• Inquiry into the consequences of conversion therapies for autistic children
    We all celebrated to hear of the legislation being enacted that bans conversion therapy after years of campaigning by the LGTBQI+ community. However the win does not go far enough. The same underlying techniques of torture and dehumanising coercion continue to be applied to autistic children. Any legislation which is so selective as to ban only “conversion therapies” that target a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is in itself discriminatory. If a government moves to ban the mistreatment of one minority in a particular manner but neglects similar mistreatment of other minorities it is more than negligent, it is actively legitimising prejudice. If a ban were to go through with specific reference to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression alone, it would be much like an anti-racism bill that protected black people but left all other people of colour out in the cold. Instead of acknowledging anxiety and depression as the result of the highly stressful environments and dehumanising treatments that autistic children are exposed to, many "autism professionals" prefer to treat autism as the 'problem', and then use medication as treatment. The message to autistic people is very clear: 'you are not normal and we need to fix you'. This is wrong. The University of Auckland and other institutions in New Zealand still teach ABA. In Aotearoa certified ABA practitioners continue to advertise their services for children with “compliance” problems. Many autistic people who have been subjected to ABA and similar “treatments” end up with PTSD. Multiple studies confirm that the suicide rates for autists are are more than twice (1.9 to 9.9 times) the rates found in the general population. It is so important that people, and especially parents of autistic children, start listening to the lived experience of autistic adults. Many of us are in our 50s, 60s and 70s. We all started out as autistic children, without formal diagnosis, and without intensive ABA "therapy". We have found our path in life, we've experienced decades of discrimination comparable to the level of discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people 50 years ago, and we have remained autistic throughout. Neurodivergence is at the core of creativity. Autistic people don’t play social games, instead we actively resist them. Autistic people are best understood as the agents of a well functioning cultural immune system within human society. What are conversion therapies? Conversion therapies are “normalisation” therapies rooted in the techniques of torture and dehumanising coercion developed by Ivar Lovaas and Burrhus Frederic Skinner. The same techniques that are used by ABA therapists have been named as abusive in domestic abuse prevention legislation. Dehumanising abuse of all children, including autistic children, must be made illegal. The actual results that are achieved with conversion therapy include depression, PTSD, suicidal ideation, social expectations that are toxic for autistic people, as well as environments that create sensory overload. Why do we propose to consider a ban of all forms of conversion therapy? Conversion therapy never achieves its stated goal of “normalising” LGBTQIA+ or autistic children. Instead there is overwhelming evidence that conversion therapy results in extreme levels of irreversible trauma. The autistic population is much smaller than the LGBTQIA+ community, but the intersection between the two is significant. Compared to the general population, autists are 7 to 8 times more likely to identify as LGBTQIA+. It makes perfect sense to tie legislation around the protection of LGBTQIA+ rights to the protection of the rights of autistic people. What practices would need to be considered as part of a ban? Of the many labels used “Applied Behaviour Analysis” (ABA) and "Positive Behaviour Support" (PBS) are the most common ones. It is important to focus on all “therapies” that are rooted in the techniques of torture and dehumanising coercion developed by Ivar Lovaas and Burrhus Frederic Skinner. This initiative is part of the global Ban Conversion Therapies project (https://autcollab.org/projects/ban-of-conversion-therapies/), which keeps track of all the bans of conversion therapies that are already in place and all initiatives towards bans. More background information has been compiled by the Autistic Collaboration Trust in collaboration with the autistic community in New Zealand on the following web page: https://autcollab.org/2021/03/10/banning-autistic-conversion-therapy-in-nz/.
