• 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.
    7,341 of 8,000 Signatures
    Created by Team ActionStation Picture
  • Double investment in drug treatment in this year’s budget
    By mid-December the Government will have made some important decisions about next year’s Budget. First in their minds should be a focus on improving the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders - especially those who are most vulnerable. Unfortunately, by the time the Government makes their budget decisions there’s also a good chance more people will have tragically died from the use of synthetic cannabinoids. There have been 50 deaths at least over the past 18 months, and there is no chance this public health crisis will fix itself. Continuing to punish people who use drugs will only make things worse. We have a plan to turn things around. If the government makes the right funding decisions now, and follows this up by legislating for a health-based approach to drug use, we can save lives. Investing in health and treatment also makes economic sense. An economic report released in October, "Estimating the Impact of Drug Policy Options", found that if we invest $150million extra in drug-related harm reduction and treatment programmes, this would return a social benefit for New Zealand of at least $225million. Sign the petition to ask the Prime Minister to ensure that next year’s Budget reflects just how urgent this crisis is. Let’s ensure that everyone can access help when and where they need it. This petition is supported by JustSpeak, ActionStation, the New Zealand Drug Foundation, Hāpai Te Hauora, the Needle Exchange and Te Rau Matatini. We’ll be doing more work together to ensure the government treats drug use as a health and not a criminal issue in the lead up to election 2020.
    571 of 600 Signatures
    Created by Tania Sawicki Mead
  • Right to Vote for All
    We believe that in a fair and democratic society all members should have the right to vote, and people living in prisons are part of our society. They are valued members of communities and families. To take away their right to vote is an unfair disenfranchisement We all expect that people in prison have the opportunity to heal and learn so they can contribute to a thriving society when they return to their communities. By not allowing people to vote while in prison, we are removing their ability to invest in and contribute to society and our democratic process. It's cruel and counter-productive. When Parliament changed the law in 2010 they used voting rights as a form of punishment, and this breaches the Bill of Rights. As New Zealanders we seek fairness and community. If we reinstate voting rights for people serving time in prison, it means that come next election time, thousands more people would be able to participate in our democracy, and put their ballot in the box as an investment in their - and our - futures. We believe a thriving society requires the voices of all it's people in order to make decisions that elevate everyone. By including everyone's voices we can have a truly representative democracy.
    3,731 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by Kirsten Van Newtown
  • Tell the government to include ALL survivors of institutional abuse in Royal Commission
    The final terms of reference for the Royal Commission are about to be announced. The Royal Commission has been set up initially to investigate survivors abused in state care up until 1999. We support those survivors and want them to have justice. But we know this would exclude the large group who were abused in the care of other institutions, especially churches, and survivors after this date. These people went through the same experience and deserve justice too. We have many survivors in New Zealand that were abused by members of their church. The abusers have been hidden and protected by the churches, while the survivors have had to deal with the fall out of their childhood abuse. Alcohol, drugs, violence, family issues and failed relationships are common outcomes. A disproportionate number of survivors end up in prison while their abusers walk free. At the moment, these survivors' only option is to expose themselves to the further trauma by reporting their abuse to the Police or returning to the church which allowed the abuse to happen. Often nothing can be done because the burden of proof is so high. It has been suggested that churches could run their own inquiry. This would be impossible. Survivors would have to return to the institutions where they were abused and traumatised. Churches have a history of protecting abusers at the expense of victims. The Royal Commission was set up so state abuse survivors had a safe place to report their abuse and seek justice. We want the same for other survivors of institutional abuse. The Royal Commission can also use its power to hold institutions to account and recommend changes to prevent future abuse. An inclusive inquiry will give the opportunity to prevent future abuse in NZ institutions. This is supported by the network of survivors of abuse in church based institutions, and their supporters. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NZfaithbasedsurvivornetwok/ Church's failure 'serious' https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/churchs-failure-serious Inquiry into abuse in state care https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/inquiry-abuse-state-care
    343 of 400 Signatures
    Created by Network of survivors of abuse in faith based institutions
  • Divest the NZ DHBs of the responsibility of Nursing 'safe staffing' agreement
