• OPEN LETTER: Stop sending our plastic waste to developing countries
    New Zealand has exported over 98,000 tonnes (and counting) of plastic waste offshore since the beginning of 2018. More than 46,000 tonnes of this has been shipped to Malaysia and Thailand. In the case of Malaysia, the plastics are imported from New Zealand and illegally burned next to schools and homes, causing a health and environmental epidemic. Cancer and asthma cases have increased. Microplastics leach into the waterways. The air is polluted with burnt plastic and ecosystems have been destroyed. The Ministry for the Environment has just published a consultation document on New Zealand's waste management strategy, "Te kawe i te haepapa para - Taking responsibility for our waste". Disappointingly, the consultation document does not “take responsibility” because it completely ignores the fact that our plastic waste exports are not being recycled by the receiving countries and the repercussions of this. The plastic waste is able to be exported because of a major loophole in the law: our kerbside recyclables and industrial plastics are not sufficiently regulated under the Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Prohibition Order (No 2) 2004 because they are considered “easily recyclable”. Section 11 of the Order requires a permit to be issued by the Environmental Protection Authority for hazardous plastics. Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recyclables are exempt from this law (under Part 2A of Schedule 3) and therefore are assumed to be “disposed of or managed in an environmentally sound and efficient manner in the importing State." Just because something is deemed to be “easily recyclable” does not mean that it is guaranteed to be recycled at the receiving country. We therefore call on the New Zealand government to immediately ban all plastic waste exports by December 2022 which is the last month that Parliament will sit in that year. New Zealand authorities still operate under the assumption that, as long as our plastic exports are easily recyclable, shipping them overseas is a satisfactory solution to our waste problem. In reality, New Zealand is shipping its emissions to developing countries. Some may say that the issue lies with Malaysian authorities not enforcing its own laws to stop the open burning of plastic waste. We reject this argument. The issue lies with New Zealand turning a blind eye to the reality on the ground. We are just as culpable when we knowingly export our waste to countries with poor resources, capacity and capability for effective monitoring, reporting, compliance, and enforcement and weak environmental and human rights protections. This is also a human rights issue and our moral obligation to Malaysia (and other developing countries) and its people should be paramount. We want the New Zealand government to invest urgently in systems and infrastructure that will reduce our reliance on plastic. It is not enough to tweak our regulations on the way our waste is exported, as the bigger problem lies with our overconsumption, poor import restrictions on toxic and single use plastics, and resins that cannot be recycled domestically. New Zealand is drowning in plastic and we cannot manage that amount responsibly, here or offshore. We need to turn off the tap and the government must establish policies and invest in systems and infrastructure that empower people to dramatically reduce their plastics consumption . We must reduce the range of plastics we import into New Zealand to those deemed non-hazardous by the Basel Convention: PE, PP and PET type plastics. We want the government to invest in companies that enable consumers to refill and reuse, rather than investing in a plastic innovation fund that will only preserve our plastic addiction (bioplastics, for example, are not necessarily good for the environment). We need the government to make plastic-producing companies responsible for their product’s lifecycle. New Zealand is embarrassingly behind other OECD countries in requiring companies to implement product stewardship schemes to address the problem at the source. We strongly urge the government to establish import controls and product stewardship laws. Use the regulatory tools we already have to streamline the type and amount of plastics that we do use to fit with our onshore recycling capacity. We also demand greater transparency and accountability from recycling and waste management companies to ensure that all post-consumer plastics are safely and domestically managed without any leakage to the environment. Even so, none of these measures will amount to much if we continue to send our waste overseas to vulnerable countries. We call on the Prime Minister to ensure that the waste management strategy is as transformative as its title suggests - that we are "taking responsibility for our waste" and not polluting other countries. To do this, we must immediately ban the export of plastic waste while transitioning to a safer circular economy in which plastics are minimalised. The government has boldly banned single-use plastic bags and microbeads, so it is no stranger to making bold decisions for the greater environmental and social good. Signed, Lydia Chai Pua Lay Peng Niamh Peren (Founder of Tino Pai Aotearoa / Thumbs Up New Zealand) Dr Trisia Farrelly (Political Ecology Research Centre, Massey University) Liam Prince (Aotearoa Plastic Pollution Alliance) Roy Thompson (New Ground Capital) Vondel Total Sport The Natural Path Lightforce Electrical Ltd Manawatū Food Action Network The ReCreators Tuatua Cafe
