• End the use of the cruel Forced Swim Test NZ
    The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) have just discovered that cruel and scientifically flawed “Forced Swim Tests” are being conducted on animals in New Zealand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SEVznb6vsE Evidence has been found proving that researchers at Victoria University and the University of Otago conduct Forced Swim Tests (FST), where mice or rats are dropped into an inescapable vessel of water and are forced to swim until they are close to drowning. The method of testing is used to model human depression, based on the assumption that a depressed animal gives up trying to escape earlier. Not only is this test cruel but it has no relevance to human depression - There is no single sign or symptom of human depression modelled in the test! People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) scientists have found that in the US, in 30 years from 1989 to 2018, experimenters gave animals 47 different test drug compounds before subjecting them to the FST. 36 of them "showed promise" based on the invalid interpretation of the test. But exactly zero of those are now on the market to treat human depression. Animal models cannot reliably predict human outcomes, so this test is harming animals and sending researchers down the wrong track by producing results that aren't applicable to people. Other animal-based tests used in psychological tests have the same fundamental issue. In order to find real, effective treatments for human depression, addiction or any other human illness, human-relevant research methods should be used, i.e. mathematical or computer modelling of human systems, or by a drug-repurposing program like the IBM Watson for Drug Discovery in the US. We are asking the NZ Government to not only ban the Forced Swim Test in NZ but to also conduct a full review and evaluation on the validity of animal tests used for psychological tests in NZ. Help stop the cruel and invalid Forced Swim Test from hurting any more animals in New Zealand - Sign the petition today. Read more here - nzavs.org.nz/forced-swim-test By signing this petition your information will be shared with NZAVS (nzavs.org.nz) and SAFE (safe.org.nz) who will get in contact from time to time about this campaign and others. You are free to opt out at anytime.
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  • #protectihumātao
    The Ihumaatao landscape (of which the land in question, Special Housing Area 62, is a part) is a rare cultural heritage landscape that matters because its stories, relationships, built heritage, ecological values and archaeological sites are critical to our understanding of the histories and futures of our city and country. For mana whenua (local Māori), this place embodies sources of identity and wellbeing as well as family, community and tribal relationships. This area is one of the last remnants of the archaeologically rich stonefields landscapes across Auckland. and is one of the last surviving places where the land and stone walls used by Māori for growing new crops, such as wheat and European vegetables for the Auckland markets prior to 1863, still exists. The land was confiscated ‘by proclamation’ under the New Zealand Settlements Act in 1863 as part of the colonial invasion of the Waikato that drove mana whenua from their lands, ahead of the settler armies. Overnight they were made landless and impoverished. Now, that existence is further threatened by the commercial development. The proposed development site is minutes from the Auckland International Airport and should be considered as a promising cultural, heritage and ecotourism location. For many years there have been aspirations for social enterprise, local employment and sustainability initiatives that enable kaitiakitanga and tino rangatiratanga. Local and central government used the fast-track, developer-friendly provisions of the Special Housing Areas Act 2013 to designate the land. Mana whenua and community concerns were sidelined. Mana whenua have suffered enough for the good of the developing city and every critical account of history agrees with them. For more than three years, the SOUL campaign to #protectIhumātao has engaged in non-violent, direct action to raise awareness and build public support. Our guided walks and events on the land have attracted thousands of visitors. We have presented concerns to the Auckland Council Governing Body and to Parliament, met with politicians and been to the United Nations three times in two years. In 2017 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination wrote to the NZ Government recommending that it ensure proper consultation with all affected Maori on this issue. A recent Environment Court decision showed significant flaws in New Zealand’s heritage legislation that did not allow the Court to consider the values of whole cultural heritage landscape when reviewing Heritage NZ’s decision to grant the company the authority to modify or destroy Maori archaeological and other heritage sites on the land. Gaining that authority doesn't make the decision right, it simply puts it within the narrow terms of the existing law and allows the developer to proceed. SOUL has now exhausted every legal means to stop the development. Now we are fast approaching a confrontation on the land but will keep doing everything we can to prevent that from happening. What we need is collective action and innovative thinking to resolve this mounting crisis. We’re now calling on the public to take a stand for this land. Join us in protecting this unique landscape for all New Zealanders and future generations. Please sign this petition now!
