4 December 2008
Media release – for immediate release
New Zealand Volunteers World Leaders
New Zealand’s volunteers lead the world in the contribution they make, an achievement to be acknowledged in celebrating
International Volunteer Day (5 December) says Alison Marshall, Chairperson of Volunteering New Zealand.
The recent report on the New Zealand non-profit sector, comparing it with those in 40 other countries, showed that when
the hours worked by New Zealand’s one million plus volunteers are converted into full time work equivalents, they
comprise two thirds of the total workforce in the non-profit sector.
“The volunteer share of the non-profit workforce in New Zealand was greater than in any of the other 40 countries in the
survey where the overall average was 42%” said Ms Marshall.
An economic value of this time was recently calculated by Statistics NZ as $3.31 billion per year or 2.3% of GDP.
“This demonstrates in another way the incredible value of volunteering in New Zealand. It is a value which will be even
more important during the challenging economic period we face,” she said.
“Volunteers will be needed more than ever to ensure a whole range of services continue and through volunteering many
will be able to stay connected to their communities and see they are making a contribution.”
This would apply as much to areas such as sport, the arts and conservation as to services providing community support
such as health and welfare services.
In this time of economic downturn there is a concern that funders, including the Government, might not recognise that
volunteer services still need funding support
when reviewing where savings can be made.
“Funders might think that little would be lost if funding was cut to some of the services which play a support role to
front line community providers” said Ms Marshall.
“Yet the support provided by agencies such as Volunteer Centres is vital for the front line groups who wish to provide
quality and cost effective volunteer services. This must be recognised in funding decisions.”