• Cancel RIMPAC 2020: New Zealand withdraw!
    RIMPAC is a violation of international law and Indigenous sovereignty: Hawai'i is indigenous land that was stolen and illegally annexed by the US to be used as a sugar plantation and giant military base for Pacific operations. The indigenous people of Hawai’i demand a return of their stolen lands and the rightful recognition of their legitimate authority over the islands. RIMPAC is a grave risk to life and ecology: During RIMPAC, deadly weapons are used on land and sea causing massive environmental destruction to the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacfic Ocean. The exercise shells island reserves; uses bombs and missiles to sink ships, leaving ammunition and debris in the sea; and detonates underwater explosives. The US Navy is exempt from the Marine Mammal Protection Act meaning it can test underwater sonar weapons that kill and injure whales, dolphins and other species. Covid-19 is an additional threat: Prior to the global spread of Covid-19, New Zealand had planned to send in excess of 300 troops. Due to the pandemic the exercise has been scaled back from six-weeks to two weeks. The NZ government has indicated that it still plans to send the HMNZS Manawanui, a hydrographic dive vessel with 66 soldiers. We have no confidence that the risks to the people of Hawai’i can be effectively managed by the US military given the shocking record of the US government in dealing with infections onboard Navy warships. Nor do we have confidence that there will be effective safeguards to ensure that NZDF personnel are not infected, and do not bring infection back home. A Global Ceasefire: Now is the Time The United Nations have called for a Global Ceasefire, to instead focus on combating COVID-19. The fact that the United States was the only member of the UN Security Council to vote against a global ceasefire shows that it is the greatest threat to global security. War and war exercises are not ‘essential business’ - they are a threat to human life and the ecosystems that sustain us. The New Zealand government has done its best to ensure that Covid-19 does not spread to the Pacific. Now we have a responsibility not to be part of planning for a war in the Pacific that will only see untold human suffering and death. We are living through a time of change, when ensuring a healthy and peaceful world is paramount. New Zealand has the chance now to be a global partner and a model for other countries by choosing not to participate in 2020. In 1982 New Zealand withdrew from RIMPAC activities. We can do it again. We believe the Pacific can be a demilitarised place that respects Indigenous sovereignty. We believe the Pacific should be free and independent. Join us in demanding that that New Zealand government #CancelRIMPAC 2020 - Sign this petition. This petition is led by the Cancel RIMPAC Aotearoa Coalition. References and more information: Webinar, CANCEL RIMPAC: Stop War Games in the Pacific! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcuMaIlr9og Cancel RIMPAC Now and Forever https://medium.com/@sarahhamid10/cancel-rimpac-now-and-forever-26d8ebfe4ce7 26 U.S. Navy Ships Have Covid https://foxsanantonio.com/news/nation-world/26-us-navy-ships-have-covid-19-cases United Nations Chief calls for Global Ceasefire https://www.un.org/en/un-coronavirus-communications-team/fury-virus-illustrates-folly-war To get involved or for more info email us at CancelRIMPACaotearoa@protonmail.com
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  • Half Price Adoption Fees for Older Dogs
    Currently, the cost of adopting any dog from the pound is $260, which for a younger dog we do feel is appropriate but, to encourage and support members of the community to adopt older dogs, we think that a fee of $130.00 would be better suited. We want these older dogs to have a second chance at life in a new loving home, and by lowering the fee, we hope to achieve a better rehoming rate for these golden oldies. Lowering the cost to $130 won't have any direct impact on rates and will benefit the overall rehoming of older dogs and potentially lower euthanasia rates. Dog lovers of New Plymouth, please help us get this change by signing this petition.
