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Miss Bennett visited Dunedin as part of a national tour to familiarise herself with the people and organisations in her portfolio area — "I wanted to see real people doing real things" — and said she was impressed by what she saw and heard.
"Organisations are changing what they are doing,’’ Auckland-based Miss Bennett said.
"They are looking at how and what they are doing and collaborating together.
"I’m pleased they are doing it, rather than us, because we are not a government that will do it for them."
The not-for-profit sector was ‘‘vitally important’’ and she was aware it was under an increasing burden.
"Definitely money from trusts is harder to get. There is less money and higher needs."
But, while Philanthropy New Zealand statistics showed donors were giving less, "more New Zealanders are giving some."
The government is looking at what its role will be.
It was involved with a newly established group, which involved representatives from the whole community and voluntary sector, she said.
"We are looking at the available pool of money — what the best spend is for that in the current economic situation."