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  • Give me room - a campaign for a safe passing rule
    Close passing is intimidating, dangerous, and in the worst cases life threatening for people on bikes and foot. The NZ Road Code recommends 1.5m: “Give cyclists plenty of room when passing them. Ideally, allow at least 1.5 metres between you and the cyclist”, but this lacks the force of law. Bike lanes are great but they don't go everywhere. People on bikes need the protection of the law. More at https://can.org.nz/givemeroom Safe Passing Rule FAQ at http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/2015/11/13/mythbusting-what-a-safe-passing-rule-means/
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  • Enable full time nature based early childhood education in NZ
    Children today are less active and more sedentary than previous generations having limited opportunities to spend regular time in nature. With parent’s busy lives and our children spending more time in childcare centres than ever before, they do not get to experience the same nature-based play opportunities that their parents and grandparents experienced. This is having a detrimental effect on our children. We are seeing children becoming weaker, less resilient and less imaginative. Younger and younger they are suffering from mental health problems, obesity, oral language developmental problems, anxiety and stress. There is a movement happening in New Zealand right now as parents and educators recognise the benefits that nature has to offer and visibly see the incredible changes it makes in the lives of their tamariki. There are so many benefits [1] [2] that nature play can offer including: • Reducing stress • Improving social relations • Enhanced cognitive abilities • It supports creativity and problem solving • Increased physical activity, sensory and motor development • Improved academic performance including oral language, decision making and negotiation skills. A HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT In the early years of life, play, particularly free, unstructured and outdoors is essential for healthy brain development, socio-emotional development and healthy musculoskeletal and sensory systems. It is far more important than direct instruction. Nature can not only heal our children it can build confidence, resilience and is beneficial for their mana atua and overall kotahitanga. IMPORTANCE OF RISKY PLAY It provides them with age appropriate risky play opportunities which allow children to understand their own limitations, develop their problem-solving skills and teaches them to overcome fears and anxieties. CREATING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE Creating a play experience outside on a regular basis will not only educate our children about where their curiosity may take them, it also feeds a deeper connection to our natural environment. Instilling these connections in this new generation is of most importance to our Kaitiakitanga and environmental sustainability. FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR TAMARIKI In other parts of the world, full time nature education programmes are well established in ECE. These countries include Sweden, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, England, Scotland, Wales, America and Australia. They are often called forest kindergartens. Please sign this petition for our children and grandchildren to help give them the option of full time nature-based education in New Zealand. The benefits are not just immediate but long term and with the early years being a critical time for brain development, supported nature-based play is a must for New Zealand. [1] http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/getting-involved/students-and-teachers/benefits-of-connecting-children-with-nature.pdf [2] https://naturalearning.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Benefits-of-Connecting-Children-with-Nature_InfoSheet.pdf MEDIA COVERAGE: News Paper Article: https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/105632188/wading-through-red-tape-and-cotton-wool-to-enable-naturebased-kindergartens TV Interiew - The Project: https://www.facebook.com/TheProjectNZ/videos/1295811877222129 Radio Interview with Jesse Muligan: https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/2018657544/bush-kindergartens-changing-the-way-kids-play Radio Interview with Mike Hosking: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/mike-hosking-breakfast/audio/celia-hogan-many-parents-want-outdoor-kindys/
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  • Save Wellington Citizens Advice Bureau!
