Network News April 2016

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 on the banks of the Clutha River and known for its hot summers and annual blossom festival, the town of Alexandra lies at the heart of Central Otago. Founded 33 years ago, the Alexandra Council of Social Services provides information and support to 55 organisations and individuals working in a range of social services and related agencies throughout the region.

During the course of each month Alexandra COSS regularly circulates information as well as the minutes of their well-attended meetings. These monthly get-togethers are an opportunity to listen to guest speakers, share information and to network, with attendees travelling from as far away as Dunedin and Queenstown. The COSS has recently combined the meeting with those agencies and organisations working as part of Strengthening Families.

Alexandra COSS was established by the then Alexandra Borough Council (later superseded by the Central Otago District Council) and Deirdre Jolly has been involved from the start. Known to many of our Community Network Aotearoa (CNA) members, Deirdre was a councillor involved in the establishment of Alexandra COSS and went on to become its president for the past 27 years. She has also served on the Executive Committee of CNA. Deirdre is joined in her work by Liz Duggan who has held the role of secretary for the past 22 years – two highly experienced, long serving volunteers with a deep commitment to their regional community.

One the success stories of Alexandra COSS was the establishment of a community house. From 1990 Church House served this purpose however just over three years ago Alexandra Community House opened – bigger premises, worth $2.3 million and debt free.  Managed by a separate trust the community house currently houses 20 tenant organisations as well as providing meeting spaces for casual hire.

One of the challenges Deirdre identifies facing the region is that of a lack of public transport. Changes to the drink drive laws have seen some rural pubs providing courtesy vehicles leading to the demise of local taxi companies. In an area where the population aged over 65 is higher than the national average, this has had a major impact.

A current focus of the work of the COSS itself is strategic planning. With a strong desire to continue to live and operate effectively in today’s world, Alexandra COSS is considering and evaluating all aspects of its operations. Alexandra COSS continues to value its membership of CNA and the professional services and support our national organisation can provide. Thanks Alexandra COSS!

Alexandra COSS meets on the third Wednesday of every month. For further info contact Liz Duggan

Proposed Changes to the Incorporated Societies

by Denise Lormans, Manager Southland Community Law Centre and Chair Community Networks Aotearoa

In 2013 the NZ Law Commission wrote a paper entitled “A New Act for Incorporated Societies”. The Government agreed that change was required and also agreed with the majority of the suggested changes.  The third draft of the legislative bill that is driving the change is now out, along with an exposure draft that is being processed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. There are a large number of public seminars occurring in the next month or so to inform people of the proposed changes, and to gather opinion to take back to government.

The main things that will affect current Incorporated Societies are:

  • A reduction in the required number of members in order to be an Incorporated Society (Inc) to 10 from 15
  • No Inc. may make financial gain for its members. The law relating to this has been strengthened with some hefty fines being levied toward any offending member and/or Society.  Inc.’s can also recover any financial gains that members have received.  The Registrar of Incorporated Societies may also apply for proceedings and a Court Order to recover such gains.
  • Regulations that will come with the new Act will require all 10 members to be named on any application for incorporation.
  • The new Act also deals with minimum requirements within constitutions. This is a good move in my view as in my work I have seen an enormous variation in constitutions, many of which are simply inadequate.
  • We have already developed a template (available soon via the CNA website), to help re-write these documents for those organisations with constitutions that were written in the last century (!), and which will not comply with the new Act.
  • Included within the new requirements is a clear definition of the Management/Executive Committee, along with the requirements covering complaint or dispute resolution.
  • Liquidation or Winding Up clauses must also comply with the requirements of the new Act.
  • Amalgamation or merging of two (or more) Inc.’s into one entity will be easier than it is now.
  • Each Inc. will have to have a “Contact Officer” within their Management/Executive committee.  This person will be the point of call for all communication with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies

The good news is that all changes will have a lengthy “Transition” period of at least two years.  This will enable all Inc.’s to take time to revise their constitutions and ensure that they comply with the requirements of the new Act and Regulations once they are passed and put into place.

Kia kaha

On air with Ros

For further information about changes to the Incorporated Societies Act, download and listen to Ros interview lawyer Mark von Dadelszen. Mark is a Partner with Bannister and von Dadelszen and specialises in societies and charitable trusts. For even more info about the changes click here


ADCOSS Publication: Community Development and Social Change

Auckland District Council of Social Services (ADCOSS) has recently published the fourth edition of this popular community development book by Ewen Derrick. The publication contains all the original material plus four new papers written by experienced social practitioners. Earlier editions were read by many people including community workers, students, policy analysts, academics and politicians. The material is relevant to all of the above and others interested in how our communities can become centres for social development. Order here

Health and Safety at Work Act

The new Health and Safety at Work Act comes into force on 4 April. The Southland Community Law Centre has developed a series of templates in response to changes and these can be downloaded from CNA’s website. Click here

Upcoming Conferences

TechSoup New Zealand Conference – 11/12 April 2016, Waipuna Conference Centre, Auckland
The TechSoup New Zealand Conference is a two-day interactive event aimed at not-for-profit and charitable organisations, interested in technology innovation and finding new solutions to further engage the community. Join our expert Masterclasses (11th April) in Digital Marketing, Technology or Finance, and learn from inspiring keynote and stream presentations (12th April) including Paul Spain, founder of Gorilla Technology (IT Services) and host of ‘NZ Tech Podcast’, and Andrew Culley, Consulting Lead Partner at Deloitte and specialist in Business and IT Strategy alignment and Technology Disruption. Interactive conference activities (The World Café) will give delegates further opportunities to engage with speakers and each other to discuss the questions that matter and to gain diverse perspectives to help drive social change. To register and for more information please visit the TechSoup New Zealand Conference website

New name for Social Sector Innovations Trust

CNA member organisation in Tauranga, formerly known as Social Sector Innovations (WBOP) Trust has recently re-branded to become known as SociaLink as a more accurate reflection of the vision, purpose and work of the Trust.

To blog, or not to blog…

Here are the links to the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop. Interesting reading as always…
Complaints are Constructive by Raewyn Fox, CEO The New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services
Donald Trump and mana by Tess Casey, CEO of Inclusive New Zealand
Get outside the box, then think! by Gabrielle O’Brien, Chief Executive Birthright New Zealand

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 or  Both Ros and Fionn are here to provide support to our membership and always welcome your contact.

Photo: bruceandrobyn