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Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector

Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector launched

The community and voluntary sector's huge contribution to New Zealand is being recognised by the Government today, with the launch of the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Te Tari o te Rangai a-Hapori, a-Tuao, said Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Tariana Turia.

"Community, voluntary and tangata whenua organisations play a vital part in the nation's social, economic, environmental and cultural development. Many thousands of people work tirelessly to make our communities better places to work and enjoy life.

"These organisations are the vehicles through which communities achieve their goals, in social services, conservation, emergency services, education, health, sport and recreation, art and heritage. "Community organisations and government must have strong relationships, to support community and voluntary effort.

"A key role for the office will be to raise the profile of the sector within government. One of its first tasks will be to assist government departments to develop relationship plans with the non-government organisations they work with and alongside.

Mrs Turia also launched a new online resource - www.goodpracticeparticipate.govt.nz - to help public servants to engage successfully with community, voluntary and tangata whenua organisations.

"Access to information is another aspect of the government's commitment to creating a genuine partnership with community, voluntary and tangata whenua organisations," said Mrs Turia.

"This commitment was set out in the Government's Statement of Intentions for an Improved Community-Government Relationship, signed by the Prime Minister and Steve Maharey in December 2001.

Other items on the work programme for the new office are to co-ordinate improvements to government funding arrangements, and a project on risk management, liability and insurance for volunteers and their organisations.

"The office will lead ongoing work on good models for collaborative funding arrangements. As part of that work, an online toolkit is being developed to help public servants when setting up funding arrangements with community sector organisations. I know this is priority for the community sector.

"Te Tari o te Rangai a-Hapori, a-Tuao will be accountable to myself for its work programme and priorities and to Steve Maharey as VOTE Minister for budget matters. It will be located within the Ministry of Social Development".

ENDS

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