Address to $2 million grant celebration of the ANZ National Staff FoundationCommunity and Voluntary Sector
The theme for today’s event ‘Celebrating our contribution’ is apt. It speaks about your members’ willingness to share and show generosity to others.
Raising $2 million in donations for charities and communities is no small task. In fact, it’s a great achievement.
I know that many of your members here in Christchurch, relatives and friends, will have been deeply affected by the earthquake. I recognise that nationally, ANZ has done a great deal to help and support those who are in need.
The earthquake was devastating. But people’s outflow of kindness and their willingness to help those in need have boosted the community’s morale and had a hugely positive impact.
I know that there is still much to be done after the earthquakes, but the events have been a reminder for us all of how much our society depends on one another in times of need. Never, in recent times, have community funders, like the Foundation, been more visible and needed.
Celebration of the spirit of generosity
Today’s event is indeed a celebration, not just for the Foundation’s $2 millionth donation, but also of the genuine spirit of generosity among New Zealanders.
New Zealanders are great at joining in and helping out, especially when there is urgent need. As a fundamental element of the Māori culture, giving of one’s time through caring and sense of duty – or mahi aroha – is an essential way to contribute to the wellbeing of whānau, hapu and iwi. Kindness and manaakitanga are a core part of our society.
New Zealand is ranked highly in the World Giving Index. We all can be proud of being at the top in terms of volunteering and giving. The General Social Survey results released by Statistics New Zealand in 2010 showed that there is a strong willingness by New Zealanders to support organisations, neighbours and extended family.
Through giving to communities, New Zealanders express themselves, engage in issues of importance to them and those around them, and provide important services to others. Such giving – whether it is the giving of time, sharing of skills, or money or goods – contributes to improved social cohesion and stronger, more resilient communities. The values underpinning giving sustain community interaction and functions.
Role of government
The government has a role in telling the public about the benefits of financial giving and volunteering to society, and in ensuring that policies support these acts of generosity.
The Government recognises the importance of charitable giving to the social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being in New Zealand. That is why through my Office I seek to build a culture within government of effective and collaborative relationships, to support strong, sustainable communities. One of my priorities is to investigate the most appropriate role for government in growing and supporting a culture of generosity in New Zealand.
I am informed that, following the success of your own scheme, the Foundation advocated for payroll giving. Subsequently, the government introduced a payroll giving scheme in 2010, enabling employees to receive an immediate tax-credit for donations made direct from their pay. This scheme creates a positive environment for giving.
Celebration of service to community
This event is a celebration of service to the community. On this occasion, let me pay tribute to the members of the Foundation for making their 2 millionth dollar donation.
Understandably the Foundation is focused on Canterbury, donating close to $55,000 to projects in the region, including to the Cancer Society, Women’s Refuge, Cholmondeley Children’s Home, and the Multiple Sclerosis & Parkinson’s Society.
I am informed that all ANZ staff get one day off each year to work for a registered charity. I was impressed to learn that last year the Foundation has given 16,000 volunteer hours (2230 days) to support a broad range of activities, from manual labour to offering skilled-based support in areas such as information technology.
Last but not least, my congratulations to the Home and Family Society Christchurch for receiving the grant. I understand that the grant will be put towards teaching parenting skills.
Congratulations also to the Burwood Academy of Independent Living. The Academy is a charity dedicated to improving the lives of people with spinal injuries. I understand the grant will be used by the Academy to work with the Spinalis Foundation in Sweden to translate a breakthrough new book Living with Spinal Injuries and incorporate it into New Zealand programmes.