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  • Let’s spend the $1 billion a year on actually reducing emissions please
    Overseas carbon credits have proven to be a dodgy and unreliable way to reduce emissions (at its simplest, if we all paid another country to reduce emissions for us then no one would reduce emissions). Most developed countries and businesses have chosen to buy carbon credits rather than actually reduce their emissions. Even carbon credit schemes run by the UN have had problems [2]. In 2030 we will be paying $1 billion a year for carbon credits. Most likely this would be through tree planting in the Pacific. While trees are great, there are so many much cooler things we could do with $1 billion a year focused on climate action. --We could buy over a hundred thousand E bikes, or hundreds of thousands of regular bikes, so that every household has access to the option of cycling. --Or we could purchase 60,000 Nissan Leaf EVs for use in the public sector, or a smaller number of slightly more expensive EVs, to help the government actually meet its target for EVs in the public sector. --Or we could subsidize regenerative farming in Aotearoa so farmers are paid to make the transition which is needed (seeing as we’re signing an international agreement to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030 this would seem an obvious move). --Or we could use a tiny fraction of this $1 billion per year to help transition schools and the public service away from burning coal for heating. (The Government recently invested $55 million to fund 90 schools to switch to clean heating. So, part of the $1 billion would easily help the other hundreds of schools still burning fossil fuels for heating and probably the rest of the public sector [3]). --Or we could use that $1 billion a year for free public transport. (The free public transport during the first lockdown in 2020 cost $110 million. $1 billion a year would actually be quite close to covering the costs [4]). --Or, we could do a whole combination of these things every year with the billions and billions we wouldn’t be spending on carbon credits every year. These things are way more useful than paying an international company to "plant trees" for us! This is because they would actually lead to a reduction in emissions. I love trees. They’re great. But let’s spend this money on reducing emissions here, please, rather than planting trees in someone else’s country. To learn more about the complex and confusing double-think behind carbon trading you can read these articles: [1] https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/300442463/climate-change-target-nowhere-near-as-ambitious-as-it-sounds [2] https://www.vox.com/2020/2/27/20994118/carbon-offset-climate-change-net-zero-neutral-emissions [3] https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/125082069/is-your-school-burning-fossil-fuels-even-the-government-may-not-know [4] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/no-such-thing-as-a-free-lunch-free-public-transport-cost-110m-during-covid-19/ZU524M4TRES7YKCXZQ3MLU4XW4/ Henry Cooke from Stuff gives a basic explanation about the recent climate commitment and the complicated accounting of carbon credits https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/300442463/climate-change-target-nowhere-near-as-ambitious-as-it-sounds Or, for a longer and more detailed description, you can read this piece by Umair Irfan at Vox https://www.vox.com/2020/2/27/20994118/carbon-offset-climate-change-net-zero-neutral-emissions
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  • No more food waste to landfill Thames-Coromandel
    Food wastage is a global problem that has lasting effects on the surrounding physical and cultural environment. In Aotearoa-New Zealand, it is estimated that approximately 571,000 tonnes of food waste are dumped in landfills every year. The flow-on effects are seen in soil and water contamination, and the release of greenhouse gases from landfills, which contributes to climate change. In the Thames-Coromandel district, 60.9% of kerbside rubbish bags are food and organic waste (food/kitchen waste makes up 52.4%, garden and other organic waste is 8.5%). Thames Coromandel District Council’s (TCDC) solid waste contract is up for renewal shortly. The current contract with Smart Environmental finishes in October 2023, and a new contract needs to be available for tender no later than October 2022. The new contract is likely to run for the next 10 years, until 2033. This is a window of opportunity within the Council’s waste management planning, to prevent further food waste from going to landfill, and implement other measures that transform waste into resources. We need to make sure that this contract is part of the solution, and does not continue to send food and organic waste to landfill, when it can otherwise be transformed into resources. The Council is required to consult with the community on this contract. To avoid filling up our landfills unnecessarily with food waste, the Thames Food Waste Minimisation Group (TFWG), together with the Seagull Centre Trust and Whangamatā Resource Recovery Trust, are calling on TCDC to: 1. Subsidise home-scale food waste solutions such as worm farms or compost bins, as has been done in Taupō. 2. Implement a kerbside food waste collection and composting scheme, alongside existing rubbish and recycling schemes. This is already taking place in Ruapehu, Hamilton, Tauranga, Christchurch, Auckland, Timaru. 