• Make Migration to NZ more Humane
    Families of New Zealand citizens and residents have been separated and kept apart due to unnecessary visa processing delays by INZ. Children are losing out on the much needed nurture provided by both parents. In the last few years, approximately 70,000 international students have been coming to New Zealand every year to gain world class education, making education our 4th largest export at approximately 4 to 5 billion dollars per year. The students are given work rights so that they can gain much sought after work experience and ultimately become part of New Zealand workforce after graduating. This also puts them on a pathway to residence as promoted by NZ government websites and dodgy education agents. However, the reality is different - the students are forced to re-enrol for the same courses repeatedly due to College closures conducted by NZQA. To add to an already stressful situation, the students are left to extend their visas urgently to avoid becoming unlawful in New Zealand. Many have been deported due to the fault of unregulated education agents. Research studies conducted by Dr Christina Stringer (University of Auckland) and Dr Francis Collins (University of Waikato) clearly conclude that migrant exploitation is rampant when temporary work visas are attached to employers, preventing the employee seeking help or whistleblowing to end their own exploitation. The number of new residents settling in New Zealand has reached the lowest level since the turn of the century. At the same time a record number of temporary work visa holders have been approved, topping more than 240,000 in the last year. What does that mean? Uncertainty and displacement surrounds migrants on temporary visas. Many in this category have been in New Zealand for 5 to 10 years in the hope of a more permanent future here. Every time they are close to realising that hope, the immigration instructions are changed to bring them right back to where they started. The National Government closed the parent visa category in 2016 claiming that it was a temporary measure to bring the migrant numbers under control. The Labour coalition government has announced that the Parent Visa Category will reopen in February 2020. However, the income requirements for the sponsors are outrageously high (2 to 4 times annual median salary of $53,040) and out of reach for most, if not all, working class migrants. Under this visa category, only the rich have the luxury of being near their loved ones. Some high skilled migrants earn just enough to sponsor either Mum or Dad - how does one even contemplate such a choice!!
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  • Save the Amazon - New Zealand Government to act!
    We students and adults from all across NZ express strong concern about the situation in the Amazon rainforest. The world is in crisis. The Amazon rainforest has been burning for over three weeks; it is so large we can see it from space. This is destroying the homes and livelihoods of many people, including Indigenous communities in the region. The Amazon rainforest has thousands of native species that are dying and being displaced as this fire rages. The Amazon produces 20% of the air we breathe, and has 40% of the world's rainforests. The Amazon rainforest holds 20% of the world's freshwater. All of this is going up in smoke and if we don't act now, the whole forest could burn and it will impact our entire world. Protecting these forests are critical because of their crucial role as absorbers of carbon for the whole world. Given the urgency of the situation, we feel that the fires aren’t getting enough attention as it should be by the authorities within the country and require pressure and assistance by those outside of the country. The following link provides more information about the issue https://mailchi.mp/f17f15f32a53/bulletin-world-weekly-a-weather-report-for-the-world-2456737 We urge the general public to stand with us and urge our leaders to act now to save the Amazon rainforest, as this is an issue that will have severe ramifications for the whole world if not addressed immediately. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons Jlwad under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license
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  • Better climate education for our tamariki
    We trust that you will share our view that climate change is the single biggest and most significant (and potentially dangerous) global phenomenon that will impact on the lives not only of our children but also of their generation around that planet. It is the issue of our times and, although it comes much too late, we are relieved that at last global and local awareness of this becomes increasingly pronounced. We commend the efforts of the recent youth demonstrations to voice their concerns and appreciate any encouragement that KC has given for students to participate. It therefore seems particularly concerning (and surprising) to see how little global warming and climate change features in the education that our children are currently receiving at KC. We understand that inclusion of a stand-alone module on the issue is optional, but that for now it is not available for any age group. Furthermore, with one or two exceptions, it also seems that there is currently little opportunity taken to embrace it as a cross-curricular issue. This last point is particularly worrying, since the process of climate change could so easily be incorporated into teaching across so many subjects - whether biology, chemistry, physics, ESS, maths or indeed film-making, drama or dance! Furthermore, outside of the relatively small extra-curricula Eco-Action group , we are not aware of any initiatives being taken by the college institutionally to promote behaviour or initiatives to support reductions in carbon-emissions – whether around car-pooling, encouraging more cyclists, carbon-sequestration schemes, renewable energy installations, or indeed on how to undertake effective lobbying and advocacy. We acknowledge and respect that the teaching body is under strong parent-led (and market-led) pressures to focus on maximising examination success and that there is little room to introduce much more to what is already a very full and demanding work load for teachers. We are also informed (although again with surprise) that the Ministry of Education is not currently supplying KC with the necessary relevant and updated teaching guides and educational materials that could be used either for stand alone climate change modules or for helping the subject be introduced as a cross-cutting theme across all subjects. However, we do feel that these constraints could – and should - be overcome.
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  • Horizons Regional Council - declare a climate emergency!
