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Nats’ NGO policy, give the money to Aussies

Written By: - Date published: 1:08 pm, July 7th, 2008 - 18 comments
Categories: election 2008, slippery, Social issues - Tags:

Charities are voicing fears that under a National Government public funding for NGOs would be administered by an Australian NGO called Mission Australia with dire consequences for small charities here. The NGOs say Key thinks there are too many NGOs here and wants to starve them of cash.

Mission Australia does the admirable work you expect from a charity, working on homelessness, gambling addictions, and the like. But it is also a monopolist, using its government contracts to squeeze out other charities and keep public funding of NGOs for itself. Additioanlly, it is ‘faith-based’ and it has introduced Christian sectarianism to funding. Kiwi NGOs fear that if Mission Australia gets to hand out charity monies under a National Government, the same thing will happen here.

Mission Australia also runs part of the benefit payment scheme in Australia and operates work-for-the-dole programs. This means billions of dollars of public money is ultimately dished out by a private organisation and removes democratic accountability for the largest part of government spending. We must now ask: Does National plan the same for New Zealand?

It’s worth noting that one of Mission Australia’s business partners is Macquarie Bank. The same Australian bank that John Key held secret meetings with to discuss having the bank build and own future public schools and hospitals in New Zealand – the taxpayer would pay rent the properties and Macquarie would make big profits.

Coming on top of the announcement last week that Key plans to give $200 million in profit to Aussie insurers by privatising the ACC scheme, you have to ask why all Key’s policies seem to be about making money for large Aussie corporates. Just don’t expect a straight answer.

18 comments on “Nats’ NGO policy, give the money to Aussies ”

  1. rave 1

    Missionaries and bankers holding hands with corrupt politicians as usual.

  2. Scribe 2

    From the link (a Sue Bradford press release):

    Green Party MP Sue Bradford is alarmed at indications the National Party has plans that could silence local NGOs on social issues.

    I thought the EFA was already doing a pretty good job of that.

    I understand that the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services has been under the microscope over a campaign it launched to fight poverty.

    Bradford also refers to the PSA in her release. How strange that the PSA would be taking a swipe at National. I’m stunned, I tell ya. Stunned!!

  3. Tara 3

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_Australia

    It morphed from the Sydney City Mission and Adelaide’s “Mission SA” into Mission Australia after the Howard government introduced contestable ‘outcome focused’ funding which the relevant government department was criticised as awarding to favoured government recipients .. Mission Australia. Despite its claim of being non-denominational it has long been perceived as introducing sectarianism to ‘universal’ welfare, with controversies about faith-based employment policies which clash with the increasing reality of our multicultural society.

  4. Scribe. So, no defence of the substantive point?

  5. tara. I had a look at that wikipedia article researching the post – clearly written by Mission Australia, eh?

  6. Scribe 6

    Steve,

    Can you providing supporting material for this accusation?

    But it is also a monopolist, using its government contracts to squeeze out other charities and keep public funding of NGOs for itself.

  7. higherstandard 7

    Question for those in the know – can someone give me an example of an NGO in NZ that is a registered charity ?

  8. Scribe. This looks like a good summary of the NGO sector under Howard and entions how Mission Asutrlia gained at the expense of non-Christian and not pro-Howard NGOs. interesting that MA’s CEO supported the introduction of GST in Australia, that’s well out of step with most charities’ position on GST.

  9. higherstandard 9

    Scribe

    Read SP’s link article (paras 2 and 3) sound familiar ?

  10. T-rex 10

    hs:

    RedCross
    WorldVision
    CCF
    Greenpeace
    Amnesty International

    etc

  11. higherstandard 11

    Thanks Rex

    I’m assuming some of these bodies have been ‘Mission Australiad’ in Australia.

    Certainly no-one would stand for it in NZ and I’m amazed they’ve got away with it in Aus as they are far more likely to protest and get uppity over there than we are in NZ.

  12. Scribe 12

    higherstandard,

    Some of this stuff, you mean?

    A DECADE is a long time to be in government. Any government in power for so long will leave an indelible mark on the society it governs, changing the culture, identity, values and direction of the nation. For those in the community who disagree with government policy, there is some comfort in the knowledge that at the very least they can express their dissenting opinions through the recognised institutions of democracy. This capacity for public debate and dissent ensures that governments must continue to publicly justify their decisions — a hallmark of democracy.

    But what happens when these democratic institutions are themselves eroded by government? What are the costs when a government tries to ensure that its values are the only values heard in public debate? What are the consequences for a nation whose citizenry is denied essential information about controversial policies?

    The Howard Government has been progressively dismantling the democratic processes that create the capacity for public debate and accommodate dissenting opinion. The tactics used to silence critics are diverse, including the withdrawal of government funding, threats to destroy the financial viability of dissenting organisations, appointment of party functionaries or friends to key positions, strict interpretation of laws governing release of information, and the targeting of individuals. One sector that has been a particular target of these efforts to silence dissent is the non-government sector.

    It does sound a tad familiar.

  13. Tara 13

    Hamilton & Maddison (Eds), 2007,
    “Silencing Dissent: How the Australian government is controlling public opinion and stifling debate” – which Steve’s post reviewed – may soon be available at Wellington Central Library.

  14. Scribe 14

    Steve,

    Thanks for the link. My next question (largely rhetorical) is: How legitimate is the concern that National would introduce something like this?

    I must say I get a bit tired of comments like “there is a strong indication” etc from people of any political affiliation. If John Key has been going around saying he wants this sort of scheme, why aren’t the NGOs the ones going to the media, rather than Sue Bradford?

  15. higherstandard 15

    Scribe

    I must admit I did have a titter.

  16. Hoolian 16

    Clinton, you’re sooooo negative. Be optimistic about NZ for once. Gee, all you do is bitch and moan. This is a such a negative site. You’re worse than “Brand Key”.

  17. Hoolian. check “poverty falls, more to be done” and “incomes rise, inequality down” – they’re positive but if you’re looking for naive posts that suggest everything is perfect you won’t find many here, my fellow standardistas and myself have consistently argued that NZ is in good shape and can do better but by moving to the left, not by signing up to Brand Key.

  18. Tara 18

    It was always a bit too predictable how Howard – Methodist->Anglican by background – found these choices mirrored in the muscular christianity of his social welfare providers, although these days Mission Australia claims to be “non-denominational”.

    > How legitimate is the concern that National would introduce something like this?

    It certainly fits the late 80’s ideology of the National Party.

    But “The times, They are a’chaaaangeing ..” as someone once sang.

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