• Pay increase for essential workers
    A lot of essential workers are in jobs with low pay and very little job security. They include supermarket workers, cleaners, truck drivers, aged care workers, food and beverage factory workers, mental health workers, ambulance drivers, rubbish collectors. They are now on the front line of this pandemic, providing food, fuel, care, supplies and various other products and services to us. Covid-19 has now put extra pressure on all these workers. It has placed them in a very vulnerable position, causing extra worry and stress, since many need to be in close contact with a lot of people. It often requires them to take precautions with their clothing and equipment, and in some instances, they have the expense and worry of living apart from their families. On top of all this, they are simply exhausted by sheer hard work. These workers keep our country running every day, even more so during this pandemic - let's pay them fairly for their work and also pay a bonus to say thank you and acknowledge the exceptional circumstances. 'Essential' supermarket workers should be paid more during outbreak, union says, Stuff, 27 March 2020 https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/120638053/essential-supermarket-workers-should-be-paid-more-during-outbreak-union-says Coronavirus: Ryman Healthcare gives essential workers pay boost https://i.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/120646094/coronavirus-ryman-healthcare-gives-essential-workers-pay-boost
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  • Coronavirus: Emergency universal basic income for everyone
    Right now, people and governments everywhere are rising to the huge challenge that coronavirus poses to our communities. What this virus has shown is that no matter who we are or where we come from, we are all in this together. It has also shown that, globally, governments can act quickly, in smart, assured and reasonable ways to manoeuvre the systems put in place to govern our lives so they support collective wellbeing. Around the world, governments have rapidly built new hospitals and put a freeze on rent and mortgage payments to help people survive and thrive in these trying times. In Hong Kong they’ve given every citizen $10,000 and in the US Trump is planning to give every person cash as soon as possible. The UBI, a regular no-strings payment to every person, is an idea made for these times. We already have this style of support for our eldery, with one of the lowest rates of elder poverty in the world, so what are we waiting for? A UBI would help give everyone in Aotearoa financial stability and ensure people don’t miss out, as they often do, in more targeted approaches. It would reduce administration costs, time and stigma for those reaching out for income support. It could increase entrepreneurship and enable people to do the work of caring for our communities through these difficult times. The trial would also provide valuable insight as to whether New Zealand should move toward a UBI permanently. There is a lot more that needs to be done to mitigate the impact of coronavirus - from helping people get support when they are sick, to making sure renters don’t face eviction, and people with mortgages or no home can keep a roof over their heads. But ensuring everyone across the country has enough money to get by will save lives. If you agree everyone should be guaranteed enough money to pay for basic essentials at a time like this, will you add your name to the petition now? HOW WOULD THE GOVERNMENT PAY FOR A UBI? There are several ways the government could pay for a UBI. They could sell bonds directly to the Reserve Bank. They could set up a public bank, chartered for this purpose, that would act on behalf of the Government. They could implement the recommendations made by the Victoria University of Wellington Tax Working Group: A Tax System for New Zealand’s Future. In 1935, the Reserve Bank printed money and lent it to the government to build lots of state houses. We have done this before and we can do it again. WHAT PROOF IS THERE THAT A UBI WORKS? Between 1974 and 1979, Canada ran a randomised controlled trial in the province of Manitoba, choosing one farming town, Dauphin, where every family was eligible to participate in a basic income experiment. The basic income benefited residents’ physical and mental health — there was a decline in doctor visits and an 8.5 percent reduction in the rate of hospitalisation — and high school graduation rates improved, too. Unfortunately, the trial was cancelled when a more conservative government came into power. The largest and longest UBI experiment in the world is in Kenya where the charity GiveDirectly is making payments to more than 20,000 people spread out across 245 rural villages. As part of this randomized controlled trial, which started in 2016, recipients receive roughly 75 cents per adult per day, delivered monthly for 12 years. Cash transfers have stimulated the economy and benefited not only the recipients themselves but also people in nearby villages. You can read more about all of the UBI trials here: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/2/19/21112570/universal-basic-income-ubi-map **** REFERENCES AND FURTHER INFORMATION: How China Built Two Coronavirus