• Open Letter: Five To Thrive
    Too many of our children in Aotearoa are missing out on the basics they need to thrive. With political will, we can change this to ensure all of our children have a bright future. We are asking our friends, whānau, and colleagues - Kiwis that care about our children, to sign on to this open letter to ask that every child in Aotearoa gets the five basics they need to do well now, and into the future. To find out more, check out Five To Thrive https://www.fivetothrive.nz/ To keep you updated with the campaign your signature details will be shared with the four organisations leading this campaign; Barnardos, Save the Children, Te Kāhui Mana Ririki Trust, and Whānau Āwhina Plunket.
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  • Calling for immediate action to improve mental wellbeing for diverse Asian communities in Aotearoa
    Since the outbreak of COVID-19, demand for linguistically and culturally appropriate Asian mental health services has increased notably in our communities. Front-line clinicians working with diverse Asian communities have seen how high stress, anxiety and isolation of living in a pandemic are taking their toll on Asian people’s mental health. Historically, Asian communities have low utilisation of mainstream primary and secondary mental health services in Aotearoa compared to other ethnic groups [1]. Therefore, despite the increase in demand for mental health care identified by Asian mental health services during COVID-19, Asian clients are unlikely to seek mental health care from mainstream providers and will continue to rely on Asian specific providers. While resettling in a linguistically and culturally different country is already a stressful experience for newer settlers within the Asian communities, we are seeing more complex family distress, mental health and social care needs of our clients since COVID-19. In addition to needing help with depressive and anxiety-related issues brought on by the pandemic, Asian people are also dealing with heightened stress and safety concerns around discrimination, long-term impacts of unemployment, financial hardship, domestic violence and abuse, loneliness and isolation due to separation from family members. The Human Rights Commission has reported a 30% spike in racially motivated attacks towards Asian people, particularly those of Chinese and East Asian descent, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic [2]. This figure is reflective of the increase in distress reported by our clients from bullying, verbal and non-verbal attacks. Although there is no official reporting of suicide rates connected to COVID-19, we are alarmed by the increase in the suicide rate amongst the Asian population in the recently published provisional suicide data released by the Chief Coroner. The suicide rates for the Asian population had increased from 5.09 to 7.91 per 100,000 between July 2019-June 2020, which went against the declining suicide trends for all other ethnic groups in Aotearoa [3]. The Covid-19 pandemic has further brought to the fore the significant service gaps and unmet needs within Asian communities. We reiterate the urgent need for a national-level strategy and interventions to be put in place to stop the increase in suicide and poor mental health outcomes amongst this diverse and growing population group. Please sign the petition to support our call for the Ministry of Health to address the mental health needs of diverse Asian communities in Aotearoa. Thank you for helping us!
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  • Consent Education should be compulsory for First-Year Tertiary Students
    In a world free from sexual violence, students would be able to learn and achieve, without fear, harm or violence. Students would be able to walk through campus, attend lectures, engage in tutorials, knowing that they are valued, respected, and treated equally. Starting tertiary study is an important time in a young person's life, and sets them up for their entire life course 'pipeline'. When a student faces barriers or trauma during their study, it often has lifelong ripple effects and consequences. Recent research shows that 1 in 3 students will experience sexual harm during study [1], and this mirrors Thursdays in Black's own findings, which highlighted that over 50% of participants had experienced some form of sexual harm during study [2]. Research on wider populations shows that in Aotearoa, 1 in 3 women, 1 in 6 men, and 1 in 2 transgender people will experience sexual harm. Research also shows that women, Māori, Queer/Takatāpui, and disabled students are at significantly higher risk of experiencing harm in comparison to other identities, and that 90% of sexually harmful situations happen between people that know each other, for example friends, relationships, colleagues, or family. At Thursdays in Black, our vision is to improve these circumstances, by mandating sexual consent education for first years students. This education will empower young people by giving them the skills to navigate and create their own healthy sexual relationships, help prevent harmful behaviours, and contribute to the ongoing culture change of tertiary institutions. By teaching these skills to students aged 17-20, we will be setting them up with a kete of tools that will benefit them throughout their life, and help make our communities safer. Yet at present, there is no legal requirement for tertiary institutions to offer compulsory courses to teach students about sexual consent. New Zealand institutions currently have a fragmented approach to consent education, with different institutions offering different levels of engagement, different approaches, and some with out any programmes at all. At Thursdays in Black, we believe that Aotearoa can do better, and see that implementing such an education policy as not only urgent, but long overdue. We request that the Minister pass legislation requiring tertiary institutions in Aotearoa to provide sexual consent education to all first-year tertiary students. Such education should be a research-based program, created with and facilitated by subject matter experts and the sexual violence sector, it should engage student leaders, operate on a bi-cultural model that upholds Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and reflect an intersectional approach that respects the disproportionate impact sexual violence has on specific groups. Tertiary institutions, for the most part, remain out-dated and traditional in their thinking -- often reinforcing a rape culture of power imbalances, misogyny, and toxicity. This does not make a safe environment for our tertiary students. Help make education safe. Sign the petition today to call on the Minister to implement compulsory consent courses for first-year students. 1. Unpublished Phd Thesis by Kayla Stewart, for a preliminary discussion of her findings, see https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/113090659/a-third-of-women-university-students-report-being-sexually-assaulted-what-do-we-owe-them 2. In 2017, Thursdays in Black Aotearoa conducted a report titled ‘In Our Own Words’, which details the extent to which tertiary students experienced sexual violence prior to, and during, their studies You can find it here: https://library.nzfvc.org.nz/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=5557
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  • Please help make the "Climate Live New Zealand" charity festival happen!
