• Better Mental Health Education in All NZ Schools
    We want to see a happy, healthy and productive New Zealand. One of the biggest barriers to this is our widespread problems with mental health. In fact, one in five New Zealanders will be diagnosed with a mental health problem this year, and we have the highest youth suicide rate in the world, but there is a huge lack of knowledge about prevention, and recovery in the general population. Current school programmes focus on counselling and only allude to wellbeing in the context of physical health, but this is educating too little and intervening too late. Furthermore, Health is only compulsory in the curriculum up to Year 10, meaning that they may face the stressful times of NCEA and transition out of school without enough support to their Mental Health. Better trained teachers and/or external providers need to deliver clear and consistent messages about mental health. I started this petition because I faced a lot of distress at the end of high school, and I blamed my friends, my parents and especially myself before I realised that there might be an underlying cause to my extended distress, and even then I was hesitant to ask for help because I feared judgement. So many of my friends have stories like this, and I strongly believe that good education for all young people will encourage them to seek help sooner and improve outcomes long term. All young Kiwis need to know how to best keep themselves well and support each other, and we believe a comprehensive mental health curriculum in schools will help to achieve this. Media: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/90756147/mental-health-campaigner-lucy-mcsweeney-wants-to-shake-up-mental-health-education-in-schools http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/nutters-club/why-we-need-mental-health-education-in-schools-part-1/ http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/nutters-club/why-we-need-mental-health-education-in-schools-part-2/ More information: If you need help - don't be afraid to reach out, it's not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength - here's some people who will be there for you: Lifeline 0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999 Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0) Youthline 0800 376 633 Sources: NZ youth suicide twice Australia’s https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/nz-youth-suicide-twice-australias Suicide accounts for a third of all deaths in those aged 15-24 http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/turned-away-in-a-crisis
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  • Take GST off tampons and sanitary pads and other related reusable products
    Taxing non-optional items such as sanitary pads is unfair and forces households already under pressure to make choices between hygiene and other essential items such as food. It is estimated that in a lifetime, someone who uses sanitary products every month will have to spend close to $10,000 on tampons alone. The high cost of tampons, sanitary pads and related products impact most on people with a lower income. Everyone who needs tampons, sanitary pads and other related, reusable products, should have access regardless of income. They are essential items and when access is restricted it can create health risks. Agencies such as the Salvation Army and budgeting services are finding that young girls in New Zealand are unable to afford tampons and are missing out on school because of this. There have been reports of girls and women using rags, newspaper and even of people washing and re-using sanitary pads which is unhygienic, and infections have been reported. Background In February I started an OurActionStation campaign to encourage Pharmac (the New Zealand government agency that decides which pharmaceuticals to publicly fund) to subsidise tampons and sanitary pads for everyone. However on 18 April it was announced that Pharmac has declined the application, as in its view, “sanitary products are not medicines or medical devices."[1] Pharmac's decision is a big disappointment and a wasted opportunity. It could have been a chance for Pharmac to really stand up and support girls and women who are paying a huge amount to bleed in this country. There is something we can do though. Many countries around the world have removed the tax from tampons [3] or are campaigning to remove it, [4] making these products more accessible and we reckon New Zealand should do the same here! Quotes: "Especially for young people, children at school. The young girls are getting to that stage of life and some of them are missing school, because their families can't afford to buy sanitary products. We know the stories of women having to wash store-bought one-use sanitary pads and then reuse them, which is quite unhygienic and also quite degrading in a sense. We're hearing of women getting infections." Pam Waugh, The Salvation Army head of social services References: 1. Pharmac rejects request to fund tampons, pads, RNZ, 19 April 2017 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/329040/pharmac-rejects-request-to-fund-tampons,-pads 2. Pharmac considers funding sanitary products, RNZ, 20 Feb 2017 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/324865/pharmac-considers-funding-sanitary-products 3. https://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine/2015/06/04/toronto-woman-behind-campaign-to-kill-tampon-tax-ecstatic-over-victory.html 4. https://www.change.org/m/end-the-sexist-and-illogical-tax-on-tampons-sanitary-pads-and-mooncups-period
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  • Designate Funding in the 2017 Budget for Postnatal Depression Early Intervention