    This is a call to action for our representatives to declare a climate emergency for our city and to take decisive action. Climate breakdown is a challenge for all humanity, but it is also our biggest opportunity. By declaring a climate emergency we can ensure our representatives make the necessary decisions in time to save our local ecosystems and our planet. The effects of climate change strike to the heart of our communities, and will have a major impact on local schools, residents, and businesses. We need urgent and strategic from our local council representatives to address the challenge seriously. We have the means, and access to resources to transition, and we also have an obligation to countries worst affected by climate change. Climate breakdown is challenging, but by decarbonising our economy, we will create more time for doing the things we love, with the people we love, in the nature we love. It will mean working less and sharing more. Driving less and cycling more. Polluting less and planting more. A shift away from our consumer culture to re-invigorating community will mean we get to spend more time gardening, cooking, learning, reading, sharing, laughing, dancing, and singing together instead of spending hours on social media, or money on things we don’t need, for connection and validation. It will mean paying the people who work in low-carbon jobs such as caregiving, teaching, nursing, healing, and restoration generously instead of bankers, polluters and corporate billionaires extracting all the wealth from the rest of us and our Earth. In taking decisions we urge council members to consult with mana whenua of Ngāti Rangitāne at all times. We support the call of the National Māori Climate Network for urgent action. We can create a green and beautiful future, we just need to have the courage to take action, and we ask our representatives to show us the way. We can be leaders in the climate action space and set an example for other councils, and the country, to follow. Read and sign 'An Open Letter from the Youth of Aotearoa' by School Strike 4 Climate NZ here: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/climate-declaration-from-the-youth-of-aotearoa-2
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  • Porirua City Council - take climate action
    This is a call to action for our representatives to declare a climate emergency for Porirua city and to take decisive action. Climate breakdown is a challenge for all humanity, but it is also our biggest opportunity. By declaring a climate emergency we can ensure our representatives make the necessary decisions in time to save our local ecosystems and our planet. The effects of climate change strike to the heart of our communities, and will have a major impact on local schools, residents, and businesses. We need urgent and strategic action from our local council representatives to address the challenge seriously. We have the means, and access to resources to transition, and we also have an obligation to countries worst affected by climate change. Climate breakdown is challenging, but by decarbonising our economy, we will create more time for doing the things we love, with the people we love, in the nature we love. It will mean working less and sharing more. Driving less and cycling more. Polluting less and planting more. A shift away from our consumer culture to re-invigorating community will mean we get to spend more time with our whānau gardening, cooking, learning, reading, sharing, laughing, dancing, and singing instead of spending hours on social media, or money on things we don’t need, for connection and validation. It will mean paying the people who work in low-carbon jobs such as caregiving, teaching, nursing, healing, and restoration generously instead of bankers, polluters and corporate billionaires extracting all the wealth from the rest of us and our Earth. In taking decisions we urge council members to consult with mana whenua of Ngāti Toa Rangatira at all times. We support the call of the National Māori Climate Network for urgent action. We can create a green and beautiful future however we just need to have the courage to take action, and we ask our representatives to show us the way. Porirua city can be be part of cities like Nelson, Kapiti and Auckland declaring climate emergencies however this can only be done through your voice. The rangatahi of Porirua are calling for the people who represent us to fight for the future because if they do not, we will not be able to live it. Porirua is our home and we need to protect it for generations to come. Sign this petition for our future, karawhiua e te iwi!! Read and sign 'An Open Letter from the Youth of Aotearoa' by School Strike 4 Climate NZ here: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/climate-declaration-from-the-youth-of-aotearoa-2
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  • Stand up for people in PNG, Australia and Nauru seeking asylum
    Do we want to live in a society that accepts inhumane policies? Current treatment of people seeking asylum and refuge in the Pacific needs changing, sign to let our government know we want a better vision for the future. Let's aim to create equality for all including the most vulnerable. Change the situation for people seeking asylum and refuge and help rebuild lives. There are people who have endured countless sufferings as refugees and are stuck in limbo with little hope for their future and with few rights in the country they now dwell. People living in prison in a country that offers them little hope of a future. People held in Bomana Prison until recently. People shut off from the outside world locked in motels and hotels in Australia. Since the Australian elections 12 (as of May 22nd 2019) people seeking asylum on PNG have made desperate attempts to end their lives. As of 5 June 2019 26 of these people have attempted to end their lives and /or self harm. On the 10 June 2019 in desperation a young man set himself on fire. The deaths continue. We see it as our responsibility as fellow humans to start acting for a better future creating hope. Helen Clark made special circumstances for 433 asylum seekers from the Tampa in 2001. Without a delay of years in detention those people were bought here, and successfully started new lives. This event sparked the beginnings of what the then Howard Government called the ‘Pacific solution’. The beginnings of what has grown to become a Pacific shame. New Zealanders, Australians and people of the wider Pacific feel shame in what the Australian government has been playing out in our region. The Australian government has been condemned by the UNHCR, and urged repeatedly to bring