3. Provide free support (e.g. waste audit and a professional advisor ) to businesses that commit to reducing their food waste, as has been done in Taupō. 4. Develop and deliver an education campaign for households and businesses to maximise the use of the previous initiatives, and promote ideas for food waste minimisation (eg. better planning, use of leftovers, sharing excess, composting). 5. Adopt more ambitious waste minimisation goals in the next Long Term Plan (LTP), ensuring sufficient funding is allocated to attain the above initiatives. TFWG is made of Thames residents that came together a couple of years ago. Our group is made of representatives from the Seagull Centre Trust, Transition Town Thames, and passionate residents. Our vision is that Thames is taking innovative action in whole community food waste reduction, which will help to reduce emissions, conserve resources and increase food security. To further support this campaign, please answer our 5 min survey here - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfDst-0bRmUiI1guyj3tmbQlKX8P7czhiJPktQXKcWAj6Lvww/viewform?usp=sf_link And connect with us on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/FoodWasteReSource
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  • Tell the Silver Ferns to drop PUMA
    We're signing this petition as fans of the Silver Ferns, but not fans of your partnership with PUMA. We love your commitment to sport, to fair play, diversity and inclusion. But that's not true of your partner. PUMA is the only international sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA) which includes teams in Israel’s illegal settlements built against international law on occupied Palestinian land. Israel’s military occupation forcibly expels Palestinian families from their homes to give way to illegal settlers. Recent violent expulsions of Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah featured in international news stories and led to world-wide protests, including in Aotearoa. More than 200 Palestinian sports clubs have called on PUMA to end the sponsorship deal and thousands have emailed and tweeted at PUMA pledging to boycott the company until it ends sponsorship of the Israel Football Association. After Israeli forces murdered 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, in Spring of this year, PUMA’s celebrity endorsers sent messages in support of Palestine on social media. Forty years ago in Aotearoa, rugby fans took a stand against the apartheid South African regime by boycotting the Springbok tour. Today, as Aotearoa's national women’s netball team, we call on you to make us as proud of your values as we are of your athleticism. Take a stand for human rights and against Israeli apartheid. Drop your partnership with PUMA until PUMA stops sponsoring the IFA. https://youtu.be/dK3S2PQ2kHQ
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  • People Must Be Paid
    We are all doing our bit to help eliminate the latest COVID outbreak in New Zealand. While some of us may be essential workers, most of us will be off work, staying at home as required by the Government. The Government will again spend billions of dollars on wage subsidies for employers to help pay our wages while we stay home to break the chain of transmission. This is the right thing to do – but it also means that employers should deliver on their responsibilities too. But some employers aren’t applying for the subsidy. They are just asking their workers to stay at home without pay. They are refusing to pay employees who are required to stay at home due to the lockdown, or if they are immune compromised. That’s not right – and we are asking the government to make sure that they are enforcing the law as quickly and rigorously as possible. The union movement is calling on the Government to make sure that all workers are getting paid during the lockdown, regardless of whether their company decides to apply for, or is eligible for, the wage subsidy. It’s the law. Employees shouldn’t have to wait months for pay or have to take their employer to court for the money they are owed. We ask you to sign this petition to call on the Government to ensure that all companies pay their workers during the lockdown. All workers should get the pay they are owed so that they can look after their families and whanau. Sign the campaign today. This is a campaign led in partnership by First Union, E tū and Unite Union. https://www.digitalwings.nz/images/Etu-Logo.jpg https://www.firstunion.org.nz/vendor/FUNZ/Assets/public/images/FUNZ/logo-white.png
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  • Bring people in Afghanistan to safety in Aotearoa
    Most people - in Afghanistan and in Aotearoa - want to do all that they can to build communities and a world where everyone can live, work and play in dignity and peace, where people can make decisions about their own lives and set goals for their future. In both countries, people care deeply about taking care of each other, and take action every day to protect the wellbeing of people in their communities. But right now, people in Afghanistan are fleeing their homes to stay alive. The people who worked hardest to build human rights, equality, and democracy for their communities are now at the greatest risk. People who built schools for girls, worked at human rights organisations, contributed to a free and independent media, took part in the creative arts - all of them are now targets. People who worked at organisations New Zealand supported, like