• STOP underfunding the disability sector now
    The disability support sector has reached a crisis point. As a result of government funding not keeping up with huge increases in the cost of living, organisations supporting disabled people are struggling to keep up. According to a report commissioned by the New Zealand Disability Support Network the sector is (conservatively) $150 million behind. (Source: Developing a Workforce to Support Disabled People and their Whānau report, 2018). Our last national census indicates that one in four New Zealanders identifies as disabled. That is a lot of New Zealanders whose lives are affected by historic underfunding. We want change now and we want you, as Ministers with the power to advocate for disabled people, to champion the additional 12% funding needed for the sector. At the moment, kind-hearted kiwis are subsidising some government services through donations and legacies. Organisations, like CCS Disability Action, are also running down precious financial reserves. The current level of underfunding means that services must be trimmed to the bare minimum required by government contracts. These essential services urgently need more funding to ensure disabled New Zealanders can still receive high quality support and the staff who look after them are paid fairly. If this persistent underfunding is not remedied, disabled Kiwis and their families will be severly disadvantaged. These services are becoming stretched to breaking point. Our chance to act is now, the more momentum we build, the louder our voice will be. To find out more go to www.ccsDisabilityAction.org.nz.
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  • Say NO to More Pokies for Sky City Casino Hamilton
    Sky City Casino Hamilton are requesting that the Gambling Commission allow an increase in the number of pokie machines in their Hamilton Casino. An additional 60 machines would bring their total to 399, almost half the machines in Hamilton. The Hamilton City Council’s sinking lid policy should see levels reduced not increased. Hamilton City Council has no jurisdiction on the decision to grant the additional gaming machines but is one of only 4 groups invited to comment. Residents are not being given the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding Sky City’s request to Government for additional pokie machines. In total Hamilton currently has 745 gambling machines. - The revenue that Sky City Casino earned mostly from it's 339 pokie machines in the last financial year was approximately $39m - $698,000 or 1.8% was returned to the wider Waikato community in grants.” - Department of Internal Affairs figures show that the City’s other 406 pokie machines (with all the problems they also cause) had a combined revenue of approximately $25m - $10.5m or 42% was returned to the wider Waikato community. So whichever way you look at it, and even if you mistakenly thought pokie machines do no harm, 60 more machines at the Sky City Casino represent a very poor return for the community and goes against the well thought out policy designed to protect us from the expansion of gambling machines and their undeniably addictive attraction to many Hamiltonians. https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/380237/hamilton-mayor-moves-to-block-sky-city-pokies-expansion Addiction to pokies https://interactives.stuff.co.nz/2018/01/whos-in-charge-of-michael/
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  • PM Jacinda Ardern: Prevent violence against women and invest in support for victims and survivors
    It’s difficult to know how to express the horror so many of us feel about what happened to Grace Millane. She was 21, on the trip of a lifetime, with her whole life ahead of her… and then she was gone. When women are murdered, it is a reminder that our safety is an illusion. We have some of the worst statistics for sexual violence and violence against women in the OECD. Most of that violence is at the hands of our men. For some time people at the front line with first-hand experience of violence against women, and those who support them, have been calling for the nation to do some soul-searching and to seek solution-based actions. Women going on solo adventures or meeting new people for dates are not the problem here. Men who commit acts of violence against women are. But violence is preventable if we work together at an individual, whānau, community, regional and national level. Most decent New Zealanders will be devastated by Grace’s death. The vast majority of us feel horrified for her parents and her family, and send them all our love. But we must open our eyes to the dangers facing women in our country. We must remove our rose-tinted glasses. The government and men of New Zealand must take action; for Grace and for all of the women who have lost their lives to violence in our country. Rest in peace and aroha, Grace. On behalf of all New Zealanders, we are so very, very sorry. We promise to do better as a nation. *** An open letter with the same asks has already been sent to PM Jacinda Ardern and was published in the New Zealand Herald on Saturday 15 December. See the news story here: http://bit.ly/2ULCWGU See the letter that was sent to PM Jacinda Ardern here: http://bit.ly/2zZi9qp For a list of other ways you can take action and organisations you can donate time or money to, visit www.HelpWahine.org.nz.
