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What will our community look like in 2011?

Media Statement
For Immediate Release

07 November 2008


Social Justice – What will our community look like in 2011?

Social justice is going to be a key issue in the next Parliamentary term, according to Tangata Whenua, community and voluntary sector organisations.

ComVoices, an independent coalition of Tangata Whenua, community and voluntary sector organisations, are urging New Zealanders to think about the big picture when they cast their vote this Saturday 8 November.

Therese Quinlivan, Director of Community Housing Aotearoa says the economic downturn combined with higher fuel and food prices was putting more and more pressure on families and communities.

“Families are under pressure to make ends meet and the effect is magnified on our children, our elderly, and those most at-risk and vulnerable.

“How we support these people now is going to define how our society looks in 25 years. That is why Sector organisations have been calling on all the political parties to articulate a measurable vision for our country.

“There is always a lot of rhetoric during an election campaign. What we need is some gutsy and quantifiable goals for improving social connectedness and cohesiveness. These are goals that we should be able to track and hold our decision makers accountable for in three years time.”

“Goals like ending child poverty by 2020, or ensuring people with disabilities are able to reach their potential, should be real, not theoretical,” Therese says.

Petra van den Munckhof, National Coordinator of Healthcare Aotearoa says that, regardless of the 8 November outcome, Sector organisations are going to be vital partners in delivering social justice outcomes in the future.

“New Zealand’s community and voluntary sector has been matching overseas trends, with more and more services being provided by Tangata Whenua, and community and voluntary sector organisations. The sector touches every New Zealander.”

In 2004, nonprofit institutions contributed $3.64 billion or 2.6 percent to New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP). That figure, combined with the value of the 270 million hours of volunteer labour, raises the contribution of nonprofit institutions to $6.95 billion or 4.9 percent of GDP. That’s similar to the contribution of the entire construction industry

Tim Burns, Executive Director of Volunteering New Zealand says it is heartening that all the political parties had issued specific policies covering the Community and Voluntary Sector during the lead-up to the 2008 campaign. This was not the case in the last election and demonstrates the importance of the Sector in delivering social justice in this country.”

“These policies matter to every New Zealander, whether they were members of a sports or recreational club or ever used a kohanga reo, Citizens Advice Bureau or an iwi-based service provider,” Tim says.

ENDS

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