• Respect and value ECE teachers - stop Evolve’s exploitative contracts!
    Teachers in one of our biggest early childhood corporations are fighting a new contract that could cut their guaranteed hours and income by 50%. Please stand up and support them! In one of the worst examples of how broken New Zealand’s early childhood education system is, Evolve Education – which continued to get full government funding through the Covid-19 lockdown and got millions in wage subsidies – is asking hundreds of teachers to sign new contracts guaranteeing them just 20 hours of work a week. What’s worse, Evolve would require them to be available for a further 20 hours a week - with no compensation for this availability and no chance to earn an income elsewhere. This is unfair and unlawful Evolve owns Lollipops, Active Explorers, Learning Adventures, Pascals, Little Earth, Little Lights and Little Wonders. This contract would impact on the quality of teaching and consistency of relationships with thousands of young children. Many teachers in Evolve are refusing to sign the contracts – but we need your support. We want to stop this now before it leads to further diminishing of quality teaching and working conditions across the whole ECE sector. We are taking a stand to protect the quality of teaching and learning for children, and to protect basic working conditions for all ECE teachers. And we’re angry that in spite of increased Government funding for ECE services in May’s Budget, there’s still a pay gap of more than 24% between ECE teachers and our colleagues in kindergarten and schools. Sign this petition asking the Government to step in urgently to stop the new Evolve contracts and to change the system to protect children and teachers everywhere.
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    Created by Virginia Oakly
  • The Teaching Council must be reviewed
    The purpose of the Teaching Council is to ensure safe and high-quality leadership, teaching and learning for children and young people in early childhood, primary and senior secondary schooling in English medium and Maori medium settings through raising the status of the profession. Over 30,000 people called on the Teaching Council to review their decision to raise registration fees.[1]. Teachers who were unhappy with the decision and the communication from the Teaching Council include people who teach at early childhood, primary and secondary and include part-time and assistant teachers. The petition was delivered to Lesley Hoskin and the Teaching Council on 10 June 2020. A resolution has not been achieved so we now seek action with the Minister of Education. We believe the Teaching Council does not represent teachers' best interests. Teachers have lost trust and confidence (as highlighted by the PPTA 95% vote of no confidence).[2] The Teaching Council's duties need to be independently examined to determine whether they support and work for teachers. The review should include a review of its expenses and the level of registration fees charged to teachers. This is why we're calling on the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins to launch a review into the Teaching Council on behalf of the teaching sector. Sign now to join the call. This petition is led by teachers. References: 1. Say no to doubling teacher registration fees, OurActionStation https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/fight-against-doubling-to-teacher-registration-fees 2. Teachers vote no confidence in Teaching Council over fee increase, RNZ, June 2020 https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/418585/teachers-vote-no-confidence-in-teaching-council-over-fee-increase
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    Created by Anna Hamilton
  • #protectpukeiāhua
    UPDATE: Our petition was formally read and tabled in Parliament on 28th July 2020. Recently, the Māori Affairs Committee invited us to make a written submission on our petition by early February. We have several projects kicking off soon, including a neighbourhood parakore initiative, school and community tours, and master planning for Pukeiāhua. *** Pukeiāhua Pā in Ngāruawāhia is a historic Māori settlement with great cultural, archaeological and educational value to hapū and the local community. Over three hundred years ago, during a feast held at Pukeiāhua Pā, Ngāti Tamainupō chief Ngaere spoke these words: "Wāhia ngā rua - Break open the food pits." This is the story of how Ngāruawāhia was named, a narrative carried by each and every resident and business who call this place 'home'. According to hapū research, over 140 borrow pits or 'rua' were part of the extensive gardens making up Pukeiāhua Pā. Sadly, most of these 'rua' have been destroyed due to development, and only seven remain today. These 'rua' are located on the proposed site for a new subdivision. An Archaeological Authority for the proposed subdivision was approved on 25th March 2020, a day before lockdown. Due to an "administrative" error, Ngāti Tamainupō were not notified properly as mana whenua, nor provided with an opportunity to appeal the Authority. Excavation began on-site on 6th May 2020. The next day, concerned hapū and community members turned up in protest to stop further digging. The developer has agreed to stop all works onsite for now, however we need local and central government to come to the table with a solution that will protect this whenua for the whole community. Instead of high-cost housing, we envisage a greenspace that sustains the narrative of Ngāruawāhia as a cultural, heritage and ecotourism location; a place for community gardens and edible forests; and a space for whānau and tamariki to learn, relax and play together. We believe this is a dream worth fighting for, a dream worth uniting for. Sign the petition to ask the Government and Waikato District Council to protect this whenua for good and return it to mana whenua and the community as a reserve. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mrEmuxSUxo&feature=emb_logo
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    Created by Kimai Huirama
  • 5-Point Grade Bump for VUW Students