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  • Bring Back our Bus
    People at Te Korowai Whariki (Mental Health Rehab Service) are trying to get back their independence and need a bus to get into town to do shopping and visit the library. A few months ago our bus service into the centre was cancelled and people no longer had easy access to the Porirua shopping area and all the other resources that others take for granted. Most patients on the ward don't have a car. People who are wanting to bring their grocery shopping back to the unit now have to walk. It takes about 30 minutes without groceries. WITH groceries it is near impossible. "I used to be able to get my groceries no problem... but now I no longer can and am forced to get a taxi or catch a ride with somebody." "We are struggling to rehabilitate and this only adds another barrier to this." Also, people working for the service no longer have the option of catching a bus. "I'd much rather catch public transport than use a car, now I no longer have that option." Once this petition is resolved we can then begin to think about a campaign to change this frustrating new bus system in the wider Wellington region.
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  • Open letter to Waikato Regional Council to pay contractors a living wage
    A Living Wage is the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. The Living Wage enables workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society. Research has found a Living Wage enables employees to be able to spend more time with their families, feel valued, be less stressed and consequently happier and more motivated in their workplaces. Furthermore, treatment of employees is integral to business success. A report undertaken in the UK found implementation of a living wage decreases staff turnover and increases productivity. Reference: Brown, Newman & Blair, (2014) "The Difference a Living Wage makes" Paper to the Population Health Congress
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  • Take action to end institutional racism in New Zealand
    In New Zealand, we like to believe in the notion of everyone getting a ‘fair go’. But does everyone, regardless of the colour of their skin, ethnicity or national origin, get a ‘fair go’? Does everyone in Aotearoa get the same opportunity for good health, a good education, decent work and an adequate standard of living? The evidence says no. In fact, if you are Māori or Pasifika, you are: 👉🏾 More likely to be arrested by police 👉🏾 More likely to be sentence to prison by the court 👉🏾 More likely to live in cold, damp home 👉🏾 More likely to have teachers who don’t believe in you 👉🏾 More likely to be underpaid and undervalued 👉🏾 More likely to have their children removed and placed in state care 👉🏾 More likely to suffer preventable, and early deaths 👉🏾 Less likely to have your babies resuscitated in hospital Put another way, if you are Pākehā then you are: 👉🏻 More likely to be given a warning by police 👉🏻 More likely to be let off by the court 👉🏻 More likely to live in a wam, dry home 👉🏻 More likely to have teachers that believe in you 👉🏻 More likely to have accrued wealth and be well paid 👉🏻 Less likely to have your children removed and placed in state care 👉🏻 More likely to live a long and healthy life 👉🏻 More likely to have your babies resuscitated in hospital Is this a ‘fair go’? We don’t think so. We need to understand the role that racism - both conscious and unconscious - plays in the institutions that shape our lives - schools, police, courts, hospitals, community housing providers, Work and Income, Oranga Tamariki and other social service providers. Only a Royal Commission of Inquiry will enable us to understand the scale and depth of institutional racism in New Zealand. We need an Inquiry followed by an action plan to fix it. A ‘fair go’ for everyone will mean we all have the same access to quality health care, life expectancy and treatment from the police no matter what our skin colour, ethnicity or national origin. Sign our petition and share it with friends. Links: A fair go for all? Rite tahi tätou katoa? Addressing Structural Discrimination in Public Services, Human Rights Commission, 2012 https://www.hrc.co.nz/files/2914/2409/4608/HRC-Structural-Report_final_webV1.pdf Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Shadow Report: Aotearoa New Zealand, 2017 http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/NZL/INT_CERD_NGO_NZL_28208_E.pdf Māori experiences and responses to racism in Aotearoa New Zealand, Mai Journal, 2013 http://www.journal.mai.ac.nz/sites/default/files/MAI%20Journal%20Vol.2_2%20pages%2063-77%20Moewaka%20Barnes%20et%20al..pdf Racism and White Defensiveness in Aotearoa: A Pākehā Perspective, Max Harris, June 2018 https://e-tangata.co.nz/comment-and-analysis/racism-and-white-defensiveness-in-aotearoa-a-pakeha-perspective/ Our law is not colour-blind, Stuff, Sep 2016 https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/84346494/new-zealands-racist-justice-system--our-law-is-not-colourblind
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  • Appoint a Minister for Rainbow Issues
