• NZ Police keep the peace - say no to 'Armed Response Teams'
    Last week, Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced a trial of Armed Response Teams (ARTs) to support Police's tactical capabilities on the front line. Patrols will be trialed in Counties Manukau, Waikato, and Canterbury over the next six months. These squads will be groups of police officers armed with guns roaming communities in SUVs. They way this is described in the words of the Police is “...routinely armed, equipped, mobile and ready...” The Police have referred to the aftermath of the horrific March 15 Mosque Terror Attacks saying they must be prepared to operate in a different context. Yet after March 15 across Aotearoa we saw people in community vigils singing waiata together for comfort, flowers being laid outside Mosques, and aroha being shown in so many ways including changing some laws. These actions showed us countering terror by strengthening our social connection. In these moments we showed our humanity and that in our communities we all wish to thrive. Looking forward, many of us see our communities are at their best as places of home, of connection, and of coming together. They’re where we develop our sense of belonging. Putting more police with guns on the streets won’t protect communities or help us feel safe. Institutional racism within the police means the squads will be more likely to target Māori and Pasifika. Racism impacting use of force by police is already evident. Police are nearly eight times more likely to use violence against Māori than Pākehā, and three times more likely to use violence against Pasifika people than Pākehā. 66% of the people police have fired guns at in the last 10 years were Māori or Pasifika. There is also evidence of police abusing and misusing access to and use of guns. From official Police information (via OIA), over a seven month period police officers used guns 148 times. These uses excluded Armed Offenders Squad callouts. In more than 1 in 4 of those times, police officers used guns at people who were recorded as being cooperative or otherwise below the level or resistance requiring higher use of force determined by the Tactical Operations Framework. A study from Princeton University showed that similar ‘Armed Response Teams’ tended to be used most often in non-emergencies such as for search warrants and did nothing to improve community or officer safety. The study also found they were used most often against people of colour. When we picture flourishing communities, we see families with great homes, enough pūtea (money) to put food on the table, and time to spend with each other. We see support readily available for hard times, and people celebrating together in good ones. We don’t see more police presence with more weapons. That’s why we are calling on Prime Minister Rt Hon. Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Police Hon. Stuart Nash to stop the trials of Armed Response Teams (ARTs), and end increased militarisation of police. The highest duty of police officers should be the protection of human life, but initiatives like this do not serve to protect life. More cops with guns means more people shot by police. It's up to us, as responsible citizens, to put a higher value on human life, and to not accept this. 1 https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/former-cop-and-auckland-councillor-critical-new-armed-police-programme-but-deputy-commissioner-says-its-necessary TVNZ Breakfast. 22 October 2019 2 https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/401394/opinion-more-cops-with-guns-means-more-people-shot-by-police Mark Hanna for RNZ. 20 October 2019 3 https://fyi.org.nz/request/5014/response/16479/attach/5/Tactical%20Options%20Framework.pdf NZ Police Tactical Operations Framework 4 https://www.princeton.edu/news/2018/08/21/militarization-police-fails-enhance-safety-may-harm-police-reputation Princeton University. 21 August 2018 5 https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/401685/armed-response-team-cops-criticism-nothing-good-can-come-out-of-this Te Aniwa Hurihanganui for RNZ. 24 October 2019
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  • Make Migration to NZ more Humane
    Families of New Zealand citizens and residents have been separated and kept apart due to unnecessary visa processing delays by INZ. Children are losing out on the much needed nurture provided by both parents. In the last few years, approximately 70,000 international students have been coming to New Zealand every year to gain world class education, making education our 4th largest export at approximately 4 to 5 billion dollars per year. The students are given work rights so that they can gain much sought after work experience and ultimately become part of New Zealand workforce after graduating. This also puts them on a pathway to residence as promoted by NZ government websites and dodgy education agents. However, the reality is different - the students are forced to re-enrol for the same courses repeatedly due to College closures conducted by NZQA. To add to an already stressful situation, the students are left to extend their visas urgently to avoid becoming unlawful in New Zealand. Many have been deported due to the fault of unregulated education agents. Research studies conducted by Dr Christina Stringer (University of Auckland) and Dr Francis Collins (University of Waikato) clearly conclude that migrant exploitation is rampant when temporary work visas are attached to employers, preventing the employee seeking help or whistleblowing to end their own exploitation. The number of new residents settling in New Zealand has reached the lowest level since the turn of the century. At the same time a record number of temporary work visa holders have been approved, topping more than 240,000 in the last year. What does that mean? Uncertainty and displacement surrounds migrants on temporary visas. Many in this category have been in New Zealand for 5 to 10 years in the hope of a more permanent future here. Every time they are close to realising that hope, the immigration instructions are changed to bring them right back to where they started. The National Government closed the parent visa category in 2016 claiming that it was a temporary measure to bring the migrant numbers under control. The Labour coalition government has announced that the Parent Visa Category will reopen in February 2020. However, the income requirements for the sponsors are outrageously high (2 to 4 times annual median salary of $53,040) and out of reach for most, if not all, working class migrants. Under this visa category, only the rich have the luxury of being near their loved ones. Some high skilled migrants earn just enough to sponsor either Mum or Dad - how does one even contemplate such a choice!!
