The meeting was attended by 23 members and the guest speaker was Jim Clark, who is a volunteer adviser with the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for the Remuera and Eastern Bays districts.
Jim presented an interesting and comprehensive summary of the work undertaken by CAB, free of charge to all residents, and Government funded. All advice given is confidential and non-judgmental.
The CAB was established in the UK during World War 2 and now has 70 offices in N.Z., 30 of which are in the Auckland Urban area. Its aim is to ensure that individuals do not suffer through ignorance of their rights and responsibilities or of the services available in N.Z.
The most common areas in which guidance and advice are provided include:
- Work and Employment conflicts.
- Family disputes including Child Custody
- Neighbourhood disputes
- Consumer Rights
- Insurance and Loans
- Issues with IRD.
- Completing official forms and applications
- Helping people for whom English is not a familiar language
- Housing and Emergency Accommodation.
CAB has also been involved in making submissions to Government on numerous issues and legislation associated with consumer protection.
A summary of all meetings with clients is forwarded to Government (without name disclosure) so that politicians can get an idea of the issues impacting on the welfare of citizens.
CAB also operates a “Language Connect” enabling clients to converse by phone in 26 foreign languages. Brief (10 minute) legal advice sessions can also be provided free of charge with qualified lawyers.
Volunteers are required to complete a period of training covering the above topics, tuition on sound interviewing techniques, and appropriate specialist services to whom clients can be referred.
Information on CAB can be found on www.cab.org.nz or by phoning 0800 367 222.