• 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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  • Regulate firearms advertising in New Zealand
    We are concerned about the way gun advertising is currently managed in New Zealand. Gun City has prominent billboards throughout our major cities. These advertisements are depicting gun use as a fun family activity using quotes such as “get the family outside”. This type of advertising is the first step to the normalisation of gun ownership. In light of the recent events in Christchurch we ask that an immediate moratorium on firearms advertising is put in place. It is highly inappropriate to see these images at a time when the nation is grieving from a horrific gun-related incident. We acknowledge that many New Zealanders have legitimate reasons to own guns for farming, hunting or sporting purposes, however we want the government to take steps to ensure that the advertising of all firearms including semi-automatic weapons are properly controlled. We believe firearms advertising should be regulated in exactly the same way as tobacco or any other harmful product. We want this country to be a safe place for all New Zealanders. We don’t want guns to be a normal part of New Zealand society. Driving past billboards advertising guns just feels wrong to so many people. Children were among the innocent victims of the recent massacre in Christchurch. It is distressing and a major concern that children are exposed to this type of advertising. Principle 1 of the Advertising Standards Code states that “Advertisements must be prepared and placed with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society.” It goes on to say: “Advertisements must not contain anything that is indecent, or exploitative, or degrading, or likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence, or give rise to hostility, contempt, abuse or ridicule.” We believe that the current series of advertisements for Gun City is currently causing widespread offence and can be regulated under this section of the code. We ask for regulation of all firearms advertising under this section of the Advertising Standards Code.
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  • Ban semiautomatic weapons
    It was a dark day in Christchurch. Innocent Muslim New Zealanders were gunned down in a place of prayer. High-capacity magazines make it much easier to conduct mass killings. The weapons used in this attack were exactly the type of weapon that police have been asking for greater control over. [1] We call upon the parliament to immediately take steps to legislate against the sale and possession of all semi-automatic weapons for private use. Other weapons designed for harm such as high capacity clips, military hardware ordnance, pump action pistols should also be banned. These weapons of war have no place in the hands of private citizens. They are not toys. They are designed explicitly for taking human lives. We call upon the NZ Parliament to take action. Donate to the Christchurch victims https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/christchurch-shooting-victims-fund https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/105882611/the-battle-over-semiautomatics-police-frustrated-by-the-law-firearm-owners-frustrated-by-police
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  • Help NZ Thyroid Patients Get Treatment That Works
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DfPLen1DYs&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl27sOQSNY4&feature=youtu.be Thyroid disease is more common than diabetes and heart disease. The World Health Organisation puts the world’s population of diagnosed thyroid patients at >750 million. New Zealand’s diagnosed population is >146,233. Many more are misdiagnosed or experience mismanaged care. Common symptoms include debilitating unexplained fatigue, unexpected weight gain/loss, depression, miscarriage, cold/heat intolerance and brain fog. Left untreated thyroid disease influences the onset of other diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia; and in some cases early death. In the 1940s and 1950s doctors and endocrinologists diagnosed on signs and symptoms, prescribing treatments that worked. Then came the arrival of the TSH blood test and a synthetic drug called Levothyroxine which changed the way many doctors and endocrinologists diagnose and treat patients. As a result there is a large number of patients for whom these diagnostic and treatment approaches do not work. For example, all too often: - Doctors and endocrinologists miss altogether or misdiagnose thyroid disease in patients because they don’t recognise the signs and symptoms. Patients are often tested unnecessarily for other illnesses imposing cost on them and District Health Boards. - Patients who are prescribed Levothyroxine often experience ongoing symptoms. Alternative thyroid treatments containing a thyroid hormone called T3 work better for many of these patients. Most are never offered this treatment even though it is available, safe and effective. It is now difficult to find a NZ doctor or endocrinologist with the right knowledge to help thyroid patients. Those NZ doctors who are successfully diagnosing and treating thyroid disease need greater support; and the other doctors and endocrinologists need further education. By signing this petition you can help us change this. Each signature represents a patient, or a person who loves a patient who has been misdiagnosed, mistreated or dismissed by their endocrinologist or doctor. Thyroid Association of New Zealand is a patient-to-patient support group, started in July 2008. We are a voluntary organisation, whose founding members came together when Glaxo Smith Kline changed their Eltroxin formulation, causing adverse reactions among users. For more information about the thyroid or help finding a doctor who can help, visit us at: http://www.thyroidnz.org or Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thyroidnz/. References: To read just some of the statistics and clinical evidence supporting our petition go to: http://www.thyroidchange.org/related-research.html or email us at: thyroidpetitionnz@gmail.com.
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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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  • 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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  • Improve mental health education under NCEA
    NZ’s youth suicide rate is the highest in the OECD nations; it is five times higher than the UK and double the USA (UNICEF Office of Research, 2017). While we cannot presume to know the complete solution, we think that providing teens with a weekly health class as part of the NCEA schedule could go some way to helping improve their outlook on life, as well as teaching them essential life skills surrounding topics such as mental health, food and nutrition, exercise, hygiene, sexuality, and other ways of keeping their mind and body healthy. We believe that learning more about mental health issues, and how to get help for yourself and your friends, could be an essential part of reducing the stigma attached to depression and other mental health illnesses. Currently mental health is to be taught in health classes, however from our experiences with and as previous teenagers, what is set out by the government and what is taught differs. This creates people who not only don't know about what to do when someone is feeling suicidal, but also a knowledge gap on other mental/sexual/physical health topics. We also consider that these classes could teach teens to manage the stress and anxiety associated with NCEA and learn coping skills that will help them throughout their lifespan. We are losing too many teens to suicide and that loss is devastating, not only to family and friends, but to NZ as a whole, as we miss out on their full potential and contribution to our communities. We are Massey University BA students working on a group project to improve mental health in New Zealand. While the overall rate of suicides is extremely concerning, we have chosen to focus on the teen suicide rate. References: UNICEF Office of Research. (2017). Building the future: Children and the sustainable development goals in rich countries, Innocenti report card 14. Retrieved from https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/RC14_eng.pdf
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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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