• Get Victoria University Fair Trade Accredited!
    Fair trade has wide-reaching benefits for disadvantaged producers in developing countries, including commitments to fair wages, environmental protection, gender equality, community development projects and policies against forced and child labour. As students, we want our university to stand with us in our belief that our purchases should empower rather than exploit. Read more about the benefits of fair trade at: fairtrade.org.nz/What-is-Fairtrade/What-Fairtrade-does University of Otago, University of Canterbury and Otago Polytechnic are all Fair Trade Accredited - all we need is for the University Council and VUWSA to pass a resolution in support of fair trade! Other requirements include that fair trade products are readily available at at least 30% of on-campus retail outlets (already achieved!), that a Fair Trade Steering Group be established, that fair trade tea and coffee be the default in university meetings and in 50% of department kitchenettes and staffrooms and that fair trade is promoted within the university. All these conditions are achievable and the Victoria Development Society is working hard to raise awareness on campus of the incredible benefits of fair trade for both producers and consumers. Sign your name and show Victoria University that students care about the people that make our everyday goods!
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  • Tell PM Jacinda Ardern to stay strong on Manus
    28 Nov 2017 - Update: Thousands of outraged Australians demonstrated on Sunday in the major cities after the month-long stand-off at the refugee centre on Manus Island ended violently on Friday. Police carrying batons raided the centre and forced out about 330 remaining refugees and asylum seekers. Yesterday a group of priests locked themselves to the Australian Prime Minister’s front gate in protest. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, World Vision, Oxfam, Rhodes Scholars, Australian Medical Association have all spoken out, asking for the Australian government to show humanity and compassion. Our own Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been outspoken with her Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull, from their very first meeting, and raised it consistently in the media, but she needs to know the public are behind her on this sensitive issue. Not everyone understands these are genuine refugees who deserve a new start. Let Jacinda know we’re behind her and to keep the offer open to bring the refugees here. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reaffirms pledge to take Manus Island refugees http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11947867 22 Nov 2017 - It's been three weeks since water, food, power and medical services were cut to the Manus Island Detention Camp. But nearly 400 men remain inside. The UN has called it a 'humanitarian crisis' — while the Australian Government are doing everything they can to shirk responsibility for the men successive governments have unlawfully detained on Manus for more than four years.[1,2] But our Government is refusing turn a blind eye to our government's human rights abuses. For the last three weeks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has offered time and time again to help resettle 150 of the men detained on Manus Island. She's making sure Australia can’t hide from its responsibilities, and she’s also making progress — with media reporting that Australian and NZ officials are finally beginning to discuss screening procedures for refugees.[3] She’s getting some criticism and comments that we’re risking our friendly relationship with Australia. But real friendship is about being both kind and firm, especially when there is harm being done to others. As the situation continues to spiral downwards on Manus — the only way to avoid further injury, illness or death is for these men to be immediately evacuated to safety while a longer term solution is found. A permanent resettlement process will take at least five months to implement from the point it is agreed.[4] We need to show our PM that the ActionStation community stands behind her calls for action, and urge her to keep the pressure on the Australian Parliament to evacuate the camp. Can you send Jacinda Ardern an email commending her actions and calling on her to go further? References: 1 - Humanitarian emergency, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/18/australia-must-act-to-stop-humanitarian-emergency-in-manus-says-unhcr 2 - Refugees Trapped Far From Home, Farther From Deliverance https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/18/world/australia/manus-island-australia-detainees.html?_r=0 3 - Australia, New Zealand start talks about Manus refugees screening process, http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/11/20/australia-new-zealand-start-talks-about-manus-refugees-screening-process 4 - New Zealand will give $2.7m to Manus and Nauru refugees http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/jacinda-ardern-new-zealand-will-give-27m-to-manus-and-nauru-refugees-20171114-gzlj5m.html 5 - Nothing prepared me for Australia's refugee camp http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11946142 6 - https://theconversation.com/three-charts-on-whats-going-on-at-manus-island-87354
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  • Bring Them Here: NZ should urgently welcome 700+ refugees in danger on Manus Island
    Dear Ms Ardern and Mr Lees-Galloway, On 31st October 2017, the Australian Government will close its Manus Island offshore detention centre, abandoning over 700 asylum seekers and refugees, some of whom have been held there for many years. In doing so, the Australian Government leaves these refugees in an extremely precarious situation, where local people have threatened violence against them if they remain on the island outside of the detention centre [https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/25/australia/png-refugees-face-unchecked-violence]. This situation is unacceptable for both local people and refugees being held on Manus. Local people on Manus Island were never consulted about the offshore detention centres and although the Papua New Guinea government has received huge payments from Australia, little of this has trickled through to local villagers - causing unrest, as their lives have been disrupted by the centres [https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/27/manus-island-closure-faces-local-opposition-and-legal-challenge]. The Papua New Guinean Supreme Court ruled the detention centre illegal in 2016 because it breached the