    The climate movement is currently engaging a primarily young audience, as shown by the response to Fridays for Future and school strikes. However, it is still not mainstream enough to inspire the kind of action required to save our planet—action from individuals in their everyday lives, and governments around the world. In order to engage a wider audience in the climate movement and educate people about the ecological challenges we face and encourage more people to take environmental action, New Zealand is participating in Climate Live: a movement that intends to hold simultaneous music events in over 40 countries in 2021 in the name of climate action. The concerts will be taking place on the 24th of April and 16th of October 2021. Climate Live is supported by global NGOs, music and event professionals and global media companies/outlets. Climate Live NZ will be a charity concert featuring live performers, artists, and speakers and it will be taking place on the 16th of October 2021 in the Waikato. All profit will be donated to local charities and environmental organisations and will be spent on taking environmental action in New Zealand. We are asking for the government to support us financially in order for Climate Live NZ to be able to go ahead. How it will benefit New Zealand and our community: It will positively impact the lives of many people in our community and our environment by 1. Bringing people together in the name of climate action. 2. Educating and empowering people to take environmental action and live a more sustainable lifestyle. 3. Raising money (upwards of 100.000K) to support local non-profit organisations. 4. Giving a platform to our up and coming artists (including artists and speakers in our disadvantaged communities who may never otherwise have the chance) to showcase their talents and make their voices heard in front of an international audience. 5. With the support of Climate Live International, Climate Live New Zealand will be broadcasted across NZ and the World. Therefore, it will attract tourists to our country and show the world how much New Zealanders care about our planet. 6. Giving many of our young people involved industry experience in event management and also provide them with opportunities to connect with people, professionals and organisations around New Zealand and the world. 7. Giving people jobs. !NOTE: We are going to have waste management strategies and systems in place for the concert (designed and coordinated by professionals) to keep the concert sustainable. On the concert day, there will be buses that will be taking people to the concert to reduce our carbon footprint! Who we are: A group of young people from around New Zealand who are being supported by several adults, groups and organisations like Oxfam New Zealand, Greenpeace New Zealand and Go Eco. We cannot do this alone! We urgently need support from our government to be able to move forward in the project! If other countries can do it, we can do it, and if other countries do it we must also do it, for our community, people, organisations and country. It is our responsibility to use this opportunity that will change the lives of so many people and will positively impact the future of our planet. Thank you for your support.
