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Social Sector Transformation Part of the Answer

Social Sector Transformation Part of the Answer

The 2010 Budget shows the Government has a strong commitment to innovative social development which will help in the future but the disparity between rich and poor is still a challenge that needs to be addressed now, according to members of ComVoices, a network of Tangata Whenua, community and voluntary sector organisations.

Tina Reid, Executive Director of the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations (NZFVWO) said the Government was making a strong commitment to working with Sector organisations to deliver innovative and effective support to communities and families in need.

This was shown through the announcement in the Budget of a $90.5m fund to provide money for social sector NGOs to move towards integrated service delivery, remove duplication and merge back-room functions, improve skills training and share best practice.

“The $90.5m fund for social sector transformation is a clear demonstration that the Government is committed to working with the Sector and recognizes the step-shift going on in the way services are delivered to communities.

“Communities are increasingly looking for their own answers and solutions. Budget 2010 reflects some of that change. However, it is going to require an ongoing commitment from the government sector to work across departments and work with the Sector to achieve the goals they have set out,” Tina said.

Robyn Scott, Executive Director of Philanthropy New Zealand said the Sector was looking forward to working with the Government on the detail of today’s announcements.

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“We look forward to the detail around the engagement of communities in the process of working with Government that has been put forward in this Budget.

“There are still significant gains to be made by government agencies talking to each other and removing the bureaucratic barriers to effective delivery, including having communities more involved in their own decision-making”, she said.

Tim Burns, Volunteering New Zealand Executive Director, said it was disappointing that funding for the youth employment programme left out volunteering as an option.

“There are significant gains from supporting young people taking up volunteering options. It might be unpaid work but real work experience helps young people develop self esteem, work and social skills needed for long term paid employment. This cannot happen in a vacuum and as with any volunteering programme needs resourcing if quality experiences are to be achieved.”

Ric Odom, Chief Executive of YMCA said the inequality and income disparity that had been worsened by the economic downturn was still a significant challenge for New Zealand and the Budget only went part of the way to addressing this and it is a key indicator of social wellbeing.

“We need to be mindful of the fact that some New Zealand families who are working and trying to contribute are really struggling. Any increase in support is going to be helpful but will it be enough to make the difference?”

The ComVoices group said it was pleasing to see that some of the rorts for the rich were being closed up.

However, it is unlikely that those on high incomes are going to wear these increased costs. We will be watching to see if private landlords seek to recoup their money through their rentals.

Dave Henderson, Association of Non-Governmental Organisations of Aotearoa said: “I would like to congratulate Paula Bennett for the innovative approach she has taken to working with sector leaders, accepting advice and going to cabinet with programmes that have the potential to better meet the needs of New Zealand communities and families.

“By ring-fencing significant funds in this Budget, for this work, Government has acknowledged some New Zealanders do need better support, and this can be achieved in better ways."


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