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  • Vote STV for Hamilton
    STV is a fairer voting system which will improve participation and diversity in local government. - Under STV, winning candidates will have support from a majority of voters. More people will have had a say in the make-up of the elected council. - There are no 'wasted votes'. Once a preferred candidate reaches the quota - votes are shifted to their next preferred candidate. - Under STV, our council is more likely to reflect the diversity of our community.
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  • Cancel 'Feminism 2020' at Massey
    It has come to our attention that in November this year, Massey University is hosting the event ‘Feminism 2020’ on its Wellington campus. The event is run by Speak up for Women (SUFW) who advocate against trans rights and spread scaremongering misinformation about trans people. SUFW masquerade under the guise of feminism, while actively turning transgender lives into a subject of debate; a dehumanising and harmful rhetoric. Massey Students’ Association stands for free speech and we respect the right of external groups to host events on campus. However, one of the key tenets of free speech is recognising that marginalised groups often don’t enjoy the same rights to freedom of expression. So with that in mind, Massey Students’ Association is choosing to prioritise the voices of our trans whānau who have told us that this event hurts them. By providing a platform for a hate group to speak on our campus, Massey University is putting ‘freedom of speech’ over the safety of its staff and students. Allowing this event to go ahead on campus will harm the trans community both directly; with ‘Speak up for Women’s’ attempting to spread their dehumanising ideology within our community and indirectly; by showing our students that Massey University is providing a space for people to spread hate and harmful anti-trans rhetoric. This is incredibly harmful to an already vulnerable group, with 71% of trans people reporting high or very high psychological distress in 2019’s Counting Ourselves community report. Massey is not obligated to host and provide a platform for an intolerant ideology that advocates for policies that make trans people feel less safe in the world. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that we have to host an event that will cause harm to students on campus. If the University is serious about wanting to protect the rights of their transgender students there is no excuse in hosting this event. The student community already feel less safe on campus because of Massey’s decision to allow the event to go ahead. Within a few days of announcing the event, our campus has been plastered with trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) stickers. MAWSA has met with UniQ and consulted the trans-community on campus, and the message from the student community is clear; the presence of this event on our campus is already damaging the wellbeing and safety of trans, intersex and queer communities. To prevent further harm to our student community, MAWSA requests, on behalf of Massey Wellington Students, that Massey University cancels ‘Feminism 2020’ within the next 24 hours. There is no room for hate on this campus. The group 'Speak up for Women' advocate against trans rights and spread scaremongering misinformation about trans people. SUFW masquerade under the guise of feminism, while actively turning transgender lives into a subject of debate; a dehumanising and harmful rhetoric. By hosting the 'Feminism 2020' event Massey are providing a platform for hate and division to be spread here and make trans and queer people feel unsafe. This is incredibly harmful to an already vulnerable group, with 71% of trans people reporting high or very high psychological distress in 2019’s Counting Ourselves community report. MAWSA is not in support of this and we stand with our trans community. The effect of such an event has already been seen, with anti-trans stickers already being plastered around campus. Online hate has been spread, our trans students are being put in direct danger and we only see this getting worse if this event is not cancelled.
