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Royal Weddings and other Metaphors

Ros 2015 short hairRos Rice
Executive Officer
Community Networks Aotearoa

I can’t call myself a royal follower, but I did watch the Royal Wedding explaining to my American husband that I loved the rituals and the frocks and the amazing horses and such. 

But it was so worth the watch!  I was amazed at the difference in this wedding from any I had seen before.  That immutable and stolid institution accepted difference and change as we heard new vows, gospel singing and that unforgettable sermon from Bishop Michael Curry.  Who would have thought?  But to share and acknowledge Megan Markle’s identity and to show her the respect of her lineage, the Royals opened up to other ways of doing things, and other ways of being.

If they can do it, why can’t others?  Well it looks like actually reviewing and double checking if government is being responsive to a new world is a popular thing.

Looking at our current government there’s lot of consultation happening.  There is the Tax Working Group; the Mental Health reform; reviews into the education system, the Charities Act, State Care Abuse, NCEA and whistle blower laws to name but a few.  I counted 23 the other day, and there are probably more now.

You can’t blame this Government for wanting to know what has gone wrong or right, and what needs to be done to sort out problems and under resourcing throughout the country.

But I also wonder about the cost.  I suspect the cost of even one of those reviews could supply surety of income for many cash starved NGOs.  Isn’t it a shame that the same priority wasn’t given to some coal-face organisations.

Back in 2002 The Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations hired Price Waterhouse Coopers to collate consistent data from several major social service agencies to consider the value our organisations add to the amount spent.  This evidenced Report (Counting for Something – The VAVA project) came to the following conclusions.

  • For every dollar provided to a voluntary agency between $3 – $5 worth of services are delivered to the community.

Our added value must be huge these days.  I encourage Government to consider the smart move of ensuring our value continues as the most effective way to deliver services.  We don’t need a review to know this, and it would point to a Government prepared to open up to another way of doing things.

This blog has been contributed by a member of the ComVoices network

ComVoices is a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary sector organisations. It was established so that sector organisations would have a more powerful voice at Government level and in the community.

Click here for our website:  http://comvoices.org.nz/