Minister for Children Anne Tolley and Associate Minister for Children Alfred Ngaro welcome today’s official launch of VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai - the independent advocacy service for children and young people in state care.
“VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai is an important part of the Government’s overhaul of our care and protection system,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Yesterday the Prime Minister Bill English and I launched the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki which will put children and young people’s needs first, and ensure they have a say in decisions that affect them.
“VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai is the first of its kind in New Zealand. There has never been an advocacy service for children and young people who are or have been in care.”
Minister Ngaro is attending today’s launch in Auckland, along with a number of children and young people, caregivers and supporters.
“Young people have expressed a desire for a service like this for many years, and it was a recommendation of the expert panel which advised the Government on the overhaul of care and protection,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Set up in partnership with young people who have experienced care, the government, NGOs and philanthropic sector, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, will provide a strong independent voice from children and young people.
“It will also connect children and young people in care with each other, and help build a positive identity and sense of community.
“VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai is working closely with the Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki. The service will expand over time, from a website and a team focused on arranging connection events, to phone and online advocacy by late 2017, and a service in the regions from 2018.”
The Government has funded $1.2 million to help set up VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, in addition to funding from its philanthropic partners. Over the next four years the Government will contribute an extra $6.9 million to build and expand the service.
The Government’s plan to develop 12 old houses into 44 new social housing is moving at pace in Auckland.
Social Housing Minster Amy Adams and Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro were onsite in Mt Wellington to see first-hand four Housing New Zealand developments on the go in Auckland.
Ten new two, three and four-bedroom homes have replaced three old 1960s houses at 24-26 Bernard St and 1 Kealy Road. Across the four Mount Wellington sites, there will soon be 44 modern homes, where old 12 houses once stood. In total the four developments will have the capacity to house around 240 people.
“These high-quality developments show the work this Government is leading to help get more social homes built in Auckland,” says Ms Adams.
“Over the next three years, we aim to grow the number of social houses from 66,000 today to 72,000 across the country.”
Mr Ngaro says, “The Government is aware of the demand for more social housing in Auckland. We’ve seen an increase in the number of people needing a social house and emergency accommodation in our biggest city.
“The transformation of these four sites is typical of the work Housing New Zealand is doing throughout Auckland to make more efficient use of its land and transform older housing stock to provide greater numbers of warm, dry homes in areas of high demand.
“There are a number of redevelopments on the go, with more on their way.”
The new homes are all designed and built to modern standards, and include double-glazing, insulation, thermal curtains, carpet, and low-maintenance plantings.
The Ministers also officially opened a new laneway at the redevelopment. They were joined by local primary school pupil Kahalia Marinoto, who won a competition to name the laneway Ātaahua Lane (ātaahua means beautiful in Māori).
About the four Housing New Zealand redevelopments:
· Ten new two, three and four-bedroom homes have replaced three old 1960s houses at 24-26 Bernard St and 1 Kealy Road.
Due for completion soon:
· 13 new homes - 7 are two bedroom, 2 are three bedroom and 4 are four bedroom at 19-21 Kealy Road / 257-259 Panama Road. They replace four old houses.
· 1 & 3 Ryburn Road, 596 Mt Wellington Highway – 13 new homes will replace three old homes on a 2423 sqm site.
· 216-218 Panama Road – where eight new homes are replacing two old houses.
This weekend is an opportunity for us to check in on our neighbours and build our communities says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
Neighbours Day Aotearoa is celebrated across the country over the weekend of 25th and 26th March.
“Events like the Kaikoura Earthquake and Port Hill fires prompted neighbours to come together and offer each other a helping hand. It’s great then to also have a more positive reminder to check in on each other and build those communities,” says Mr Ngaro.
“While lots of us are getting better at keeping in touch online I find nothing quite beats a chat over the fence or a barbeque with neighbours.
“Neighbours Day Aotearoa is an opportunity to meet new people and get to know our neighbours better. I encourage everyone to get out and celebrate the day in some way.”
The annual event began in Auckland in 2009 and is supported by LifeWise, Inspiring Communities, Public Libraries, the Mental Health Foundation and the Methodist Mission.