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  • No Dump in Dome Valley - Protect Kaipara Moana
    The current Dome Valley Landfill Application is focused on meeting the current needs of Auckland City Council’s waste requirements, without regard to Mana Whenua and our special relationship to the Whenua and local community It is the position of Ngāti Whātua that the landfill proposal in its current form will cause irreversible damage to Papatūānuku and pose significant ongoing risks to the sustainability and mauri of the Hoteo River, Kaipara Moana our whenua and the broader environment. We must consider the long-term environmental outcomes, and the first step for protecting the future of the Kaipara Moana is to consider sustainable waste solutions. We ask the Council to halt all discussions with Waste Management NZ and as a Treaty partner provide our Iwi the opportunity to co-create a partnership that will assist our communities to manage waste in a way that puts Papatūānuku and our community at the center of decision making. Ko au te Kaipara - Ko Kaipara Moana ko au Ngāti Whātua ask for national support for this kaupapa and are seeking tautoko/support from all Uri, whānau, hapū, marae and tribal partners to sign our national petition and put forward a submission which closes 11.59pm Tuesday 26th May. To make a submission and to learn more about the Iwi national campaign visit https://www.ngatiwhatua.iwi.nz/dome-valley Listen to locals share their concerns about the pending environmental disaster this proposed dump will bring to the community and the Kaipara Harbour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYklFdyCW0I We acknowledge the efforts of Fight the Tip, Save the Dome who have been fostered strong community opposition https://www.facebook.com/FightWMSavethDome/ National Press Release - Council ignores their obligations to Mana Whenua https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK2005/S00530/auckland-council-ignores-obligations-to-mana-whenua.htm
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  • An Open Letter to save Playcentre
    Playcentre is the embodiment of New Zealand's Early Childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki*. The principles of this bicultural curriculum are: - Family and community - Relationships - Holistic development - Empowerment For many families, Playcentre has supported generations of children to pursue creativity through child-led play. Another key role local Playcentres play is to enabling smooth transitions to schooling and building a sense of community. *https://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Early-Childhood/Te-Whariki-Early-Childhood-Curriculum-ENG-Web.pdf https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/05/playcentres-threaten-closure-over-lack-of-government-funding.html
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  • Launch an independent inquiry into residential student accommodation
    1) Firstly, the legislation that governs residential student accommodation is insufficient, confusing, and unclear. Residential student accommodation is not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), meaning that in the case of disputes between residents and their accommodation provider, the option of going to the Tenancy Tribunal is not available to them. Relatively, the power imbalance between a tertiary student and a student accommodation provider is much larger than that between individual tenants and landlords. Because of this, we believe that the lack of option of disputes to be heard by the Tenancy Tribunal is damaging to a students’ access to redress. The Interim Code of Practice for Pastoral Care which was introduced in 2019 also makes no real substantive change. Most of the processes specified already encompass what is going on in halls around New Zealand. This piece of legislation was designed to improve pastoral support and is not sufficient to solve the deeper issues raised here. There needs to be more specific legislation governing halls of residence to ensure the safety of students who reside there. The lack of central government regulation creates inconsistent approaches within the system of residential student accommodation. This is not only apparent in different managements of accommodation within a single tertiary provider, but also between tertiary providers. 2) Secondly, the purpose and function of residential student accommodation is unclear and inconsistent. The lack of central government legislation to support the delivery of residential student accommodation blurs the purpose of the service; is it to make the tertiary provider a profit, or is it to provide a service to students to support their education? While some tertiary providers operate their residential student accommodation services to not make a profit, other tertiary providers appear to use residential student accommodation for the purpose of money making. Often this is done in partnership with external companies, who own and/or operate the accommodation facilities. The blurred purpose or function of student accommodation is not just limited to halls of residence accommodation for high-school leavers. Irrespective of the type of residential student accommodation (i.e. catered or self-catered accommodation), the overriding purpose and function of residential student accommodation should be the same and should be clear to those using the service. The varying degrees of rental alleviation that residential students across the country received from their accommodation providers during Levels 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 lockdown has sharply highlighted how inconsistent the sector is, and raises questions around who the setup is designed to benefit. 