Network News – February

Meet the Members

Welcome to another article in the series introducing the wonderful members we serve and the work they are doing in their communities throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Located 680 km southeast of mainland New Zealand, the Chatham Islands are home to approximately 600 people. The local community, which lives on the two largest islands – Chatham and Pitt, is well served by CNA member Chatham Community Focus Trust (CCFT).

Founded over ten years ago, the Trust was the brain child of former district councillor Patricia Preece and, then Mayor, Patrick Smith. With the aim of developing services which would respond to the needs of the community, CCFT received funding from the Chatham Islands Council which it continues to do to this day.
The Trust currently employs two paid staff: Therese McCormick (Office Manager) and Erin Tuanui (Festival Organiser) and plans to shortly appoint a part-time Events Organiser. Therese and Erin are supported by six volunteer trustees. CCFT offers the community a wide range of services including budgeting and advisory services and, after school programmes for the almost 100 primary school- aged children who attend schools on both islands. They also organise two to three market days a year and the annual Chatham Islands Festival.  Featuring live music, food stalls and children’s activities, the Festival attracts around 500 people many of them visitors to the island.

The Trust also offers adult education and workshops for children, at times bringing in tutors from mainland New Zealand. In mid-2015 Dunedin artist Janet de Wagt spent time on the island, working with children in the local schools and exploring the theme “know yourself and your history”. Other young people on the island have taken part in The Outlook for Someday film challenge with one of them going on to win one of the categories in this short film competition. Courses for adults have included topics ranging from the ILM Skippers Ticket to Rongoa Maori medicine.

In addition CCFT also produces a weekly newsletter and small community groups may apply to the Trust for funding to assist with their activities.

Therese identifies the main challenge of the next twelve months as funding with their current contract with MSD being for one year only. She sees the the appointment of an Events Organiser and further training in budgetary advice for herself, as opportunities in the coming year to better extend the activities and services they provide and in so doing continue to meet the ongoing needs of this island community.

For further info click on Chatham Community Focus Trust

 

CNA Annual Members’ Survey – the results

We have really appreciated the numbers of our membership who responded so generously to our survey that we sent to you in November 2015.

This survey was set around the outcomes that MSD (our primary funder) requires from our contract, and with the requirement of evidencing these outcomes it will be these statistics that we will use in our accountability report. We have developed a less complex report back to you our members on the key points from this survey.

Why does your organisation belong to C.N.A?

The three top reasons were: information sharing, big picture and Government information.

Close on these heels were networking, a national voice, collective intelligence and being part of a bigger organisation.

It was appropriate we followed this question with detailing what we offer members and how many of you know about these services.

Which services are you aware that C.N.A offers to members?

You all knew that we consulted and discussed members’ issues with Government, that we dealt with sharing information and we held Hui and Conferences. You also knew we made submissions. Most of you knew we see ourselves as a general resource hub and it heartening that you knew we tried to regularly Skype membership to discuss issues. We hope that the 70% of you who knew we broadcast a monthly radio programme listen to it regularly http://bit.ly/1nzrm0c

It was great that over 50% knew we provide (when you ask for it) governance support and for some things we help financially, although under specific circumstances. What did show however, was that we need to tell you more about the research we do, and how you can tap into our organisation for personalised support. We will make sure we better inform you on these opportunities.

How often do you make use of the services?

The answer to this was totally logical. Your organisations are autonomous, and we are sure you are dealing with a lot of issues in-house or in your regional area, so a few of you have never used our services.  Most of you use our services sometimes, or often, as and when appropriate and depending on your needs. We do however want to encourage you to look at our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, read our newsletters and listen to our radio show regardless.

How effective is C.N.A. in multiple circumstances?

We gave you the choice of giving us feedback on 12 outcomes. We then scaled these between very poor to extremely well.

There was nothing (phew) in the extremely poor ratings, but there were a few areas we need to improve upon. Notably, improving our relationships across the sector, facilitating networking opportunities for our organisation and improving outcomes for our community. These issues will be discussed by our staff and Executive Committee to try to understand what we need to do to do better.

Everything else we measured up to and with the amazing result that on every single outcome there were members who thought we did extremely well. The absolute winner was advocating for the community and voluntary sector nationally, with 44% of you telling us we did this extremely well.

Examples of the effectiveness of our support, or ways you think the services could be improved.

This was to enable us to tell the story to our funders, Community Investment.  As part of our reporting back the funding managers want examples and stories. Thank you for all the examples that you shared with us. We will take these and expand upon them to ensure you continue to get the services that you appreciate.

How many C.N.A. AGMs have you attended? If no, why not?