Hospitals in Just Over a Week: https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-china-can-build-a-coronavirus-hospital-in-10-days-11580397751 Coronavirus: France imposes lockdown as EU calls for 30-day travel ban: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/coronavirus-spain-takes-over-private-healthcare-amid-more-european-lockdowns Steven Mnuchin: “We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately”: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/3/17/21183627/trump-steve-mnuchin-checks-to-americans-cash Hong Kong’s cash handout could boost the economy by 1%, says financial secretary: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/28/cash-handout-could-boost-hong-kong-economy-by-1percent-financial-secretary.html Poverty and older people in New Zealand: https://nzccss.org.nz/work/older-people/poverty-and-older-people/ Call for UBI in NZ to ride out global depression: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/2018739215/financial-impact-of-covid19-around-the-world It's time to move mountains to protect people – we need universal basic income: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/18/its-time-to-move-mountains-to-protect-people-we-need-universal-basic-income And finally, a great TEDx talk on why we should give everyone a basic income: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIL_Y9g7Tg0
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  • Waive paywave fees for retailers
    With the threat of a community outbreak of coronavirus we need to keep ourselves and our communities safe. By encouraging all shops to install paywave facilities we can improve hygiene with non-contact payments so bacteria aren’t spread between people. This simple action will almost certainly reduce the number of Covid-19 cases if there is community spread. It will also reduce prices on goods and services as the fees won’t be passed onto customers. This will relieve the stress for many people who may have lost work or have reduced hours. However at present paywave is too expensive for many businesses to install. Banks have a role to play in keeping us safe and with the profits earned in previous years are well-placed to be able to offer this service. They can reduce fear and help keep daily lives normal, and make the cost of living a little bit easier. Coronavirus: 'No Paywave' is now a public health issue, NZ Herald, 16 Mar 2020 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12317062 High Paywave fees from banks are making goods and services 'more expensive for everyone', 1 News, July 2018 https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/high-paywave-fees-banks-making-goods-and-services-more-expensive-everyone-retail-nz-says Ice cream chain cans Paywave after $20,000 fees shock, NZ Herald, March 2019 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12210087
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  • Protect First Responders: #SayNo to Revenge Based Policy
    To those who supported in our submission to the select committee, we thank you for your support so far. Yet, we're not there yet. The Bill will still go forward to it's Second Reading, and parliament will get another chance to vote on it. If you want our politicians to #SayNo and #EndRevengeBasedJustice, than please read/sign We are concerned that the Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill fails to provide a solution to the issue which it seeks to address. This bill fails to recognize that many of the people who will be affected by this bill are not in a rational or calm state of mind during the time these assaults occur. Many of the people affected by this bill will be punished for an action which they did not have full control over at the time of the offence. People who were not making a calculated decision to harm someone, but who were in fact reacting out of the pain and trauma they were experiencing. People who are - no doubt - severely distressed, mentally ill, intoxicated, or any combination of the above at the time the offence occurs. We also know that that the justice system disproportionately causes harm to Maori, the poor, and the mentally ill. This bill, if it goes through, will only send more of our most vulnerable into the prison system. If this bill goes through it will have catastrophic consequences for our community. When you send one of our whanau to jail, it does not just affect the individual. It harms all of us. The children left behind without parents, the partners left alone to manage on their own, the whanau and friends who have to struggle with the stigma and loss of losing someone they love. It is also known that the prison system is inherently harmful, and is failing to rehabilitate violent offenders, instead it actively does harm to individuals imprisoned within it, traumatizing them further, before sending them back into the community. Thus, this bill also makes the environment in which First Responders and Prison Officers work in more dangerous, putting them at greater risk. This bill will not prevent people from assaulting First Responders or Prison Officers, instead it will succeed only in increasing our prison numbers. If the Government is serious about keeping First Responders and Prison Officers safe, than they must commit themselves to improving the conditions in