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Report from OVTRK Forum 4 Nov 2019 with Hon Poto Williams, MP for Community and Voluntary Sector

One Voice Te Reo Kotahi —

How can we treasure our Third Sector stories as measurements of wellbeing?

On 4 Nov 2019, OVTRK invited Hon Poto Williams to a forum to answer the question:  How can we treasure our Third Sector stories as measurements of wellbeing? 

One Voice Te Reo Kotahi kaupapa was supported by Shane Te Aika leading us in a mihi whakatau to open the Forum.

The topic for the evening: Seeing the Unseen in our Sector. Building Respect and Recognition for Third Sector Organisations was introduced with reference to the way the wider community is supported by the statutory, commercial and Third sectors with: ▪ provision of services ▪ project work ▪ development of strategies and policies. It is therefore confusing to refer to our Third sector as the “community” sector.

Image by: Social Equity

All three sectors (the legs of the stool) support the people with lived experiences  (depicted by the seat of the stool).

Without attention to these matters, respect and recognition for Third Sector Organisations, seeing the unseen in our Sector, telling our Third Sector stories in relation to achieving greater wellbeing and demonstrating how our contribution can be measured, is diminished.

OVTRK focuses on strategy and policy for our Sector and asks that when the government (local, regional and nationwide) is developing strategy and policy they involve not only mana whenua and the commercial sector but also the relevant Third Sector Organisations along with people with the lived experiences of whatever is being decided about.

Following our 1 April Forum on Decision-Making for the Wellbeing Budget and the understanding that our Third Sector contributes to all four well-beings - environmental, cultural, economic and social – this Forum was to develop ideas for strategies and policies that will get better recognition and resourcing for our contributions including our mahi in assessing wellbeing. The questions raised about the nature of the data to be collected for such assessment at that April Forum have remained with us.

Hon. Poto Williams - Minister for our Sector was therefore invited to address the question:

How can we treasure our Third Sector stories as measurements of wellbeing?

In particular we need to address how we tell our Third Sector stories in relation to achieving greater wellbeing and how those contributions can be measured?

The Minister spoke about her role in writing the current government’s policy for our Sector in the light of the need for governments to be able to trust the Third sector.
Her notes prepared for the evening are here:

She referred to her appreciation of how grass roots groups determine what is in their own best interests and how the Third sector is of equal importance to the government sector. She noted that this government’s reviews of the Public Finance Act and the State Services Act will enable government to be more responsive to Third sector initiatives.
As Minister she is prioritising support for volunteering as she believes volunteers gain wellbeing from volunteering and that this focus will advantage Third Sector Organisations. The Minister also highlighted the limitations of the current data being collected not capturing the depth of the contribution and value of the Third Sector, which goes beyond mere statistics. We noted earlier reports highlighting this evidence from our Sector which demonstrate the extent of our mahi - Mahi Aroha and the Time Use Survey Report Around the Clock

We are pleased to learn that the Minister’s Office has let us know that that these have been obtained.

In acknowledging the Minister’s focus we trust that the extent of the contributions from, and the range of motivations for involvement in, our Sector will be expanded beyond this current focus. We look forward to further updates so that the questions we posed to the Minister for this Forum can be followed through.