015 Section 9





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Act 7 of 2015 Page 9




(3) The functions of the National Statistics Advisory Council shall include:

(a) advising on the improvement, extension, co-ordination and

harmonisation of statistical activities;

(b) reviewing the priorities and programmes of work of the Statistics

Department and the statistical programmes of other departments;

(c) overseeing the maintenance of public trust in statistics about the

Kingdom, including the processes that ensure public confidence in the

confidentiality provisions of this Act;

(d) advising the Minister on the findings of the sector wide reviews of

official statistics;

(e) advising the Government Statistician on priorities regarding future

access needs, and the form and quality of available statistics;

(f) overseeing the maintenance of independence, integrity, and professional

standards of statistical information; and

(g) designating as official statistics any statistical measure not produced by

a department which meets the standards of official statistics and which

provides significant information about a sector of official statistics that

would otherwise not be available.

PART III – REPORTING

9 Annual report

The Government Statistician shall each year submit a report to the Minister to table

in Legislative Assembly, on the activities of the Statistics Department and any matter

concerning official statistics, for the preceding year ending 30 June.

PART IV – PROTECTION OF INFORMATION

10 Oath of office and evidence of appointment

(1) The Government Statistician and every person employed or engaged pursuant

to this Act shall, before entering upon his duties, take and subscribe the

following oath:

I, …..……., swear that I shall not at any time make known to others any

information that comes to my knowledge as a result of my employment in the

Statistics Department of the Kingdom and which is protected from disclosure

by the Statistics Act.

(2) The oath set out in subsection (1) shall be administered by any person duly

authorised, and returned and recorded in such manner, as required by law.

Section 11 Statistics Act 2015





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(3) Every employee of the Statistics Department shall have a signed authority from

the Government Statistician that shall be sufficient evidence of their authority

to fulfil their duties under this Act.

11 Protection from disclosure of respondent information

(1) Information obtained under this Act shall be used for statistical purposes only,

and only in accordance with this Act.

(2) All information published under this Act shall be arranged to prevent any

information relating to a particular respondent being identifiable by any person,

other than the respondent who supplied the information.

(3) Where a disclosure occurred where a person could identify to whom the

information relates, and which at the time of publishing could not have been

reasonably foreseen, the Government Statistician shall determine the actions

needed to mitigate the impact, and prevent a recurrence.

(4) The Government Statistician, and every officer and person in employment in

the Statistics Department shall ensure the proper custody of statistical records

and ensure that:

(a) only a person employed or deemed to be employed under this Act, and

sworn under section 10, shall be permitted to examine any identifiable

individual return made for the purposes of this Act, except for the

purposes of a prosecution under this Act; and

(b) no person who has at any time been sworn under section 10 shall disclose

or knowingly cause to be disclosed, by any means, any information

obtained under this Act, without the authority of the Government

Statistician, in exercise of their power under this Act.

(5) All returns and documents containing information obtained under this Act

which enable identification of individuals or establishments shall be kept at all

times in a manner reasonably calculated to prevent any unauthorised person

having access thereto.

(6) All forms shall be destroyed after the information obtained from them has been

extracted by the Government Statistician or any person authorised by the

Government Statistician.

(7) The records of each census of population shall be held by the Government

Statistician, and shall be made available as public records after 75 years from

the date of the census.

12 Limited disclosure of certain details permitted

(1) Notwithstanding section 11, the Government Statistician may disclose the

following information to the public, or to any person who requests it:

Statistics Act 2015 Section 13





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(a) the respondent who supplied the information has consented to the

publication in that manner;

(b) information that is already available to the public without the breach of

any law;

(c) information supplied by any department if that department has an

obligation to make that information public on request, or confirms to the

Government Statistician that it would make that information available to

the public if requested; or

(d) details of external trade, movement of ships and aircraft, and cargo

handled at ports and airports.

(2) The Government Statistician may disclose information about the location, size

and classification of businesses, land parcels and dwellings to any department

responsible for maintaining registers that support public administration

including official statistics and the nature of each such disclosure shall be

notified in the annual report of the Government Statistician.

(3) Where the Government Statistician receives a request under subsection (1)(c),

the Government Statistician may, at his discretion, elect to make the

information public as well instead of providing it to the person who made

the request.

(4) Where an emergency has been declared the Government Statistician may make

available to the appropriate authorities information that is otherwise not able to

be lawfully disclosed about the characteristics and location of persons, their

habitation and place of business, provided that the use is intended to be to the

benefit of persons affected by the emergency.

13 Respondent information is privileged

(1) Except in respect of a prosecution initiated under this Act, any information

obtained from a respondent by the Statistics Department is privileged and shall

not be used as evidence in the proceedings of any Court, tribunal or other body.

(2) No respondent information collected under this Act may be used for or in

connection with the assessment or levy of any tax imposed by the Government

and may not be used in evidence of such assessment.

PART V – COLLECTION OF STATISTICS

14 Census of Population

(1) The Government Statistician shall be responsible for the administration and

completion of any census of population taken in the Kingdom, and the rules for

taking a census of population shall be published in the Gazette.

Section 15 Statistics Act 2015





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(2) The census of population shall take place every five years.

15 Surveys and censuses

(1) The Government Statistician shall determine the method and form of collection,

analysis, publication and release for any survey or census conducted by the

Statistics Department including the taking of a census of population, and

prescribe such rules and forms as deemed necessary to conduct the work

effectively.

(2) The Statistics Department shall:

(a) obtain information from respondents in the most efficient manner,

having regard to all the demands placed on the respondents to surveys

and censuses conducted in the Kingdom;

(b) supply a schedule to every affected person, dwelling or place of business

by any means that the statistician reasonably considers to be appropriate

(which may include notice of where an electronic schedule can be

obtained); and

(c) request a respondent to supply estimates which shall be made responsibly

and in good faith where the facts are not available.