which they work. This means taking seriously the root causes, and addressing the systemic issues that lie beneath this violence. A serious commitment to our First Responders safety would address the impacts of colonization and generational trauma, would look at dealing with poverty, increasing support for our under resourced mental health and addiction services, and would fast track the reform of our current Justice system in order to ensure that it heals victims, and restores those who perpetrate crime back to healing and wholeness. Instead of seeking punitive responses to complex problems, we believe parliament would be better served using our time and resources seeking real solutions. For example: ★ Focus on prevention (as outlined above). ★ Review the calibre and frequency of de-escalation and assessment training provided to First Responders and Prison Officers. ★ Provide ongoing de-escalation and assessment training to all professionals working on the front line. ★ Provide intensive training for all first responders and prison officers around addiction, mental illness, and the effects of trauma and colonization. Build understanding within our frontline workers so that they are equipped to identify the risks and respond accordingly. Knowledge is power, and the more our First Responders and Prison Officers understand about the complex challenges facing people within our community, the more equipped they will be to deescalate tensions and provide a compassionate and effective response. ★ Bring back the previous governments plan to create a mental health team equipped to support the Police and our First Responders in de-escalating and caring for people in crisis and suffering from mental distress. ★ Review whether First Responders and Prison Officers have the right support to manage these high and complex situations they are being asked to walk into. Are they staffed adequately to deal with these situations? Do they have adequate safety and support plans in place to mitigate the risks they are dealing with? If not, the Government must fully resource these services, providing them with what they need to do the job safely. To protect our First Responders and Prison Officers we must provide solutions that prevent them from being harmed in the first place. The concern we have with the Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill is that it fails to actually address the concerns it seeks to highlight. It will not prevent our First Responders and Prison Officers from being assaulted, and will only punish the very people who need our help and assistance the most. Our hope is that parliament will not proceed with this bill, but rather will redirect it’s energy into providing solutions that will mitigate the risk that our First Responders and Prison Officers face, with the goal of preventing these assaults from happening in the first place. If you would like to read more about this bill you can do so here: - Revenge Based Justice Wont Keep First Responders Safe: https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/currently-crime/revenge-justice-wont-keep-new-zealands-first-responders-safe - Law Society, Law Change not Necessary in order to Protect First Responders: http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/5/359870
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  • Let Martine Abel-Williamson Stand for President of the World Blind Union
    I hope you will agree it is completely unacceptable for the Board of Blind Low Vision NZ, as a public charity and New Zealand's primary provider of blindness services, to hide from scrutiny and take such a defiant, unilateral, and provocative action against a high profile blind New Zealander, without a word of explanation. The Board's actions are so hard to explain that some are asking what on earth is really going on. One director, Clive Lansink, has openly stood up to say that he is embarrassed by this decision. He has said that he did support Martine's nomination, and he knows of no genuine reason why the Board of Blind Low vision NZ has chosen to block her aspiration to stand as President of WBU. They have agreed to support her to stand again as Treasurer, so cost cannot be the reason. We and many others believe that a decision like this must be open and transparent and should fully take into account the clearly stated wishes of Blind Citizens NZ as Blind Low Vision NZ's DPO partner. We're here to support Martine and we hope you are also. But at the same time, we hope you agree that the Board of a public charity like Blind Low Vision NZ should not behave like this. Please join us in calling for the Board of Blind Low Vision NZ to come out of hiding and enthusiastically give its support to Martine as a passionate, hard-working, successful, blind New Zealander - the person that Blind Citizens NZ has nominated as its candidate for WBU President. Note: if signing this petition from overseas, please just enter 0000 when asked for your postcode. The following links may be useful if you want to quickly check more into Martine's background: Receiving qSM: https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1806/S00011/martine-abel-williamson-awarded-qsm.htm Attitude ACC Supreme Award: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/108946777/martine-abelwilliamson-wins-attitude-award-for-changing-the-lives-of-people-living-with-disabilities World Blind Union global website: http://www.worldblindunion.org/English/Pages/default.aspx World Blind Union Asia Pacific website: http://wbuap.org
