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Voluntary Sector Working Group Appointed

Community And Voluntary Sector Working Group Appointed


Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Steve Maharey this afternoon announced the members of a new working group which will develop the framework for an agreement between the Government and the community and voluntary sector.

The contribution made by the community and voluntary sector in New Zealand has grown considerably in recent years and the Government wants to ensure it is fully recognised and valued. There are 60,000 voluntary organisations in New Zealand and approximately 1.1 million New Zealanders do some form of voluntary work. Over $1.3 billion is invested in services provided by the voluntary sector annually, funded equally by the Government and non-government sources including through lottery and other grants, donations and bequests.

Three hundred and forty nominations were received for the twelve-member working group which balances Mäori, Pacific peoples and geographic interests with a wide range of skills and experience. Three members of the working group have been appointed from senior positions from within the civil service (see appendix).

"The community and voluntary sector in New Zealand is growing rapidly and it is now heavily involved in delivering health and social services in many of our communities.

"In many ways we are witnessing a sea-change in the social services which this Government is fully supportive of. People don't want big government any longer. They want to be much more involved designing and delivering tailored solutions to meet the needs in their communities with the active support of the Government.

"This is particularly an issue within Mäori communities and amongst Pacific peoples. There is now considerable expertise within these communities and the Government is committed to genuine partnership to harness the considerable talent that still remains untapped. The contribution already made by business and local government also has the potential to increase exponentially.

"Spending on service delivery within the voluntary sector is estimated to be worth over $1.3 billion annually, involving over a million New Zealanders contributing millions of hours of paid an unpaid work.
"In recent times Government relationships with community and voluntary sector have been characterised by mistrust and insecurity. We want to move past the narrow focus on what is in the contract and develop strong relationships which ensure we provide effective programmes meeting real needs.

"The working group will have the key task of defining this new relationship. Over the coming months I have asked it to look at issues of funding, accountability and communication. It will also give consideration to whether we should go on and develop a formal agreement as other countries have done," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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