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Community And Voluntary Sector Speak Up

18 October 2005

Community And Voluntary Sector Calls For New Government To Be More Effective

An independent coalition of Tangata Whenua and leading community and voluntary organisations, has today written to the Prime Minister, appealing for her to give the Community and Voluntary Sector portfolio to a Minister inside Cabinet.

The coalition, called COMVOICES, is a pilot communications project set up by seven key sector umbrella groups and organisations to promote the voluntary sector and the contribution it makes to New Zealand society.

Funding Information Service general manager Andrea Goble said the community and voluntary sector was in urgent need of good representation at Cabinet level.

“We need a Minister who understands the diversity and value of this sector
and its increasing importance to key social service and health provision, arts, sports and recreation, environment and education services in New Zealand,” she said.

Executive Director of the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations, Tina Reid said the sector would be keen to see the position inside Cabinet with a Minister who had other complementary portfolios.

”Prior to the election, the Labour Party issued a policy which was light on detail. The sector is going to be looking for a Minister who can address the key issues facing the fast growing sector, especially at a time when government is increasingly reliant on voluntary organisations for provision of child care and protection services,” she said.

“The Labour Party’s pre-election policy announcement for the sector gave no hint of how it was planning to address the critical sustainability and funding issues facing the sector.

“There was also no indication whether a Labour-led government will continue to support the Community Sector Taskforce past this year. The Taskforce is a vital mechanism for building a sound and successful sector for the future.


“This parliamentary term, the sector is going to be looking for some concrete commitments from this government. There is a lot of work to do to improve working relationships with the sector and progress some key social initiatives,” she said.

Iris Pahau, Community Sector Taskforce Development Manager, said the sector was keen to make sure the Minister had a good understanding of the level of professionalism within the sector.

“The majority of organisations involved in the sector would stack up well against any commercial enterprise. A recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers study, known as the VAVA Report, of ten community and voluntary sector groups showed that if the groups studied were corporate entities, they would operate within the top 5 percent of New Zealand enterprises.

“This emphasises the fact that New Zealand’s 60,000 community and voluntary sector organisations are driven by an enormous commitment to the communities that they serve,” Ms Pahau said.

COMVOICES was also keen to see key tax mechanisms addressed in this Parliamentary term. Key areas were still muddled, particularly around imputation credits for charities putting a disproportionate burden on community organisations.

ENDS

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