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  • Supporting paid leave for women after abortions
    The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has a focus under Goal 5 on safe abortion as part of protecting “human rights and promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”. Target 5.6 seeks to ensure “universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences”. We believe that the Holiday Amendment Bill act could be changed to better suit the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to better support women in Aotearoa. We hope you consider our suggestion as young people and women going into the workforce. As a society, we believe we need to do more to ensure women have equal rights and have equitable working conditions. Thank you for helping us in our fight to remove the word ‘unplanned’ from Ginny Anderson’s Holiday Amendment Bill. Ngā mihi, Lorna Hallett Renee Hamilton Kate Chu Athena Kapralos Ella Murdoch Evie Harrington Bella Redshaw Bintou Fiti-Jaiteh Natasha Taylor Valora Leilua-Tiatia Tia-Rhiena Martin-Upton Nicole Askari Ruby McGovern Sophie Irving
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  • 6 PROMISES FOR 6000 (CHILDREN IN THE STATE CARE SYSTEM)
    Aotearoa New Zealand has over 6000 children and young people in our state care system. VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai believes 6 PROMISES must be made to them. These are promises you would want to make to your children should they ever be in a position to need the care system. We are putting a call out to every New Zealander to compel their elected representatives to stand behind these promises and ensure they are fulfilled. VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai worked with care experienced young people to come up with 6 PROMISES FOR 6000 – a call to all those running for elected office to agree to uphold six basic asks. Our Members of Parliament are uniquely placed to deliver on these promises. With your support, we can amplify the voice of children and young people in care and seek commitment to these promises during the next electoral term. Through a groundswell movement of people across Aotearoa, we would like to see all our politicians sign up to these 6 PROMISES to ensure the care system becomes a truly caring system. Please sign the petition asking all elected representatives to commit to these 6 PROMISES. Also, please express your support for the movement via your social channels using #6promises. VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai was created by children with care experience for children with care experience. Established in 2017, VOYCE is an independent organisation that helps to advocate for the more than 6000 young people young children living with whanau or foster families, all over New Zealand. We exist to amplify the voices of tamariki and rangatahi and ensure they are at the centre of all conversations and decisions being made within the care sector. We see the potential, abilities and strengths apparent in the care community every day and know we can have a system that ensures they realise their full potential. Thank you for your support.
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  • Support families in need. Extend the Winter Energy Payment
    As New Zealanders, we believe in justice and compassion. We want everyone to have the opportunity to thrive. But, right now, hundreds of thousands of people in our country are living in poverty. Despite our differences, we share a responsibility to make sure everyone has a decent standard of living and the same chances in life. Poverty in New Zealand affects people of all ages and situations – children and their parents, young adults, people in and out of work and people with disabilities. The stress that comes with poverty can erode people’s mental and physical health. Showing compassion as a society means making sure no-one has to endure the harms of poverty. On October 1, 2020, the Winter Energy Payment that is provided to people on government income support, to assist with heating a home, is due to expire. This will cut the already low incomes for people locked in poverty by $63 a week for couples and $41 a week for an individual. But as research has shown, $40 - $60 less per week means not being able to go to the dentist or doctor, not being able to afford emergency bills and not being able to pay for kids to participate in extracurricular activities like sports, art or volunteering. At a time where food banks are reporting record demand and the number of people needing government income support had its biggest jump in 24 years in April, the government needs to show some compassion. By permanently extending the Winter Energy Payment, the government can help make it possible for everyone to do well.
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  • No more pokies in Wellington!
    Wellington City Council is seeking feedback on its proposed gambling venues policy for electronic gaming machines, more commonly known as ‘pokies’. The Council has powers to determine which TABs, pubs and clubs can host pokie machines. The current policy limits the number of machines in certain areas, but we would like the policy to include a ‘sinking lid’. That means no new pokies venues would be able to open in the Wellington area. We think a sinking lid is the best policy available to reduce the number of pokie machines and reduce gambling harm. Currently Wellington City has 633 pokie machines across 40 venues. In 2019, people in Wellington lost over a staggering $40 million on these machines. Some people support pokies because the gambling losses are used to fund community groups. But only 40% of the losses are returned to the community and not always into the community it comes from. Pokies are highly addictive and are the most harmful form of gambling. It is estimated that 30% of the money lost on pokies comes from people experiencing harm. Pokies outside casinos make up almost 50% of the people who seek help about their gambling. Pokie machines in Wellington are clustered in the most deprived neighbourhoods in the city where people can least afford to lose significant amounts of money. Council’s consultation process is public and your comments will be available for public inspection. Submissions are open until 1 October 2020. Your submission won’t be returned to you, so if you require a copy, please make one before submitting. Your name, address, phone number, and email address are required for this official submission and will be for Council use only. If you require a special private hearing where your identity will be protected and you have experienced gambling harm, please contact PGF Group on 0800 664 262.