Sigh, those AGMs eh? They can be tiring, but it’s wonderful that so many of you (77.5%) have made the effort to be involved in C.N.A and come along to the democratic part of belonging to an organisation.  Many of you have attended our AGMs for years, and we have found attaching the AGM to our Hui or Conference enables as many as possible to take part.

In terms of those of you who have never attended (23%) this has been mainly due to time, funding, and resources keeping you at home. This is understandable in these frugal times.

How often do you receive communication from C.N.A?

We think we need to be clearer on this question in future surveys. Those that answered quarterly (10%) may be still thinking our newsletters go out quarterly, which they did for years, whereas we have changed the Network News to a monthly newsletter. Network News has been monthly for almost two years.

We are thrilled to see those who answered weekly because we are hoping this shows regular viewing of our Facebook page, which is updated almost daily, and our Twitter account which we are starting to use more regularly.

The best result is to see that 71% of you answered monthly which shows a great number reading our Network News.  Fionn is very happy 🙂

Is this information useful to your organisation?

We wanted to know if the things we send you were appropriate and helpful for your organisation.

Simply put no-one said it wasn’t useful, meaning that all our survey participants found it useful; 25% said it was sometimes useful, 45% often useful, and an incredible 30% said it was always useful. We will continue striving to remain relevant and rely also on you to let us know your hot topics.

Do you pass this information onto your networks?

We try very hard to explain to funders the reach that our networks have out into their communities.  But without clear statistics it is very difficult to attach numbers to this. If all our networks had the same kind of connections, it would be easy, but you range from small networks who don’t have members to huge networks that have individual clients to complex networks that have multiple connections. So we ask simply, do you pass on our information, because it is through you, we can be of most help to the voluntary and community organisation in your region.

Once again, we are sure it has to do with the subject and the appropriateness – different needs for different groups however 100% of you said you passed on the information always, or sometimes. That is great news.

How often do you communicate issues affecting your organisation to C.N.A?

We asked this to measure how well we are informed by your enabling us to clearly articulate your views at the Wellington level.

One person said never, so can I encourage you to start talking.  We want to be able to make sure your network is a voice with everyone else.

However everyone else did communicate with us at some point. Over 70% of you communicated with us regularly and when necessary. Keep it up. This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the ‘voice of the regions’ is articulated at Government tables.

What are the challenges facing your organisation?

We gave you a choice of 7 issues and we know that there will be more, but hopefully we asked about those things we have heard from you the most.

90% said the major issue was….”drum roll”…. funding. Not a surprise. Followed by lack of resources and onerous compliance. These issues lead obviously to the inability to meet community needs.

Many of you ticked the ‘greater complexity of service provision’ as a big issue too, and these things will be discussed at the NGO Advisory Group Forum.

How many people does your organisation connect with?

Well … we tried.  However we have to think of a better way to ask this question. Because of the variation between all the network organisations, this question could not come up with a conclusive answer to how many people/organisations does C.N.A reach out to?

Counting people is almost impossible, but many of you are networking organisations that deal with clients. We are stretching our brain cells to think of how we find the right statistics, so if you have an idea, please let us know.

That being said, over 35% of you connect with over 500 people. Most of you average out with over 200.  Some groups connect with their entire region however we were unsure what this meant in terms of numbers, even broadly speaking.

We still don’t have an answer to this fraught statistic so expect us to ask again, in a different way, in this year’s survey.

Thank you so much all of you for your generosity and helpfulness.  We hope to connect with everyone this year, and expect to see the Executive Officer Ros travelling the country more in 2016.

Don’t be strangers, ring us, Skype us, comment on our Facebook page, Tweet and send us emails.  We always love to hear from you, and we always do our best to help out the best we can.

-Ros and Fionn

 

On air with Ros

Download and listen to Ros’s first interview of the year for Collaborative Voices, where she and Trevor McGlinchey of NZCCSS discuss Outcomes Plus:the added value provided by community social services; child poverty, social housing and the flag!

 

Implications of the TPPA for NZ Local Government

by Richard Northey, Chair, ADCOSS

In general the proposed TPPA covers local government in New Zealand in most of the areas that it covers central government in New Zealand. This is almost inevitable in a trade, investment and intellectual property agreement as the states parties will have very different allocations of responsibility between central, state or provincial, regional and local government. Centralised states will seek to promote their interests and those of their corporations also in other countries where key responsibilities are decentralised and are allocated to lower levels of public bodies.