    Appointing a Minister for Rainbow Issues would be a major step forward in establishing true equality for our LGBTI+ communities. It would make New Zealand more inclusive of its diverse communities. It would make a clear statement to LGBTI+ people that they are being treated as the equals of other citizens and residents of this country. It would streamline the way, in which LGBTI+ issues are handled by the Government and it would ensure that such matters are handled by a representative, in whom they may have confidence. It would enable such matters to be handled with competence and continuity and it would enable LGBTI+ people to see that this is so. It would make it easier for the Government to consult with LGBTI+ communities. It would give transparency to the handling of LGBTI+ issues and it would demonstrate yet again that New Zealand is a world leader in social equality and fairness. As an example the Government of the Australian Capital Territory has an Office for LGBTIQ Affairs. http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/policystrategic/the-office-for-lgbtiq-affairs
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  • Safer Three Kings: No More Bottle Stores
    Alcohol Healthwatch estimates alcohol-related harm in New Zealand costs $14.5m each day. The brunt is disproportionately on youth, Maori and Pasifika in our communities, and there is a link between high density of off-licences and the heavier drinking patterns that result in much of the harm. Harm includes the health of the drinker themselves, such as increased rates of cancer and fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as harm to others, with alcohol playing a direct or indirect role in many fire fatalities, drownings, suicide and self-inflicted harm deaths, and the growing road toll. 43% of all alcohol is sold from off-licences, like the one proposed. This Super Liquor would be a large store, the size of the old bed shop, likely focused on selling bulk amounts of alcohol at low prices. It would increase the amount of alcohol in our community when we need to limit supply, and in particular reduce sales from off-licences where the liquor is then consumed in unsupervised circumstances (in contrast with on-licences). Three Kings already has a large number of off-licences and problems with anti-social behaviour as a result of alcohol abuse. There have been repeated incidents of violence and abuse in the carpark across the road from the proposed site, at 546 Mt Albert Rd, with alcohol playing a role. Several nearby shops, including existing bottle shops, have been violently robbed in particular the Liquor Legends on Duke St and the Crown Superette on Melrose Rd. Local schools and parks end up vandalised and littered with broken glass, as people drink alcohol purchased at bottle shops in public despite liquor bans. Resources of both council and schools have to be used to clean up the mess, when some of it could be avoided by reducing the sale of alcohol in the area. There are a number of local sites of cultural importance where anti-social behaviour fueled by alcohol would be inappropriate, including places of worship such as the almost adjacent Three Kings Congregational Church, and Ranfurly Retirement Village which is a war memorial to the Boer War and thus a place of remembrance as well as home to some of our more vulnerable older people. Finally, the District Licensing Committee process allows people to make submissions to object to the application, and this petition is an important opportunity for those who can't make a submission to still be able to show their opposition. It is possible there will also be a hearing on this application, particularly if the petition is signed by a lot of locals, which will provide another opportunity for the local community to have a say. There was a public meeting on Friday 7th September to discuss it, and there will be another one to plan further on Friday 12th October, 7pm, at the Waikowhai Room, Fickling Centre, 546 Mt Albert Rd (underneath the Mt Roskill Library and opposite the proposed site).
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  • Call to Parliament for improved access to the residential care subsidy
    My name is Grace Taylor. I am the daughter of a mother suffering from Alzheimer's / Early Onset Dementia. Mum is 1 of the 60,000 people in New Zealand currently affected by this disease. A statistic set to triple in New Zealand by 2050.[1] In March 2018, my mother’s health deteriorated and as a result, medical professionals advised my brother (who lives in Australia) and I that our mum required full time care by skilled professionals. We made the heartbreaking decision to admit our mother into a residential care home. A bigger hit came in May 2018, when my mother fell victim to unfair legislation that is crippling our family to financially provide for the quality care that my mother so rightly deserves. Two months after mum's condition required her to be admitted into full time care, mum’s application to the Ministry of Social Development for the residential care home subsidy was denied, in full and stood down to reapply again for another 4 years. This is due to the strict, blanket criteria of the eligibility for this subsidy. More specifically the criteria around the income and asset testing of applicants. Anyone’s loved ones could require residential care for many health reasons. As of 30 June 2018 there were 31,566 people aged 65+ in long term aged residential care. In addition there were 550 in respite care, for a total of 32,116. There are a further 1271 “Other residents” in living in aged care facilities but who don’t qualify for aged residential care ie “people fully funded by ACC or people with long-term conditions who are not assessed for aged residential care”.[2] Papers released under the Official Information Act show that each year around 1000 people with assets or income over the threshold receive no government help to pay weekly residential care costs that can reach over $1000.