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Go further – Volunteer

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector

Embargoed Sunday 15th June 2008 Media Statement

Go further – Volunteer

Volunteer Awareness Week 15-21 June 2008

Volunteer Awareness Week is a time to acknowledge the vital contribution made by more than a million volunteers toward the well-being of fellow New Zealanders.

"There are 97,000 non-profit organisations in New Zealand whose volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities working in every area - from meals on wheels to community patrols, from volunteer fire fighters to the running of marae to driving an older neighbour to the supermarket," said Ruth Dyson, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector.

"Volunteering contributes to the kiwi way of life, and contributes to our sense of belonging and national identity. Volunteers also make an enormous contribution to our economy," said Ms Dyson.

A 2004 survey found that over one million Kiwi volunteers gave an incredible 270 million hours of unpaid labour. Valued at market wages, the overall contribution of non-profits rises to $6.95 billion or 4.9 per cent of GDP – the same as the entire construction industry.

"Since 1999, the Government has funded volunteer centres and provided over $17 million to grass roots community projects through the Community Partnership Fund with a further $6 million provided in the 2008 budget.

"The Labour-led government is also implementing Pathway to Partnership a new funding model worth $446 million which will benefit community organisations delivering essential services to families and communities.

"Additionally, tax changes to charitable donations and the introduction of a new voluntary payroll system, will further strengthen the financial base of volunteer organisations.

"This week let us take the opportunity to thank those who contribute so much time and effort such as Berill Michelsen of Nga Wahine Tamariki Punanga O Whakatu - Nelson Women’s and Children’s Refuge Services, who was named the inaugural Telecom Community Connection Charitable Person of the Year earlier in March. Behind every voluntary organisation are the unsung heroes, and Volunteer Awareness Week is a great opportunity to recognise this valuable work," said Ms Dyson.


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