We’ve made it! I know many of our members will be breathing a sigh of relief as we finally come to the end of what has been an incredibly challenging year. Despite the adversity and uncertainty, it’s been fantastic to see the co-operative community continue to thrive and rise above these challenges throughout 2021. It has once again highlighted the strength and resilience of your businesses.
2021 was a significant year of growth for Cooperative Business NZ. We expanded both our events and training calendars, along with our membership base. In May we hosted the largest Leaders’ Forum to date at Mitre 10, which enabled key conversations and networking amongst our senior leaders on how we can continue to advance the sector. While the majority of our other events moved online in the second half of the year, we continued to run specialist webinars and workshops with our Corporate Associate Members, including Directors’ Workshops and two ‘Start-Up’ forums.
Lobbying and advocacy remained at the fore, with multiple engagements with key stakeholders; including the FMA, MBIE, IoD, the Primary Production Select Committee, and meetings with key Ministers. Internationally saw Cooperative Business NZ participate in the International Co-operative Alliance World Congress earlier this month. We also engaged in a number of discussions with industry groups which advanced conversations on topics such as co-operative housing, and the role co-operatives can play in supporting Māori Youth Development.
We released the New Zealand Co-operative Economy Report with PwC which highlighted the significant impact your businesses have, economically, socially and environmentally. This report has opened many doors, enabling conversations with key decision makers. We will continue to leverage this to ensure our members’ voices are heard.
In September, we welcomed our new Board who will play a pivotal role in steering the organisation towards continued success.
2022 won’t be without its challenges but the future is looking bright. The postponed Annual Business Awardswill take place in early February where we will celebrate and recognise the outstanding success of your businesses and leaders. Governance training will return with our 2-day Co-operative Governance Accelerator Programme, the 6-month Governance Development Programme, and the Chairing a Co-operative Board workshop taking place in the first half of the year.
Sector specific industry forums are in place to ensure ample opportunities for collaboration and networking, alongside the 2022 Leaders’ Forum in May. We look forward to seeing many of you in person again at these events.
A number of key conversations are lined up in the new year for continued advocacy of the model including presentations to the National Caucus and further meetings with MBIE on funding for co-operatives. Your businesses are woven into the fabric of New Zealand, so lobbying on your behalf, advancing conversations and key issues, and ensuring the model gets the recognition and support it needs will continue to be at the heart of what we do.
In terms of education on the model, our MOU with Massey University is well underway and we’re anticipating the introduction of education on the model being incorporated in Semester One. With the rise of groups and individuals looking to establish new co-operatives, we’re pleased to share that the revised ‘Co-operative Start Up Guide’ will be finalised in the first few months of the year. We are currently working with the Companies Office to finalise the content. We know that ensuring ample education on the model and how these businesses are established will ensure that co-operatives are better understood across the board – and these two initiatives will assist in this process.
There are many more initiatives in the works, but for now we will leave you to close off your emails and start to unwind for a well-deserved rest and recharge. Thank you for your continued support through 2021. We have seen a significant number of new members come on board which is a wonderful outcome given the year that’s been.
The team will be taking a break over the holidays, with the office re-opening on 17 January 2022. We will however be periodically checking messages over the break and Roz will still be available should you need to get in touch for something urgent.
Lastly, read the recent end-of-year message from the International Co-operative Alliance President HERE which may be of interest.
We wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season and we look forward to working alongside you again next year!
In co-operation / kia kaha,