    629 of 800 Signatures
    Created by Jorn Bettin
  • Reclassify Autism and ADHD
    Quick and accurate health diagnosis means people are able to access the medical attention and medications we need with respect and speed. However in Aotearoa the approach to ADHD/autism is out of date as it is still classified as a mental health disorder. There is a serious lack of diagnostic support. This means that people are not correctly diagnosed. The diagnosis process is currently not achieving the desired outcomes and affecting daily lives of those seeking a diagnosis of autism / ADHD. People with ADHD/autism can feel stigmatized to be treated as a mental health patient. It also overloads the mental health system unnecessarily. This is a major public health issue affecting all ethnic groups, social classes and occupational groups: and this found in all government departments. Reclassification will give recognition that autism is a real inherited neurodevelopmental disorder and reduce stigmatisation. When ADHD/autism is correctly classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder it means primary medical professionals such as GPs are able to diagnose, authorize medications and care for patients. If ADHD is treated, then it has been proven that Autism is also often treated. This in turn positively affects the children and adults and their families and education, employment and in social situations. NZ Disability Advisory Trust is the organization leading this petition as voice and lived experience of having staff with ASD Diagnosis.
    3,054 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by NZ Disablity AdvisoryTrust
  • Ban the showing of Sia's movie "music" in New Zealand cinemas
    Here's why. Music does not aline with our values in New Zealand. It is discriminatory and has the power to change our society for the worse. The first problem that can be seen is blinding. Maddie Ziegler, a neurotypical actress is playing the lead role of Music, an autistic young girl. Ziegler mimics stereotypical behaviours of an autistic person, such as stimming. Given that Ziegler herself is NOT autistic, watching her stim and be paid for it has been described as an insult by many autistic people. Whilst many people would have been alienated for stimming in real life, Ziegler is being paid for forcing the natural behaviour of an autistic person. A second problem is that if in one of the first scenes, Music is launched into a colourful world of flashing lights, something that has been described by Eden, author of the autism self-advocacy website autisticats as a "sensory nightmare." The flashing lights make the movie totally inaccessible to people who have sensory problems, or people that have photosensitive epilepsy, a common trait within autistic people. Yet another problem within the movie is that Sia has not consulted with autistic people, and has no idea what she is talking about, being a neurotypical person herself. She continuously misrepresents the autistic community and one scene that highlights this is the fact that she has portrayed Music as a character with a special interest in dogs. Music reads a book that is big and bulky and has complicated vocabulary, yet her AAC device (A device that enables nonverbal people to communicate) has only simple preprogrammed words like "happy." Despite the fact of showing Music as a highly literate girl, with her own thoughts, the only insight that we get into Music's mind, is "nauseating dance sequences". There are so many more problems, both where Sia has been racist, ableist, and more that you can read about on the autisticats website which you can find here,: (https://theautisticats.weebly.com/) but I haven't even begun to address the most fatal mistake of the film. In many scenes, Music is having a meltdown caused by sensory overload and starts flailing her arms around. The response of one of the characters is to jump on top of Music and hold her down in a restraint called prone restraint. This restraint is deadly as it can cut off airways, and the fact it is being shown could normalise this restraint causing people to use it on friends and family who are autistic and may not be able to tell them to stop if they are experiencing sensory overload. With all of these problems of the movie, it is clear that New Zealand should not show this movie, or we will increase the dangers towards disabled people. This movie could very much increase fatalities, decrease acceptance and understanding of autistic people, and put us back many years.
    45 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Maya Ando
  • Activate the Emergency Sirens in our Community!
    We have a shared vision of our Mercury Bay and surrounding areas that is safe, and feels safe in any emergency. Emergency sirens are a crucial component of our alert system for the Community. A lot of thought, discussion and research went into implementing them. The elderly, parents, workers, school children, outlying areas - the Community relies on the sirens and they have been the most reliable medium to alert people. Our Community cares, and many when hearing the sirens immediately act to assist others in need also. Deactivating our sirens not only affects people’s lives, it actually puts them in jeopardy in critical situations. There have recently been 3 major earthquakes in a 6-hour period and our community was alerted three hours after the last earthquake of 8.1. We request this decision be reversed and real community engagement is invited before the siren system is deactivated or any changes implemented. Community consultation is essential for everyone to feel safe and the best decisions made. We understand the Council is also interested in safety and are also making decisions based on what's best for the community. We have heard that: • 18 of the 27 sirens in our area are non-compliant with FENZ (Fire and Emergency) so have to be deactivated. • The coverage is patchy due to nature of the hills. • To get very good sirens will cost $5-6 million. The Council wants to explain to communities that sirens have 44% coverage and phone alerts have 93%, which still leaves some people out, but they are going to launch education that you do not wait for advice - "if long and strong get gone" and help your neighbours. We consider sirens an essential part of any emergency system for an empowered Mercury Bay community to ensure its safety. Sign to bring our concerns to Council to keep our emergency sirens.