[3] "The asset base that you have to fall below to qualify for the subsidy is, I would argue, really quite low. We get a lot of people saying to us, look I just didn't know that dementia would be this expensive. It really costs people a lot of money." - Paul Sullivan, Chief Executive Dementia NZ I went public with my mother’s story on social media in May 2018. Within 24 hours - 10 NZ families contacted me directly with very similar stories for their loved ones with that have required residential care home to care for their loved ones. And there are so many more. With the denial of her residential care home subsidy due to the asset and gifting threshold set by the Ministry of Social Development, my mother has been stood down for 4 years to receive any financial support for her care home fees. Leaving my brother and I to pay her $4900 monthly fees, for the next 4 years. I am a single mother, I work full time, have a mortagage, and the only benefit I receive from the government is the OSCAR subsidy for my son’s after school care. Since March 2018 I have been had to take out personal loans, and rely on contributions of my brother, mum’s minimal pension, and my salary to pay $890 a fortnight for our family home mortgage, and $4960 a month for mums care home fee. As of August 2018, I can no longer maintain these costs. As a result we have been forced into a decision to sell our family home, of 40 years, in order to fund mums care over the next 4 years. A home that was the only place that was familiar and safe to my mother as her dementia took hold, a home I have been raising my son, a home that was my mother’s only material asset, a home that my mother worked 3 jobs to own and provide as security for her children. This is now being taken from us. My mother has never received a benefit from the government and has worked 2 sometimes 3 jobs for over 40 years to provide for us. I have followed all the formal avenues and processes with my local MP, Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Health. Having received responses from each minister directly it became very clear that what needs to be addressed is the legislation around the residential care home subsidy. This is my call, on behalf of many voices, for that action. Please raise your voice with me. Fa'afetai tele lava. To read more about the detailed bigger picture of my family's story please visit: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/363396/families-of-dementia-sufferers-face-huge-bills Tagata Pasifika feature story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27r-EA0JSJY&t=7s Here is my open letter to NZ in response to our situtation. https://www.facebook.com/grace.taylor.5437923/videos/1627972693991555/ References 1. As stated in the report Economic Impact of Dementia (2016) by Deloitte & Alzheimer's New Zealand 2. New Zealand Aged Care Association 3. Radio New Zealand, 6th August 2018
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  • Government Inquiry into Wellington Regions' Suicide Prevention and Postvention Service
    In March 2016 the Capital and Coast District Health Board (on behalf of the Wairarapa, Hutt Valley and Capital and Coast District Health Boards) tendered the Wellington Regions' Suicide Prevention and Postvention service to Lifeline Aotearoa. The intent of this service is to prevent suicide and to reduce the impact of suicide on individuals, families/whanau and impacted communities. We ask now for a Government Inquiry and audit into the Wellington Regions' Suicide Prevention and Postvention provision of service awarded to Lifeline Aotearoa in March 2016 to evaluate the service. In 2005-06 the Ministry of Health used the best available research, data and other information to prepare a national strategy for preventing suicide. The New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006-16 provides a framework to guide national efforts during the period and help government agencies and others understand how various activities in different sectors fit together to prevent suicide. DHBs led the plan's preparation and work with stakeholders. The Ministry of Health expects DHBs to focus on current risks, but also to preempt risk. DHBs are expected to work with government agencies and community groups to carry out plans. Data confirms the increasing suicide rate in the Wellington region. Matters of concern the Government Inquiry urgently needs to investigate include; • the implementation and delivery of the Wellington Regions' Suicide Prevention and Postvention Plan 2015 to the present. • suitability of Lifeline Aotearoa to effectively meet contractual requirements. • 3DHBs management of the Suicide Prevention and Postvention Service including oversight and accountability by the General Manager, 3DHB Mental Health, Addictions and Intellectual Disability Services. • the efficiency of the Service Innovation and Performance (SIP) for the overall governance and implementation of the 3DHBs Suicide Prevention and Postvention Plan. • the workplace culture including bullying within both the suicide prevention and postvention service. Research clearly indicates the association between bullying involvement - on both sides - and suicidal thoughts and behaviour's. • the efficiency and effectiveness of the 3DHB suicide prevention and postvention service governance structure. • the service's relationships with key stakeholders such as - Māori, Pasifika, LGBQTI, elderly, youth and tertiary education providers including Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University of Wellington, Otago University of Wellington, Whitireia New Zealand, Wellington Institute of Technology. • the performance of the suicide prevention and postvention service in regards to consumer complaints. • the effective use of resources and identify any waste. Please add your name to support the call for an Inquiry. References Provision of a Service to Support the Implementation of the Wellington Regions Suicide Prevention & Postvention Plan 2015/17 https://www.gets.govt.nz/CCDHB/ExternalTenderDetails.htm?id=17071482 https://coronialservices.