A Families Commission study of access to social services for Masterton families has left out those who are most likely to need social services: those at the bottom of the economic food chain.
Although the researchers wanted to include the vulnerable families in their investigations, they could not contact them and most did not have telephones and avoided social services.
Masterton has a large group of economically deprived families. Typically, they don't have landlines, and, as a result, no internet access either. Phone access is usually pre-paid cellphones.
To have any validity, this study needed to sample households across Masterton, using Statistics meshblocks, and conducting face-to-face interviews where telephone contact wasn't possible (the study used randomised phone sampling).
Any number of local government staff and social service professionals could have directed those conducting the survey to where they would find the economically deprived.
This ill-conceived report seems to be a complete waste of taxpayers' money.
Read the full report here.