More information and lots of great resources can be found at http://neighboursday.org.nz/
With the ‘Support for Volunteering’ fund opening today volunteering groups should look at what projects they need help with and apply for funding says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
“Every year we grant over $500,000 through this fund to support volunteering in New Zealand,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Volunteers contribute about $3.5 billion in labour every year, so this funding is one of many ways we can support the amazing contribution they give to New Zealand every day.
“Last year we supported Volunteering New Zealand, regional volunteer centres and a number of volunteering projects looking at building community strength and we’re looking for the same mix again this year.
Some of the projects that were successful last year included:specialised training for Snow Sports NZ volunteers who are working to help people with disabilities ski training youth volunteers with the Chinese New Settlers Services Trust to become leaders who could train and mentor other children and youth in the organization a training day for volunteers of the Alzheimer's Society (Manawatu) who are working with people affected by dementia a volunteer development and celebration event in Invercargill where volunteers shared knowledge and resourcefulness, engaged with other volunteers and celebrated their successes.
“I’d encourage any group looking to support or promote volunteering to apply for the fund.”
Applications for the DIA administered fund open on 22 March 2017 and close on 3 May 2017.
More information can be found on www.communitymatters.govt.nz or 0800 824 824.
Vulnerable families will now have other housing options in Lower Hutt thanks to Government funding says Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro.
The Minister today visited the blessing and opening of a new transitional house in Naenae.
Koraunui Marae Trust has been contracted to provide housing and support services to the women and children who’ll stay in the six-bedroom, three-bathroom house.
“This is the second transitional property we’ve opened in Lower Hutt in as many months and we’ll have another two properties coming on board this week,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Tomorrow a local mum and her kids will move into this new place and will be supported by the Koraunui Marae team to get back on their feet.”
A house mother will work onsite to support the residents during their stay, and will continue to help the family once they’ve moved onto somewhere more permanent.
“The Koraunui team are well established and have been supporting their community for a number of years so it’s fantastic to be able to help them to support even more families.”
Last year, the Government provided $354 million in new funding for Emergency Housing – the first time permanent funding has been committed, this will provide 8600 emergency housing places per year.
“It’s really satisfying to see in person how the funding the Government committed last year is helping people in need.”
Pacific Peoples Minister Alfred Ngaro has today congratulated the winners of the 2017 ASB Polyfest.
“It was another fantastic event this year and I know that the judges would have had an extremely hard time selecting the top groups,” says Mr Ngaro.
“I attended the celebrations on Friday, while the PM visited yesterday and we were both blown away by the caliber of the performances.
“The Pacific population in New Zealand is incredibly diverse and growing rapidly. We’re young and gifted and it’s fantastic to see events like the ASB Polyfest recognising and celebrating this.
“The Government invested funding into the festival over the last three years and it’s great to see that investment working to help so many young people connect with and celebrate their cultures.
“I’d like to congratulate all the students on their hard work, leadership and dedication, it really showed in their performances. And of course congratulations in particular to those schools who came out on top.”
Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro has congratulated Charities Services on its win at last night’s inaugural New Zealand Charities Technology Awards dinner.
The Minister attended the celebrations, which was hosted by TechSoup New Zealand, and congratulated the team in person.
“I’m thrilled to see that the hard work and ingenuity that Charities Services has put in has been recognised,” says Mr Ngaro.
Charities Services was awarded the ‘Using Technology to Connect to the Community- Best Government Agency’ award for its continued support of charities working to comply with the new legislative requirements for financial reporting.
“The new financial reporting standards are really important as they help the public have trust in how charities get their money and in how they spend it.
“There was a fair amount of uncertainty when the new financial requirements were introduced so it was critically important that the sector was supported.
“Charities Services, with support from XRB, stepped up and have provided some really clever resources that recognised the diverse needs of those in the sector. From webinars to a blog Charities Services has used technology to help charities meet their obligations.
“It was a fantastic event and I’m really thankful to TechSoup New Zealand and the sponsors for giving the sector an opportunity to celebrate their achievements.