3) Thirdly, student welfare and support within residential student accommodation is limited and inconsistent, for both staff and residents. Student welfare and pastoral care within residential student accommodation is largely delivered by Residential Assistants (RAs). RAs receive very limited remuneration (if any), often work more hours than they are paid for, and despite trying to do their best in difficult situations, receive very limited training or support. This has a flow-on effect to residents, who often do not receive the necessary support to deal with issues that arise. The type of work that RAs do can be equated to the job of a Youth Worker, but without the training and salary. Almost all of their weekly paycheck goes towards paying their accommodation fees, meaning they are left with little money at the end of it, if any at all. Furthermore, an overwhelming proportion of RAs are students themselves, and the burden of responsibility on them to support hundreds of other students through often difficult circumstances, with little to no higher support for themselves, lays bare the harrowing ordeals that these providers put them through. Incidents of sexual harassment in halls of residence, and the lack of pastoral support to students who are struggling with mental health, have demonstrated the inadequacy of ongoing training and support provided to these students placed in positions of pastoral care. Currently, there is little to no legislation protecting RAs. There are also no guidelines for other supports for residents at student accommodations, such as Student Support Coordinators (SSCs). This means that often SSCs are assigned more than one hall, and more than a thousand students. The quality of their work therefore is lowered, as they are stretched out in capacity. We call on the Education and Workforce Select Committee to conduct an independent inquiry into the purpose and operations of residential accommodation in Aotearoa, and the legislation that governs it. This inquiry should be broad in scope, examining the investment and funding models, the cost of accommodation for residents, the legal protections for residents, and support structures for residents.
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  • Make Matariki a public holiday
    On Tuesday 19 May 2020, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said more public holidays for Kiwis to experience New Zealand is among a number of things the Government is "actively considering" to encourage domestic tourism. With the Māori new year coming up, now is the perfect time to make Matariki a public holiday. You can read more about Matariki here: https://thespinoff.co.nz/atea/05-06-2019/matariki-what-to-know-about-the-maori-new-year-and-how-to-celebrate-it-in-2019/
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  • Call for International Students' Fee Refunds
    In response to COVID-19 Alert level 4, Victoria University of Wellington has announced that teaching will recommence online on 28 April 2020, and will continue ONLINE for the remainder of Trimester 1. 1) INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS PAY EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE FEES FOR THE FULL STUDENT EXPERIENCE, NOT ONLINE CLASSES It is unreasonable that the University continues to charge full tuition fees when all courses are being delivered online to the students, especially given the fact that international student tuition fees are extortionate, which is four times higher than the standard tuition fees. 2) ONLINE LEARNING IS LESS EFFECTIVE There is a growing concern amongst students that the online learning methods the University has adapted (due to the pandemic) are NOT as effective, especially when done independently from any form of face-to-face teaching. More specifically, International Students believe that the current online learning approach does not justify international students’ tuition fees. 3) LACK OF ACCESS TO FACILITIES As teaching recommenced online under Alert Level 3 and 2, students are unable to gain the full learning experience due to the lack of access to the University’s physical facilities, especially those enrolled in courses with practical components (such as campus library, studio classes, and laboratory sessions) will miss out on hands-on learning experiences. It is unreasonable for students to pay more than $4000 to study a course that carries out practical components entirely online. 4) LACK OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE IN NEW ZEALAND One of the most crucial factors is International Students also miss out on the international education experience unique to studying abroad as they are unable to interact and build connections with fellow students and academic staff from various backgrounds. 