More NZ volunteers in Pacific

NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters. Picture: RNZ

WELLINGTON, 30 MAY 2018 (MFAT) – Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced a renewed government funding agreement with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA), a volunteer agency that sends New Zealanders offshore to make a positive difference in developing countries.

“Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) is an important partner for the government in supporting regional development aspirations, and giving New Zealanders an opportunity to share their skills,” said Peters.

“VSA will receive a 14 per cent increase to its funding agreement over the next five years in comparison to the previous five-year term. This will enable VSA to expand its work across the Pacific.”

“The increase will lead to an increase in volunteer assignments each year with new programs in Fiji and Tuvalu, and increased volunteers in Samoa and Tonga.”

“VSA works closely with partner organisations to identify areas where volunteers can help build individual and organisational capacity,” he said.

“Under the new agreement, VSA will also increase the number of university graduates that participate in its UniVol Programme – a collaboration between VSA and Otago, Victoria, Auckland and Massey Universities which provides graduates with an opportunity to gain experience in the Pacific.”

VSA will also mobilise volunteers to assist in disaster recovery through the creation of a new post-disaster Rapid Recovery Register,” Peters said.

The MFAT funding to the VSA in the last five years (2013-14 to 2017-18) was a total of $40,140,059 (US$27,676,447). New Zealand Cabinet has agreed to future funding for the five year period (2018-19 to 2022-23) of $45,978,895 (US$31,698,626).

The New Zealand government has funded VSA, founded by Sir Edmund Hillary, for 56 years. VSA is New Zealand’s largest and most experienced volunteer agency working in international development.

The funding increase will allow VSA to deliver 200 assignments per year which is an increase of 84 assignments from the last five years.