    The DHBs have been asked by the Nurses Union NZNO for more money for more nursing staff to safely staff their (the DHB) workplaces (DHB workplaces are public hospitals), for 14 years, and each year since 2004, the DHBs have failed to provide money for more nursing staff to make their workplaces safe for the patients and the nursing staff. When DHB workplaces are unsafely staffed the patients do not receive the care that they require. Essential monitoring of a deteriorating patient gets missed by the nurse because they have too many patients to safely care for, pain medication gets missed, nurses become exhausted and fail to take their meal breaks which compounds an already unsafe situation, and sentinel events (near misses, and serious injury and death to patients due to unsafe staffing) start to occur. However as the DHB hasn't committed to putting Care Capacity Demand Management into place which is NZNO Safe Staffing request, as advocated for by NZNO, the instances of Unsafe Staffing in DHB workplaces are neither recorded nor audited. So NZNO, NZNO Nursing members, DHBs, or the Safe Staffing Healthy Workplaces Unit have no idea how many instances of care rationing have lead to sentinel events for patients being cared for in DHB workplaces. The DHBs have a conflict of interest and at NZNO nurse wage negotiation times, pit one essential requirement of nurses demanding a pay rise versus the nurses essential requirement for more staffing to safely care for our patients. The District Health Boards honour neither requirement, because it is in the District Health Board's interest to save money. This is a conflict of interest and it makes a mockery of the District Health Board acting as a "Good Faith" bargaining partner. This is the possibility of corruption in a government department, and is not acting in “Good Faith” as an employer. We ask that the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation divest all District Health Boards from New Zealand Nursing Organisations 'safe staffing' agreement. Make the 'safe staffing' agreement between New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Ministry Of Health, and Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. The DHB needs to bargain in good faith on the wages and pay increases for its employees. The DHB could then be held accountable to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment regarding honouring the government mandate of providing a safe DHB workplace for the staff and patients. Ensure that care capacity demand management requirements are provided for and achieved in the DHB workplace, and are advised upon and enforced by NZNO. Funding for Safe Staffing would be the only responsibility of the Ministry of Health to avoid future conflicts of interest, and regulated by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and be audited, administered, enforced and staffed by NZNO in the DHB workplace every shift. It is important that an effective government department such as the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, which is bound by the Health and Safety Act 2015, can regulate, administer and enforce laws that protect the patients and staff who work in DHB workplaces. Nursing and Allied Health Staff work in DHB workplaces and provide care for Patients, in the workplace that the DHB provides. The DHB is obliged under the Health and Safety Act 2015 to provide all requirements in their workplaces, to meet Health and Safety standards which include Safe Staffing, specific nurse to patient ratios depending on acuity/comorbidity that are enforced by New Zealand Nurses Organisation 24/7 on site staff who monitor, record, audit, communicate and find staff for unsafely staffed DHB workplaces. NZNO would advise, regulate, enforce, administer and provide staff to monitor DHB workplaces and Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment compliance with safe staffing. There would always be a NZNO staff member available within DHB workplaces 24/7 to monitor compliance of the DHB workplace's nurse to patient ratios and reporting, recording, and enabling provision of one or multiple nursing staff members to work should that be required. Having a stronger and more responsive government Ministry in place will make accountability for safer staffing greater, will minimise care rationing by nurses to patients, and will decrease length of hospital stay for patients, it will provide for better care to the patient and more effective nursing care within a shorter time frame, and will diminish the incidence of serious sentinel events (serious and fatal harm caused to patients due to unsafely staffed DHB workplaces). It will also allow the DHB to act as a bargaining employer of Good Faith, and will restore some transparency, integrity and accountability to the DHB's reputation to deliver upon wage negotiation pay rises for Nursing staff. http://nursingnzme2.wpengine.com/right-staffing-happier-staff-finds-ccdm-research/ http://nursingreview.co.nz/right-nurse-right-place-and-right-time/ http://nursingreview.co.nz/safe-staffing-and-nursing-strikes-a-brief-history/ https://www.nzno.org.nz/get_involved/campaigns/care_point/what_is_ccdm https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/opinion/2018/07/duncan-garner-irony-nurses-finally-get-safe-staffing-levels-during-strike.html
    498 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Anna Dobson Picture
  • Abolish Three Strikes Law
    The Sentencing and Parole Act 2002 established the Three Strikes Law which passed in 2010. The Three Strikes Law consists of three stages where the penalty increases for reoffences. Section 86A under The Sentencing and Parole Act 2002 states the different offences at each of these three stages. (Sentencing and Parole Act 2002, Section 86A http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2002/0009/latest/DLM3023002.html). This issue is important to us because we feel that the Three Strikes Law is ineffective. Overpopulation in prisons arises from different factors, and in New Zealand we believe that the Three Strikes Law doesn't fulfil the intention it needs to meet. It contributes to the growing prison population. (http://www.corrections.govt.nz/resources/research_and_statistics/quarterly_prison_statistics/previous_years_prison_statistics/ps-september-2011.html). The purpose of the Three Strikes Law was to address reoffending however it hasn't been effective. Minister of Justice Andrew Little proposed a review of the law to the Cabinet in November 2017, and has been blocked since. Together we can encourage MPs to look at the evidence and consider more the impact our current system is having on individuals, family and society. Sign and show your support for a compassionate justice system!