    The Current Situation • 1 in 8 women experience Antenatal Depression and 1 in 5 women experience Postnatal Depression. It is understood that women are experiencing significantly delayed and sometimes missed diagnosis (1) – estimated at around 63% of women with PND (2) • These women are missed due to poor screening and referrals while under midwifery care (3 &4) • Once diagnosed, General Practitioners (GP’s) are expected to manage a woman’s PND in their short 10-15 minute appointments at an estimated cost of $50 to the patient. Both the limited time and the cost of this appointment are barriers to a woman getting sufficient help for her mental illness. • The only treatment/intervention currently available to assist women in their recovery from mild-moderate PND is to obtain medication through a paid appointment with their GP and private counselling. There is no Government-funded holistic programmes with proven outcomes of recovery from depression/anxiety available to women who have mild-moderate PND • In most cases, counselling is only subsidised by the Government if an individual has a community services card and a diagnosis from their GP to apply for WINZ funding. This leaves a large portion of New Zealand women who are unable to afford counselling for PND and therefore, they are not adequately recovering from it What are we needing funding for? • Professional Development training of midwives in the onset, prevalence, identification, screening, treatment and intervention of AND/PND and when and whom to refer • A service delivering early intervention assessments and recovery programmes with proven outcomes to women with AND/PND who do not fit Maternal Mental Health criteria in the Primary Health sector • Subsidised (free) counselling for all women experiencing Antenatal or Postnatal Depression/Anxiety Why is it needed? Undiagnosed and untreated AND and PND has a significant impact on a woman, her partner and her child. • For the woman and the child, depression has been associated with substance abuse, an increased risk for pregnancy-induced hypertension contributing to pre-eclampsia, gestational bleeding, diminished uterine artery blood flow and poor birth outcomes including foetal death, preterm birth and labour, small infants for gestational age, low birth weight, low Apgar scores and increased risk of neonatal special care and intensive care unit admission (4). She is more likely to develop chronic (ongoing) depression and anxiety the longer it continues untreated. It is more likely to increase in its severity and this puts her at greater risk of suicide. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of maternal deaths in New Zealand (5&6) • The partner is at-risk of developing “partner depression” and their relationship is at-risk of breaking down/divorce the longer her depression is left undiagnosed and untreated (5&6) • The unborn child is at risk of developing anxiety and cognitive, emotional and behavioural issues (4) • In the first three years of life, a child to a mother with undiagnosed and untreated postnatal depression is more likely to experience insecure attachment. This means that the child is more at risk of developing learning difficulties, mental illness, addictions, delinquency, and is at greater risk of suicide as a child or later in life (7,8.9) • Failing to provide prevention and early intervention assessment and recovery services to women at-risk or experiencing Antenatal or Postnatal Depression/Anxiety has a far greater cost to New Zealand than the cost of providing it (10) We believe that the funding of early intervention services to women at-risk or experiencing Postnatal Depression is imperative and needs to be addressed urgently by designated funding in the 2017 budget. References: 1. New Zealand Guidelines Group. (2008). Identification of Common Mental Disorders and Management of Depression in Primary Care [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.health.govt.nz 2. Mothers Helpers. (2015). Postnatal Depression in New Zealand and Feedback on Maternal Mental Health Services. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mothershelpers.org.nz 3. PANDA (2010). Australian Postnatal Depression Website Recognised As World’s Best . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.panda.org.au/. 4. Jones, C. J. (2009). Emotional Disturbances During Pregnancy & Postpartum: A National Survey of Australian Midwives & An Educational Resource. Griffith University, Gold Coast. 5. Health Quality and Safety Commission New Zealand (2012). Report finds suicide remains leading cause of maternal death. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.hqsc.govt.nz/. 6. Best Practice Journal (2009). Purpose and Introduction. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bpac.org.nz/. 7. Stein, A., Gath, D. H., Bucher, J., Bond, A., Day, A., Cooper, P. J., (1991). The relationship between post-natal depression and mother-child interaction. British Journal of Psychiatry. 158, 46-52 8. Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, L.J., Lynskey, M.T., (1995). The stability of disruptive childhood behaviors. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 23 (3), pp.379-396 9. Ministry of Health (2012). Healthy Beginnings. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.health.govt.nz 10. Mothers Helpers (2015). Mothers Helpers' Submission to the Ministry of Health. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mcagnz.org
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  • Legalise the use of medicinal cannabis
    In June 2017 the ActionStation community won a campaign to allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis. The changes are welcome but do not make a big difference for people in need. There is a lack of CBD only products on the international market and none being approved in New Zealand – meaning no greater access to products in the short term, and no real difference to the current situation. Let’s now get behind the proposed Bill. The medical use of cannabis should be legal, accessible and affordable. Many thousands of Kiwis, often older people, are using cannabis products for medicinal purposes, and in doing so are breaking the law as it now stands. Support the legalising of medicinal use of cannabis, and show MPs that we want common sense approaches to an issue that is about our health, not law and order. UPDATE - 2 June 2017 WIN! Today Associate Minister for Health, Peter Dunne, has just announced that the Government will allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis. Thanks to you and the over 6000 people who signed the petition calling for this change! Associate Health minister Peter Dunne on Friday announced the medicinal cannabis product cannabidiol (CBD) would