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  • Māori self-determination for Health
    At this time of the covid virus we can be especially thankful that our publicly funded health system in Aotearoa New Zealand is among the best in the world. However the health system doesn't work the same for everyone. Māori whānau and communities are treated unfairly in the current model and experience severe and persistent health inequities. A fair society means everyone participates in enhancing our social, economic and educational activities, which builds collective confidence and safety. We all benefit in a fair society that is more prosperous and harmonious. Māori kids and adults visit a health professional the same as or more than non-Māori. Yet the outcomes across the population are different. For example, Māori women are dying at two times the rate as non-Māori from breast cancer, four times in cervical cancer and five times more in lung cancer. The recommendation of 10 of 12 health experts who were tasked with a two year investigation of unfairness in our health system and how to address this, concluded a Māori Health Authority with commissioning rights was the best approach. This means an Authority that will have the autonomy to control, make decisions, and determine how to spend health dollars most appropriately for Māori. In order to provide the same high outcome for everyone our health system needs to be informed by Māori needs and Māori decision making. Māori must be able to enact rangatiratanga (self determination) to best meet the needs of their own communities. Such an approach will result in diverse options for everyone. For example, a Mātauranga Māori commissioning frame recognises the inseparability of health, education, environment, income, and civic responsibilities. This world-leading approach honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi which lays out terms of settlement. Te Tiriti is how we achieve a society where improved health is protected for every person, whānau, and social group regardless of social advantage and disadvantage. Though the government has accepted the creation of a Māori Health Authority, they rejected commissioning rights for the Authority. Without commissioning rights, the Māori Health Authority is subordinate to the Crown's representative, the Ministry of Health. Add your name today to call on our government to give Māori commissioning to the Māori Health Authority and ensure equal health outcomes for everyone in Aotearoa. **** References The New Zealand Health and Disability System Review https://systemreview.health.govt.nz/ "We have now some quite good evidence that racism at a range of levels does determine access, experience and outcomes in the healthcare system." Dr Ashley Blomfield, to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2018 Racist health system no cure for sick Māori, July 2019 https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/113917099/racist-health-system-no-cure-for-sick-maori 'We have totally failed': Rheumatic fever: The Third World disease entrenched in New Zealand, Aug 2020 https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/122260447/we-have-totally-failed-rheumatic-fever-the-third-world-disease-entrenched-in-new-zealand National Urban Māori Authority calls for Māori self-determination in health https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/300036653/national-urban-mori-authority-calls-for-mori-selfdetermination-in-health Māori should have a stand-alone health system https://www.facebook.com/TeAoMaoriNews/videos/3592536994197158 Public Health Association calls for the Minister of Health to intervene and support the Māori Health Authority alternative commissioning framework https://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/article/undoctored/public-health-association-calls-minister-health-intervene-and-support-maori
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  • Youth Justice Demerit Points Bill Fails Young People: Ask the Select Committee to reject it!
    To the Social Services and Community Committee We ask that you reject the Oranga Tamariki (Youth Justice Demerit Points) Amendment Bill. This Bill, though well intentioned, fails to understand and respond to the complex and layered challenges facing our rangatahi. At the heart of this bill lies a lack of understanding of the drivers behind youth offending, and the sort of interventions needed to support rangatahi to thrive. According to the Youth Offenders summary report in 2019, of those referred to a FGC, 94% of kids 11-13, and 81% of young people aged 14-17 had been the subject of a report of concern to Oranga Tamariki relating to their care and protection. This data highlighted "that young people who offend often have complex problems, which can be among the underlying causes of their offending." If you speak with Youth Development Workers, or Social Workers supporting these rangatahi and whanau, they will testify to the reality that a large proportion of rangatahi who end up reoffending are often victims of abuse, with a history of poverty, mental illness, housing instability, intellectual disability, and severe trauma. They are also predominantly Maori, facing regular, and constant discrimination. The Youth Justice Demerit Points bill fails to provide an answer to these very real and significant issues that lie at the root of youth offending. Another failure of the Bill is its assumption that our inability to support rangatahi early enough is a failure of identification. However, if you once again were to speak to Youth Development Workers, Social Workers, and other community workers who are serving and supporting our whānau and rangatahi, they will tell you that identifying rangatahi at risk of reoffending is not the problem. Our communities know who these young people are. The issue lies in the lack of resources and supports available for young people within our community. The idea of using demerit points to characterise young people, is also out of step with the Government's own Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa (YDSA). The YDSA commits the Government to thinking about, and walking alongside young