asylum seekers’ fundamental human rights [http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-26/png-court-rules-asylum-seeker-detention-manus-island-illegal/7360078], which is why it is now being closed. Refugees, who attempted to flee terrible situations in their home countries have now been thrust into a new nightmare. Some have been held in the offshore detention centre in Manus for years [https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/getfacts/statistics/aust/asylum-stats/detention-australia-statistics/]. Conditions have been horrific in the detention centre and many experience psychological trauma due to their uncertain future. Many have taken their own lives in desperation and others have died in unclear circumstances [http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/thebordercrossingobservatory/publications/australian-border-deaths-database/]. Some have been forcibly repatriated to their home countries where they are unsafe [https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/21/asylum-seeker-on-manus-forcibly-returned-to-iran-amid-court-challenge]. The Australian government, as a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, should be responsible for these refugees, regardless of how they entered Australian territory to seek asylum. Instead, the government brought them to Manus Island as part of their ‘Pacific Solution’ policy of preventing any people fleeing war or persecution reaching safety in Australia if they seek asylum by boat. It is very clear that Australia is washing their hands of these people, in the same way that they washed their hands of the refugees who tried to reach Australia on the Tampa. On 31st October, they will shut off water, electricity and sewage systems to the detention centre and give the people the choice to either be moved to Nauru, another of their offshore prisons, or to remain in a nearby town where they will be extremely unsafe [http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/food-water-power-to-be-cut-at-manus-island-centre-as-refugees-forced-to-depart-20171020-gz51r9.html]. We demand that the New Zealand government do what the Australian Government will not. We should show manaakitanga, take a strong stand for justice and welcome these desperate people to Aotearoa New Zealand immediately.
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  • Stop the 2017 Weapons Expo!
    The Weapons Expo is an annual event for arms companies and the military to buy, sell and lobby for more weapons of war. Sponsors of the Expo include Lockheed Martin, currently the world's largest arms company manufacturing nuclear weapons. Local NZ companies such as MAS Zengrange, who make mortar firing devices, also attend to boost their profits from war. Wellington City Council describes Wellington as the ‘coolest little capital’ and brands the city as being ’absolutely positive’. It also declared itself nuclear free in 1982, two years before NZ officially did. By allowing the Weapons Expo to be held in Wellington, the council is running contrary to any positive image it is trying to create. Further, it is making all its population tacit in supporting militarisation and war. We, the undersigned, do not want the weapons expo to be held in this city and demand that the WCC do not allow any part of this city to be used to support or enable the weapons expo to occur. We also ask that the WCC develop ethical guidelines for the booking of Council owned venues and we ask that these guidelines be promoted with non-council venues. Peace Action Wellington is a grassroots community group working to oppose the weapons expo. We believe that it is not possible to build a peaceful and just world while simultaneously acquiring ever more weapons and doing more planning for war. This petition is an important part of our campaign this year to bring pressure on the government. Join the campaign for peace! More information on the Weapons Expo can be found at http://www.nzdia.co.nz/forum/ 'Profiting from war' - New Zealand's weapons and military-related industry http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1511/pawreport.pdf
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  • Transfer defence force funds to peaceful purposes
    This petition is supporting the Peace Hikoi of Ian Upton, who is walking from Cape Reinga to Parliament. Ian believes the use of taxpayer money to fund the capability of making war is unacceptable.[1] In November 2016 the Government announced a $20 billion budget for the NZ Defence Force, with plans to replace the Air Force Boeing 757, the C130-Hercules, the Orion maritime patrol aircraft and the ANZAC frigates.[2] This is while homelessness reaches new levels and the prison population recently passed 10,000. The number of children living below the poverty line is estimated at 300,000.[3,4,5] Huge capital expenditure for military purposes is inevitably at the expense of other spending the country needs in areas like transport and housing. Ian is walking to Parliament to give the message that the funds will be much better spent on peaceful purposes. There are many good organisations doing essential work that could benefit with more funding, for example work such as that carried out by the 1000 Days Trust, which supports children through their first 1000 days of life.[6] Taking the example of Costa Rica, who have had only a civil defence force and border patrol since 1949, why can we not do something similar? It is reasonable to defend our borders with vigilance, but we don't need the capability to wage war overseas. We teach our children that fighting is wrong. Common sense security is all that is required, not offensive capability. Ian expects to arrive at Parliament on 28 June. References 1 - Peace campaigner hits Tauranga on marathon march http://beta.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11866168 2 - http://beta.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11652807 3 - Homelessness http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/332032/urgent-housing-need-big-concern-going-into-winter 4 - Protest as prison population hits 10,000 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/324283/protest-as-prison-population-hits-10,000 5 - New Zealand child poverty a source of deep concern, says UN https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/07/new-zealand-child-poverty-a-source-of-deep-concern-says-un 6 - The first 1000 days of a child's life http://www.1000days.org.nz/
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  • Halt all New Zealand imports of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara
