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Volunteers' contribution vital

Paula Bennett
MP National Party Community Programmes Spokeswoman

5 December 2007

Volunteers' contribution vital

National's Community Programmes spokeswoman Paula Bennett is congratulating the thousands of volunteers who make vital contributions to their communities.

"Today is International Volunteer Day, and it is a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the large number of people who give up their time voluntarily to work in a wide variety of sectors in New Zealand society.

"The contribution these people make cannot be under-estimated. Without them, some aspects of community life would simply fail to exist."

Ms Bennett says National has always recognised the value of volunteers and has already announced a range of measures which promote the growth, ingenuity, and vitality of community groups.

These include:

* All payments that reimburse volunteers for actual and reasonable expenses will be tax-free, regardless of the amount of the payment.

* Honoraria payments will be tax-free up to an amount of $5,000 per year, per person.

* Reducing compliance costs for community groups.

* Investigating a venture capital fund for community organisations.

* Removing the cap on personal tax rebates for charitable donations.

"National recognises that volunteer groups build a greater sense of belonging and a shared pride in our communities. We want to promote a culture of generosity and volunteering in New Zealand.

"Labour sneeringly called National's policy 'Tory charity', but proceeded to quietly copy it.

"Unlike the Government, we won't treat volunteers as cheap labour. National will also look at full-cost funding for non-profit organisations which provide certain services. Currently, these groups are often short-changed in Government funding and need to find the shortfall themselves.

"Congratulations to all those groups that are already making an invaluable contribution to society."

ENDS

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