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Labour Community and Voluntary Sector Policy

Media Statement
For immediate release

6 November 2008

Labour Party Policy on Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector

The Community Sector Taskforce regrets the Labour Party’s belated and underwhelming policy on how it wishes to continue its work with the more than 90,000 Tangata Whenua, community and voluntary organisations in New Zealand.

There is no new position or commitment to the sector only a repeat of its unfortunate Statement of Government Intent with the unfortunate acronym SOGI!

There has been no effort or thought relating to the specific issues the Sector is facing today and in particular the need for the Sector to:

1. develop an independent Sector-led body, fully supported by Government and operating on the Tiriti/Treaty of Waitangi Relationships Framework as agreed by Sector leadership
2. undertake a Sector-led review (with Government) of all funding and service provision arrangements with the Sector
3. consider how the Sector will be protected and assisted through the prevailing economic environment given that we will once again provide a safety platform for the growing unemployment levels. Communities expect to see real investment to narrow the growing gap in the provision of healthcare and education and the work of volunteers.

The experience of the Sector has been that Government has preferred to litigate its own aspirations rather than work together with the community on community priorities. It has preferred to dominate rather than respectfully engage and continues to insist on an overbearing control of sector organisations through audit and monitoring processes. It has made it very difficult for Tangata Whenua members of the Sector to achieve recognition within the Sector on Tangata Whenua terms. Such a performance is not consistent with claims to have made a concerted and respectful effort to work together with the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector.

The Office of Community and Voluntary Sector, Government’s vehicle to lead relationship development between the government and the Sector continues to be an inappropriate body to lead government relationships with the Sector.

Labour policy says it will continue to support the independence of Sector advocacy. Regrettably there is no evidence in the recent history of the Government:Sector relationship that suggests that this is true.

The Community Sector Taskforce is pleased to see policy from the Greens and the Maori Party that supports its overall aspirations as a connected, independent and engaged Sector.


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