    1,876 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Linda Cholmondeley Smith
  • Disabled people deserve their full equitable rights
    Everyone should feel included in our society and have access to opportunities. The Government has a responsibility to ensure disabled people can access their full and equal rights. They can do this by ensuring the Ministry for Disabled People is led and run by disabled people. This will enable a society where disabled people can be fully included to be able to fully participate. Disabled form 24% of Aotearoa’s population yet experience inequitable access to health and disability services, education, a lack of accessible housing, lower employment statistics and struggle to break out of poverty through no fault of their own. There are many barriers disabled people face because society is built inaccessibly. For too long disabled have been ignored and denied equitable access and it is long overdue to bring them in from the cold. The Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Health announcement of a non-disabled person, in the form of career official Justine Cornwall, to head the establishment unit of the new Ministry for Disabled People is deeply concerning. Disabled are generally unhappy that the new transitional director is not disabled and the voice of disabled is not present. Nothing is transparent and open which is concerning disabled that this will be led but from a non disability framework. We believe that while the position is a fixed-term role, the Establishment Director will be critical in setting a culture of inclusion and accessibility that is different from the judgemental, patronising culture of the past. For the sake of authenticity, a leader who identifies as a member of the disability community should have been in that role. However, the hope is that the appointment of the permanent head of the ministry will lead to a disabled person heading it. We want nothing about us without us, including in the development of the new Ministry. Please support our petition to help us gain full, non-disabling access to society. Remember disability is the only identity that does not discriminate.
    4,256 of 5,000 Signatures
    Created by Huhana Hickey
  • Protect Abortion Services from Harassment
    Abortion is safe, routine, legal health care in New Zealand. But it is not treated like other kinds of health care, because anti-abortion busybodies are allowed to harass people who receive abortion care, and those who provide it. A safe area is a designated space around an abortion service where anti-abortion activists are not allowed to harass people. They are often measured based on a radius from the door of the facility. The maximum radius would be 150 meters. Outside that area anti-abortion protesters are free to do as they like - but inside the safe areas they cannot target people trying to mind their own business. The abortion law reform bill last year passed without safe areas, because of a procedural error. This needs to be rectified so that people can go to their medical appointments without being bullied and abused. But the process the amendment bill sets out for creating a safe area is needlessly complicated. The process in the bill to get just ONE safe area requires an Order in Council on the recommendation of Cabinet's busiest minister (the Minister of Health) in consultation with Cabinet's second busiest minister (the Minister of Justice). Realistically, how many times is THAT going to happen? How many people have to suffer abuse and intimidation before a safe area is granted? Shouldn't the law prevent harm in the first place? We want everyone who needs abortion care to feel safe going to their medical appointments. We want everyone who provides abortion care to feel safe at their jobs. We want safe areas to be established around every place where abortion is provided from assent. The select committee can help make that happen by recommending a change to the bill, if we tell them that is what the people of New Zealand want. Let's tell them loud and clear. And then we need to make sure the bill passes! https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_99649/contraception-sterilisation-and-abortion-safe-areas
    2,503 of 3,000 Signatures
    Created by ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa Picture
  • Deplatform Sia's ableist movie 'Music'
    This film is ableist and includes the torture of Autism Spectrum Disorder people with a restraint method that has caused death and is a cause of massive trauma for those who have survived it. I'm really terrified about the underdiagnosis of autism. I spent 36 years not getting diagnosed for it because of media portrayals like this that are inaccurate and harmful. The fact that this has been greenlit by NZ's cinema complexes is highly disturbing. This will do damage to the ASD community as well as prevent people from getting treatment for ASD. The under diagnosis of ASD because of bad science and media portrayals has been labelled a "lost generation". You can read a harrowing paper on the effects here in a very accessible format for non-science people: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/aut.2019.0069
    13 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Rory McCarthy Picture
  • Puhoi Pub - Say no to racism
    We agree our history needs to be known and understood in order to ascertain where we have come from, nevertheless, we also need to acknowledge our controversial colonial past and that the views of yesterday were demeaning, insulting and harmful to some. The mementos of that time should be acknowledged but not necessarily commemorated and promoted. Racism is unfortunately alive in present day Aotearoa, just as it was 100 years ago. Casual racism is still racism. We live with the effects of colonisation every day and therefore we hold a deeper understanding of how history has disproportionately disadvantaged marginalised communities. We need to be actively ensuring we promote positive environments that encourage inclusivity and diversity and maintain an anti-racist stance. We invite the Puhoi Pub to be an example in the way it shares its rich history with the general public. We support the call from the Race Relations Commissioner to remove the bullock horns. We ask the Puhoi pub to celebrate its history in ways that cause no harm. For more on the history of the naming of bullocks, Scott Hamilton: https://twitter.com/SikotiHamiltonR/status/1350646879550271491 Puhoi Pub renames its 'racist' bullock horns, calls backlash 'desperately stupid' https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2021/01/puhoi-pub-renames-its-racist-bullock-horns-after-backlash-from-the-desperately-stupid.html