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  • Support Out of Hours Music and Art Schools (OOHM) Staff for better working conditions
    Out of Hours Music Classes (OOHM) have been a longstanding part of our music and art community in New Zealand for the past fifty years. Access to funding from the MOE ensures that public music schools deliver opportunities for young children in New Zealand to have a chance at learning a musical instrument without financial burden. Emerging research confirms the importance of music and arts as key factors in a child’s education and well-being. Children are known to perform better at other subjects at school if they are learning a music instrument or participating in art, as well as improved social interaction, confidence and emotional expression. The Ministry of Education currently facilitates funding to around 150 schools in New Zealand who, through the OOHM scheme, employ hundreds of tutors who deliver music and art tuition to thousands of school children. Many of our current OOHM are operating in excess of their funding to cope with increasing demand and have to turn students away. More families are turning to OOHM schools for music lessons for their children, because they cannot afford the costs of private tuition.
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  • Extend the FREE Bus trial for kids across the whole BOP seven days a week
    Extending the free children’s school bus fares trial to all buses at all times, including weekends, is one of the cheapest ways for Bay of Plenty Regional Council to get more people onto the buses and to reduce carbon emissions. The Council said it would only cost $167,000 per year (lost revenue) to extend the trial and make all buses free for kids across Tauranga and the Western Bay. (We do not have figures for extending the area covered to include the whole Bay Of Plenty but similar logic applies) This is only a couple of bucks a year per household, however it won’t end up costing a cent if the free children’s fares attract another 600 adult trips per week. That is quite possible, as more parents and grandparents will be able to afford to take the bus with their families.
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  • Royal Commission of Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children - formerly CYF
    When the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989) was introduced it was seen to be world-leading child welfare legislation. The Act impacts on the lives of thousands of children, young people and their families. The Act introduced major changes to the way decisions were made about children and young people who were victims of abuse and neglect or who broke the law, and placed New Zealand at the forefront of international legislative best practice. The Act determines how the state intervenes to protect children from abuse and neglect, and to prevent and address child and youth offending. It represents how well our society cares for and supports our children and young people. The Act introduced principles that changed the way decisions were made about children and young people, enabling family to become partners in the decision-making process to resolve family issues. Fundamental to the Act was the incorporation and inclusion of families throughout the process of making decisions in matters of care and protection of children and young people, and offending by young people. In recent weeks our nation has been shocked by the coverage of an attempted uplift of a baby by Oranga Tamariki at Hawkes Bay hospital. What has come from this coverage has been a ground swell of information from traumatized parents, grandparents, families and their children of their experiences dealing with Oranga Tamariki and the NZ Family Court. There is also a direct correlation between Oranga Tamariki, the NZ Family Court and our mental health and suicide crisis across our nation. The trauma experienced by those who have been engaged and under the care of Oranga Tamariki (CYFS), the NZ Family Court must be acknowledged and addressed. There needs to be independent investigations into the conduct, culture, processes and policies of Oranga Tamariki, the effect of the NZ Family Court processes and the impact of child removal on the wellbeing of our nation.
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  • Remove Oranga Tamariki as the name for CYPFs
    Oranga is a kupu which implies wellness - culturally the fact that this Ministry uses kupu Maori is distasteful given the bullying tactics used to remove Maori mokopuna and tamariki from their families without engaging with the whanau.
