Exemptions for the use of face masks

Kia ora
As you may be aware from today the use of masks or face coverings are mandatory for:
• people travelling on public transport services in, into and out of the Auckland region (except for children under 12 years of age and a person who has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering safely or comfortably — this can include a range of people such as those with a disability or asthma)
• the drivers of small passenger service vehicles in Auckland, such as taxis and app-based ride services, but not their passengers
• people travelling on passenger flights throughout New Zealand
We know that some people who have a disability or health condition may not be able to wear a face covering safely or comfortably. To help with this, an Exemption Card has been developed that can be shown when in public if necessary, for example to transport operators.
Users are not required to show the card, but they may feel comfortable showing something official that confirms they are exempt from wearing a face covering.
The use of this card is self-regulated and decided upon by the individual. We encourage New Zealanders to do the right thing and only use this Exemption Card if they need to.
Accessing the card
Individuals who believe they need this Card can call Healthline for free on 0800 611 116 for more information. Healthline will be able to provide advice to those who ring and provide a printable version of the Card or supply users with a version that can be saved and shown from a smart phone. Healthline will be able to talk through options for those unable to access a printer or show it from their phones.
In addition digital versions of the Card have so far been shared with Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) including Blind Citizens NZ, Deaf Aotearoa, Disabled People’s Assembly and People First.
The Card is available in credit card, A4 or A5 size.
Once users have the Card, they can decide whether or not they wish to use it, they will not be required to display this Card, but are encouraged to have it with them.
We are working with stakeholders from disability, health and transport sectors to raise awareness of the Card and to help encourage fair and responsible use. We ask you help us with getting this information to those who need it.
If you have any questions around the Card or need any further assistance please contact my colleagues on covidcomms@health.govt.nz.
Ngā mihi nui
Adri Isbister
Deputy Director-General, Disability Support Services

Changes to the Privacy Act

The updated Privacy Act 2020 comes into force on 1 December 2020.  This is an update to the previous Privacy Act 1993, which provided the principals on how organisations need to treat the Personal Information that they collect, store and use.

It is important that everyone in the organisation knows what is expected of them when dealing with other people’s personal information, from staff and volunteers who may be collecting and entering data, to directors and trustees who need to ensure the IT systems in place are robust and secure.  The organisation needs to have appropriate policies and procedures in place, so that any information is safe, secure and used appropriately.

Some of the updates to the Act include; mandatory breach notifications, where you must notify both the privacy commissioner and the affected party if you have a data breach; compliance notices able to be issued by the Privacy Commissioner to require organisations to comply with the Act; and penalties and fines for acting improperly with collecting or using personal information.  There are also added levels of international protection, with overseas companies that do business in New Zealand now specifically having to comply with our Act, and New Zealand organisations only being allowed to disclose information to overseas organisations if they have similar levels of protection to ours.

For information sheets from the Privacy Commissioner about the main changes in the Privacy Act 2020, click here: Office of the Privacy Commissioner | Privacy explained: Privacy Act 2020 information sheets

You can attend our webinar on this issue on Thursday 28 January at 10am.

Award-winning TK looks for new members

The Kollective – Tauranga’s co-working space for not-for-profit, social and charitable organisations – is looking for new members.

Last week it won the Social Enterprise Award at The Westpac Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Awards. This week it’s keen to find new members to share the space.

Based at the Historic Village, The Kollective is New Zealand’s largest co-working space and is now 80 percent full after opening in October 2018. The open-plan space has 135 desks, six meeting spaces, four kitchenettes and one large kitchen.

The 1800 sq m two-storey co-working space was built by TECT to house 40 organisations and TECT, Baytrust and the Acorn Foundation staff. It currently has desks occupied by 91 “residential” members representing 35 organisations with a permanent place in the building.

“We’re happy to be 80 percent full now, but we’d like to see even more organisations benefiting from this co-working space,” said general manager Gordy Lockhart.

“We believe that individuals create community, and the mix of residential and non-residential members is important to encourage collaboration.”

Organisations can join as resident members with a fixed or flexible desk, or a non-resident casual user of the facilities. There are 162 “non residential” members – those who come along to use a meeting room, meet with clients or who occupy a desk for a day when they travel from out of town.

It’s a place to meet, connect and collaborate with others.

“Since Covid there’s been a change in work patterns for many, and this is a chance for organisations which are either too small or too big to be part of something bigger than themselves,” he said.

“The Kollective is user driven and a family environment. It’s about serving the greater good, social impact and collaboration.”

He said TK was helping social agencies become more efficient, more technically capable, sustainable and more able to connect with each other. Organisations wanting to join can find details at https://www.thekollective.org.nz/page/memberships/

They self identify as a charity, not-for-profit, social enterprise, government or commercial agency, which will determine the rate they pay to become a member.

Child Poverty Action group launched

A new group has been launched to tackle child poverty in the Western Bay of Plenty.

A Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) for the region was launched today in Tauranga with support from SociaLink, the Western Bay’s umbrella group for social service providers and community organisations. About 20 people attended, largely from social service agencies.

CPAG works to eliminate child poverty in New Zealand through research, education and advocacy. It has over 4000 members and supporters across the country, including academics, doctors, teachers, health workers, community workers and others concerned about the high numbers of children living in low income families.

Executive member of CPAG for Western Bay of Plenty, Alan Johnson, says while child poverty could be eliminated completely in a country like New Zealand, too many children don’t have the basics.