the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and people who worked at international organisations like the United Nations. Some people are at risk just because of who they are, including ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ people. We can help these people. The New Zealand government has already decided to send an emergency evacuation mission to Afghanistan to help New Zealand citizens and Afghans who worked directly with the New Zealand government’s efforts in Afghanistan. This is absolutely the right thing to do. But it isn’t enough. Evacuation support needs to be provided to a wider group of people who are especially vulnerable to attack right now. Sign your name to show the New Zealand Government we support them using every lever available to provide support and safety to people in Afghanistan as soon as possible. We call on the New Zealand government to: ▪️Widen evacuation support from Afghanistan to more people, including those who are particularly vulnerable to attack such as: civil society workers, journalists, academics, activists, human rights defenders (including the staff of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission) and other vulnerable people, as well as Afghan nationals who have family in Aotearoa New Zealand. ▪️Expedite visas, deliver support for evacuations from Kabul airport and provide relocation and resettlement. ▪️Action an immediate pause on the deportation of people to Afghanistan. New Zealand has an opportunity to lead with compassion and act in solidarity with people in Afghanistan who have stood up for things that New Zealanders care deeply about: protecting the freedom, dignity and safety of everyone in our communities and making sure we all have the chance to set and pursue our own goals in life. Please note that Amnesty International Aotearoa has a very similar petition. If you have already signed that one, you can sign this one as well, and vice versa. We have coordinated with them on the wording of this petition, and when it comes time to deliver these petitions we will work with them on that as well.
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  • Asylum 4 Assange in Aotearoa
    Assange's detention and the charges against him threaten press freedom around the world, and therefore threaten our right to know what is going on and democracy itself. We must call out this injustice and offer protection to Assange. Doing so will have New Zealand be a leader on the global stage for press freedom, peace and transparent democracy.
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  • Honouring Asylum: Bring Andika Refugees to Aotearoa New Zealand
    Australia's turnback operations are illegal. The New Zealand government has stated this, and that it respects the right to asylum. Therefore, intervention in this case is critical. Offering resettlement to these refugees would make the government’s commitment to its legal obligations clear, and would uphold its reputation as a humanitarian leader.
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  • NZ Parliament declare genocide: stop Uyghur suffering
    For oppression to be classed as genocide, only one aspect of the definition would have to be fulfilled. What is happening to the Uyghur people is the entire definition of genocide. Uyghurs are suffering: • Intrusive surveillance. • Mass detention (millions put in prison). • Political indoctrination (brainwashing). • Forced cultural assimilation (their culture and language banned.) • Mass forced labour (slavery, including being sold in lots of 50-100 people.) • Organ harvesting. • Children removed and put in orphanages. • Mass birth control and sterilisation. • Rape and torture. • Death. • Unable to travel or leave. • Unable to communicate with friend or family overseas. New Zealand is a signatory of the Genocide Convention. It is important for countries around the world to fulfill our role in humanity to prevent and stop horrific abuses of human rights and death. New Zealand as a country wants to maintain peace and uphold human rights. We say Never Again. Our elected representatives must say "Never Again" to the horrific killing of a race of people. Source: https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.shtml Source: https://newlinesinstitute.org/uyghurs/the-uyghur-genocide-an-examination-of-chinas-breaches-of-the-1948-genocide-convention/
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  • Space for Peace
    In March this year Rocket Lab launched a US military Space Missile Defense Command payload 'Gunsmoke-J' which will be used for 'warfare combat targeting purposes'. It’s highly likely that the 'Gunsmoke-J' launch could have breached the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Disarmament and Arms Control Act (1987), because technological warfare systems in Space will include nuclear weapons. In addition, it could have violated the 'Approach to payload assessments under OSHAA 2019' which states that the NZ government will not approve 'payloads with the intended end use of harming, interfering with or destroying other space craft or systems on Earth.' We don’t want any more military satellites launched in Aotearoa New Zealand, and ask that the Government should immediately rescind any currently permitted launches and disallow further launches, pending a full review of space-launch regulations in concert with the government-mandated review of the Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities (OSHA) Act 2017. An open letter was sent to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern by The Peace Foundation International Affairs and Disarmament Committee asking her to refuse approval for the ‘Gunsmoke J’ launch. That letter is supported by people and organisations around New Zealand, as well as residents near Māhia — the site of Rocket Lab’s launch pad. Rocket Lab is now US owned, a major client is the US military Space Force and a key investor is Lockheed Martin the world's biggest manufacturer of conventional and nuclear weapons. Thus, the New Zealand government must ensure the OSHAA regulations prohibit the use of NZ for Space warfare by these entities with vested interests in the warfare business. Stuart Nash, the Minister of Economic Development who is responsible for approving Space launches, should reject further military Space launches because they contribute to the technological development of warfare in and from Space, which is contrary to the interest of ordinary people in New Zealand. READ MORE HERE: NZ rocket launches may breach nuclear-free laws, say peace groups, The Spinoff https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/09-03-2021/nz-rocket-launches-may-breach-nuclear-free-laws-say-peace-groups/ Rocket Lab Monitor - is a group of volunteers focusing on information collection and education https://rocketlabmonitor.com/ Gisborne Herald: Payload disquiet http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/frontpage-featured/20210309/payload-disquiet/
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  • Adopt the Sustainable Development Goals in Aotearoa
    In 2015, New Zealand joined countries around the world by signing up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. New Zealand is one of the many countries who made a commitment to implement the SDGs at home, and support the UN in achieving the SDGs in other parts of the world. But we are not doing enough. An independent Commissioner is recommended by Dr Girol Karacaoglu. He calls this an ‘Office of Wellbeing’, similar to the ‘Future Generations Commissioner’ in Wales. This should provide advice on long-term environmental, social and economic objectives with associated targets and monitor progress towards these objectives. The Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNDP have published a report recommending parliaments build an understanding of the SDGs. We should also be “mainstreaming the SDGs within parliamentary mechanisms”. It is promising that the Auditor-General is reviewing NZ’s preparedness to implement the SDGs, but our NZ Parliament could be doing better. In the lead-up to Election 2020, Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern seemed to agree on something – a four-year parliamentary term. Research New Zealand then found that out of a survey of 1000 people 61% supported moving to a four-year term. If we’re going to encourage long-term planning for future generations under the SDGs, then we need to revisit extending our Parliamentary term. Let’s not forget it until the next election. If you care that: Everyone in New Zealand has enough and nutritious food too eat; Everyone in New Zealand can visit a doctor when the person needs to; Women and girls enjoy the same rights, opportunities, and outcomes as men and boys; Everyone has access to clean drinking water; New Zealanders have decent work which is safe and pays for a living; and Aotearoa's environment stays beautiful, Then you should be caring for the SDGs and signing this petition. The SDGs will help you to talk to your whānau, friends and colleagues about what we can and need to do to make NZ a better place to live for all. Our Parliament and Government can do better on the SDGs and in planning for our future.
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  • Take Action against Modern Slavery
    40 million people globally are in modern slavery. Unlike many other countries, New Zealand has no legislation that requires companies to undertake due diligence looking into the risks of modern slavery within their supply chains and taking actions to address those risks. Modern Slavery legislation is a key way for New Zealand companies to work together to eliminate modern slavery in private and public sector supply chains. WHAT IS MODERN SLAVERY? Modern slavery is the severe exploitation of other people for personal or commercial gain. Modern slavery is in the clothes you wear, the coffee you drink and the goods you love. WHY DO WE NEED A MODERN SLAVERY ACT? 40 million people globally are in modern slavery. There are more people in slavery now than in any other time in history. The world is small and interconnected. Every time we purchase a product there is a chain reaction felt around the world. No country or industry is unaffected. Unlike many other countries, New Zealand has no accountability legislation that addresses transparency in supply chains. This means that New Zealand companies could unknowingly be importing products or services by which people are exploited and enslaved. WHAT WOULD A MODERN SLAVERY ACT DO? Modern Slavery Acts make it easier for a consumer to expect slavery-free products and services from companies. They help prevent slavery through transparency and accountability. They require businesses to understand the risks of modern slavery in their purchasing, to report on those risks and take action to address them. They give the business community guidance and a level playing field. For further information, resources and to get involved check out our campaign website - https://www.signforfreedom.nz/
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