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    Created by Layla Thomas
  • Let's reform homosexual laws in Samoa
    A reform of these sections in the Crimes Act is important because gay rights = human rights. People should be able to love, free of judgement and potential persecution. Polynesia has been sexually diverse for many years and, before colonisation and Christianity, was accepted as apart of the norm. No one should have a permanent criminal conviction, simply for loving who they want to. These laws do not reflect well on the progressive nature of young Samoans today, along with future generations and this inflexible view of sexuality is non-inclusive, discriminatory and extremely conservative. A reform would mean our LGBTQ+ peers are more protected from discrimination and would have the ability to love freely. We understand that, typically, when laws change, mindsets do as well and therefore are asking the Samoan Government to reform these laws to grant this change. Crimes Act PDF for reference: http://www.palemene.ws/new/wp-content/uploads//01.Acts/Acts%202013/Crimes_Act_2013_-_Eng.pdf
    318 of 400 Signatures
    Created by Allyssa Verner-Pula
  • Save Wellington Citizens Advice Bureau!
    Wellington Citizens Advice Bureau provides a free information and advice service to people in need. It helps people know about their rights and responsibilities and the services available in their community. It is there for everyone, about everything. Despite this, Wellington City Council wants to cut its services and leave its citizens without this essential support. Last year Wellington CAB helped over 30,000 people with questions and problems across the range of issues people face in their lives. These include helping with enquiries about emergency accommodation, noisy neighbours, overhanging trees, abandoned vehicles, relationship issues, enquiries about consumer rights, tenancy rights, employment rights, as well as information about local services - the whole range of questions and queries imaginable. It also includes referrals from the City Council and helping people to fill in Council forms! Wellington CAB has had a long-term strategic partnership with Wellington City Council. In spite of this, the Council have, without consultation, made a recommendation to stop funding the Wellington CAB via its long-standing contract for services, and give a one-off six month grant for the CAB to completely redesign its operation, including shutting the doors on its physical premises. The Council have said there is “no guarantee of funding beyond that”. The CAB is core community infrastructure. It is locally responsive, and staffed by dedicated volunteers from the local community. The people who come to the CAB often don’t know where to go, don’t know what assistance is available to them, can’t access information, or are excluded from services. Without the CAB those people will fall through the cracks. Please show your support and save this essential community service.
