Investment in Budget 2017 will help improve outcomes for our Pacific communities in New Zealand, Pacific Peoples Minister Alfred Ngaro says.
The Ministry will receive $3 million over four years to increase its policy, research and evaluation capabilities.
“My expectation is that the Ministry will be the hub for Pacific knowledge and intelligence and the first stop for those looking to make improvements for our people. This funding will help work towards those ambitions,” says Mr Ngaro.
“It also builds on the achievements we’ve made in the projects funded through previous budgets.
“While we’ve made huge strides in tackling some of the issues that Pacific peoples face, whether that’s health, education, employment or incomes, the Government is committed to continuous improvement.
“I’ve asked the Ministry to look for those opportunities where Pacific people can lead the mainstream, including across Government. This funding will help the Ministry identify what policies, projects and programmes are likely to have the biggest impact for our people, especially as Pacific communities continue to grow in New Zealand.”
The Relocation from Auckland grant is helping kiwi families become more independent and saving tax payer’s money, says Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro.
“I’m thrilled with the success of this programme,” says Mr Ngaro.
“On average we’re saving the taxpayer $170 a week in subsidised housing costs for every family that moves out of Auckland. With the average grant being about $4,637 the Government is seeing a saving in costs well within a year of people moving.
“In fact in just three years time we’ll have saved well over $6 million in tax payer’s money, simply by offering these families the option of a fresh start.
“More importantly, this grant is giving struggling kiwis a new home and community, cheaper accommodation and the potential to become more independent, while also freeing up social housing for those who need it in Auckland.”
The scheme which was introduced in June 2016 has now helped 150 families to move into private housing and a further 163 households have now moved into social housing outside of Auckland.
“With a monthly average of 30 families choosing to set down roots somewhere new, we’re well on track to have 400 families finding and settling in communities that are a much better fit for them by the end of June.”
Kiwis looking to give back to their community by broadening their horizons through international travel and study will get a chance to apply for funding to do so, says Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Alfred Ngaro.
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) Fellowship and partner Fellowship – the Winston Churchill McNeish Writer’s Fellowship, open today for funding applications.
“The WCMT Fellowship gives ordinary kiwis the opportunity to travel and bring back learnings that have an extraordinary impact on their communities and industries,” says Mr Ngaro.
“The 17 fellows that received fellowships last year each brought back inspiration, new networks and knowledge that are making an impact.
“From animal welfare, and prisoner rehabilitation to primary industry production and youth economic development, the fields of study of our fellows are incredibly diverse.
“With the addition of the Winston Churchill McNeish Writer’s Fellowship, which has been offered only twice before – in 2013 and 2015, we’re also encouraging emerging writers to immerse themselves in another culture, so their horizons can shift and expand and, on returning, look at their homeland with fresh eyes.”
Applications close on 2 August and decisions will be made by 20 October 2017 at the latest. Around $100,000 is distributed each year.
More information can be found on www.communitymatters.govt.nz or call 0800 824 824 for further assistance.
With Student Volunteer Week celebrations kicking off, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Alfred Ngaro says young people have an opportunity to learn new skills, contribute to the causes they value and be part of a national movement this week.
Student Volunteer Week is in its third year in New Zealand and runs from 1-7 May.
“Student Volunteer Week celebrates those students already making a difference in their communities and encourages others to give it a go,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Schools, universities and volunteer organisations take part in the celebrations and there are special events and opportunities available for us all to look into.
“Volunteering does so much for New Zealand. Every year volunteers contribute about $3.5 billion in labour. But what’s also important is the impact that volunteering has on those who volunteer.
“Whether it’s a general feeling of satisfaction at making a difference, the social nature of many opportunities or the new skills you may acquire, volunteering has as much to offer volunteers as it does to communities more generally.
“I’d encourage all our students to look up the opportunities and events in their area and to give volunteering a go.”
More information about Student Volunteer Week, including events, is available at www.studentvolunteerweek.nz
Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro has confirmed plans for 117 more social and transitional houses in Rotorua.
"We’re aiming to have 37 transitional houses available by the end of the year and 80 new social housing properties over the next three years,” Mr Ngaro says.
“The properties will likely be a mixture of new builds and existing properties and we’re encouraging community housing providers to partner with the Ministry of Social Development to help us reach this ambitious goal.”
“This is a statement of intent that we take the issue of housing in Rotorua seriously and that we have a plan to address the need. We are working hard to address the current and future demands on social housing.”
Mr Ngaro inspected some of the 37 new transitional homes in a visit to the area with local MP Todd McClay today.
“These new properties will be a welcome addition to Rotorua’s social infrastructure and the plan for 80 new social housing places represents an almost 13 per cent increase on the number we currently have,” says Mr Ngaro.
This year, the Government will spend $2.3 billion to support more than 310,000 kiwi households with their housing costs.
Volunteering is one of the best ways we can honour the ANZAC spirt, says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
‘Serve for New Zealand’, an initiative run by Christchurch’s Student Volunteer Army (SVA), in partnership with the RSA and the University of Canterbury, invites New Zealanders to pledge an hour or more of their time to give back to the community.