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  • End the detention and abuse of Palestinian children
    Each year the Israeli military detains and prosecutes around 700 Palestinian children. Under Israeli military detention, Palestinian children as young as 12 are routinely: * Taken from their homes in night time raids at gunpoint. * Blindfolded, bound and shackled. * Interrogated without a lawyer or relative and with no audio-visual recording. * Put into solitary confinement. * Forced to sign confessions – often in Hebrew, a language they do not understand. Israel is the only country in the world to automatically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic safeguards for a fair trial. From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and torture at the hands of Israeli forces. Three out of four experience physical violence during arrest or interrogation (UNICEF, 2013). We believe that the New Zealand Government must make a public statement about the measures it will take to put pressure on the Israeli government to end the ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees. The full recommendations of Defence for Children Palestine are listed here: https://www.dci-palestine.org/issues_military_detention For more information: http://www.militarycourtwatch.org/ http://www.addameer.org/the_prisoners/children https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190418-israel-detained-1600-palestinians-230-children-in-2019/ https://www.unicef.org/oPt/UNICEF_oPt_Children_in_Israeli_Military_Detention_Observations_and_Recommendations_-_6_March_2013.pdf https://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/ https://www.dci-palestine.org/
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  • Increase funding for legal aid in Budget 2020
    New Zealanders believe in fairness. We believe people should be given a fair go. But as it stands, successive governments’ underfunding of legal aid has allowed access to justice to become a privilege reserved only for the rich. In 2016 the Law Society found that the average charge-out rate for lawyers was a staggering $292.70 per hour plus GST.* If you work a 40 hour week on minimum wage, that’s a week’s pay gone in just two hours! The representation, advice, and support from legal aid lawyers is a crucial bridge to access to justice for the many whānau who are unable to front exorbitant legal fees. It is meant to be a safety net for people who cannot afford a lawyer and can be the difference between having the opportunity to right wrongs and rebuild your life, or ending up in the overcrowded cages we call jail. Legal aid is also one of the only ways people can access Section 27 cultural reports, which examine the reasons why people cause harm or offend in the first place in order to inform sentences that result in less harm and more good in the future. For too long, people in government have neglected legal aid and placed unfair restrictions on who can qualify for help. As a result, more and more people are going into a spiral of debt or having to represent themselves in court without professional legal support. We want to see a significant increase to funding for legal aid in Budget 2020 to make sure justice and legal representation is available to all - not just the few. References and further reading: Access denied: Thousands brave NZ courts without a lawyer due to cost. NZ Herald, 4 November 2018. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12277484 The New Zealand Legal Services Mapping Project: Finding free and low-cost legal services. Civil Justice Insights Series: University of Otago Legal Issues Centre, 2018. Kayla Stewart and Bridgette Toy-Cronin. https://ourarchive.otago.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10523/8054/Mapping%20UOLIC%20Report%2023%20May.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y Charge-out rates information released. New Zealand Law Society, 2016. https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/lawtalk/lawtalk-archives/issue-893/charge-out-rates-information-released. *This research focussed on lawyers employed at law firms Legal aid funding limits creating ‘justice gap.’ Stuff. 19 July 2014. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10285613/Legal-aid-funding-limits-creating-justice-gap Lawyers duck legal aid work. Stuff. 26 July 2014. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/10312946/Lawyers-duck-legal-aid-work
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  • Open Letter: Kāinga Ora must stop their dodgy home sensor project
