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New Zealand Volunteers World Leaders

4 December 2008

Media release – for immediate release

New Zealand Volunteers World Leaders

New Zealand’s volunteers lead the world in the contribution they make, an achievement to be acknowledged in celebrating International Volunteer Day (5 December) says Alison Marshall, Chairperson of Volunteering New Zealand.

The recent report on the New Zealand non-profit sector, comparing it with those in 40 other countries, showed that when the hours worked by New Zealand’s one million plus volunteers are converted into full time work equivalents, they comprise two thirds of the total workforce in the non-profit sector.

“The volunteer share of the non-profit workforce in New Zealand was greater than in any of the other 40 countries in the survey where the overall average was 42%” said Ms Marshall.

An economic value of this time was recently calculated by Statistics NZ as $3.31 billion per year or 2.3% of GDP.

“This demonstrates in another way the incredible value of volunteering in New Zealand. It is a value which will be even more important during the challenging economic period we face,” she said.

“Volunteers will be needed more than ever to ensure a whole range of services continue and through volunteering many will be able to stay connected to their communities and see they are making a contribution.”

This would apply as much to areas such as sport, the arts and conservation as to services providing community support such as health and welfare services.

In this time of economic downturn there is a concern that funders, including the Government, might not recognise that volunteer services still need funding support
when reviewing where savings can be made.

“Funders might think that little would be lost if funding was cut to some of the services which play a support role to front line community providers” said Ms Marshall.

“Yet the support provided by agencies such as Volunteer Centres is vital for the front line groups who wish to provide quality and cost effective volunteer services. This must be recognised in funding decisions.”


ENDS

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