    Wellington Citizens Advice Bureau provides a free information and advice service to people in need. It helps people know about their rights and responsibilities and the services available in their community. It is there for everyone, about everything. Despite this, Wellington City Council wants to cut its services and leave its citizens without this essential support. Last year Wellington CAB helped over 30,000 people with questions and problems across the range of issues people face in their lives. These include helping with enquiries about emergency accommodation, noisy neighbours, overhanging trees, abandoned vehicles, relationship issues, enquiries about consumer rights, tenancy rights, employment rights, as well as information about local services - the whole range of questions and queries imaginable. It also includes referrals from the City Council and helping people to fill in Council forms! Wellington CAB has had a long-term strategic partnership with Wellington City Council. In spite of this, the Council have, without consultation, made a recommendation to stop funding the Wellington CAB via its long-standing contract for services, and give a one-off six month grant for the CAB to completely redesign its operation, including shutting the doors on its physical premises. The Council have said there is “no guarantee of funding beyond that”. The CAB is core community infrastructure. It is locally responsive, and staffed by dedicated volunteers from the local community. The people who come to the CAB often don’t know where to go, don’t know what assistance is available to them, can’t access information, or are excluded from services. Without the CAB those people will fall through the cracks. Please show your support and save this essential community service.
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  • Gives Us Back Our Camps
    The Government has forced a historic specialist social service for children with mental disorders to close its doors in Otaki and Roxburgh regions. The children who come to them have been legally diagnosed with behavioural disorders under the mental health system and these children are exposed to other difficulties, sometimes resulting in neglect, abuse, discrimination and other trauma which sees them becoming uncontrollable and anti-social. Behaviourial disorders cause children from as young as 4 years of age exhibiting aggressive and violent outbursts. Children and young people who are at significant risk of harm to themselves and others. I am a single mum of two children aged 11 & 12 and our personal experience with STAND has been the most uplifting experience we have ever had. My 12 year old suffers severe ADHD, ODD (Over distress disorder) PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and bipolar and our family also survived domestic violence. My children feeling like they had to protect me, having forgotten that they are children and placing themselves into an adult role, having lost their childhood and what it means to be a child. There are thousands of children in NZ that have lost the essence of what being a child really is. My family were referred to STAND in 2015. From that day my children's lives have come right, my children no longer needing to protect me from harm, my children for the first time being able to be children. Domestic violence can have a traumatic impact on children with and without special needs. Respite reforms these children and their families to a new beginning and understanding of their distress (not the behaviour). Only with respite can these children learn to control and manage their behaviour to better themselves for the future. Children who have attended these camps have been legally diagnosed with behavioural disorders and are also victims to severe trauma in their innocent lives. Imagine how scary life is for these little ones to experience family violence. STAND have helped hundreds and thousands of children in these situations for the past 99 years. The closure of the STAND respite camps in the lower parts of the North and South island could see a higher risk of child suicides, domestic violence and a higher crime rate by children and youths. The Otaki camp have had a high number of children from the Wellington region attend. Closure of these camps will put an enormous strain on government agencies such as the police, Oranga Tamariki and community organisations that are ill equipped to deal with the needs of mentally distressed children. Why get rid of a service that has had a consistent success rate over 99 years? Why does government not understand that STAND has been providing a wrap around service that covered respite as well as social worker interventions that have been successful over the years? To date, the new systems and services that the minister for children claims to be available are not as easily accessible services for parents and caregivers. In fact this new system of services makes the lives of these families more hectic and stressful with having to deal with 4 - 6 different agencies. Both camps closures cover the lower North and South island regions of the country - half the country no longer have access to the respite services. Sign my petition to show your support. https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/central-otago/e-mob-be-presented-pm-today https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/105546766/porirua- https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/central-otago/huge-blow-roxburgh-stand-confirms-closure-childrens-village https://www.standforchildren.org.nz/ Where to get help: Lifeline - 0800 543 354 Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757 Healthline - 0800 611 116 Samaritans - 0800 726 666 Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz
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  • Restore the postgraduate student allowance now
