The Government’s announcement that explicit exemptions have been provided for the voluntary sector in the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill is ‘democracy in action’ says Scott Miller, Chief Executive of Volunteering New Zealand.
The recent announcement signals fee-waivers in the Regulations of the Bill which will include exemptions for registered charities and agencies making 20 police-vetting requests or fewer per year.
“Volunteering New Zealand, on behalf of its members and the 1.2 million volunteers that it works to support, is pleased that our constructive conversations with Minister Collins, the Maori Party, Labour Party and United Future have all been able to give a certain degree of comfort to our sector”, states Miller.
The Bill will 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. However, “when additional cost is imposed on the sector, an additional barrier is imposed on community groups also working to keep communities, volunteers and support staff safe” says Miller.
“Democracy is enacted when parties work together to find a compromise outcome that yields as much benefit as possible” states Miller. “Volunteering New Zealand is therefore pleased to have been part of this important work for the sector, and commend the various political parties honouring the Government Policy on volunteering that seeks to support and value the vital work of volunteers across the country” Miller concludes.