    To: Hon Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Housing Cc: Sir Brian Roche, Chair of the Board, Kāinga Ora Cc: Andrew McKenzie, Chief Executive, Kāinga Ora Cc: John Edwards, Privacy Commissioner Dear Minister Woods, Damp, cold, mouldy homes are a silent killer in New Zealand. Every year, poor housing conditions contribute to illnesses like pneumonia which can be fatal. Everyone in New Zealand should have a home that is warm and dry, especially those whose homes are provided by our government. But nobody should have to sacrifice their privacy in order to have a healthy home. Recently, the government ran a pilot which put sensors into state homes to collect home health information. With the pilot completed, they are now formally rolling out a Smart Homes project to many government-owned homes, which will use sensors to measure temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide emissions and information on power usage. This week, Kāinga Ora will finish taking proposals from potential suppliers of home sensors so they can begin installing sensors in their tenant's homes next year, but we believe urgent changes must be made before this happens. Why do changes need to be made? The sensors provide Kāinga Ora with a lot of very personal information, including: - When someone is at home. - How many people are in the home. - If someone has opened a window. - When your curtains are closed or not. This sensor data is owned by Kāinga Ora. As part of their privacy statement, they have said they may share that data with other government agencies, including the Ministry of Social Development who are responsible for welfare and benefit provisions to many Kāinga Ora tenants. Families do not have easy access to either data collected about them and their house, or the insights gained from it. Given much of this home sensor information relates to a family’s health, but is not available to them to see, we believe this is a breach of the Health Information Privacy Code 1994. In addition, Kāinga Ora have only told tenants what measures they are collecting (temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels and power use), not what that data tells them (such as how many people are in the house). When combined with the power imbalance between a government landlord and public housing tenants, families may feel pressured to agree to sensors in their home in order to get their damp, mouldy, cold homes fixed, but without understanding just how much privacy they’re giving up. This situation would not be one of genuine, informed, consent. The combination of a lack of transparency and the ownership and sharing of family’s data with other government agencies creates a huge risk that family’s home sensor data will be used to control how whānau use their own homes, from policing how many visitors are in the house at any time, to cutting benefit payments to solo parents perceived to be in relationships, to evicting whānau for claimed overcrowding. The potential for misuse of this data is so high that it should not be available to landlords and this project should not be collecting it. We demand the following immediate action: This project must be stopped. The current process of seeking vendors to provide sensors must be withdrawn. Kāinga Ora must be directed to create a process for replacing it that fully engages tenants, iwi and relevant experts, with the aim of a principled, ethical and legally-compliant outcome. We seek the following changes to the program as part of any revised process: 1. Tenants must own the data generated by them and about them. 2. The data should be treated as medical data and handled under the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 (the “Code”). The purpose of this project is to improve the health of tenants by monitoring their houses and house use, so this should be classified as health data, and managed under the Code. 3. Tenants must be able to see the same data and insights as Kāinga Ora, without barriers. Currently, tenants have to make a request under the Privacy Act to get their information. This is totally unacceptable and a barrier for many people. 4. Immediately abandon use of carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors which can accurately measure how many people are in a house at any time. 5. Cancel use of power consumption sensors.This is exclusively a measure of tenant behaviour, not housing. 6. A complete reset of principles and community engagement. As it stands, the project does not outline any principles. Instead, it only focuses on outcomes for Kāinga Ora. There is no empathy, understanding or even acknowledgement of the potential issues and concerns for tenants. Furthermore, education and empowerment - which are a major part of the ability to make change - are not mentioned. Kāinga Ora must restart and engage meaningfully and honestly with communities, sharing the implications of data collection, and listening and acting on concerns. 7. Honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Kāinga Ora states they want to partner with Māori and iwi, but so far, the project has completely failed to honour Te Tiriti. Whānau have no autonomy over their own data, the technology and potential solutions for this project, and Kāinga Ora have not highlighted any engagement with hapū, iwi or Māori. As a Crown entity, the role of Kāinga Ora is one of a Te Tiriti partner. They must honour this meaningfully. The next phase of this project cannot begin without early engagement with hapū, iwi and Māori. Anything else is against both Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and the Bill that gives Kāinga Ora its mandate. --- We the undersigned demand Kāinga Ora immediately stop their home sensors project and start again with better ethics, engagement and transparency.