no longer require a person to get Ministry of Health approval to use it. The changes mean CBD would be able to be prescribed by a doctor to their patient and supplied in a manner similar to any other prescription medicine. Mr Dunne said it was a move towards legalising medicinal cannabis, but wouldn't "immediately bring about a revolution". "I have taken advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) that CBD should not be a controlled drug, and am pleased Cabinet has now accepted my recommendation to make this change. "Therefore, I am now taking steps to remove restrictions accordingly." Common sense has prevailed with overwhelming public support. This will make a huge difference to people dealing with severe chronic pain and improving their quality of life. You can email the Associate Minister to congratulate him on his decision at p.dunne@minister.govt.nz News coverage: Kiwis will now be able to get medicinal cannabis from their doctor, Government announces http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/93268869/restrictions-on-medicinal-cannabis-product-to-be-removed-government-announces **** Medicinal cannabis is used by an estimated 178,000 New Zealanders to treat a variety of ailments such as chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson's, appetite loss and nausea. It is currently possible to get legal access to cannabis drugs for medical purposes, however it is a expensive and prohibitive process. Stories “I hadn’t thought much about medicinal marijuana until Helen Kelly campaigned for better access last year. It’s not something you really have to think about, until you or someone you love is sick and in pain, and could be helped by a cannabis-based treatment. That is now the case for me. So, no more sitting on the sidelines. It’s time to make sure people whose health and well-being depend on access to medicinal marijuana treatments can get them from their doctor, safely and without risk of criminal charges.” Marianne Elliott, Director of Strategy and Story, ActionStation Jessika Guest moved from Whangarei to Colorado so that her daughter Jade, 7, could use medical marijuana. Jade's diagnoses include hypotonia (a state of low muscle tone) and epilepsy, which used to cause up to 40 seizures a day. In Colorado, she has been on skin patches containing cannabinoids and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid - a non-activated THC which means the cannabis does not have high-inducing properties. Mrs Guest said her daughter's seizures have since decreased in frequency by 90 per cent. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11415156 [Alex Renton’s] treatment included groundbreaking use of medicinal cannabis oil, Elixinol, after a campaign by mother Rose and family after conventional treatments did not work. http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/70155247/cannabis-treatment-teen-alex-renton-sparked-national-debate McKee had his leg amputated 30 years ago after a car accident and smokes cannabis to relieve phantom pains. Last year, he fought charges of selling and cultivating cannabis all the way to the Supreme Court but lost and is now serving a six months' home detention sentence. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/9655674/Cannabis-spray-priced-out-of-reach-say-patients More information Changes to medical cannabis legislation http://www.nzherald.co.nz/national/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503075&gal_cid=1503075&gallery_id=171181 Why isn’t medical marijuana a shoe-in? (Toby Manhire & Toby Morris) http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/297299/why-isn't-medical-marijuana-a-shoe-in Support for cannabis reform: why so high? http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/311073/support-for-cannabis-reform-why-so-high Nelson lawyer Sue Grey takes government to High Court over cannabidiol http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/88612808/nelson-lawyer-sue-grey-takes-government-to-high-court-over-cannabidiol Helen Kelly backs medical marijuana http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/helen-kelly-backs-medicinal-marijuana-2015060910 New Zealand urged to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/77453718/New-Zealand-urged-to-grow-cannabis-for-medicinal-purposes Medicinal cannabis https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/cannabis/medicinal-cannabis https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/matters-of-substance/august-2015/QandA-Toni-Maree-Matich
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  • Sports games of national significance should be live and free-to-air for everyone
    Sport is a part of our cultural identity. We invest $960 million each year in sports and recreation, but most live 'Games of National Significance' are only available to Kiwis who can afford a $1,000 a year pay-TV subscription. That's paying twice. All New Zealanders should be able to watch our sportspeople competing at the highest levels. New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell, has put forward a Bill that would make sure "games of national significance" are broadcast, live and free-to-air, on TV for all New Zealanders. The bill would cover the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, all Rugby World Cup matches involving New Zealand, all domestic rugby test matches, the Super Rugby final, all domestic netball test matches, all Netball World Cup matches, and major cricket, rugby league, football, tennis and basketball matches. Sky Television currently holds the rights for many of these events, including all All Blacks games. Statistics show more than one million homes in New Zealand don’t have Sky Once upon a time, when New Zealand was a more egalitarian society and not divided as sharply into the haves and have-nots, the All Blacks test matches in New Zealand were free to view on television. Kiwis love our sport, and should be able to have access to live coverage of 'Games of National Significance' without having to pay ridiculous amounts to private broadcasting companies for the privilege. Australia and the UK already have 'anti-siphoning' laws that prevent pay-TV media getting exclusive broadcast rights. Let's even the playing field here.