people utilizing a Strength Based approach. The YDSA outlines that any additional support designed for young people "needs to be consistent with the youth development approach - that is, it needs to avoid defining the young person as 'the problem'." The Youth Justice Demerit Points Bill is out of step with the YDSA. It fails to approach our young people in a strength based manner, and it contributes to further stigmatizing and marginalizing young people. We are also concerned about the negative impact labeling our young people with Demerit Points will have on their overall mental and emotional well-being. Instead of passing a bill that will have very little direct impact on reducing the risk of a young person re-offending, we ask that Parliament turns its focus to: ★ Reviewing the Family Group Conferences (FGC) system: Audit the FGC system and provide the necessary resource and support needed to ensure that it is functioning in a manner consistent with the principals of Restorative Justice and Youth Development. ★ Focus on Early Intervention: Provide local communities with resourced and dedicated support so that they can meet the needs of the young people in their communities who are struggling and at-risk. ★ Develop a Strategy to address the Youth Homelessness crisis: We know that when young people experience homelessness they are more likely to offend as a matter of survival. A Youth Specific Homelessness Strategy would address the factors that lie at the root of youth offending. Child poverty, mental illness, disability, unstable and inadequate housing, trauma, discrimination and racism are all factors that would be addressed. Young people living in stable housing, with their mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being taken care of, are less likely to become involved in the Youth Justice System. ★ Provide each young person entering the Justice System with a trained Youth Development Worker: A service designed in consultation with the Youth Development Sector, with a specific focus on supporting rangatahi who enter the Youth Justice system, would be one way to provide early intervention to rangatahi as soon as they enter the system. If each rangatahi had a dedicated Youth Development Worker, their needs could be assessed immediately, and they would than be able to be connected to the right supports before they become entrapped within the system. The Oranga Tamariki (Youth Justice Demerit Points) Amendment Bill fails to understand or acknowledge the driving factors behind youth offending, and thus it fails to adequately respond. For this reason, the Bill should fail. You can read more about our concerns with the Bill here: https://whenlambsaresilent.wordpress.com/2020/07/30/will-demerit-points-stop-youth-offending-a-j-hendry/ You can find the bill here: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/member/2020/0229/latest/whole.html#LMS323852
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  • Huarahi Māori o Te Awakairangi
    Huarahi Māori o Te Awakairangi is a social action campaign started by six Year 13 students at Wainuiomata High School. We strongly believe that colonial street names are controversial and not reflective of our communities. We have conducted some research and found that less than 22% of the street names in Te Awakairangi are Māori. With the support of our community, we want to have meaningful street names which reflect our culture. We must keep our culture alive and not celebrate those who have stripped that from Māori. For example, the two Wakefield brothers ended up in prison for three years for abducting a 15 year old girl. Here in Aotearoa William Wakefield manipulated the lands out of Māori hands and condoned and promoted colonisation of our country. That name does not deserve to be represented on our whenua. "...These are the names we say everyday with ease while ancient names, names with stories, and genealogies tied to this place get erased, replaced, and sometimes butchered beyond recognition..." -Dr Emalani Case (from 'Lost in Wellington') We aim to bring change through our values of manaakitanga and peace. Please sign our petition and help us make this change.
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  • Be Courageous: Support the establishment of a Māori Ward
    Families and friends of Taranaki invite you to sign this petition to show you care about meaningful and effective Māori/Pākehā partnership in local government in Aotearoa. This is about Aroha. Aroha to direct one’s essence, energy to another person, place or object. Aro to direct Ha our essence, our energy, our breath. In July, New Plymouth District Council’s Elected Members made an impassioned stand for better representation for Māori around our Council table by voting to establish a Māori Ward at the 2022 local elections. These councillors challenged the severely broken legislation that places roadblocks in the way of Māori representation. This demonstration of collective aroha shown by New Plymouth councillors reflects the genuine voice of our community, 180 years after entering into partnership under the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealanders want to see relationships honoured and friendships with tangata whenua nurtured better. It will only take 2874 signatures for those against the Māori Ward in New Plymouth to succeed in calling a referendum to uphold the racist status quo. Councils nationwide face this same issue. While those against the Māori Ward are gathering momentum to block the establishment of the Ward we can counter the spread of racist ideology through the aroha in this petition. We call on the binding power of aroha to show up and be heard. Aroha is more than just love, it directs our energy, grows that potential and binds us to someone or something. Please sign this petition to show the NPDC and councils nationwide that we support the establishment of a Māori Ward and value on-going work of building relationships with our Māori community! ----- For resources to help us have those prickly conversations with aroha and kindness click here - https://www.facebook.com/kinaconvos (shot Kina Convos!)
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