    4,802 of 5,000 Signatures
    Created by Sacha Green
  • Include churches in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse
    People who have experienced abuse in churches and faith-based schools need the opportunity to be heard in this once-in-a-lifetime Inquiry. Faith-based institutions are known to have been involved in the abuse of children and young people, and some covered-up abuse or were complicit in the protection of abusers. Right now, there are 330 integrated schools, many of which are church schools, and all of which receive at least some state funding. Given the provision of state funding to these schools, and the requirement for the state to ensure appropriate standards of care, it would be negligent to exclude them from the scope for this inquiry. The Royal Commission is taking place against a background of national and international concern about abuse in New Zealand state care. The Terms of Reference confirm that New Zealand has international obligations to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to protect individuals from abuse, including measures for the prevention, identification, reporting, referral, investigation and follow-up of incidents of abuse. Abuse of individuals in state care is inconsistent with applicable domestic and international human rights law standards and principles. Abuse - including that which took place in faith-based institutions - warrants prompt and impartial examination, both to understand, acknowledge and respond to the harm caused to individuals, families and communities. The enduring impacts of abuse take a significant toll on the mental health of survivors. For some of these people, seeing churches and associated organisations excluded from this Inquiry will create a sense of revictimisation due to being silenced by the state. Including these faith-based institutions is an opportunity for healing and will contribute to the truth, justice, and reconciliation that so many people need. References: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/101825746/man-who-claims-to-have-nearly-killed-a-priest-to-stop-a-sexual-assault-calls-for-state-abuse-inquiry-to-be-widened https://www.nzcatholic.org.nz/2018/02/02/nz-abuse-inquiry-likely-include-churches/ https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/353367/churches-push-for-inclusion-in-royal-commission-into-abuse
    589 of 600 Signatures
    Created by Leo McIntyre
  • End Solitary Confinement in New Zealand Prisons
    At least 300 people are being held in solitary confinement in a New Zealand prison right now [1]. Solitary confinement is where you are held in a cell and denied meaningful human interaction for 22-24 hours per day [2]. New Zealand doesn’t have a specific unit called a ‘solitary confinement unit’, but solitary confinement is still widely present in the prisons [3]. Although it never calls it solitary, the Department of Corrections puts people in solitary confinement about 12,000 times per year for reasons that include punishment, ‘protection’ and because they are suicidal [4]. Solitary confinement can have serious long-lasting and detrimental effects on prisoners' mental and physical health. Physiological effects of solitary can include insomnia, migraines, heart and intestinal problems and the worsening of existing health conditions. It can also have severe psychological effects, including anxiety, depression, anger and psychotic rage, paranoia, psychosis, hallucinations, and increased suicidality [5]. Almost every year a person in a New Zealand prison takes their own life in a solitary confinement cell [6]. The United Nations has declared indefinite and prolonged use of solitary confinement to be inhumane and degrading [7]. In some cases the pain and suffering inflicted through solitary confinement can amount to torture [8]. Despite these findings, there is an epidemic of solitary confinement in New Zealand. According to information released to People Against Prisons Aotearoa, a person is sent to solitary confinement around every 43 minutes [9]. The international human rights observer Sharon Shalev recently found that the use of solitary in New Zealand prisons is four times higher than in England and Wales [10]. Further, the use of solitary confinement worsens the systemic racism of the prison system. Māori and Pacific peoples are more likely to be placed in solitary, making up 62% of people put in solitary [11]. For people who are put in solitary for reason of punishment, Māori and Pacific peoples are 80% of that population [12]. This means the pain and suffering experienced in solitary is also more likely to be felt by Māori and Pacific peoples, making it a racist policy. Solitary confinement must be brought to an end. It does not keep anyone safe. People who experience it are more likely to harm themselves and, when they get out of solitary, more likely to use violence against others [13]. Solitary can cause severe pain and suffering that stays with the person long after they’ve been released [14]. There is no good reason to use solitary confinement. Its use must be ended immediately. We call upon Parliament to ban all forms of solitary confinement in New Zealand. This includes, but is not limited to, solitary confinement for the good order of the prison, for the ‘protection’ of a prisoner, for reason of population management, for reason of punishment, or because a prisoner is ‘at risk’. References: 1 - Ti Lamusse, ‘It’s time to end solitary confinement,’ (Speech, End Solitary Confinement Campaign Launch, Ellen Melville Hall, New Zealand, October 14, 2017). 2 - Sharon Shalev, ‘A Sourcebook on Solitary Confinement’ (London: Mannheim Centre for Criminology, 2008). http://solitaryconfinement.org/uploads/sourcebook_web.pdf 3 - As found in Sharon Shalev, ‘Thinking outside the Box? A review of seclusion and restraint practices in New Zealand’ (Wellington: Human Rights Commission, 2017). http://solitaryconfinement.org/uploads/Thinking_Outside_The_Box_PRINT.pdf 4 - Lamusse, ‘It’s time to end solitary confinement.’ 5 - Sharon Shalev, ‘A Sourcebook on Solitary Confinement’ (London: Mannheim Centre for Criminology, 2008). 6 - Ti Lamusse, ‘Grieving Prison Death’ (Master of Arts Thesis, University of Auckland, 2017). 7 - Juan Mendez, ‘Interim Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’ (Geneva: United Nations, 2011). 8 - Ibid. 9 - Lamusse, ‘It’s time to end solitary confinement’. 10 - Shalev, ‘Thinking outside the Box?’. 11 - Ibid. 12 - Ibid. 13 - Shalev, ‘A Sourcebook on Solitary Confinement’. 14 - Ibid.