5) 30% FEE SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY SHOULD BE AMENDED In March, a 30% fee scholarship was offered to students who are studying at a distance in Trimester 1, or who were not able to commence study in Wellington on the first day of classes on 2nd March 2020 due to the travel ban. Since then, the situation has evolved significantly, and current border closures now affect all International Students who are in their home countries and are unable to return to New Zealand. The scholarship offer shows that the University recognise that the International Students are unable to get the full student experience in line with the fees that they have paid because of the restrictions put in place following the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, it is reasonable to ask that this scholarship be extended to all International Students whose student experience has been impaired due to the crisis. This campaign is led by Victoria University of Wellington International Students' Association (V-ISA) Endorsed by 1) Wellington Singaporean Students' Association (WESSA) 2) Victoria University of Wellington Chinese Students' Association (CSA) 3) Victoria University of Wellington Thai Students' Association (TSA) 4) Myanmar Students' Association at Victoria University of Wellington (MSA) 5) Victoria University of Wellington Japanese Students' Society (JSOC) 6) Wellington Malaysian Students' Organisation (WMSO) 7) Victoria University of Wellington Taiwanese Students' Association (WTSA) 8) Victoria University Sri Lankan and Indian Club (VICSLIC) 9) Vietnamese Students' Association in Wellington (VSAW) More articles at: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/121031270/coronavirus-students-want-refunds-after-universities-move-learning-online https://nzisa.co.nz/2020/04/08/international-student-fees-what-are-we-paying-for/
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  • End Youth Homelessness
    During Covid-19 young people experiencing homelessness have been at increased risk. There has been no coordinated, or youth specific strategy to provide for the needs of young people, and no housing made available to specifically meet their needs. We know that young people are over-represented in the homeless community, with young Maori, and rainbow youth, disproportionately affected. We know that there is limited safe, secure and suitable accommodation for young people experiencing homelessness. We know that - due to limited resources - Youth Housing services are having to turn hundreds of young people away. Yet, our nation has no youth specific strategy - and has provided limited resources - to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community. If you are a young person, and you experience homelessness in New Zealand, your options for finding emergency accommodation are low. If you're 16-17yr's old, your chances get even bleaker. With the gains made during COVID19 for our homeless community we have an opportunity as a nation to end rough sleeping in Aotearoa for ever. However, to end homelessness, we must first End Youth Homelessness. To do this, we need your help. Manaaki Rangatahi call on Aotearoa, and the NZ Government, to join with us to #EndYouthHomelessness. Will you sign the petition and support the call and help us to #EndYouthHomelessness? You can read more about Youth Homelessness here: Youth Homelessness is Hidden Homelessness: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/116095068/the-hidden-homeless-alarming-child-and-youth-homelessness-in-auckland If we truly want to end homelessness, we need to start here: https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/currently-social-issues/nz-ending-homelessness-starts-with-helping-young-people
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  • Say no to doubling teacher registration fees
    Teachers need to be valued. Yet the proposed change increases fees from $220.80 over three years to $157 yearly which equates to $471, more than doubling current fees. This is outrageous. Lumping teachers with a huge increase in costs does not reflect the amazing work they do and is completely unfair and unjustified. We question where the extra money will be spent and how it will benefit us teachers as individuals? Many teachers spoke out in opposition of the fee increase yet have been ignored. https://teachingcouncil.nz/content/fees-announcement Photo: Ricky Wilson/Stuff
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  • TRADE ME – Say No to KWILA
    Kwila/merbau is a rainforest species under threat in West Papua, south east Asia and other parts of the Pacific. Most of it is illegally or unsustainably logged and most certifications for its origins are unreliable. It is sold mainly for decking timber and outdoor furniture on Trade Me. The impact of illegal or unsustainable logging of this species on forests, biodiversity and local communities has been tragic. Kwila grows sparsely across forests and logging destroys the surrounding forest as well as this endangered tree. Communities who live within forests are losing their homes, food basket and resources which have been sustained for more than 60,000 years. Forests containing illegally logged kwila are being replaced palm oil/palm kernel plantations and rice fields. The removal of these forests is contributing to climate chaos. There are alternative decking timbers grown in Aotearoa such as eucalyptus, and composite products for outdoor use which are very hard wearing. In 2011 we had an agreement with your Chief Executive to stop the trading of kwila on your website unless it was FSC or PEFC certificated, which strictly limited the trading. We accepted this agreement a starting point and we were very proud that