Policing Volunteer Vetting Charges – Robbing Peter to pay Paul

MEDIA RELEASE, issued Thursday 19 February 2015.    

“The proposal that Police should charge voluntary and community organisations for its vetting services, is robbing Peter to pay Paul” says Helga Wientjes, ComVoices Chair.

“Many voluntary and community organisations are funded by the public, either through donations, through Government contracts or a combination of both. This proposal will create an inefficient and expensive money-go-round” she says.

ComVoices believes that voluntary and community organisations should be exempt from paying for policing services and this should be enshrined in the legislation.

“It is the State itself that requires that NGOs vet a wide range of people who work for them as staff or volunteers.  It’s a non-negotiable activity for NGOs.  The reason for wider vetting is for public safety and that is a core Police role. It is neither fair nor reasonable that the sector should now be asked to carry these costs.

“Many voluntary and community organisations will not be able, or do not want to pass on these additional costs to the people who benefit from their services. They will have to try to absorb them in already tight budgets which will probably mean cutting services particularly to children and other vulnerable members of society.

“We believe it is unlikely that the proposed fee of $5 – $7 per police vetting process will cover both the police costs and the additional administrative costs of processing these fees.  We are therefore concerned that such fees will increase significantly creating an even heavier burden for organisations and volunteers who provide their services free to the New Zealand community and on occasion to the New Zealand Police itself.

“The community and voluntary sectors work for the public good.  There is no commercial benefit to them.  Individual agencies should not be asked to shoulder vetting costs for volunteers who are working at their own cost to improve New Zealanders’ quality of life.”

ENDS

For further information contact: Helga Wientjes, ComVoices Chair, telephone 027 490 7137

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