Fears, constraints, and contracts: the democratic reality for New Zealand’s community and voluntary sector

Volunteering Not for profit sector Community participation New Zealand

The important role of community and voluntary sector organisations to democratic debate and policy development is widely acknowledged by governments, academics, and the sector itself. However, our survey of 153 NZ community and voluntary sector groups shows that democratic engagement has been constrained under both Labour-led and National-led governments in the last decade. The ‘contract’ environment dominating funding for social service providers; a lack of understanding and appreciation of those who work in the sector; and, disparaging remarks and treatment of ‘dissenters’ by political elite were major factors constraining democratic debate in NZ.

This report was presented at the Community and Voluntary Sector Research Forum, Victoria University of Wellington, 26 March 2013.

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