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    Created by People Against Prisons Aotearoa Picture
  • We demand a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the NZ Family Courts
    *All signed letters will be delivered to Parliament this week, so please share to your social media to help spread the word!* In 2016, over 60,000 cases went through the Family Courts, and of those, over 6,800 children were involved in cases initiated under the Domestic Violence Act.[2] After separating from abusive partners, we expect that the Family Court should provide survivors of violence against women with protection and safety, for them and their children. The experiences of our community however, reveal that this is very rarely the case, and instead the Family Court is unjustly removing children from their protective mothers, and handing them over or even forcing them back into the abusive environments that they were removed from. In May this year, the Backbone Collective undertook a survey of almost 500 women who had been involved in the Family Court system post-separation. The survey report found that their experiences of violence and abuse were not believed, were minimized, their evidence was struck out, they were blamed for the violence and abuse, silenced, or their experiences were never responded to.[3] We believe these findings are but a micro-reflection of a rising voice of thousands who are currently suffering in fear, traumatised by longterm abuse that has been sanctioned by the Family Court. For many years, complaints have been made appealing Family Court decisions and telling those in authority of the harm that the Family Court is doing. They have not listened or taken action to change what is happening. However in time, history will reveal the blood on the hands of all those who participated in these harmful Family Court practices, or who stood by passively while our children suffered this state sanctioned abuse. Not only is it your professional duty to expose and address the systemic failings of the Family Court, it is your moral and ethical duty to provide a voice to victims and to ensure a robust framework moving forward by which to protect our children of Aotearoa. We are unified in our view that the harm being done by the Family Court is the result of the interpretation, implementation of the current laws. These problems will not be fixed by legislative changes, but only by an Inquiry into the entire Family Court system. There is enough evidence before you to call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Family Court immediately. As a community, we are distressed, grieving and fearful for the safety and lives of our loved ones who have been and are being abused by the current system. We anticipate many further social issues will result as a direct consequence of the harmful operation of the current Family Court System and urge you to take action immediately in order to prevent further abuse, crime, and tragedy in the lives of our children! 1 - Backbone Collective is a national coalition of survivors of Violence Against Women in Aotearoa New Zealand - https://www.backbone.org.nz 2 - NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse Data June 2017 - https://nzfvc.org.nz/sites/nzfvc.org.nz/files/DS3-Children-and-Youth-2017.pdf 3 - Backbone Collective 2017 reports can be viewed at https://www.backbone.org.nz/latest-activity/ 4 - Image is by Bev Short. The women in black veils represent all those women who have experienced violence and abuse but who are afraid to show their faces for fear of being punished by the Family Court for speaking out about how the system is failing to keep them and their children safe. The black veils also represent the hundred or more women who are murdered by their (ex) partners every 10 years in New Zealand. Many of the women who came together to participate in this photograph have their own story to tell; some are survivors, others are friends or family off survivors and some work on the front line with victims. Two of the women participated in memory of their loved ones who had been murdered – in one instance an Auntie and in the other a daughter – both of whom had been brutally murdered by their partners.
    3,209 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by Community In Action
  • Hands Off Our Tamariki
    You can read the open letter in full here: https://www.handsoffourtamariki.org.nz/ You can also join us for a rally on July 30 here: https://www.facebook.com/events/410698589765993/
    17,342 of 20,000 Signatures
    Created by handsoff ourtamariki