your organisation was ready to do the right thing. We believed it was a very positive example of how a company could demonstrate ethical trading policies and play a role in reducing illegal rain forest logging. This agreement was honoured until about 4 years ago. In the last two years we have written to TradeMe leadership asking for a meeting to discuss why Trade Me has breached the agreement we made and is now allowing kwila from many sources to be sold on your site. We received no response. We have protested outside TradeMe's Auckland office and have received no response. We believe it is in the interest of Trade Me as an ethical trading site to lead the way on protecting the environment, both for a good reputation and for the benefits that come from cleaning up illegal logging. Therefore this petition asks for immediate action to protect kwila. Please stop this unethical trade on your site. Led by West Papua Action National Network How NZ decking timber choices compound a human rights crisis in West Papua, Jul 9, 2018 - https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/22-02-2019/how-nz-decking-timber-choices-compound-a-human-rights-crisis-in-west-papua/
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  • End military funding in Aotearoa New Zealand
    Aotearoa New Zealand is internationally perceived as a safe and independent country. However with all our advantages we could be working much more effectively towards peace and conflict resolution in the world. For a start we spend billions of dollars on military hardware, a lot more than on international peace keeping.[1] In this moment of economic insecurity reeling from the effects of covid-19 $1 billion was given to NZ Air Force hardware.[2] Military funding is unethical and supports corporate profits invested in the deaths of civilians. [3,4] The time is now ripe to reset and change New Zealand’s traditional military position. We ask you to consider making New Zealand Aotearoa a neutral, non-aligned country in order to become a world leader in conflict management and peace development internationally. A change to a neutral, non-military stance would immediately increase our security. We ask that all military funding is redirected to the ends of playing a peace-maker role in the world. This is urgent at a time of growing polarisation and fragile economic and social systems around the world. The funding can resource conversations about New Zealand's past and future role, training for people to gain the skills of conflict management, peace work and international aid. There is also a lot of work we could be resourcing internally, to be able to build towards working internationally to end conflicts with integrity. New Zealand as a nation was founded on colonial principles and based on military force and we have a lot of work to do to as a nation to learn, and share our learnings with other nations with similar colonial pasts. Just as Cuba is renowned for its skilled doctors helping in emergencies, New Zealand could become famous for its peace work. Sign the petition for an end to military funding and investments in peace. 1. NZ military $20b shopping list: Planes, boats, soldiers, satellites and drones https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/113363745/nz-military-20b-shopping-list-planes-boats-soldiers-satellites-and-drones 2. Budget 2020: Defence spending locks in $1bn Air Force upgrade https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12331970 3. US supplied bomb that killed 40 children on Yemen school bus https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/19/us-supplied-bomb-that-killed-40-children-school-bus-yemen 4. As defense industry prepares for downturn, Lockheed Martin reports strong first quarter https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/as-defense-industry-prepares-for-downturn-lockheed-martin-reports-strong-first-quarter
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  • Reclaiming Our Streets: Carless Days and Climate Change Responsibility
    Covid 19 Lockdown has given NZ society an opportunity to reflect on the value of living essentially. We have seen our streets and neighbourhoods become more connected and human friendly. We have seen what it is to live without the consistent noise and pollution of traffic and we, in the main, have found a measure of peace, connection and re-orientation in challenging times. This collective experience however is yet to translate to a collective conversation around our use of vehicles. This is an opportunity to reorient our streets and lives to focus on the essentials and clean up our air and our streets by giving them all regular periods of rest eg a return to carless days, car-pooling/sharing, a carless week/weekend each month and a clear reflection upon essential use of our own personal vehicles as well as those for commercial use. Each of us can then start to meet the need for climate change responsibility. Please sign for responsible use of vehicles and repurposing our streets for safe and enjoyable human usage. This is an outreach to local and central government. Please see below for articles on this idea: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/world-car-free-day-22-september-great-opportunity-reduce-air-pollution and: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/08/air-pollution-opportunity-not-just-problem/
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