Volunteer Marlborough (with assistance from volunteers), on behalf of the voluntary & community sector, and in conjunction with the Volunteer Centre Network of Aotearoa (VCNA) submitted a list of questions to those running for local office here in Marlborough. For consistency, effort has been made to ask the same questions of all candidates around the country.
Here, we hear from JONATHAN ROSENE:
What role do you think Council has in supporting a thriving Marlborough region for the voluntary & community sector?
I see Council as a partner within the voluntary and community sectors. Local government can play a big part by encouraging community participation. The late U.S. President, John F. Kennedy said it best in his inaugural speech, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country". The same philosophy applies at the local level.
What do you think are the significant obstacles and opportunities facing the Marlborough region's voluntary & community sector over the next few years? If elected, how would you address these opportunities and obstacles?
The demands of raising a family, work, and the general lack of free time or energy all contribute as obstacles. Many families, in my experience, volunteer in ways that fit in to their busy lives as best they can. For example, my wife and I recently volunteered to help with a local theatrical production of Sour Crème by Stage Lab. Without the support of like-minded parents, the show could not go on.
I've seen other parents coach their children's sports teams. As an elected official, I would encourage greater participation within the community, and lead by example through my own volunteer work.
How do you view volunteering in the community? i.e. Is it important? What value do volunteers bring? And, if elected, how would you personally support the voluntary & community sector in Marlborough?
Without the generosity of our volunteer community, there are many things that would not get done. As one example, the Cancer Society's Relay for Life event relies almost completely on volunteers. Regardless of my success in this election, I will continue to volunteer and participate in community groups where I can.
We've had a lot of extreme weather events around the country lately, and we are rather earthquake prone as a country. How do you see the role of volunteers as part of the disaster response locally?
Civil Defence and the Marlborough Region's various Fire Brigades also operate with the goodwill of volunteers. Taking personal responsibility to be prepared in the event of an emergency is also vital. The less an individual, household, or workplace needs to rely on immediate assistance from NGOs like the Red Cross or emergency services during a natural disaster scenario, the more those resources can be freed up to do other work.
How do you see Council and community organisations working together to build a robust, resilient, and welcoming region and community?
Council has its role, but I also think we need to take personal responsibility for the things we want to see change. As an example, my son and I often take a rubbish bag with us when we go for a walk along the Taylor River. We separate the rubbish and recycling when we get home, during which time, I attempt to instill the value of the environment and what we can do to preserve it.
If you are successful in these local elections, how will you recognise and support the vital role of volunteers, volunteer-involving-organisations, and volunteer support services in the electorate? And how might you see yourself working with Volunteer Marlborough?
Perhaps, more importantly, I should be asking these questions of the volunteers and volunteer organisations out there. If I am successful, how would you like me to support your work? It's not often that the backbone of organisations, such as volunteers, have their voices heard. I think that is the nature of volunteering - to selflessly go about your work with little regard as to an external reward. But that is not to say recognition is undeserved. I would be excited to work alongside those out there that have maybe already put some thought into these important questions.
What impact do you perceive volunteers to have in our community? (Volunteer submitted)
There is a level of care, empathy, and understanding that volunteers have and, without that, the landscape of our community would look quite different.
**Have you ever volunteered, and would you recommend it to others? **(Volunteer submitted)
I have volunteered with the Cancer Society in Gisborne and Marlborough as a Team Leader and as the Volunteer Logistics Coordinator for the Relay for Life. The sense of accomplishment that I felt after those events were more powerful than that of my paid employment. I'm a new committee member for the Marlborough Art Society and have volunteered to a limited extent with them in the recent past.
I would, and have, recommend volunteering to others.
How do you think volunteers and not-for-profits could better the community even further? (Volunteer submitted)
In the realm of not-for-profits, there is the tendency to shy away from spending money on advertising. It rubs many organisations the wrong way, believing that the money is better spent elsewhere. But, if organisations would spend a bit of money on creative advertising, I would bet that there would be a greater turnout of volunteers.
Jonathan would have liked some more time to answer the next three questions thoughtfully, with some research and queries of his own. However our timeline left him little leeway in this matter. We appreciate your candor, Jonathan, and are happy to meet with you to discuss further.
In what ways do you think Volunteer Marlborough could help to improve local volunteer programmes and further support not-for-profit organisations? (Volunteer submitted)
What regional policies do you think are the most important for supporting our local organisations and volunteers in the sector so that they flourish rather than perish? (Volunteer submitted)
What resources and support do you plan to implement or maintain in order to continue to develop and support the not-for-profit sector as it stands? (Volunteer submitted)
What message would you like to share with the volunteers of our region? (Volunteer submitted)
Keep up the great work!
Thank you, Jonathan, for taking the time to answer these questions!