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  • Open Letter: Welfare Relationship Policies Must Change
    For the reasons above, the following organisations have signed the open letter: ✏ Auckland Action Against Poverty ✏ Child Poverty Action Group ✏ ActionStation ✏ Auckland's Women's Centre ✏ The Aunties ✏ Disabled Persons Assembly ✏ CCS Disability Action ✏ Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga: National Network of Family Violence Services ✏ Mental Health Foundation ✏ FinCap ✏ HELP Sexual Abuse Wellington ✏ Barnardos ✏ Pax Christi
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  • Petition for the Support to Decriminalize Homosexuality in the Cook Islands
    Ko Sonya Apa Temata toku ingoa, I am known as 'Apa' here in our Ipukarea after my papa Tapeka Apa. I am Cook Islands Māori Tahiti born in Aotearoa NZ. Ko Vakas Takitumu, Te Au o Tonga & Puaikura. I am Atiu (Tangapatoro/Tekapo/Ngaata anau), Mauke (Noema/Temata anau) Mangaia (Cummings anau) Rarotonga (Tamaiva/Tepuretu anau), Arorangi (Apera/Temata anau) Tahiti the Parau fanau (Rurutu/Raiatea) ko Tupuna Paora Parau iwi Ngati Kahungungu, Aotearoa. I am Aka TutuTane/Takataapui we don’t fit into any specific constructed mould’s of gender & sexuality, traditionally we are known as Takatāpui (NZ Maori), Mahu (Hawaii & Tahiti), Vakasalewalewa (Fiji), Palopa (Papua New Guinea), Fa’afafine/Fa'atama (Samoa), Aka’vaine/ Aka'Tutu Tane (Cook Islands), Fakaleiti (Tonga), Fakafi’fine (Niue) & other Indigenous Rainbow peoples Sister Girls & Sister Boys (Australian Aboriginal) Two Spirit (First Nations Peoples). My mother Tuakana Apa Temata was my number one advocate and supporter of LGTBI rights, her acceptance of my sexual orientation and that of my two brothers allowed us to be who we are, and to love whom we wanted to be with regardless of sexuality, gender and sexual orientation. My mother and great grandma Mama Mii Cummings Ngaata instilled in me strong values of respect, humility and acceptance, they also taught me the ‘art of compassion’, to give unto others as they would give unto us. There teachings speaks volumes, and that is reflected in the work I do as a nurse, an activist, a feminist, a humanitarian, an advocate & a leader. It is with great sadness that our mother passed away last year and so her legacy continues in me and the work she was so passionate about and for. As a survivor of domestic & sexual violence, she passed onto me the same passion and determination to provide advocacy, support & assistance to women fleeing from violence & trauma and those less fortunate especially from our LGTBI community. My own personal involvement within our Rainbow Pasifika/LGTBI community extends from my own in a professional and volunteer capacity. As one of the Auckland Pride Board members from 2016 to 2018, I am one of our diverse community leaders who lead & coordinated our Pasefika Pride float, a non-profit collective of diverse community leaders & volunteers based in Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland. For the first time ever in 2014 our Pasefika Rainbow community had ‘visibility’ & showcased our diverse arts, heritage & culture along Ponsonby Rd, Auckland. Then in 2015, Pasefika Pride established to bring forth a generation of young and older Rainbow Pasefika LGTBI represent again in 2016 with our theme: ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Child’. Pasefika Prides message was to address & highlight the counteracting issues of suicide, violence & abuse, poverty, stigma & discrimination that is prevalent amongst our diverse Pacific & Maori communities. In 2017 we merged with Tangata Whenua, Ue Nuku Whanau & created the biggest ever float with Maori & Pasefika combined renaming ourselves as Oceania Pride Aotearoa: Ngā Aho Tapu o Te Moana-nui-ō-Kiwa, Sacred Connections of Oceania. In 2018 Oceania Pride Aotearoa amplified its voice to reduce stigma & discrimination across Oceania and to support the amendment, removal & action on the Decriminalization to the Homosexual Legislation that currently exists in the Cook Islands & other Pacific nations. This year 2019 we marched with our Rainbow LGTBI community & Auckland Pride once more in support of our Takataapui & Rainbow Pasefika community to amplify our voices and to decolonize the very same hegemonic systems & structures that continue to perpetuate hate, violence and discrimination against those most vulnerable. It is important to acknowledge the historical influences & devastating impact of Colonisation and early settlements by missionaries and its impact on indigenous knowledge & understandings of gender, sex and sexuality, and how this has shaped broad social attitudes and norms in Aotearoa NZ (Reid et al, 2017) and across Te Moana Nui o Kiva. The Cook Islands is one of several Pacific nations, which, still criminalize same-sex relations between men and offer no human rights protections to those who are widely ostracized & often discriminated by their families & communities. For many across Oceania, these nations cling to anti-gay laws enacted under colonial rule and the influence of conservative Christian missionaries. Those laws criminalized consensual sexual relations between males but not between women until just recently here in the Cook Islands. The launch of the United Nations Pacific free and equal campaign in 2014 