• Support Out of Hours Music and Art Schools (OOHMA) Staff for better working conditions
    Out of Hours Music/Art Classes (OOHMA) 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 OOHMA scheme, employ hundreds of tutors who deliver music and art tuition to thousands of school children. Many of our current OOHMA are operating in excess of their funding to cope with increasing demand and have to turn students away. More families are turning to OOHMA 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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  • Urgent Royal Commission of Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children - formerly CYFS
    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. New Zealanders were shocked by the coverage of an attempted uplift of a baby by Oranga Tamariki at Hawkes Bay hospital on 6 May 2019, what has come from this coverage has been an outpouring and 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. An urgent Royal Commission of Inquiry must be established with wide ranging powers including referring suspected criminal offending by staff to the Police, Crown, or Solicitor General for prosecution. https://www.newsroom.co.nz/ot-reaction Melanie Reid and Bonnie Sumner for Newsroom - 4 July 2020 https://www.newsroom.co.nz/investigations/nzs-own-taken-generation Melanie Reid for Newsroom - 11 June 2019 https://www.newsroom.co.nz/oranga-tamariki-running-for-cover Vivienne Martini for Newsroom - 25 February 2020 https://www.newsroom.co.nz/oranga-tamariki-braces-for-more-bad-news Melanie Reid & Bonnie Sumner - 30 July 2020 https://www.newsroom.co.nz/another-damning-report-on-ot-taking-babies Tim Murphy for Newsroom - 6 August 2020 https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/uplift-investigation-highly-critical-inaction-and-lack-capacity-oranga-tamariki#_=_ Anna Whyte 1 News 6 August 2020 https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/resources/he-take-kohukihuki-matter-urgency?fbclid=IwAR1U8588YV1rnnUEVQt9BcfV6yp3WokOi2mUitfCW37WCVvNq2_zSyONYas He Take Kōhukihuki | A Matter of Urgency - Office of the Ombudsman - 6 August 2020
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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 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
    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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