Self-selecting sample

The Press reports:

Earthquake Recovery Minister has signalled he is losing confidence in the Earthquake Commission ()’s chief executive, demanding a “full inquiry” into how disgruntled homeowners were excluded from satisfaction surveys.

The issue arose after EQC critic and homeowner advocate Bryan Staples provided The Press with a document which appeared to show a system whereby EQC earmarked dissatisfied customers to leave them out of potential survey pools.

Brownlee yesterday told reporters at Parliament he was “quite annoyed” not to have been given information about the exclusions sooner.

The disclosure followed an Auditor-General’s report this week which quoted an EQC survey saying 80 per cent of homeowners were satisfied with the Canterbury home repair process.

Brownlee later said EQC was doing “pretty well” and yesterday stood by the comment.

Asked what level of confidence he had in EQC chief executive Ian Simpson, Brownlee refused to comment, but made it clear that confidence was at stake.

“It’s one of those things that I think goes to the heart of confidence and I’m very, very annoyed about it,” he said.

“I’ve asked the State Services Commissioner to conduct a full inquiry and he’ll be reporting to me in the next couple of days about how that’s going to be progressed.”

 An inquiry is warranted. The integrity of the sample is crucial to the reliability of a poll or survey. The exclusion of those who were recorded as being in a dispute with EQC means that the survey results were not representative.

What will be crucial is whether the report disclosed the sampling method, and the fact some home owners were excluded.

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