The Community Sector Engagement Group met with the Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, via Zoom on 3 November 2021.

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

Based on our conversations with sector stakeholders, we shared sector-wide challenges facing operationalising vaccination mandates and other rules in a continually changing landscape. We also noted the opportunity for the language and framing used to be more inclusive of our sector, particularly for volunteers!

Other discussion points from the meeting that we can share with you include:

  • The Minister has asked the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to investigate and produce options regarding the Government’s role in supporting, promoting, and recognising the value of volunteering.
  • DIA recently undertook a review of the current state of community funding. Key findings included that the system lacks cohesion and is difficult to navigate, and all communities are not being supported equitably. The next step is to consider how Crown and Lottery funding could evolve to respond to these findings.
  • Minister Radhakrishnan raised the fact that the Government is aware of the impacts of COVID-19 on social cohesion. The Minister is leading some work across government looking at opportunities to strengthen social cohesion.
  • She noted that the COVID-19 Hauora Wellbeing Survey led by Hui E! Community Aotearoa and Volunteering NZ would be available online from early December 2021 (now released, see below).
  • The issue of consultation fatigue was discussed, with government agencies looking for input from the sector across a broad range of issues. The concept of a bi-annual engagement platform was tabled. DIA undertook to investigate this.
  • The Minister and sector representatives confirmed the usefulness of this engagement group and agreed to meet quarterly. The group also discussed the importance of ensuring that the group represents the diversity of the community and voluntary sector.

Hauora Wellbeing Survey released

The Hauora Wellbeing Survey research was released on Monday, 29th of November. The survey showed the sector is experiencing increased demand for its services from stressed communities. But the demand has not been met with increased funding from government and the philanthropic sector, and the challenges are starting to wear down workers and volunteers. It was a follow-up of a 2020 survey which showed similar trends, and included focus groups with organisations caring for Māori, Pasifika, migrant and refugee-background, and disabled communities. Read more here: