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Government Policy on Volunteers Announced

5 December 2002 Media Statement

Government Policy on Volunteers Announced

The government has adopted a formal policy on volunteering.

The Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Hon. Tariana Turia, announced the policy at a function to mark International Volunteers Day for Social and Community Development at Parliament.

“The intention of the policy is to provide a basis for relationships between the government and volunteers.

“It sets out the government’s view of what volunteering is, the contribution it makes to our society, and the government’s commitment to recognise and support volunteers and their organisations.

“The policy recognises the tremendous diversity of volunteering, in terms of where it occurs, the nature of the work and the motives for doing it.

“The government’s commitments are to recognise and value voluntary work, and to help increase knowledge and understanding of volunteering.

“We will also ensure that the volunteer programmes we manage will follow good practice, and we will encourage community and voluntary organisations to do the same for their volunteers.

“We also pledge to reduce barriers associated with volunteering in legislation, policy and practice. We will take the needs of volunteers and their organisations into account, and consult them on policy proposals or changes that will affect them. And we will assist public servants to continue to do voluntary work.

“A topical commitment is to ensure that volunteers have appropriate legal protection. The clear intention of the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill is to protect volunteers. It will require employers, and volunteers themselves, to take all practical steps to ensure they work safely in a safe environment.

“A number of volunteer activities will specifically be excluded from the enforceable provisions of the act, including taking part in fundraising activities, helping with sports and recreation for a club or school, helping with school activities outside school grounds, and looking after someone in your own home.

“There will be a general duty of care covering all these people, which will be promoted by OSH, even though it will not be enforced.

“The policy will be implemented by a work programme, which is being drawn up by the Ministry of Social Development. I hope to make some announcements in the new year on the work programme.

“I believe this policy will fulfil the government’s vision of a society with a high level of volunteering, where the many contributions people make to the common good through volunteering and fulfilment of cultural obligations are actively supported and valued.

Tariana Turia also called on leaders of the community and voluntary sector to promote unity in a diverse society.

“In your work in the community and voluntary sector, a very important role is to provide leadership,” she said.

“You are influential people in your organisations and communities, and, as such, you have the confidence and trust of the people.

“There is an important message for you to promote – to create an inclusive society, where the different viewpoints among us are fully respected. I hope we can work together on this.”

The Minister presented commemorative medallions to members of the Ministerial Reference Group for UN International Year for Volunteers in 2001.

Members were:
Bella Tari, Pam McLeod, Jane Poa, Cheryll Martin, Carol Quirk, Karen Roberts, and Nick Toonen, Ekara Lewis, Denise Henigan, John Thornley and the late Te Warana Tautari Ratima

ENDS

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