The Community Sector Engagement Group met with the Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, on 11 August 2022.

Volunteering New Zealand is a representative on this sector engagement group, which meets regularly with our Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector.

The Minister acknowledged the opportunity to regularly engage with the CSEG as these meetings provide a platform to check in and discuss the on-going impacts of COVID 19 and the support provided by the sector to communities.

The Minister spoke to the importance and impact of the Community Organisations Grants Scheme (COGS) and commented on the issue that it and has been operating with an outdated funding formula for several years. This is resulting in inequitable distribution of funding to communities. Further to this, the appropriation has not increased for a number of years.

As a member of the Lottery Grants Board, the Minister raised the Board’s programme to evolve the Lottery funding model Kia Tipu, He Tipua Work Programme to make it easier, equitable and fairer for communities, hapū and iwi to access funding. High-level options for evolving the Lottery Funding Model will be presented to the Lottery Grants Board in November.

The report on Strengthening our Approach to Volunteering was released by the Minister in June 2022 as part of the National Volunteer Week. A key recommendation of the report was to establish a Cross-agency Steering Group to develop a strategic approach to volunteering across government. The group has been established and met for the first time on 28 July 2022.

The review of the best practice guidelines for volunteers is another key recommendation of the report and is being progressed by Volunteering New Zealand, supported by the Department.

The Charities Act changes include introducing a more accessible appeals body for charities to challenge decisions, and new powers to reduce reporting requirements for small charities. The Minister has introduced a bill to parliament and is aiming to pass it next year. There will be an opportunity to make submissions to the select committee. The minister encourages groups to get involved with the process to make sure we get the accurate legislative changes.

The Group discussed some of the key issues currently facing the community and voluntary sector including:
– Ongoing impacts of COVID-19 for the sector
– significant concern across the community sector around the well-being of workers.
– that people/volunteers are experiencing high levels of exhaustion
– cost of living as a significant issue both in terms of demand for more community support and the costs for non-profits to deliver services
– administration burden of community groups reporting to different government agencies and simplifying accountability requirements.
– desire to support Government agencies in using a community led development approach
– how Government agencies can work effectively with Pasifica and Māori
– impact of the anti-money laundering legislation on community organisations in terms of banking and compliance

The next meeting of the group will be in November. Please email Michelle Kitney – with any thoughts or ideas to contribute to this meeting.