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Minister Relying on Guesswork

Media Release

Minister Relying on Guesswork

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

According to Minister for Social Development, David Benson-Pope, a family support telephone pilot is helping one in four Bay of Plenty families.

Mr Benson-Pope says, "Actual Family Helpline calls over the past year have confirmed this: In the period of 20 March 2005 to 15 May 2006, the 211 Helpline answered 15,918 calls. Given that there are approximately 64,000 families in the region this is equivalent to one call from every four families."

But welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell points out the figures could just as easily represent one in sixteen families calling the line four times.

"In any case, " says Mitchell, "The period he quotes is not a year and rather than 64,000 families there are around 75,000 families in the Bay of Plenty region."

"The Minister's measure of success, that one in four families are being helped, is baseless. Why is this important? Because on the back of this 'success' he intends rolling the scheme out nationwide."

"The Minister thinks it is okay to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on the basis of guesswork."


ENDS

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