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Value community - ditch Charities Bill, say Greens

8 September, 2004

Value community - ditch Charities Bill, say Greens

Green MP Sue Bradford said today that the Government's Charities Bill poses a serious threat to New Zealand's community and voluntary sector, which was valued today at $5-6 billion by Suzanne Snively, the author of a groundbreaking report on the work of voluntary agencies.

The 'Counting for Something' report, prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers & the Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations, concluded that for every dollar provided to a voluntary agency, between $3 and $5 worth of services were delivered to the community.

Ms Bradford, the Green spokesperson for the community and voluntary sector, said the Charities Bill currently before the House threatens to undermine much of the good work quantified by this new study.

"Now that we begin to know how much the voluntary sector is worth to New Zealand, it would be a tragedy for the Government to continue with this ill-conceived Bill," said Ms Bradford.

"I challenge the new Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Rick Barker, to have a major rethink about proceeding with a bill which threatens the political autonomy of community groups, will overload them with compliance costs and creates a chilling effect on the willingness of volunteers to serve on boards.

"The Government must either withdraw the bill altogether or completely rewrite it with the full input and consideration of the not-for-profit sector. It's a real shame the sector was sidelined while a bill was drafted that significantly affects their activities," she said.

Sue Bradford is asking Question 6 to the Minister today in Parliament, and will then be speaking in general debate on the Charities Bill in the first slot following question time

ENDS

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