    157 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Matthew G
  • Promote sustainable community focused housing over disconnected housing developments
    Our concerns aren't isolated but sit amongst a greater context of unease. Other communities in Christchurch are confronted with the same problems and concerns as ourselves, e.g. https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/residential/124180027/residents-fed-up-with-ugly-cheap-and-characterless-homes-filling-christchurch We are affiliated with groups around the country who advocate for community focused housing including; https://www.commonground.net.nz/?r_done=1 Our shared vision is thriving communities of connected people in healthy ecosystems within a vibrant local economy. Many people who hold this neighbourhood dear to their hearts are community builders who work at creating more connections between people. What we propose is the possibility of being intentional with the design of 74 Domain Terrace. It is possible to design a housing development that creates a diverse community attractive to people from a range of ages with a variety of skills and strengths. This has the possibility of becoming an “intentional community’ where members/residents communicate with and care for each other. Such a community would be inclusive of all and everyone’s needs. The elderly need not feel isolated, and young families could experience support around them for raising children in a whanau friendly environment. Imagine creating a village to wrap around our children and the most vulnerable. Our environmental concerns are just as important to developing a flourishing community as our concerns for people. Care for the land on which we live is integral to our goals. Hence our plea for the trees and the ecological communities that they sustain. Dr Colin Merck, locally renowned ecological scientist, has conducted urban biodiversity studies in this area. https://www.linkedin.com/in/colin-meurk-1284329/?originalSubdomain=nz The trees make a significant contribution to an unusually diverse range of bird life. Local residents, some seasonal, include little owls, kingfishers, bellbirds, fantails, grey warblers, paradise ducks, greenfinches, chaffinches, magpies, spur winged plovers as well as a large population of blackbirds and more common varieties like the sparrow, thrush and starling. Not forgetting the much-loved Avon hybrid ducks. The topsoil of 74 Domain Terrace is precious. The property was originally a chicken farm. The soil has never been turned or sprayed. It has supported a range of animals for many decades. Most recently horses, sheep, free range chickens and rabbits. As such it is extremely fertile and likely to be supporting populations of the foot long native worm and leaf veined slugs as does the adjoining property at 80 Domain Terrace. To leave this taonga solely in the hands of developers is to sign a death warrant for so much. Within 24 hours of the recent auction an arborist entered the property, without the permission of the residents, to establish a quote for the removal of the trees. The loss of the trees will have a huge impact on the local environment and community. Without these particular trees, in which they currently roost, the little owls are unlikely to relocate and will inevitably die. IT is these trees that resulted in Domain Terrace being nominated as one of the ten most beautiful autumn streets in the city. Destruction of the trees on this prominent bend would destroy the whole ambience of the street and the balance of vegetation between The Domain and privately owned land. As with all similar developments the topsoil will be excavated and stripped depriving the property of an entire ecosystem. Most importantly what will die is POSSIBILITY. The possibility of developing housing solutions in partnership with diverse stakeholders that meet the social, ecological, cultural, and economic needs of the people living there. Our desire is to have the housing company discuss their plans with the community and collaborate on what type of development best contributes to creating a sense of connection and wellbeing within the community. If the housing company can’t see sufficient profit from plans that meet the community’s needs a collective of residents is willing to buy the property back at cost price and become the principal actors of the change they want to see happening democratically in their neighbourhood. Sign our petition to have our voices heard by the Christchurch City Council. Help stop the development that threatens our neighbourhood character and values. Help bring forth a true community focused sustainable housing alternative from the competitive housing crisis which builds up the inequalities that ravage our country. This petition is led by Matthew Olykan (local businessman and environmental activist) on behalf of the residents of the Spreydon community living on Domain Terrace and the wider community of surrounding streets and suburbs who use The Domain as part of their day-to-day lifestyles. It is supported by all the signatories, PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION! https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/community-focused-housing-on-domain-tce Watch this space! It is our intention to oppose similar disconnected housing developments in the area in our quest for a more workable, holistic living environment for all our residents.