“CPAG speaks out on behalf of the tens of thousands of children in New Zealand whose meagre standard of living compromises their health, education and well-being,” he said.

CPAG has regional networks in Whāngarei, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson and Dunedin. It is funded by grants from charitable trusts and donations and receives no public funding.

It provides research about the causes and effects of poverty on children and their families, and informs the public, policy makers, media and politicians of policy changes needed to reduce child poverty.

“We are building a group of people here to advocate for children’s rights and child poverty in the Western Bay,” Johnson said. Well-organised direct activism could make a difference, he said, describing a protest in Auckland where 1000 people arrived to sleep in their cars to protest the lack of housing.

“Because of the demographic and relative wealth here, children’s issues are often overlooked, but we have unidentified poverty in this area. It’s one of the most serious issues facing New Zealand.

“For us it’s about public discourse. We need to have the interests and concerns of children locally talked about.”

CPAG’s main concerns were housing, income support and health, he said.

The group will meet again in December to plan the organisation’s first project for the Bay of Plenty.

Electoral Forum on social issues

Four of the major political parties discussed their policies on social issues at a Tauranga election forum this week.

Angie Warren Clark (Labour), Todd Muller (National), Trisha Lawrence (NZ First) and Josh Cole (Green) dealt with rapid-fire questions on how they would deal with everything from mental health and disability to the economy and jobs.

Representatives from the Outdoors Party, TOP and Advance NZ also attended.

The candidates were asked about the three reasons people should vote for them. Warren Clark said not leaving anyone behind, her real-life experience in the social sector and knowing the city.

Muller said he grew up in the city and the government had not understood its historical paradigm change, he would be an effective advocate for the city and his recent personal issues had made him more empathetic.

Lawrence said she had fallen in love with sociology and was driven to be in the area. The “journey of the last 30 years” had not gone well for everyone.

Cole said he was born with autism, and social reforms had put the country in a sticky situation. He had studied sustainable horticulture and was aware the government prioritised the economy over social and environmental issues.

Warren Clark was concerned at the affordability of Tauranga and its underbelly. There were issues with meth and family violence, more social housing was needed and it was the fastest growing but ninth least affordable city.

Muller said the housing system was broken, and needs were constrained by the RMA. Social housing hadn’t worked. There were many jobs available but many who couldn’t find employment.

Cole said the general minimum income NZ First planned would provide $325 a week, with a wealth tax for those worth over $1 million.

Lawrence said a social service accord needed to be created to shift funding to the top of the cliff. There needed to be a joint venture delivering cross party care for children in care.

Warren Clark said the social sector needed to unionise to improve pay parity and ensure a fair deal, and work across all of government to find solutions to poverty.

Muller said he was focused on funding outcomes but there was not a simple solution.

Reducing child poverty would need support for parents and retraining, as social issues didn’t happen in silos, Lawrence said. NZ First would reintroduce the Family Benefit.

Warren Clark said there was much work to do in increasing household income and decreasing the cost of living. Labour had increased the minimum wage, provided the winter energy payment, free targeted training, wage subsidies during Covid-19, increased benefits and paid parental leave but Labour needed more time.

Muller said the nation couldn’t “spend its way out of the economy” and the economy had to be lifted off its knees, stimulating and investing in small businesses. There was an appetite for people to consider cross party ideas, he said.

The candidates answered question from the 40-strong crowd about youth mental health, new jobs, social housing, changing the economic system, funding for the disabled sector and abatement rates for beneficiaries.

Charities learn skills at ‘speed dating’ event

Not-for-profit agencies need to ensure a clear definition between strategic and operational activity, Bay of Plenty social agencies heard this week.

More than 40 agencies attended the ‘speed dating’ event for not-for-profit groups looking for new board members organised by SociaLink, the Western Bay umbrella group for social service providers and community organisations, and  the Institute of Directors’ Bay of Plenty branch.

The panel members were Anchali Anandanayagam, Peter Farmer and Jana Rangooni.

Anandanayagam is on the boards of Women in Film and Television NZ and the Asylum Seekers Support Trust, and chairs the board of Thankyou Payroll. Peter Farmer is a founder of the Farmer Group and is involved with many community organisations. Jana Rangooni is CEO of the Radio Broadcasters Association and on the boards of Paralympics New Zealand and the Advertising Standards Association.

Anandanayagam said lines were often blurred between governance and management in small organisations as they ran lean teams and governance often needed to ‘muck in’ in operational matters.

Rangooni said agencies’ meeting agendas needed to line up and if there was too much operational work appearing in the agendas they had it wrong.

Farmer said there was often a lack of carefully thought through strategic plan for some organisations. If the board hadn’t set a clear pathway to success the whole organisation would lose its focus.

Agencies needed to focus on actions and decisions to “make the boat go faster,” he said.

The work needed to be fun, as agencies usually worked with volunteers, and a good chair could make or break the culture of an organisation.

Boards needed to get expert guidance when needed, have the right skill balance and not be hijacked by staff agendas.

Health and safety was a significant compliance obligation for not-for-profits and it was essential to get the right advice to keep volunteers and others safe.

Most agencies were purpose driven with more stakeholders and passionate volunteers to consider than commercial boards, Anandanayagam said. Many board members had not been on a board before.

Farmer said it was important to get major stakeholders involved and major funding sorted before moving to “cake stalls” and other fundraisers.