“Anzac Day gives us all an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice and service our veterans and those currently serving in our armed forces have made to New Zealand,” says Mr Ngaro.
“One way we can honour that service is by giving back to our communities.
“Whether it’s spending some time with residents at a local resthome, helping a neighbour or taking part in a community project, even the smallest of gestures can make a big difference in someone’s life.
“Kiwis are an incredibly generous bunch, every year our volunteers contribute about $3.5 billion in labour. That’s a huge number and it’s something we should all encourage more of.”
To pledge to Serve for New Zealand on Anzac Day, people can register online at www.servefor.nz.
Nine of New Zealand’s brightest and most inspiring young Pacific students have just received Government scholarships to pursue their dreams says Pacific Peoples Minister Alfred Ngaro.
This is the second year that the Toloa Tertiary Scholarships have been available.
The scholarships of up to $25,000 each are paid over three years and awarded to Pacific students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at a tertiary level.
“There were 53 applicants for the scholarships this year and I know that the selection panel had a really tough time narrowing it down to this select group,” says Mr Ngaro.
“These really are our best and brightest. These are students who are not only stepping up to embrace the opportunities available to them in one of New Zealand’s fastest growing sectors but also showing leadership in their communities.
“One of our students is a science mentor in South Auckland primary schools, another volunteers his time at an afterschool homework centre for Tongan youth. We’ve even got one student who has taken the things she’s learned through her study and has built three reef monitoring structures to monitor coral ecosytems in her village of Saoluafata (in Samoa).
“I’m so pleased that these scholarships are encouraging our young people to consider a career in STEM”.
Further details about the winners can be found at www.mpp.govt.nz/young-people/toloa/scholarships/2017-toloa-tertiary-scholarship-winners/
Months of hard work has put Government in a good position to house those most in need in Auckland during a busy period says Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro.
“Over the last few months I’ve been getting out and about and visiting those on the ground,” says Mr Ngaro.
“I’ve been consistently impressed with the speed and commitment of both providers and public servants. Dedication which has meant that on a couple of occasions I’ve even had meetings cancelled so they can concentrate all their efforts on delivering housing for our most vulnerable kiwi families.
“In the buildup to the World Masters Games we’ve seen a lot of concern that more people would find themselves with nowhere to stay.
“It’s true that the Games create a pinch point but proactive work means 281 families have already secured housing for the period of the games and we’ve got further options being worked through for others who might find themselves with nowhere to stay.
“These are in addition to the transitional housing places we’ve already got people living in.
“It’s a sign of how much effort goes on every day to support vulnerable kiwis that we’ve been able to support so many Aucklanders.
“Solutions will be found for anyone who finds themselves with nowhere to stay but in this pinch point period I’d strongly encourage anyone planning on coming to the area to make sure they’ve got somewhere to stay already lined up.”
Last year, the Government provided $354 million in new funding for transitional housing – the first time the sector has received ongoing, direct funding from the Government. This will support 8600 kiwis and their families every year.
“It’s really satisfying to see how Government funding and efforts are helping people in need.”
The 2016 Public Trust and Confidence in Charities survey serves as a reminder of the regulator role of Charity Services and the transparency of the Charities Register says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
The survey has been run every two years since 2008 and the results are relatively similar to previous years.
The results show that New Zealanders trust and confidence in the sector is moderate with an average rating of 5.9 out of 10.
“What really jumps out when reading the report is how much value people place on the role of a regulator of the sector and in transparency however many respondents weren’t actually aware that these services are already in place,” says Mr Ngaro.
Just over half of those who took part in the survey felt it was essential to have a group doing the work, including regulation, that Charities Services does but 37% had never heard of the team.
All registered charities are required to report about how they get their money and how they spend it. These reports are publicly available on the online Charities Register.
“Kiwis are an incredibly generous bunch so it’s reassuring to see that the things that we consider important are exactly the services that are in place and it’s a great opportunity to promote those services.”
The survey is published here https://www.charities.govt.nz/charities-in-new-zealand/public-trust-and-confidence-in-charities/
From today communities will be able to apply for $12.5 million of grant funding for the projects and organisations that matter to them most says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
The Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) opens today.
“The COGS funding is unique in that it’s decided on and distributed by local distribution committees. That means we have locals deciding what matters most to them and what will have the most impact on their own communities,” says Mr Ngaro.
The 37 local COGS committees will make decisions on what projects, events and organisations will receive funding by 28 July 2017 at the latest.
Last year 4,223 organisations received funding under the scheme. Some of the recipients included:$3,000 to Sumner Senior Citizens for bus trips and speakers to provide opportunities for the seniors in Sumner to get out and about and socialize. $2,450 to Sailability Hawkes Bay Trust which helps people with disabilities to build confidence in themselves while learning to sail. The fund helped pay for storage and maintenance of the boats. $3,000 to Access Radio Wairarapa which provides broadcasting services to the local community. Roughly 40 groups use the service and programmes reflect the diversity of the community. $14,645 to King Street Artworks which provides free art workshops and encourages mental health.
More information can be found on www.communitymatters.govt.nz or 0800 824 824.