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  • Commit to Ending Homelessness
    Too many kiwis are sleeping rough; living in garages, or overcrowded, damp houses. According to a recent study by Kate Amore of Otago University, more than 40,000 kiwis are homeless. More than half are under 25. It's just not good enough. We can, and must do better. Many generous community workers and organizations are doing their best to help, but without government commitment, this problem will not end. Every kiwi deserves a decent place to live. It's a human right. Sign this petition if you agree.
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  • NZ Herald, report on our women sporting heroes as you do our men!
    This is important for women, girls, men and boys everywhere who want a world where we're equal. Your paper reaches a huge audience, both online and offline, and shapes how we perceive our country and our people. If you must cover so much sport, at least cover women with the same adoration as men. You have a responsibility to champion our successful female sportspeople . You owe it to a society where the pay gap between men and women is at it's worst for almost 10 years. Photo credit: Photosport
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  • Reinstate Helen Kelly's nomination to the NZer of Year Awards, mate.
    Dear NZer of The Year Awards, We the undersigned New Zealanders imagine the decision to remove Helen Kelly was not lightly made. Nevertheless we think your decision should be reconsidered. And if a rule change is needed to achieve this we ask you to make that rule change. Helen is a hero and inspirational role model to tens of thousands of New Zealanders - many of whom nominated her for the award while she was alive (till Oct 14th) and still fighting to stay that way.  Voting closed for nominations for the award on September the 30th. At that time she had received the most public nominations. That Helen had such widespread support for this recognition is far from surprising. In the final months of her life Helen connected with thousands more NZers as she continued to do what she had always done - fight for justice and fairness for the benefit her fellow Kiwis. Her death itself, up to her last breath, was the most dignified you could possibly imagine. A week before her death she was still tweeting in defence of the rights of others. As she approached death she gave up precious time to media interviews to highlight the suffering of her fellow Kiwis, mounting the final campaign of her life in support of making access to medicinal cannabis for terminally ill New Zealanders easier. Public polls showed Helen's final campaign was supported by an overwhelming majority of the public. Helen accomplished an enormous amount in her 52 years of life, before her time with us all was cut short by an aggressive lung cancer. We agree with the chorus of eulogies following death which have said that she would have doubtless accomplished a great deal more if she had survived. But for us she was a hero for what she had already done, for her Trade Union work and support of workers rights - whether unionised or not, New Zealander or not - for her integrity and for her kindness. For all these reasons, if ever there were a case when the New Zealander who has died should remain eligible for this award it is this one. Respectfully Your mates. ----------------------------------------- Media Coverage Of This Petition ---------------------------------------- Newshub >> http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/petition-to-put-helen-kelly-back-on-the-shortlist-for-new-zealander-of-the-year-2016102913 Stuff >> http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/85874277/helen-kelly-ineligible-for-the-new-zealander-of-the-year-award-category RNZ >> http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/316789/helen-kelly-ineligible-for-nzer-of-the-year NZ Herald >> http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11738289 TVNZ >> https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/online-campaign-helen-kelly-made-eligible-honour Paul Henry Show >> http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/huge-respect-but-no-honour-for-helen-kelly---pm-2016103109 Stuff >> http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/85897243/john-key-agrees-with-not-awarding-new-zealander-of-the-year-posthumously Scoop >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1610/S00096/5000-nzers-back-helen-kellys-reinstatement-to-nzer-of-year.htm Scoop >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1611/S00034/helen-kelly-and-the-compassionless-people.htm ----------------------------------------- UPDATE NOVEMBER 8th : - ADDING A PLAN B ---------------------------------------- Many New Zealanders believed Helen Kelly might have become a great Prime Minister had she not been taken so young. In this context Helen's style of principled, enlightened, and selfless political activism serves as a wonderful example to future generations of activists and politicians. These days few people are willing to consider a move into representative politics – the nastiness and apparent futility makes it appear to be a frightening path to pursue. But it is one which we need to encourage people to consider and then choose to pursue. With that in mind a solution for honouring Helen Kelly becomes obvious. Let's create a new award - bearing Helen's name (with her family's permission) - to celebrate selflessness, achievement and courage in political service – either as activist or politician, to be awarded annually to someone who is truly the best of us, as Helen undoubtedly was. If you would like to help put together some kind of meaningful memorial for Helen Kelly – either this idea or another - then please email me at alastair@scoopmedia.co.nz - It is going to take a coalition to get something like this flying. Read more here >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1611/S00034/helen-kelly-and-the-compassionless-people.htm#proposal
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  • Tell My Food Bag to drop Talley's!