    In 2013, the previous Government scrapped postgraduate allowances. Last year, Labour pledged to bring them back. Now, we're looking for a start date! Restoring the postgraduate allowance isn't just good for students, it's good for the country. Across Aotearoa, postgraduate students are studying in fields that are crucial to our country's future success - clinical psychology, teaching and learning, and environmental studies to name a few. The current Government is committed to important national issues such as addressing the mental health crisis, uplifting the teaching profession and tackling climate change. In order for this work to succeed, we urgently need to be empowering and supporting our people to gain skills in these areas. A postgraduate student allowance is an easy first step towards making this a reality. Supporting postgraduate success is supporting our country's success. We're calling on the Government to restore the postgraduate student allowance now! No post-grad allowances for first semester, no set start date http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/11/no-post-grad-allowances-for-first-semester-and-no-set-start-date.html
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  • Free Tertiary Education
    Primary and secondary students receive free education in New Zealand, so why are tertiary students denied this right? According to the Ministry of Education Annual Student Loan Scheme report a whopping 731,754 people had a student loan collectively amounting to an unnerving $15.3 billion dollars in the 2015-2016 period [1]. The financial burden of student loans has become a topic of increasing concern within New Zealand society. Student loans not only affect students, but their negative impact is also shared by their families, communities and wider New Zealand society. In our increasingly volatile and changing world there is a pressing need for tertiary qualifications. New Zealanders are told more and more we need to retrain for the future work environment, however many are restricted to a cycle of low-skill and low-pay jobs due to the increasing financial burdens associated with tertiary education. The student loan system does not support the egalitarian ethos that we believe is fundamental to New Zealand culture. We need to break down the barriers that restrict many populations from pursuing tertiary education. As a country we must strive for equality of opportunities to build a stronger economy and ensure tertiary study thrives in New Zealand. We need to move forward from a low-wage and low skill economy to a progressive society, celebrating kiwi ingenuity and innovation. Many students believe that student loans will have long-term negative impacts on their livelihoods- such as their ability to buy a house, afford to have children, and save for their retirement [2]. A better future for New Zealand does not entail placing crippling debt upon future generations; rather, we should be supporting next generations to reach their potential, as they are the future of our country. European countries, such as Germany, Finland and Slovenia, successfully operate with free tertiary education for their citizens, and it is about time that New Zealand followed suit. References [1]. Ministry of Education. (2016). Student loan scheme annual report 2016(Report No. 24). Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education. [2]. NZUSA. (n.d.). We need to talk about debt. Retrieved from http://www.students.org.nz/debt
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  • Let Us Finish! Remove student loan cap for future doctors
    UPDATE: Prior to the 2017 Election, we secured promises from the Labour, New Zealand First, Greens, and ACT parties, that they intended to lift the cap if elected. We now have that new government, with Hon Chris Hipkins as Minister of Education. However, despite these assurances, unfortunately removal of the EFTS cap was not included in Budget 2018. The government has failed to live up to these expectations and we intend to hold them accountable. Hon Chris Hipkins has suggested that lifting the cap is still an intention for the government, but we need to show him that this is URGENT. We are already aware of students having to go to extreme measures, such as fundraising, to pay their fees. The longer the government waits, the more future-doctors we risk losing. Sign our petition to help us help others! Say YES to letting us finish! #LetUsFinish BACKGROUND: In 2017, NZMSA and Te Oranga conducted a survey of New Zealand medical students and identified at least 142 students affected by this cap - many of whom may be prevented from finishing their degrees. Medical degrees are at least six years long, making them the longest programme in New Zealand. Each year, approximately 30% of medical entrants are selected from a pool of applicants who have already completed a previous degree. Most of these graduate students will have used at least three of their allocated 8 EFTS in this process. Without a student loan, students will have to come up with approximately $25,000 per year to fund the remainder of their studies and living costs. Without the support of a guarantor and no source of income, it is almost impossible for students to access a private bank loan. The reality is, without an affluent background to shoulder the enormous cost of completing a medical degree, the EFTS cap negatively impacts students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Graduate students have completed extremely valuable study in their respective fields. These students are essential for the development of an effective and diverse health workforce in order to best address the changing health needs of our communities and health system. The previous Minister of Education Paul Goldsmith stated that he wanted students to complete their study as quickly as possible, yet also encouraged students to take time out from their programmes to save money for fees. This not only delays future doctors from taking their much-needed place in the health workforce, but also is completely out of touch with the