Police vetting Bill will distress volunteering organisations
The Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill will likely have its second reading in Parliament today, leaving Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) and the wider sector it represents concerned with the financial distress the Bill will cause to the volunteering sector.
The proposed Bill is seeking to amend the Policing Act 2008 in order to place a fee on specified demand services such as police vetting, a service that volunteer groups rely on to ensure the safety of vulnerable people they support. Consequently, charities will inevitably reduce their ability to provide services and/or engaging less volunteers.
“The main purpose of the volunteering sector to use police vetting is to keep both the communities, volunteers and support staff they help, safe” says VNZ Chief Executive, Scott Miller. “However, if the Police are able to set their own cost-recovery mechanisms as proposed in the Bill, there becomes a huge financial exposure to an already stretched and financially vulnerable sector”, adds Miller.
Several MPs have drafted Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) to amend the Bill, which serves to reduce the financial burden on those beneficiary organisations and sectors. However, as with any SOP, a majority vote is still required to pass these amendments in to legislation.
“Ideally, we’d like to see the Bill rewritten to make all non-profit volunteer-involving organisations exempt from this proposed charge. However, we’ll settle for Poto Williams’ SOP that would exempt the more than 27,600 registered charities engaging more than 570,000 hard-working volunteers every week from this Bill if her SOP was passed” concludes Miller.
Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) is an association of national volunteer-involving organisations that have a commitment to volunteering. Their mission is to maximise the impact of volunteering in our communities. www.volunteeringnz.org.nz