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Bradford challenges Key to come clean on NGOs

7 July 2008

Bradford challenges Key to come clean on NGOs

Green Party MP Sue Bradford is alarmed at indications the National Party has plans that could silence local NGOs on social issues.

Ms Bradford says there are strong indications the National Party intends using Mission Australia, a large corporate style Australian NGO, in a public-private style contracting arrangement between the state and the community sector if it becomes the Government.

She says she has been approached as Green Party Spokesperson on the Voluntary and Community sector by local NGO representatives concerned that National Party leader John Key has been telling people he plans to make Mission Australia a lead contractor here because he thinks there are too many small NGOs.

"Mission Australia is a huge business in Australia, feared by smaller NGOs as it gobbles up available contract monies and starves smaller NGOs of funds.

"It also acts as an enforcement arm in relation to income support and work for the dole schemes.

"I call on John Key to urgently advise NGOs and the public what his real plans are."

Ms Bradford says she is worried that NGOs could effectively be silenced on important social issues under a private public contracting regime.

"Often the only voice speaking out on issues like poverty, unemployment, homelessness and problem gambling will be the organizations working in these areas.

"These groups could find themselves denied any Government funding.

"On the back of news last week about National's plans for ACC, I wonder just how many more big Australian corporates - including Mission Australia - stand ready to benefit financially from a possible Key victory later this year?

"Privatisation of the Government's relationship with the community sector would be a huge step backwards for New Zealand. Contracting out services like this is very reminiscent of the Wisconsin model which the National Government of the late 1990s touted so strongly.

"The Public Service Association and its members need to know too, as any move to contract out and privatise contracting and funding would inevitably result in substantial job losses for their members in Government Department funding arms."


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