Communities Count: getting our messages heard in the forthcoming General Election
Now the Rugby World Cup is over – a great result for New Zealand – we here are now turning our attention to the looming General election, and perhaps another great result for New Zealand.
As community organisations, we all know that social change and development is long term, so we have a commitment and responsibility to engage in long term agendas, as well as looking to immediate issues to manage the present situations.
This has been the basis of collective thinking in ComVoices, and together we have developed a paper called Communities Count, which lays out some united priorities for the community sector for a new Government.
We believe that successful partnerships between Government and sector are built on long term, high trust and outcome driven models of consultation and engagement. In general terms we are seeking:
- Recognition of the community sector as an equal partner with business and government in achieving stronger social and economic goals for Aotearoa / New Zealand.
- To support innovation and development in the sector we ask for a Government commitment to an adaptive, cross sector approach to policy making. Innovation comes from working across silos in both the community and Government sector, and we propose a regular Prime Ministers forum with the sector to create a strategy for how this should happen.
- There is a shift in the revenue base of organisations which has not been recognised in Government policy. Continued Government funding is essential for the delivery of many services, and in addition , many agencies are seeking an increasing diversity of other sources of earned funding. A review if the regulatory environment to ensure that different forms of social financing and enterprise are encouraged would provide a much needed impetus to these changes.
These points are the basis of several more specific recommendations:
- The need to set a measurable goal for reducing inequality in New Zealand; aspirational goals for reducing disparity would provide an agenda to address the disturbing increase of disparity and inequality in our society.
- Establish a Prime Minister’s forum to work with the sector on long term agendas , and develop strategies for increasing the strength and resourcing of the community sector.
- Implement the Funding Code of Practice as a basis for addressing issues of funding and sustainability of community organisations.
- Commit resources to updating data and information about the scale and scope of the sector. This is a useful step to develop langauge and understanding of the sector to frame discussions and engagement.
Over the last two months these have been discussed with all major parties, and found considerable support and engagement.
ComVoices has recently written to the Prime Minister to follow up the general support we received from current Government Ministers about the need for regular ongoing engagement in a high level cross Government forum.
At Social Development Partners we’re committed to working collectively at a national level, and we develop messages, common language and ways to engage as widely as possible across the community sector.
We workshopped these messages at our recent AGM. This emphasised the importance of sector leadership in creating a united voice for the sector, and setting priorities and directions that support the wide diversity of work and activities we all undertake.
These same messages will be part of the next piece of work to develop a briefing paper for a new Government, and we’re seeking ways to see it as part of the larger process of developing a united vision for the community sector.
We encourage organisations to consider and discuss it:
- How does it relate to your reality?
- Are there ways you can use it in as part of any political advocacy you are involved in; both pre and post election?
You can comment below.
We will continue build ways to work collectively on messages from the sector in our engagement with Government .