• Nick Smith
Associate Minister of Social Welfare

Associate Social Welfare Minister Nick Smith today released the funding decisions for the New Zealand Community Funding Agency for the 1996/97 year saying the $110 million funding illustrated the Government's commitment to supporting the voluntary sector.

"New Zealand is very fortunate to have a strong network of community organisations committed to helping families in need and people with disabilities. The funding decisions announced today reinforce the Government's commitment to help and support the organisations in their work."

Dr Smith takes up formal responsibility for the New Zealand Community Funding Agency today, with the confirmation of delegated responsibilities by the Prime Minister in his role as Associate Minister.

"I am an enthusiast for the voluntary sector and the pivotal role they play in communities all over New Zealand. The Government can get far better value for money by funding community organisations, than by pouring money into state bureaucracies."

The government funded more than 1600 service providers for the 96/97 year. These agencies encourage people to take responsibility for themselves, their families and whanau. They help thousands of New Zealanders to seek better employment prospects for people with disabilities, provide an alternative home environment for young people in need of care as well as a wide range of counselling and support services.

Highlights of the funding period 1996/97 include:

An additional $620,000 for residential services for children in need of care and protection and referred by the Children Young Persons and their Families and Child Support Services.
An extra $4.3 million for vocational services for people with disabilities.
Approval to develop supported housing schemes for homeless families.
The implementation of improved systems to evaluate the effectiveness of their service providers.
NZCFA contributed to two specialists projects for adolescents with sexual offending behaviour or severe behavioural difficulties.
A review of NZCFA's approval framework has led to more flexibility in how services meet quality standards.
"I am looking forward to working with the NZCFA and the voluntary sector over the next three years to support their work and to ensure that they are valued in the important contribution they make to the social fabric of New Zealand."