    Two New Zealand fertiliser companies import hundreds of thousands of tonnes of phosphate every year. The phosphate is used by the agriculture industry to make ‘super-fertilisers’ to help the grass grow. 70% of the phosphate supply comes from an occupied territory, Western Sahara. Western Sahara is about the size of New Zealand, a mineral-rich territory controlled by military force by Morocco since 1975. The United Nations' classifies it as a "non-self-governing territory" and many of its people live in refugee camps across the border, in Algeria.[1] Western Sahara is still waiting for a referendum for the local population promised in 1991. In 2017 a boat that contained phosphate bound for New Zealand was detained in South Africa and kept for a year because of its cargo. The South African court concluded that the shipping company had no right to transport phosphates from Western Sahara on behalf of the Moroccan government, as the cargo belonged to the people of the territory.[2] The import of phosphate is one of the darkest sides of New Zealand’s agricultural industry. Not only is it complicit with the territorial occupation, it is applied in huge amounts onto the land, damaging soils and ends up in the groundwater.[3] The phosphate trade from Western Sahara implicates farmers and New Zealanders in the plunder of another country’s natural resources.[4] Mark Wynne, the CEO of Ballance has said he visited Western Sahara and “looked into the social issues”. This is not a credible justification and we ask that the measures of his assessment are made public and transparent.[4] We wish to know what steps Ballance and Ravensdown have taken to obtain the consent of the people of Western Sahara to take their natural resources. Until there is an agreed settlement on a path to self-determination, as the United Nations sets out, and consent given by the recognised representatives of Western Sahara, then all imports from this occupied territory should be suspended. References 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnHbEz2lZIo Western Sahara: UN welcomes withdrawal of Polisario Front from Guerguerat area, UN News, April 2017 https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/04/556282-western-sahara-un-welcomes-withdrawal-polisario-front-guerguerat-area 2 - Morocco’s Phosphate Cargo Auctioned in South Africa After Pro-Polisario Verdict, 20 Mar 2018 https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2018/03/242803/moroccos-phosphate-cargo-south-africa-polisario/ 3 - Farmers urged to rethink use of fertiliser, NZ Herald, 15 June 2017 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=11876596 4 - Morocco's charm offensive to protect phosphate sale to NZ, RNZ, 20 April 2018 https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/business/355629/morocco-s-charm-offensive-to-protect-phosphate-sale-to-nz Human rights violation: NZ companies under fire for fertiliser imports 29 Mar 2015 https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/human-rights-violation-nz-companies-under-fire-for-fertiliser-imports-6272824
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  • Tell the NZ government to take a stand against death camps for gay men in Russia
    Gay men are being kidnapped and killed in Chechnya, Russia. More than 100 men have been arrested under suspicion of being gay. There are reports of people being tortured and beaten, as well as enforced disappearances, and abduction-style detention camps. At least three men have been murdered. The official response from Chechen authorities is that "gay people do not even exist in Chechnya." The international community urgently needs to act. We must investigate these atrocities and bring to justice all those responsible for the arrests, torture, and killings of gay men in Chechnya. One of the roles of New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade is to provide advice to the New Zealand Government on international human rights issues and represents us at the UN. According to MFAT's own website, "New Zealand has a strong history of protecting and promoting human rights both at home and internationally." Now is the time to ensure those words are more than a good headline. New Zealand has a rich trading relationship with Russia totalling $762 million (MFAT website, 2014). We must use this trading relationship as leverage to advocate for human rights for all. Everyone deserves the right to life, love, freedom, safety and security. Please help speak out against oppression by signing this petition and sharing with your friends. ***MORE INFO*** https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/02/chechen-police-rounded-up-100-gay-men-report-russian-newspaper-chechnya http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39566136 An LGBT+ advocacy organisation, All Out, is running an emergency fundraiser to help the Russian LGBT Network evacuate and support gay men at risk of being captured and tortured in Chechnya. You can make a donation here: https://go.allout.org/en/a/chechnya/
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  • Launch an independent inquiry into the NZ SAS's involvement in civilian casualties in Afghanistan
    “It is easy for people to become merely ‘casualties’. These people had names, lives, stories. None of them were part of an insurgent group or the attack on the New Zealand patrol. Nearly all were small children and women, in a country where women are very unlikely to be fighters. But after careful checks it seems clear that none of the men were either. They were simply farmers.” p.50–51 of 'Hit & Run' by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson. Now we have the chance to do our bit to ensure that anyone whose life was irrevocably harmed by our soldiers can get that kind of closure, and some form of justice. The NZ Defence Force says the claims of civilian deaths were investigated by a joint Afghan and ISAF assessment team, who concluded they were unfounded. A United Nation report on the incident, published in 2011, indicates that the joint ISAF assessment team was unable to complete a satisfactory assessment at the time. NZDF themselves have not conducted an investigation. The New Zealand public has now been presented with good reason to suspect that the joint Afghan and ISAF assessment may have got it wrong. A full and independent inquiry would provide the NZDF with a chance to clear their name, and the public with a chance to feel confident in our military and political leaders. New Zealand prides itself on being a force for good in the world. It won’t be comfortable to admit we’ve also sometimes been a force for great suffering and harm, but avoiding the truth doesn’t make it go away.
