The Statistics Minister wants people to be asked about their sexual orientation in future New Zealand censuses.
This year's census will not ask that question, but James Shaw wants it included in the census due to be held in 2023.
Mr Shaw said he was disappointed that the census wouldn't take into account the diverse gender and sexual identities of New Zealanders this year.
Such information would help influence some government decisions.
"I'll give you an example. We know that there is a long waiting list for ... gender reassignment surgery and we don't have a very good picture of the size of that problem - of the size of that community.
"And so we need a much better picture - than just looking at waiting lists to get a sense of the population."
Mr Shaw was raised by two mothers and said he knew that their sexual identity was intrinsic to them and mattered.