    165 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Matt Olykan
  • NZ Sign Language Accessibility to Commemoration, Anniversaries & Festivals
    Deaf people need access to NZSL Interpreters to communicate with friends, whānau, stall holders, at public events. Formal NZSL interpreting at these events means Deaf people can follow the proceedings, speeches given by dignitaries, and participate too. Not having access excludes Deaf people from participating in commemoration events fully. This could be anything from wanting to know more about the products being sold by stall holders to having a catch up conversation with friends & whanau one meets at these events, engaging in discussions on matters pertaining to the event itself with other attendees.
    503 of 600 Signatures
    Created by Deaf Action Picture
  • Give the Waikeria Uprising protesters food and water
    The way the Department of Corrections is currently handling the Waikeria Uprising breaches the human rights of these protesters. As human beings, the protesters deserve food and water. Currently, Corrections is denying them this and won't allow anyone in to deliver these basic needs. It would be an important sign of good faith to the protesters if they are granted this basic human right. Is New Zealand a country that starves people who are protesting for basic human rights?
    8,769 of 9,000 Signatures
    Created by People Against Prisons Aotearoa Picture
  • Save Our Kindys – Keep The Kindergarten Experience Alive!
    This petition is to demonstrate that the operational changes to be made to Mason Avenue Kindergarten, Nina Busing Kindergarten and Papakura West Kindergarten are not supported by families and the community. The Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association (CMKA) have been rolling out operational changes to all the kindergartens, which has resulted in the loss of the traditional kindy model. If this is not stopped, the last three kindergartens yet to change will be open from 8am – 3:30pm/5pm and will operate throughout the school holidays. Key points: • The quality of teaching and learning will be negatively affected by these operational changes. • Introducing multiple sessions and flexible drop off and pick up times will change the structure and create an unsettling environment for children. • Parents send their children to kindergarten to receive high quality early childhood education under a play based model that reflects the school day. • Longer hours for children - we believe the six hour session time of 8:30am – 2:30pm is long enough for 3-5 year olds. Current research supports this. • The kindergarten will be required to fill the spots for the extra hours so that funding is maximised. • Children need the holidays to rest and recharge, as do the teachers. • Kindergartens have long attracted high quality teachers and risk losing their staff due to unfavourable working conditions. • The choice parents have in regards to early childhood education is removed. A traditional kindergarten is different from a privatised daycare model. There are numerous other childcare centres in Franklin that have longer opening hours and availability during term breaks. • There will no longer be term breaks and fee paying families must continue to pay, regardless of whether their child attends or not. We strongly believe these changes are not in the best interests of our children and community. We propose that the CMKA responds to the community and Mason Avenue Kindergarten, Nina Busing Kindergarten and Papakura West Kindergarten continue to operate as a traditional kindergarten by keeping the current hours of 8:30am – 2:30pm and not operating during term breaks. These three centres are considered highly functioning kindergartens with large waitlists, active parent communities and strong fundraising capabilities - why fix something that isn’t broken? We will deliver the petition directly to CMKA CEO Calmar Ulberg and The Board of Management.
    721 of 800 Signatures
    Created by Jody Christie