Friendship New Zealand Incorporated
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have real meaning

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Friendship New Zealand Incorporated (FNZI) is a welcoming social organisation for people living in New Zealand who are retired, semi-retired or soon-to-retire. If you are in that "golden" stage of your life, woman or man, our Clubs could be a great option for you.

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Issue 14 - February 2016

Update from Chairman Denys Boshier

BoshierToday let's have a look together at the topics of communication and consultation within our organisation, topics of concern to our clubs and to Council itself.

We have received many communications about these topics, some supportive, others letting us know where we could do better, even why aren't we doing better. With our future becoming clearer, we now have the time to consider these two highly important components of our organisation. Firstly, communication itself is an issue - what is the best way of communicating and how much information is enough? Some clubs read what we send them, other clubs appear not to. They just want to get on with what they are doing.

At the present time, FNZI Council is set up so that there essentially are two forms of communication with our clubs.

Firstly, passive communication, where your Inboxes sit there, like little birds with their mouths open waiting for our communications to you. These may be our Newsletters, specific communications from Council or its Chairman, an Update or Newsflash from our Secretary/Treasurer, a letter from your District Representative, or something from an outside group. Each one of these has some sort of time reference -

  • Newsletters come four times each year
  • Council Updates come from our Secretary
  • the others are sporadic, depending on the issue at the time.

We don't even know whether email is the most effective communication tool. What is the optimal frequency for each communication system? We don't know. We do know, however, that there is a wide spectrum of computer literacy in our clubs. Some find the electronic communications easy, others don't. Feedback, hopefully positive in terms of specific ways we can make things better, will be gratefully received by Council.

The second form of communication we may call active communication. It involves clubs and club members accessing our rapidly developing website themselves and availing themselves of the information on www.fnzi.nzi We see increasing use of this rapidly developing facility, with its information sources at the general public, club, regional organisation and Council levels. Each group has its own password for access at its level. We hope that clubs will appoint someone from their Club Committee or Membership who has good computer skills as their Website Officer, someone who can check our website frequently and share with the club items of interest or concern to the club and its members.

Our second topic of interest is that of consultation. We have received many communications of recent months over this topic, particularly when we were involved in the litigation with PSPL over naming and other issues. There are two options available to us: go directly to the clubs, or work via a Regional Organisation representative of the District.

If the former, following Council preparation of the appropriate papers explaining the situation to be considered, we send 278 letters to our clubs. These are then considered at the next club meeting, which may be soon or it may not. The club response may or may not be made at that meeting. When it is ready the club response, possibly one of 278 responses, is then to be considered by the Council at its next meeting, which may or may not be soon after receiving the club responses. To help Council understanding, someone on the Council or part of our Executive branch has to develop a summary of what 278 clubs are saying and convey it to Council members. Then after Council consideration and reaching its decision, the whole process may have to be repeated. It could easily take three months to reach a common, acceptable position if we consulted with our clubs in this manner. How would we have done this within the time constraints of the PSPL litigation?

The alternative, working through Regional Organisations and the District Representatives, gives us a reasonable chance of making a timely decision over the topic at issue. But even then, the Council is dependent on a number of factors e.g. having appropriate communication facilities e.g. papers via email, telephone calls, either as individual calls or as conference calls.

As those of you who have pursued this issue know, there is no provision in the FNZI Rules, as we inherited them from the Steering Committee, for consultation with the clubs as individuals. The whole consultation process is built on the presence of the Regional Organisations and their District representatives, where the latter represents or consults the District clubs as the District Organisation decides. We are going to have to consider these issues further in our efforts to get a Council which supports and develops processes by which it supports and develops the principles of Probus in New Zealand.

We have positive times ahead of us, please give us your support and your own best efforts.

Sincerely and with best wishes to you all,

Denys P Boshier (Dr) Chairman, FNZI Council

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