The Investment Chapter, Chapter 9, in Article 9.2: Scope Section 2(a) baldly states: “A Party’s obligations under this Chapter shall apply to measures adopted or maintained by the central, regional or local governments or authorities of that Party…” In the definitions section Investment is very broadly defined.  Investment Agreement “means a written agreement … that grants rights (inter alia) to supply services… for power generation or distribution, water treatment or distribution, telecommunications, or other similar services… for consumption by the general public”( but specifically excludes corrections, healthcare, education, childcare, welfare services or other similar social services). It also specifically includes infrastructure projects.

Article 9.4: National Treatment  in section 1 requires each country to accord to investors from another member country treatment no less favourable than it does to its own citizens and companies and in Section 3 it specifically requires a regional (or local) level of government to accord the same no less favourable treatment. In Article 9.7 expropriation or nationalisation is generally banned but it is permitted for a public purpose provided market value compensation is provided promptly; and regulatory actions for legitimate public welfare objectives such as public health including pharmaceuticals do not normally constitute indirect expropriations.

Article 9.9 Performance Requirements in section 1(c) bans organisations according a preference to goods produced in its territory or from persons based in that territory. So no preference for local companies appears to be permitted generally but section 3(f) states that 1(c) and some others do not apply to government procurement.  Also in Section 3(a) both central and local government are permitted to require a particular location for production or service provision and   to train or employ local workers. Also section 3(d) in very general terms allows the adoption of “measures, including environmental measures,  necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health; or related to the conservation of… exhaustible natural resources”. Also Article 9.15 permits a country from ensuring “that investment activity in its territory is undertaken in a manner sensitive to environmental, health or other regulatory objectives” although this is not elaborated on.

Section B Investor-State Dispute Settlement is very detailed.  A claimant asserts that the above Investment provisions have been breached and that they incurred loss or damage arising out of that breach. A one off 3 person arbitration panel is established and they can award and require monetary damages, interest and restitution of property against either a private or a public body.  There is no requirement for the arbitration panel to be made up of senior judges or the like, they could well be associated with companies or agencies involved in litigation or lobbying for other clients. A number of such cases under other trade agreements arbitrators have ruled in favour of overseas and multi-national companies, ruling that the trade agreement’s specific requirements to treat them as favourably as local entities and to follow specific due processes in making regulatory decisions effectively trumped vague and general requirements to protect the environment and community values. In the case this March of the Bilcon Corporation of Delaware versus the Canadian Government the arbitrators ruled by a majority that under the NAFTA Agreement the Canadian Government was obliged to grant a mining contract to Bilcon notwithstanding that it appeared to flout environmental standards and “Canadian community core values”. Similarly in 1997 the Ethyl Corporation under NAFTA was able to reverse a ban on its use of the petrol additive MMT which the Canadian government had evidence to believe was a human neurotoxin. Under the TPPA it is certainly possible that an overseas corporation seeking a waste management, mining, forestry, community care or social housing contract could be ruled to have been unfairly disadvantaged by being required to meet New Zealand’s labour protection or environmental standards.
Chapter 15 Government Procurement also could generally cover local government, but local and regional government would be required to be listed in its schedule in Section B and the New Zealand Section currently specifically says none are covered. This exemption will be reviewed in 3 years time. Article 15.4  requires non-discrimination related to organisations based in, owned by, or affiliated to other member countries.  Lengthy transparent processes and evaluation criteria are set down for all government procurement. These could also, perhaps, ensure domestic tenderers are fairly treated and a repeat of the SkyCity Convention Centre deal and the declining to contract with the Problem Gambling Foundation for gambling services would theoretically be ruled out. There are interesting exceptions in Article 15.3 for protecting public morals, order or safety;   human, animal or plant life or health; intellectual property protection; persons with disabilities and not-for –profits. In Article 15.8 there is allowance for some Members to protect labour rights and in Article 15.21 to facilitate participation by Small and Medium Enterprises.

Chapter 17 State-owned Enterprises and Designated Monopolies does cover Council Controlled Organisations in Article 17.2 Scope but they are currently exempted from most of its provisions, with section 7 exempting government and local government procurement. In Annex 17-D, Application to sub-central state-owned enterprises  the New Zealand Government has exempted local government controlled organisations from  most of the non-discriminatory treatment, commercial considerations, non-commercial assistance and transparency sections of this chapter. This means that the main requirements not to discriminate against overseas enterprises and not to provide a ratepayer subsidy where there are private competitors for the good and services from the CCO will not apply so long as the government retains what is in the annex, which is also currently retained by most member governments.