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  • Legalize Drug Testing at Festivals/Concerts
    Currently if festival/concert organisations allow the testing of drugs to occur in their premises, they are technically breaking the law and can be prosecuted. If organisations are able to apply for a permit to legally conduct drug testing at their premises - more festivals and concerts will do so thus ensuring the safety of drug users at festivals. There is widespread information and data to prove that more harm is done from the intake of a mixture of unknown substances by drug users, than the actual intended drug itself. Drugs that are illegally sold to people in NZ may contain other unknown toxic substances, an unexpected high dosage - which can both be deadly, particularly when mixed with other substances such as alcohol. The drugs commonly used at festivals and concerts including LSD and MDMA, can consist of other more toxic or dangerous drugs that have similar effects to MDMA/LSD. The actual drugs themselves have a low risk of causing deadly effects to its users (however they are not completely harmless) when used in regulated and controlled environment. However, the impurities in these drugs from the black market and mixing with other substances (alcohol) increase the risk of deadly effects greatly. The additives and substitutes found in pills (including PMA, N-Ethylpentylone, NBOMes, Fentanyl) make the substance much more toxic and easier to overdose, and can have deadly effects such as heart attack, renal failure and stroke. The amount of people whose deaths are caused by party drugs are actually comparatively lower than that caused by alcohol, heroin and other substances. However, the public views them as causing more harm than they actually do, as media displays more incidents caused by them than other drugs. Statistics (on KnowYourStuff.org) also show that people are less likely to consume their drug after having it tested and finding the substance(s) it contains, is not what they presumed it to be. Thus reducing the potential number of hospitalisations and dangerous effects. In Australia, festivals have found that introducing drug testing at their events have resulted in a reduction of hospitalizations by 95%. At the Groovin Moo festival in Canberra last year, drug testing revealed that 84% of people who had their substances analyzed thought that they contained MDMA, but in fact only 51% actually contained any MDMA at all. It will also allow festival goers who have had their drugs tested to be given an identification card - so if they run into medical trouble during their time at the event medical staff are able to quickly identify what they have taken. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/109699570/independent-drugtesting-tents-at-festivals-a-fantastic-idea-says-police-minister-stuart-nash https://thespinoff.co.nz/science/23-01-2019/what-are-the-health-risks-in-taking-ecstasy/ https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/109745413/pill-testing-what-drug-tests-and-festivals-do-and-why
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  • Pledge your vote to candidates who care for our Invercargill disabled community
    He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is people, it is people, it is people. Invercargill's disabled community has many members who work for Southland disAbility Enterprises. The current recycling contract is 70% of the work, and losing the contract will put many vulnerable people in our community in a very difficult position. The news that they were not the preferred contractor is very disappointing, and goes against the wishes of 15 thousand Southlanders who already signed a previous petition opposing this action by wastenet. The last on the staff is devastating : "The news came as a surprise to the family and employees who heard it. Margaret Fitzgerald said the decision shouldn't come down to money - ''it's a social responsibility''. Ms Fitzgerald, whose sister works on the current WasteNet contract, said losing the contract would have a huge impact. ''She has a purpose in life, she has a purpose to get out of bed every day, they all do ... this contract is everything for them. ''We're not going to give up; there's no way we're giving up now. Today is a very emotional day for us, but we'll fight.'' https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/southland/sde-informs-staff-contract-probably-lost
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  • Pledge your support for the Dementia Declaration
    Nearly 70,000 people have dementia now and we expect that number to increase to 170,000 by 2050 as New Zealand’s population continues to age. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. For every person diagnosed with dementia there are family, whānau and friends also affected by the diagnosis. It is distressing to watch people struggle so much, and to see the spiraling impacts of that struggle. But it is not too late to change the game, to put in place the systems, support and services that New Zealanders are going to need in coming years, and to reduce the cost burden on the country.
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  • Reinstate Funding for Te Hā o Hine-ahu-one Palmerston North Women’s Health Collective
    Te Hā o Hine-ahu-one Palmerston North Women’s Health Collective is a unique, holistic, free, easily accessible women’s health service that has a proven track record over many years. It is now inter-generational in its reach, seeing the children, nieces and grandchildren of earlier clients. It is a ‘by women for women’ community development initiative that has always had a particular emphasis on addressing the health needs of low income wāhine/women (and their whānau) in a supportive, welcoming environment of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga. Poverty is a major concern of this government and this service helps to address this and other disadvantages that undermine the ability of women to access sensitive, responsive and empowering healthcare. https://i.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/110556016/community-support-swells-for-trusted-womens-health-centre https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/110396565/anger-and-dismay-about-threat-to-womens-health-service
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