At the RNZSPCA Annual General Meeting on Saturday 17 June, SPCA delegates voted to form one organisation. The current structure has each local SPCA operating as individual branches governed at a local level, but the decision made will lead to the creation of one SPCA in New Zealand and will bring together the SPCAs around the country into one future-focused national entity. The decision to move to a unified SPCA was made after two years of discussions and consultation within the charity.
At a Special General Meeting held last week, the membership of the SPCA Hastings & Districts voted in support of the changes, currently planned for 1 November 2017, in which “SPCA Hastings & Districts” as an entity will wind up and amalgamate with the new One SPCA entity. A final vote on joining the One SPCA entity will be held by the membership in September. SPCA Hastings & Districts Chairperson, Sharon Arcus, believes that this is a positive move for the charity and said that the creation of One SPCA in New Zealand will result in centres across the country working together to help prevent cruelty to animals. Until now, the burden of governing the branch and finding funding for what quite a large shelter by national SPCA standards has rested with a handful of volunteers since the branch was establish. There are clear benefits for the branch to being part of a more supportive national structure. Ultimately we knew that as one SPCA we can achieve more for our country’s most vulnerable animals working together rather than independently.
“The focus of SPCA Hastings & Districts won’t change: we are all about helping animals in need in our community”
“But she believed that the organisation that will emerge after the transition will be able to be more effective at its core focus, which is welfare. By working as a team with other centres across New Zealand, we can do more to prevent cruelty to our animals. As one organisation we will be able to access centralised funding opportunities and benefit from economies of scale – enabling all centres to have the resources to do more for the animals. As One organisation, we will have a stronger voice for the animals on important issues all around the country,” said Sharon Arcus.
RNZSPCA Chief Executive (Acting) Andrea Midgen said the move to one SPCA is not about creating a centrally-controlled organisation, or closing any SPCA centres. It is a genuine effort to bring all SPCA centres, staff and volunteers together to work as a team and get the right outcome for every animal in New Zealand.
SPCA Hastings & Districts Chairperson stressed that the support of the community is as important as ever: “While we will work more closely with other SPCAs in our area, local support for the animals in Hastings & Districts is critical. On the face of it, most of the changes are structural and how we interact with the community will have little or no change. The governing committee will reshape into a local supporters group. We still be working to raise funds locally to care for the animals in the shelters. So we will still need the help of supporters and sponsors as well as volunteers at our shelter assisting the animals. And we shall still be standing on street corners with a bucket, asking for financial assistance in our work. So it is business as usual. Ms Arcus said that the branch shall be direct contact with all of its current supporters directly explaining the changes after the final vote in September.
“Through the whole process, one thing I became convinced of was that everyone in the SPCA, whether they be local or not has the same focus – the best for the animals of New Zealand. It is that common ground which gives me confidence that this change can only be for the best for our future.
Note for editors:
SPCA Hastings & Districts is a branch of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Previously RNZSPCA had a federated structure of 46 individual centres, each with its own Chief Executive or Centre Manager and governing committee or board.
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