Chapter 18 Intellectual Property does not specifically refer to local government. Once again countries are obliged to give overseas nationals and companies the same treatment as their own with regard to intellectual property. However, its longer and stricter protection of patents, pharmaceuticals and intellectual property will add to the costs of local government, for instance for materials for library services. It will also be likely to restrict the abilities of local government and its contractors to innovate in order to produce better services or to reduce costs of service provision.

Chapter 10 Cross- Border Trade in Services   applies to few services provided by New Zealand local government and in its Scope section excludes central and local government procurement. Its provisions encourage mutual recognition of qualifications and services in engineering, architecture, law and other professional services but its provisions, apart from airport services are little more than hortatory. Similarly Chapter 21 Co-operation and Capacity Building does specifically mention disaster risk management and gender equality among other matters but simply sets up a committee to promote these matters and specifically rules out any dispute settlement concerning them.

Chapter 23 Development affirms a commitment to promote economic growth and development, improve welfare, reduce poverty, raise living standards and create new employment opportunities. It even includes Article 23.4 Women and Economic Growth, but as with its other articles and provisions, it exhorts that “the Parties shall consider undertaking cooperative activities aimed at enhancing the ability of women…” Once again a Committee is to be established. There appears to be no recognition of the role that local government can play in economic development, job creation or combating poverty.  Similarly Chapter 22 Competitiveness and Business Facilitation shows no recognition of a role for local government or even for cities and simply sets up another committee.

 

To Blog, or not to Blog…

Here are the links to the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop. Interesting reading as always…
For Christmas, please can we renew my social contract? by Dave Henderson, Manager External Relations, HuiE!
The State of Volunteering in New Zealand in 2015/16 by Scott Wills, Chief Executive, Volunteering New Zealand

 

Upcoming Webinars

How to amaze your funders with watertight evidence – Webinar, 9 February 2016, 11am – 11.45am

The first of the Community Research Summer Series Webinars, this free session is for time-poor, cash-strapped organisations who are under pressure to provide evidence of their results. It is particularly aimed at people who are new to outcomes thinking and evaluation methods. Presented by Rachel Trotman (Weave Consulting, ANZEA) and Kate McKegg (The Knowledge Institute, ANZEA). Register here

Social Media tips and tricks – Webinar, 23 February 2016, 1pm – 2pm

Brought to you by TechSoup New Zealand and led by Ryan Jones, Marketing Coordinator for Connecting Up, attend this session from the comfort of your own desk.  Register here

 

Funding available for collaboration in 2016

If you are developing or considering a collaborative project or a merger, see how the Working Together More Fund (WTMF) might assist. Visit workingtogether.org.nz for criteria and case studies and to download a brochure.

The WTMF has supported collaborative initiatives and mergers since 2009. In December 2015, our last meeting for the year,  49 applications were received with 11 grants distributed totalling $150,000.00. Details about the Fund including recent grants can be found on workingtogether.org.nz.
Closing dates for submitting applications in 2016 are at 5pm on:

  • 1 April 2016
  • 1 July 2016
  • 21 October 2016

For further information contact Bede Martin –bedemartin@xtra.co.nz or 021 230 2908.

 

Professional Development

Violence and Trauma Studies
Postgraduate work in Preventing Violence and Creating Trauma Recovery

Since 2015 AUT University has offered postgraduate studies in Violence and Trauma with specialisms in Family Violence. The course is designed for distance study and is suitable for practitioners currently in employment or considering working in a variety of fields where the misuse of power has disadvantaged others.The staff involved have strong foundations in decades of Family Violence work and study extends to fields related to family violence: drug and alcohol, probation, police, mental health, prison, refugee, women’s refuge, social work, counselling victims and offenders, accident and emergency, Maori health, and the military. All forms of harm and disrespect are considered.
For further information visit: http://www.aut.ac.nz/study-at-aut/study-areas/health-sciences/postgraduate-study/violence-and-trauma

New Zealand Fellowship 19 March – 20 May 2016

The New Zealand Fellowship is an intense, inspiring and deeply practical skills turbo boost in campaigning and advocacy – a leadership training for a cohort of a certain type of leaders – those who work to make the world better through social change. There are a small number of spots left in the cohort, applicants will be interviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. The fellowship involves five evening webinars with expert presenters, and is book-ended by two intensive 4-day retreats, and kicks off on March 17.

For further info visit http://australianprogress.org.au/network/event/new-zealand-fellowship/

 

And don’t forget, we’re here to help.  If you have any problems or issues, or just need some information, please don’t hesitate to contact Ros at the CNA office on Wellington (04) 472 3364 oreo@communitynetworksaotearoa.org.nz  Both Ros and Fionn are here to provide support to our membership and always welcome your contact.

 

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