(3) Every person, organisation or business from whom information is sought shall

answer the inquiries of the Statistics Department to the best of their knowledge.

(4) A request for information for the purposes of this Act may be made by

delivering the request to that person in any way that is usual in the Kingdom

for transmitting official requests to the public.

(5) In the absence of the occupant of the house or business owner the requirement

falls on another member of the family or on the agent of the owner of the

business.

(6) Any agent in the Kingdom of a foreign principal shall provide the information

required or produce evidence that they have been unable to obtain

the information.

(7) Official statistics may be collected by means of sampling, where the use of that

method is considered appropriate in place of a full enumeration.

(8) The Government Statistician may determine that a survey or survey question

shall be carried out on a voluntary basis, and shall inform any person of the

undertaking before they are requested to answer questions through an

interview, form, questionnaire or other record, and all such information shall

be subject to the restrictions on use and prohibition on disclosure of information

specified in this Act.

Statistics Act 2015 Section 16





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Act 7 of 2015 Page 13




16 Joint collection of statistics

(1) The Government Statistician with the consent of the Minister may enter into an

agreement with any department or corporation to jointly collect information

where the information demanded by the department or corporation closely

duplicates an enquiry by the Statistics Department.

(2) The respondent shall be informed that the information is being collected jointly

on behalf of the Statistics Department and the department or corporation, and

that any exchange of information pursuant to this section may include replies

to original inquiries and supplementary information provided by a respondent

to the Statistics Department and the department or corporation jointly collecting

the information.

17 Use of administrative records of departments for statistical purposes

(1) Upon request of the Government Statistician, every department shall furnish

administrative records as may be required for statistical purposes only. The

conditions regarding storage, access, destruction and return of records shall be

set by the department when providing such access.

(2) When a department proposes to introduce, revise or extend any system for the

collection, storage and retrieval of information or to make a statistical survey it

shall consult with the Government Statistician and accept any

recommendations that they may reasonably make in relation to the proposal

(3) Where micro-data of unidentified individual information that is intended to be

made available for authorised research purposes by the Statistics Department

includes information from the administrative records of departments, the

department responsible for these records may establish conditions for their use

as micro-data in addition to those rules set by the Government Statistician.

(4) Subject to section 11, the Government Statistician or any officer of the Statistics

Department authorised by the Government Statistician to do so may inspect and

have access to any returns, certificates, statements, documents, or other records

obtained for the purpose of the Income Tax Act.

(5) Subject to section 11, the Minister responsible for revenue shall cause such

returns, certificates, statements, documents or other records to be made

available to the Government Statistician or person authorised by him to inspect

such records, in such manner and at such time and place as may be prescribed

upon the recommendation of the Minister responsible for revenue.

(6) Subject to section 11, the Minister responsible for customs shall cause to be

sent to the Government Statistician returns of imports and exports into and from

the Kingdom in a form suitable for statistical purposes.

Section 18 Statistics Act 2015





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PART VI – TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES

18 Temporary employees

(1) The Government Statistician may employ, from time to time, in the manner

prescribed by law, such commissioners, enumerators, agents or other persons

as are necessary to collect for the Statistics Department such statistics and

information for such periods as they deem necessary.

(2) Where the Government Statistician uses the services of any employee of the

public service in the exercise or performance of any duty, power or function of

the Government Statistician under this Act, and any person whose services are

so used shall, for, the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be a person employed

under this Act.

(3) Any person employed under subsection (1) to perform special services for the

Government Statistician pursuant to this Act, shall for the purposes of this Act

be deemed to be persons employed under this Act while performing such

services.

PART VII – ACCESS TO RECORDS

19 Access to records

(1) A person having information or the custody or charge of any documents or

records that are maintained in any department, corporation, business or

organisation, from which information sought in respect of the objects of this

Act can be obtained or that would aid in the completion or correction thereof,

shall provide or grant access thereto for these purposes to a person authorised

by the Government Statistician to obtain such information or such aid in the

completion or correction of such information.

(2) Any agent in the Kingdom of a foreign principal shall provide the information

required or produce evidence that he has been unable to obtain the information.

PART VIII – OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

20 Offences and Penalty

(1) Every person who, after taking the oath, set out in section 10(1) who fails to

fulfil this duty, or wilfully makes any false declaration, statement or return in

the performance of his duties commits an offence and is liable on conviction to

a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6

months or to both.

Statistics Act 2015 Section 21





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Act 7 of 2015 Page 15




(2) Any employee of the Statistics Department or any person who impersonates an

employee of the Statistics Department, and who obtains or seeks to obtain

information that they are not duly authorised to obtain, commits an offence and

is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a

term not exceeding 6 months or both.

(3) Every person who, without lawful excuse:

(a) refuses or neglects to answer, or wilfully answers falsely, any question

intended to obtain information sought in respect of the object of this Act

or pertinent thereto that has been asked of him by any person employed

or deemed to be employed under this Act;

(b) refuses or neglects to furnish any information or to fill in to the best of

his knowledge and belief any schedule or form that they have been

required to fill in, and to return the same when and as required of him

pursuant to this Act; or

(c) knowingly gives false or misleading information is, for every such

refusal or neglect, or false answer or deception,

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.

PART IX – REPEAL OF STATISTICS ACT

21 Repeal

(1) The Statistics Act [Cap 53] is hereby repealed.

(2) The repeal under subsection (1) shall not affect any form or document and its

protection from disclosure at any time, except under the provisions of this new

Act.







Passed by the Legislative Assembly this 15th day of September 2015.

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