realities of working New Zealanders. With the EFTS cap in place, some students will have to save more than $50,000 to afford the remainder of their studies. All this, whilst simultaneously having much of their paycheck deducted to service existing student loans. We know medical graduates tend to repay their loans quickly, however we can’t do this if we can’t finish. By enforcing this cap, the government is undercutting their own investment, negatively impacting our health workforce and the health of New Zealanders. How is this the best use of taxpayer dollars? Answer: It’s not. Every student that is affected by this cap is a missing doctor for New Zealand. These are hard working, dedicated people who are passionate about making a difference and improving the health of all New Zealanders. Without student loan support, we will not be able to work for the betterment of our communities, and our health system will remain overloaded and understaffed. MEDIA: RNZ: Med Students Disappointed by Broken Budget Promises https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/357727/med-students-disappointed-by-broken-budget-promise Stuff: Medical students upset Budget didn't extend student loan cap https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104055757/medical-students-upset-budget-didnt-extend-student-loan-cap TV3: The Project: https://www.facebook.com/TheProjectNZ/videos/1066642473472405/ Newshub: Medical student debt could cost the health of New Zealanders http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/06/medical-student-debt-could-cost-the-health-of-new-zealanders.html Te Kāea: Māori medical students push loan caps to be lifted http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/national/maori-medical-students-push-loan-caps-be-lifted Women’s Weekly: My dream has a price https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/new-zealand-womans-weekly/20180115/281608125837244 Radio NZ: "I'd already need to be a doctor to save for it" https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/344614/i-d-already-need-to-be-a-doctor-to-save-for-it Radio NZ: Med Students face dropping out over loan cap https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/336713/med-students-face-dropping-out-over-loan-cap Stuff: Medical Student forced to turn to Givealittle after hitting student loan borrowing cap https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/99581590/medical-student-forced-to-turn-to-givealittle-after-hitting-student-loan-borrowing-cap
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  • Choices for our Children - Whanau against Auckland Kindergarten Association changes
    These changes are taking away the choices for our children at kindergarten in favour of maximising government funding. Forcing families to have our small children at kindy for a longer day than a school aged child is not ok. Penalising families for wanting to spend quality family time with our children during the school holidays, and essentially making them pay to spend time with their children is not ok. The current session structure is perfect for little ones beginning their kindy journey in the mornings, who are then able to go home for quiet time or a nap. It is a rite of passage when they can cope with a longer day, adding the afternoon session too. - The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 3 1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. - Currently a child can be at kindy for five mornings a week and be fully funded with 20hrs free ECE. - Three days at an Auckland Kindergarten Association kindy using the government's 20 hours free ECE will cost $735 a year after the changes. - How can teachers provide the same quality of early childhood education with 480 less non-contact hours each year? The best choices are not being made for our children by the Auckland Kindergarten Association. Join the Facebook page Stop Auckland Kindergarten Changes Visit saveourkindergartens.co.nz
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  • Stop Online Charter Schools
    The facts out of the USA, where these schools have been widely implemented, show that these schools fail to deliver anything approaching quality education. Face to face time with teachers cannot be achieved with digital technology - at least not in a way that improves outcomes for our children. Taking education funding from public schools to spend on a model that is proven not to work is poor policy making and a waste of taxpayer funds. Reference the linked article, "Online Public Schools are a Colossal Disaster" from Salon magazine as evidence of this: http://www.salon.com/2016/02/15/the_walton_family_foundation_admits_partner/
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  • Reinstate the Postgraduate Student Allowance for 2019
    Labour made a promise they will reinstate the Postgraduate Student Allowances which the National Government removed in 2013. However they have not set a date and in the meantime students planning to continue or enter postgraduate study are left in limbo. At the present time a student is only eligible if they are doing a Bachelor degree with Honours. No postgraduate students (4th year students who want to further their studies) are able to get a Postgraduate Student Allowance. This impacts most on students who can’t rely on financial support from their families and means they graduate in much higher debt, creating stress when entering the workforce. These students are our future scientists, doctors and business leaders. Most will already have debt from their undergraduate studies and should not be discouraged from finishing further study in their chosen field New Zealand should not limit the ability of individuals from all backgrounds to reach their potential. Ask Labour to keep its promise and reinstate the Postgraduate Student Allowance so our young women and men can reach their full potential! https://www.labour.org.nz/tertiaryeducation
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