    The impacts of COVID-19 on student health, wellbeing and academic success have been wide and varied. Many of us have lost our jobs, had our lives drastically changed, or had our mental health severely impacted as a result of greater financial uncertainty and academic pressure. We have been expected to work and thrive in conditions that are not conducive to academic success. We believe for the sake of student wellbeing, equity, and compassion, the University needs to listen to the voice of the student body and implement these changes for Trimester 1. We ask the University to consider the impact on equity between Victoria students and those of other Universities. A lack of parity between ourselves and Universities such as Otago and Auckland will impact our graduates who are seeking employment in a post-COVID world. In addition, graduates seeking to pursue further education at another University will also struggle, and their chances of receiving financial aid will suffer. VUWSA believes that a grade bump would ensure that VUW students are on equal footing with other universities who have adopted this measure. If this grade increase, alongside other equity measures – such as reduction of course workload, and 2-week extensions on assignments – are comprehensively implemented, VUW students can be assured that their academic success, as well as their health and wellbeing, are at the forefront of the university’s mind. VUWSA, alongside other student representatives, have been advocating through our internal avenues for these measures to be put in place. In many of these meetings we have been part of a small minority of students, often being ignored or shut down regarding this issue. The recent uproar of student voices around this issue have demonstrated the need for greater academic support and communication for those studying at Victoria University of Wellington. For the sake of our wellbeing, equity, and compassion, we call on the University to listen to, and act upon, the concerns of their student body. For more information check out VUWSA’s socials https://facebook/vuwsa or email kelburn@vuwsa.org.nz.
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    Created by VUWSA Campaigns
  • BLACK LIVES MATTER
    A black person is just human like everybody else. There is no reason for a black person to feel scared to approach somebody just because they are scared of how that person would react because of the colour of their skin. The story of George Floyd is just enough to explain this, a normal black man but suspected of a crime. He had allowed the officer to arrest him but the officer was still violating his rights while George begs him saying 'I can't breathe'. This whole situation resulted in George losing his life. George had no gun on hand but he was murdered purely because of the colour of his skin. Since January 1st, 2015, 1,252 black people have been shot and killed by police, according to the Washington Post's database tracking police shootings; that doesn't even include those who died in police custody or were killed using other methods. Often there is no need for the police to use weapons but it is just purely because the victims are black that the instinct of the police is to shoot. Every loss hurts it really does. We live in a colonised country here in Aotearoa, and that our solidarity includes standing against racism and I think it is time the silence is broken. Let us not forget things have fired up in America but this shows us what a lot of black people are facing around our world even in our very own backyard. We have taken on so much as black people and have had excessive patience but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
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    Created by Kalkidan Yohannes
  • 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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    Created by NZ Union of Students' Associations (NZUSA) Picture
  • 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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    Created by V-ISA, VUW International Students' Association Picture
  • 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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    Created by Aaron Hendry
  • 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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    Created by Anna Hamilton
  • Put nature at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery
    Nature is on the verge of collapse. New Zealand has 4000 species in trouble, polluted waterways and a damaged marine environment; only transformative economic and policy decisions can restore and sustain our planet and our people. The rebuilding of our society after the impacts of COVID-19 provides us with a chance to restore our natural environment for both current and future generations.
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    Created by Forest & Bird Youth Picture
  • Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling
    The closure and/or mothballing of Dunedin Railways will lead to the loss of a substantial number of local jobs. It will end one of the most popular visitor experiences to Dunedin and Otago. The flow on effects for other local stakeholders would be considerable. Keeping jobs and skills in Dunedin, introducing local commuter services, and engaging staff in local rail projects is the positive alternative. When tourism rebuilds, this popular service will then be ready and waiting. 🚂 Dunedin railways workers propose positive solutions to prevent closure: https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU2004/S00631/dunedin-railways-workers-propose-positive-solutions-to-prevent-closure.htm
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    Created by Victor Billot
  • Partially reimburse University of Otago students for semester one and minimise university job losses
    Students at the University of Otago are dealing with a decreased learning experience due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Practical classes and field trips have all been canceled and all learning is via online lectures and sometimes zoom classes. As students, we are making the best of a bad situation but feel that we should not be charged the full course fees when we are not receiving the original course content in full. It is also important that the staff of the university have job security moving forward.
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    Created by david coe