was to end Transphobia and Homophobia this also reignited calls in the Cook Islands & other Pacific nations to change the law. Aotearoa NZ has a long-standing track record & history of being the first country to Give Women the Vote. The first country to have the largest number of openly gay or lesbian politicians to have served in New Zealand's Parliament, Tim Barnett, Chris Carter, Louisa Wall, Maryan Street, Georgina Beyer became the first transgender mayor in the world and the world's first transgender MP. Our LGTBI Rainbow communities continue to experience discrimination, stigma, homophobia, violence and suicide. We have the highest suicide rates amongst Māori & Pacific whereby our Rainbow LGTBI community statistics are the highest amongst this population. In New Zealand, it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone because of their sexual orientation or sex/gender identity within areas of life as stated by the Human Rights Act 1993. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, a collective approach to remind us all the reality of the issues that we continue to fight for and against. Resilience comes in many forms built on courage, mana & integrity.. my sexuality does not define who I am..who I am and where I come from defines 'me'..Kia Orana e Kia Manuia #SpeakUpAndAgainstStigmaDiscriminationAndHomophobia
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  • Reduce the nicotine in cigarettes
    Smoking is one of the largest public health issues in Aotearoa. Every year nearly 5,000 Kiwis die from smoking-related illnesses (1). Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Aotearoa. It increases a person’s risk of developing numerous cancers, as well as strokes and heart disease (2). On average, a long-term smoker will die 10 to 15 years earlier than non-smokers. But it’s not just direct smoking that is negatively impacting Kiwis. The impact of second-hand smoke continues to contribute to high rates of asthma and respiratory illness in our tamariki (3, 4). Smoking takes a toll on our health system, our whānau and our communities. Tragically, as with many health issues in Aotearoa, smoking disproportionately harms Māori and Pasifika. 31% of Māori adults and 20% of Pasifika adults smoke daily (5). If this government is truly committed to addressing health inequalities in Aotearoa, then reducing the addictiveness of cigarettes is an important place to start. Quitting smoking cigarettes can be hard for many people, even though the overwhelming majority of smokers want to quit (6). The main reason people feel incapable of quitting is that cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug. Currently the amount of nicotine in cigarettes is not regulated. The tobacco industry has been able to distribute products with a high nicotine content, leading young people to become quickly addicted when they start and making it incredibly difficult to stop. Requiring companies to remove or significantly decrease the nicotine content from their products would help to end this cycle. A reduction in nicotine would make smoking much less satisfying, resulting in smokers slowing or stopping consumption (7) and minimising the likelihood of young people becoming quickly addicted. Current smokers would be more able to kick the habit, save money and improve their health. Reducing the nicotine in combustible tobacco products compliments the increased availability of e-cigarettes which contain nicotine, giving smokers the opportunity to switch to a less harmful product. Join us and call on our government to reduce the nicotine in cigarettes. This petition is part of Reduce the Nicotine, a broader campaign to reduce the nicotine in cigarettes in Aotearoa - get involved and find out more at: http://reducethenicotine.co.nz/. References: 1) Ministry of Health. (2004). Looking upstream: Causes of death cross-classified by risk and condition, New Zealand 1997. Wellington: Ministry of Health. 2) Laugesen, M. (2000). Tobacco statistics 2000. Wellington: Cancer Society of New Zealand; Vineis, P., Alavanja, M., Buffler, P., Fontham, E., Franceschi, S., Gao, Y.T., et al. (2004). Tobacco and cancer: Recent epidemiological evidence. Journal of National Cancer Institute, 96: 99-106; Ministry of Health. (2005). Tobacco facts 2005. Wellington: Ministry of Health; Quit Victoria. (n.d.). 3) Vineis, P., Alavanja, M., Buffler, P., Fontham, E., Franceschi, S., Gao, Y.T., et al. (2004). Tobacco and cancer: Recent epidemiological evidence. Journal of National Cancer Institute, 96: 99-106.; Jha, P., Ramasundarahettige, C., Landsman, V., Rostron, B., Thun, M., Anderson, R. N., et al. (2013). 21st century hazards of smoking and benefits of cessation in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 368, 341-350. 4) Fergusson, D (2015). Christchurch Health and Development Study: Overview of 40 Years of Findings (2015). ASH Scotland (2012). Reducing Children’s Exposure to Second Hand Smoke in the Home. 5) Ministry of Health. New Zealand Health Survey (2006/07 – 2017/18) data tables. 6) Ministry of Health. 2009. New Zealand Tobacco Use Survey 2008: Quitting results. Wellington: Ministry of Health. 7) Donny EC, Walker N, Hatsukami D, Bullen C. Reducing the nicotine content of combusted tobacco products sold in New Zealand. Tobacco Control. 2017(26):e37-e42.