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/20180824-Provisional-suicide-statistics-2017-18-media-release.pdf https://coronialservices.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/2017-2018-Annual-Provisional-Suicide-Statistics-Final.pdf https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018668904/porirua-leader-speaks-of-pain-caused-by-six-suspected-suicides https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018668925/porirua-community-gathers-to-discuss-spate-of-suicides https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/108226878/Porirua-community-bands-together-after-cluster-of-sudden-deaths?fbclid=IwAR0z50wzcgW0PMg0OyXrVrE6fh3L-ex8cKXDtMKhTz7qp1U5b5RDWSU8oPE https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/106532292/new-zealand-suicide-rate-highest-since-records-began https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/106542099/mori-suicide-rate-the-highest-its-ever-been-what-are-we-missing https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/366345/lifeline-turns-down-help-offer https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/09/mike-king-slams-lifeline-claims-it-refused-help-with-unanswered-calls.html https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2017/vol-130-no-1448-13-january-2017/7121 https://www.cambridgenews.nz/2018/05/spotlight-on-workplace-bullying/ https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/358699/one-hundred-worksafe-bullying-complaints-but-no-prosecutions
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  • Save the Bromley Bus Service
    As a result of decisions made through Environment Canterbury’s Long-Term Plan 2018-28 process, it has been decided the 145 route that currently runs from Westmorland to Eastgate will be changed. The proposed options for public transport in the draft Long-Term Plan included that the six lowest-performing bus routes in Christchurch would be discontinued. Over 700 submissions were received about the public transport proposals, including many verbal submissions at the hearings held in late April and early May. These submissions were considered by the Councillors before the decisions about the final route changes were made. The new solution includes changes such as reducing frequency instead of entirely removing routes, and redirecting existing routes. Despite the new solution being reached, the section of the 145 bus route that currently services Bromley is still set to be discontinued. These changes are expected to be implemented in October 2018. There is a high level of concern from residents and businesses regarding the discontinuation of the Bromley end of the 145, so Environment Canterbury are going to consider whether it might be possible to retain any level of service for this area at the same time. An update on these options will be shared with the Environment Canterbury Council in August 2018. We are calling on Environment Canterbury to retain public transport services in our neighbourhood, as the walk to reach alternative bus routes is not manageable by many of the people who currently use the 145. It's not practical for people with mobility limitations to make the walk. We fear that without the vital bus service link to places such as Eastgate and the associated social experiences and essential services that some people, particularly the elderly, will become more socially isolated. This petition has been organised by staff and users of the Bromley Community Centre, 45 Bromley Road. Please sign the petition to add your voice.
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  • Porirua College singers to lead the anthem at the next All Blacks test
    Because those young women can sing! But not only that. Tiresa, Rosetta and Anastasia are young people from Porirua who will be able to represent us all on the national stage at one of the biggest sporting events this year. They can show the strength, diversity and real-ness of our young people. Who usually gets to decide who represents us? Just imagine, this could become one of *those* stories that captures the public mood. Where we're able, through our signatures, infiltrate the height of a professional sporting event (and all the pageantry that goes with an All Blacks test match) with raw, talented and classy people like these 3 young singers. And this isn't to dis' the professional singers that NZ Rugby usually use at test matches. It's a chance for NZ Rugby to show its community-minded side, and to give an opportunity for these young, talented school students from Porirua to shine on a global stage - a real authentic voice of young New Zealand. Represent! "The richness and beauty that's in their voices is part of the richness and beauty of this community." - Porirua College principal Ragne Maxwell Check them out: https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018651010/porirua-students-version-of-nz-national-anthem-goes-viral Porirua teens say key to good anthem is 'sing it with pride', Stuff, 28 June: https://bit.ly/2tAEXtC
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