    As customers and/or supporters of My Food Bag, we want to know the fellow Kiwis who are working to produce the food in our bags are being treated fairly at work!
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  • Commission an Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction Services in New Zealand.
    It is no secret that New Zealand has one of or if not the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world. Suicide is a serious health and social issue. Suicide rates are a sign of the mental health and social wellbeing of a society. The suicide statistics are so high in New Zealand that it is now the third highest cause of death after heart disease and lung cancer. While awareness of risk factors are increasing, prevention programmes and strategies have been in place for more than a decade and the overall figures remain unchanged. Our current medical model's have done nothing to assist with the reduction of suicide and self harm rates. As a nation it is time to facilitate and hold a national conversation surrounding mental health and addictions, suicide prevention and the direction of these services into the future. This conversation must be incorporated across all social and justice sectors within a multicultural framework.
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  • Keep our sleeping babies safe- National pēpi-pod/wahakura programme
    The Ministry of Health announced last year that they will work with researchers and other paediatric experts to develop a programme using pēpi pods, to help save babies lives. But as the programme stands only certain babies (the most vunerable) will get access to them, not all babies. Recent research released findings showed that pepi pods/wahakura are safe and in fact significantly increased the level of breastfeeding, as the baby is in arms reach. (Read the full article here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11779101) It's super that we now have the science to back us up and this makes our case for the government rolling out a nationwide scheme even stronger! What we need to do now is gather our voices, make noise, spread the word and collect more signatures to make this campaign bigger and bolder. Let's tell the government that all New Zealand babies/pepi are precious and deserve a safe space to sleep in. We demand action! If you haven't already, you can write to the Minister or give his office a call, as it’ll let him know that we’re not going away. Here are his details: (email) jonathan.coleman@parliament (phone) 09 419 8021 Please can you share this message with your family, friends, colleagues and all people who love babies. --------------------------- New Zealand has the worst rate of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) in the industrialised world. Every year 50 babies die from SUDI, with half being accidentally smothered by parents. Māori babies are eight times more likely to die from accidental suffocation because of high smoking rates and the cultural custom of bed-sharing. A sleeping device, a wahakura or pēpi-pod, was designed in 2006 to prevent deaths while bed-sharing. http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11673356 Pēpi-pods/wahakura allow parents or caregivers to sleep close to their babies while allowing pēpi to stay safe in their own individual space. Being close to your baby is important to be able to respond sensitively and remain in tune during the first few weeks of life. Pēpi-pods/wahakura support cultural values of co-sleeping within our Māori and Pacific families and communities. Internationally renowned cot death expert Professor Ed Mitchell, of the University of Auckland, believed in the device from day one. "When David [Tipene-Leach] first invented the wahakura, I stuck my neck out very early on and supported this Māori initiative," he says. With the right prevention strategies in place, such as a national pēpi-pod programme and targeted anti-smoking campaigns, Mitchell believes New Zealand's SUDI rate could be cut down from 50 deaths a year to as few as five. "In my heart, I know we can get it down.".http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11670826 The recent fall in post perinatal mortality in New Zealand and the Safe Sleep programme. Mitchell EA, Cowan S, Tipene-Leach D. The deaths of babies in New Zealand in their first month of life was reduced by 29% from 2009-2015. The reduction was most prominent in Māori infants. This recent fall is likely to be due to a combination of strategies including; pēpi-pods/wahakura and educational intiatives. Over 16, 500 pēpi-pods/wahakura have been distributed nationwide due to this safe sleep programme. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27254483
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  • Equal Pay - It's Time
    This is a historic opportunity to do the right thing by the women – and men – doing low-paid and crucial work. Join us and make a stand for equal pay. Because It’s Time.
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