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  • Regeneration not Incineration - for a Zero Waste Aotearoa
    WE’RE GOING CIRCULAR Right now, we are seriously challenging our planet’s ability to sustain life. People everywhere are looking for ways to preserve valuable resources and prevent pollution while creating jobs and invigorating a zero waste circular economy. Incinerators undermine these goals because they’re part of an outdated linear system that forces us to continually extract new resources only to destroy them after we’ve used them for just a short while. Our future lies in replacing these destructive technologies with regenerative systems. INCINERATORS POLLUTE OUR AIR While it’s true that today’s incinerators are cleaner than older models, they’re still not perfect. Modern incinerators still release toxic chemicals that include dioxins [4], mercury [5] and cadmium [6] – substances that cause cancer, nerve damage and birth defects. Anyone who lives downwind from an incinerator is in danger of breathing in these dangerous chemicals and suffering the health consequences. [7] Toxins released into the air fall back onto the land to be absorbed by plants and eaten by livestock eventually finding their way into our bodies, via our food, causing further sickness and disease. [8] But the worst part about these toxins is that many don’t break down with some persisting in their toxic state in the environment for decades. [9] INCINERATORS POLLUTE OUR LAND Up to 25% of waste that’s burnt falls to the bottom of an incinerator to become incinerator bottom ash (IBA). This extremely toxic material is mostly dumped in special hazardous waste landfills, but in some countries it’s also used in roading and construction and sometimes spread on land as fertiliser. [10] Researchers are now raising serious concerns about the dangers of IBA with numerous studies [11] showing the detrimental effects of this highly toxic material. These problems are compounded by disposal of smokestack filters that capture highly toxic fly ash. These filters are disposed of in hazardous waste landfills along with IBA where they contribute to the toxic load in the landfills. INCINERATORS POLLUTE OUR FRESHWATER AND MARINE ENVIRONMENTS Incinerator toxins falling back to land are regularly washed into waterways where they combine with leachate from hazardous waste landfills. These contaminants poison fish and other aquatic life as they flow through our streams and rivers into our harbours and eventually into our oceans. These toxins have the potential to enter our food chain at every stage of their journey to the sea. INCINERATORS RELEASE GREENHOUSE GASES While toxins emitted from incinerator smokestacks cause immediate health concerns, most of the exhaust gas is carbon dioxide, which has long term effects on our climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that each tonne of waste burnt produces up to 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide [12] which can stay in our atmosphere contributing to global warming for decades. Throughout the world, we’re looking for ways to urgently reduce our climate change emissions. Waste-to-energy incinerators work in direct competition with this goal. Incinerators contravene our climate change commitments as signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Climate Agreement, and Agenda 2030. And, they directly contradict support for our Pacific partners through endorsement and support for the Kainaki II Declaration (which declares a climate crisis in the Pacific region) and, our signed commitment to the Boe Declaration on Pacific security. INCINERATORS ARE INEFFICIENT While incineration companies are happy to point out that the waste they burn would otherwise be sent to landfill, they don’t mention that household waste is a substandard fuel. The World Energy Council found that, kilogram for kilogram, waste produces less than one-third the energy of coal and up to one-sixth the energy of natural gas while producing many times the amount of pollution. [13] Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we currently produce 80% of our electricity from renewable sources. And, we have a plan to increase that to 100% by 2035. [14] Waste-to-energy incinerators compete with our renewable energy goals and undermine our commitment to a low emissions economy. INCINERATORS DESTROY VALUABLE RESOURCES Our society is fast becoming aware than our finite planet does not have an unending supply of natural resources. At the same time, we’re learning the importance of protecting and recirculating our resources. Governments, businesses and communities everywhere are looking for better ways to encourage people to refuse, reduce, redesign, reuse, repair, refurbish and recycle the things we use to make sure our resources are not destroyed. Incinerators work in direct conflict with these zero waste objectives. INCINERATORS DESTROY JOBS A key selling point used by incinerator companies is that they create jobs. Disputing this argument, the EU social enterprise reuse, repair, and recycling group, RREUSE, recently found that for every job that the incineration industry might create, recycling centres create 36 jobs and reuse activities create 296 jobs. [15] Materials recovery and recycling services are set to become a rapidly growing sector in the country as our society moves towards a post-waste circular economy. Incineration undermines this plan. INCINERATORS DESTROY ZERO WASTE EFFORTS While we accept that waste is a problem, we know that incinerators aren’t the answer. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we can address our waste issues in regenerative ways that preserve rather than destroy valuable resources, prevent pollution, produce sustainable and innovative products and material systems, create jobs, and invigorate a zero waste circular economy. To help achieve this goal, we hope you will join us in opposing waste-to-energy incinerators in Aotearoa New Zealand. Footnotes: https://tinyurl.com/y5chaw5k
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