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  • Send a quick email to Prime Minister, Bill English to #doublethequota
    We have an election this year, which means we have an opportunity to have a national conversation about the kind of country we want to be. What kind of example do we want to send to the world? Will we choose multiracial and multicultural solidarity and coexistence, or will we choose fear, hatred and anger? Trump’s executive order to ban people from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S (except of course the ones America have big oil business with) is not only despicable, it’s not backed by any evidence that it will improve national security. Americans are more likely to be killed by their own clothes, or another American, than by someone from one of the banned countries. New Zealand’s response should be loud and clear: We condemn Trump's xenophobic actions. It's past time to double the number of people granted refugee status in New Zealand, and the associated funding to help refugees rebuild their lives. In 2016, there were a reported 30,000 empty homes in Auckland alone. Let's fill those homes with refugees and homeless people, and then ensure that community groups have the government funding they need to help all of these individuals to live good lives of opportunity, safety, freedom and choice.
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  • Bring refugees banned from the US to New Zealand
    This photo is of five members of the Jouriyeh family, Syrian refugees headed to the US as part of a resettlement program. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh) - as reported in The Times Of Israel. A number of families and individuals are due to enter the US as refugees in January and February. They have been through all the vetting, medical, legal and other checks necessary to enter the US as refugees. At the last minute, their place in the US has been taken away from them, without notice, by an Executive Order from the Trump Administration. Offering a home in New Zealand under the New Zealand Refugee programme will give these families and individuals a place to go. We will be able fast-track many of our usual procedures, as these people have already met vetting requirements for entry into the US set under the previous administration. A review of New Zealand's refugee quota last year showed that we have the capacity to welcome far more refugees here than we currently do. We have room for these people, they are ready to travel, and we can step up and offer them an alternative to the home they were hoping for. Such an action on the part of our government will also demonstrate that New Zealand does not support the inhumane, and likely illegal action that the Trump Administration has taken in banning refugees by Executive Order, without any regard for the lives of people already in the system and already accepted as refugees. Bill English, we call on you to seize this moment and open our doors to people who have been denied their place in the US through no fault of their own.
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  • Petition for New Zealand Government Support for Aleppo
    Human Rights Groups have estimated that up to 100,000 civilians have been killed in the ongoing conflict in Syria. Yesterday’s deal to evacuate the remaining civilians has collapsed. Shelling and airstrikes have resumed and the streets are littered with bodies. According to alarming reports from a doctor in the city, many children, possibly more than 100, unaccompanied or separated from their families, are trapped in a building, under heavy attack in east Aleppo The UN have a plan in place for evacuating the 100,000 civilians trapped in the city. Their lives can be saved. This plan just needs world leaders to implement it. New Zealanders want to help those who are living through this horrible atrocity and we are asking you, our elected representatives, to listen to our request and to pledge your support to the people of Syria.
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  • Denounce The Political Murders In Ethiopia
    For over two decades the government of Ethiopia has killed, tortured and violated the human rights of Amhara and Oromo majority in the country. Ethiopia has suffered under this extreme oppressive regime, a government that has sought to systematically divide Ethiopia based on ethnicity, and has pursed an agenda of genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Amhara and Oromo since 1990. The government has detained, killed and tortured politicians, journalists, bloggers, and any individuals who oppose their regime. According to Human Rights Watch, the Ethiopian government has killed an estimated 400 people, and injured thousands more since November 2015 for participating in protests in the Oromo region. The people of Ethiopian want to be free from this dictatorship, they want to be able to express their opinions and live a life that’s free of fear. Our brothers and sisters who are violated by this regime need us to fight this injustice act. We call on New Zealanders of every race, ethnicity, and religion to help us stand up against the TPLF and be a voice for the voiceless, and protest and denounce their brutality. New Zealand, Ethiopia needs you! Read about why Olympian Feyisa Lilesa has risked his life to oppose the TPLF's merciless killings: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11698817
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