Ban pokies - protect whānau
Last year pokie machines took in $890 million from New Zealand communities. This doesn't include the $586 million lost at casinos. The pokie business model is predatory by its nature, relying on the highly addictive design of the machines, and targets people on low incomes. In wealthy areas of our country there is one pokie machine for every 465 people, whereas in poorer areas there is one for every 75 people. This means that much of that $890 million came directly from the pockets of families in hardship. Most recently, the South Waikato District Council approved a site permit for a new mega gambling centre in Tokoroa, a town where many families already face the stresses of unemployment, insecure work and low wages. Former New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O'Sullivan has described this plan as "disgraceful" and "predatory". Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said that reducing child poverty is the reason she got into politics, and has taken on specific responsibility for this as the Minister for Child Poverty reduction. Her government has committed to setting bold goals for reducing poverty, and identified a range of policies that would help to do this. One simple step the Prime Minister could take, which would immediately reduce whānau poverty, would be to ban pokie machines in New Zealand. These machines are highly addictive, and do enormous harm to some of the families doing it toughest in our country. This harm is supposedly justified because a portion of the gambling profits is distributed to community and sports groups. This means the families who are worst off in our communities are not only being exploited by predatory gambling businesses, but also that the people least able to do so are subsidising community services that should be funded by everyone fairly, through taxes. This makes no sense at all. Please add your voice to the call on our Prime Minister to protect families from predatory gambling businesses by banning all pokies now. References: Pokie statistics from Problem Gambling Foundation NZ: https://www.pgf.nz/pokie-statistics.html Ban pokies to reduce child poverty, Newshub: http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/11/ban-pokies-to-reduce-child-poverty-lance-o-sullivan-to-pm.html Mega-gambling centre in Tokoroa: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/99550519/tokoroa-mega-gaming-venue-looks-at-tab
Take abortion out of the Crimes Act!
The 40th anniversary of this law is a great chance to reflect on whether it's working, and it isn't. In 2017 abortion remains on the Crimes Act , and the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act requires people seeking an abortion and medical staff to jump through hoops (and often lie) to obtain 'approval' for the procedure . Ninety eight percent of abortions are only 'allowed' on the mental health grounds . This is despite the majority of New Zealanders supporting abortion being totally legal . It's time to reform the law, remove abortion from the Crimes Act, and allow the decision to have an abortion to stay between the person and their GP. References:  http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM329351.html  https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/watch-kiwi-women-seeking-abortions-have-basically-lie-and-say-theyre-mentally-ill  http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/8564531/Alter-abortion-law-to-reflect-real-grounds-call  http://alranz.org/change-the-law/2017-national-poll-results/
Save our Precious Drinking Water
New Zealand is in a dire situation regarding a stable consistent clean safe and consistent drinking water supply. A Government inquiry into the Havelock North drinking water crisis in 2016 has revealed 20% of New Zealand’s drinking water doesn’t meet safety standards.[1,2] In April 2016, the Ministry of Health warned that "the overall burden of endemic drinking water-borne gastrointestinal disease has been estimated at 18,000 to 34,000 cases per year" - but with this sort of illness going often unreported, it could be higher. There are presently in December record temperatures all over the country and these show no sign of abating. High temperatures have been partly causing algal bloom in Taupo, leading doctors to warn the algae may cause rashes, nausea and breathing difficulties.  The situation in Napier in the first week of December was dire. Huge amounts of water were drawn off and the supply was left wanting, with some discoloured water. Residents were distressed and lacking information. In the Waitakeres in West Auckland people with tanks are ringing for water and being told it cannot be delivered until after Christmas. On the West Coast there is warnings of a looming problem if the dry weather continues. We ask that the Minister of Local Government direct Local Bodies in New Zealand to adopt a comprehensive standard for safe drinking water and that Local Bodies adopt this standard and monitor the situation during the summer on a daily basis. Communities are nervous about their unstable water supply and cannot trust its quality. A consistent standard must be imposed and accepted as urgent and this standard must be monitored over summer on a daily basis by council staff. This will mean members of the community will feel more secure about their water supply over summer. As part of water monitoring, there must also be water restrictions imposed over the hot summer, the conservation message for water must start immediately. Communities need to be directed to conserve at the right times and know why they are conserving. Restrictions need to be put in place now and not left to the last minute. Communities must have trust that drinking water supply is safe and secure. References 1 - https://www.dia.govt.nz/Government-Inquiry-into-Havelock-North-Drinking-Water 2 - https://www.interest.co.nz/news/91258/government-inquiry-havelock-north-water-contamination-finds-widespread-and-systemic 3 - Douse the water deniers http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11958203 4 - http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/98647685/2017-set-to-break-records-for-extreme-weather 5 - https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/safety-concerns-over-algae-in-lake-taupo-causes-ironman-scrap-swimming-leg 6 - https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/99532411/water-shortage-in-napier-worsens-as-consumption-soars and http://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=11953334 7 - https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/west-coast/water-shortage-looms-west-coast