“Congratulations and praise are well deserved for all the nominees and winners at last night’s awards but I’m incredibly proud of the Charities Services team and am so pleased to see their hard work recognised by their peers in the sector.”
Pacific People’s Minister Alfred Ngaro has welcomed the news that Penina Health Trust has become a registered Community Housing Provider.
The trust, which currently provides a range of mental health services, is the first Pacific group to become a Community Housing Provider.
“I’m thrilled to see that Penina has decided to build on the services they already offer and stepped up to take part in social housing,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Pacific people represent about 13% of the housing register and a quarter of social housing tenants so it’s really important that we also have Pacific representation amongst providers.
“Encouraging Pacific groups to become community housing providers has been a key priority for me so I’m thrilled to see Penina coming on board.
“I know the Trust has worked really hard to get to this point so it’s really pleasing to see them meet their goal.
“We’re making sure that social housing is as much about the mix as it is about scale. That way we can offer tenants social housing that is the best fit for their needs.
More families will have a warm and safe place to stay in times of need with the opening of the first stages of an emergency housing development in Otahuhu, Auckland.
The 43-house Luke Street transitional housing development was officially opened today by Prime Minister Bill English.
“Luke Street is the first HNZ purpose built emergency housing development under the Government’s $303.6 million emergency housing funding announced in November 2016,” Social Housing Minister Amy Adams says.
“This approach focuses on bringing a mix of housing configurations to market quickly to provide short-term housing options for families while they wait for more permanent housing. It’s part of delivering on our goal of providing 2150 emergency housing places capable of supporting 8600 families each year.
“This development is another example of how the Government is delivering new housing for homeless and vulnerable New Zealanders.”
“Back in October, the Luke Street land was an empty lot that in the future will be used for a school,” Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro says.
“Today, after only a few short months, we have the first families moving in. These three families had previously been living in motels and garages, and are now moving in to warm, safe places close to their children’s schools and where they’ll be supported for anywhere between 12 and 24 weeks before moving into more sustainable housing options.”
“It’s great to see how the Government’s $303.6 million funding is making a difference in the community,” Mr Ngaro says.
When complete, around 210 people, mainly families with children, will be housed in the Luke Street properties. Three houses are now tenanted, with another nine being tenanted within a matter of weeks. The remaining 31 houses will be completed in stages over the coming weeks.
Three housing providers, Monte Cecelia Trust, The Salvation Army and VisionWest Community Trust, are in discussions to co-manage the care and support services that will be provided to families during their stay at Luke Street.
Pacific People’s Minister Alfred Ngaro says Pacific language weeks give all New Zealanders the chance to celebrate our diversity.
“The dates for our seven Pacific language weeks are now set and I’d love to see kiwis using these weeks as an opportunity to celebrate our Pacific cultures and all that they contribute to modern New Zealand,” Mr Ngaro says.
“In my family we have three Pacific languages and cultures; Cook Island, Vagahau Niue and Gagana Samoa but I’ll be making a special effort to learn more phrases from some of the other heavenly languages of the Pacific.
There are nearly 300,000 people in New Zealand who identify as Pacific. It is the youngest and fastest growing section of our population. By 2026 People of Pacific Island descent will make up 10 per cent of New Zealand’s population.
“Pacific cultures are an integral part of New Zealand’s identity. It’s important that we recognise their contribution in a meaningful way.”
The 2017 Pacific Language Week line-up is:Samoa Language Week: Sunday 28 May – Saturday 3 June 2017 Cook Islands Language Week: Sunday 30 July – Saturday 5 August 2017 Tonga Language Week: Sunday 3 September – Saturday 9 September 2017 Tuvalu Language Week: Sunday 1 October – Saturday 7 October 2017 Fiji Language Week: Sunday 8 October – Sunday 14 October 2017 Niue Language Week: Sunday 15 October – Saturday 21 October 2017 Tokelau Language Week: Sunday 29 October – Saturday 4 November 2017
“There are plenty of activities planned for these weeks. I encourage everyone to mark the dates in the family diary and get out there and celebrate,” Mr Ngaro says.