the asylum seekers to Australia or third country due to the compromised health state of the detainees. This situation has been going on far too long - SEVEN arduous, unbearable years for innocent people, 13 and counting - who have lost their lives so far. Many have been forced to return to their homelands risking their lives and suffering persecution. They need the hope of building their futures in a safe society. New Zealand has made repeated offers to the Australian government for resettlement and been turned down. As caring people we must act to find solutions, at present we sit beside Australia and accept with complacency the ill treatment of fellow human beings. We want to live in a world free from the barriers that create suffering, hate and injustice. The people seeking asylum and refuge need our protection and they need us to stand up for their human rights. Please Jacinda Ardern and the New Zealand Government reach out to those so desperately in need of help in our big backyard of the Pacific. The suffering of these people must end and politics should not stand in the in the way of it. Help remove the barriers to doing the right thing as fellow human beings. It's time to act. We appeal to you Jacinda Ardern to stand up and do the right thing for these people. We do not accept this policy of ‘Detention’. We push for change. You have shown in your leadership to be guided by what's right, what's fair and just. You are an honest, principled and compassionate leader and we are lucky to have you representing our country. Kia Kaha. With sincere kindness and hope, the undersigned. Links www.refugeecouncil.org.au www.refugeeaction.org.au www.writingthroughfences.org www.amnesty.org www.doctorswithoutborders.org www.msf.org.au www.unhcr.org (search Manus and Nauru from home pages) Until When? The forgotten men on Manus Island, by the Refugee Council of Australia, Amnesty International report, Nov 2018. www.unchr.org Article in Summary of Catherine Stubberfield, 12 October 2018. A. Nazari, As a Tampa refugee, I have seen first-hand the impact when NZ takes moral leadership, The Spinoff, 11 November 2017.
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  • #triplethequota
    Aotearoa's Muslim community has suffered a devastating terrorist attack. It's motivation has been to destroy lives, families and divide us. New Zealanders from all walks of life call upon our politicians and leaders send a clear message to our refugee and migrant communities: they are wanted, they are not blamed and, they are welcome here. We call upon the Government of New Zealand to affirm this message with action and, triple New Zealand's refugee quota and lift the ban on refugees from the Middle East and Africa, effective immediately. In 2018 the quota was raised to 1500 from 750, due to come into effect in July 2020. This is still a tiny number and to raise to 4500 is the least New Zealand can do as a country. Let's say it loud and clear, refugees and welcome, racists are not. #TripleTheQuota https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/107203279/refugee-quota-lifting-to-1500-by-2020 https://www.vice.com/en_nz/article/aej3aj/is-new-zealands-refugee-policy-closer-to-trumps-muslim-ban-than-you-think
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  • An Open Letter from the Youth of Aotearoa
    To solve this crisis, everyone has a part to play. We are calling on all New Zealanders to support our call for action, and commit to helping drive change.  ➡️ We are asking our business leaders to step up and stand alongside us.  Current business practices are threatening our homes, our families and our communities. We will not stand by while greed for a quick profit undermines our future security, and fuels the loss of homes and livelihoods of our neighbours in the Pacific. If businesses want to continue to have the social license to operate, they need to be a part of the solution. We are the future of the economy, and we will not tolerate inaction on climate change. We ask you, our business leaders, to support our demands of Government and to commit to doing your bit by divesting your businesses from fossil fuels, reducing your emissions, and using your ingenuity and leadership to building the economy of the future; one which doesn’t cost us, and future generations, but instead safeguards our continued existence on earth. ➡️ We are asking our parents, grandparents, teachers and communities to step up alongside us. Think about the things you want for your children or the young people that you love; happiness, stability, freedom, peace, security, health. Climate breakdown puts all of these things at risk. Please listen to us, our hopes and dreams for the world, and help us to make them a reality. Your decisions every day, and your vote every three years, count. Empower your children to fight for their future, and stand in solidarity with them as they strike on September 27. So, will you join us? ❤️ You can also support the local campaigns for councils to take action on a safe climate future - support and share the campaign for your local council here: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/efforts/declare-a-climate-emergency
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  • Protect Timaru's Penguins — Improve Road Safety Along Marine Parade
    Last night (08/12/28) a little penguin (kororā) was hit and killed by a car on Marine Parade in Timaru. The incident happened in front of 90 tourists and locals (including children) who had come to watch the penguins come ashore. The bird was of breeding age and its mate was seen calling for over an hour after it was killed. It is not known whether the pair had eggs or chicks on the nest, however, this is likely to be the case at is currently breeding season for kororā. Forest & Bird South Canterbury is calling on Timaru District Council to use this tragedy as an opportunity to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/hr, install judder bars or road islands, and consider closing the road to non-port-related traffic after dark. The current speed limit is 50 km/hr but our members have witnessed people driving at excess speeds along Marine Parade again and again. We often take down the registration numbers of vehicles that we see speeding and report them to local police, yet people continue to speed past — sometimes at up to 100 km/hr. We are exceptionally lucky to have this breeding colony of endangered penguins (kororā) so close to our town centre. After a short drive or walk, we can watch them come ashore — undeterred by traffic and noise from the port just metres away. The penguins are an increasingly important part of our local economy. Last year, they attracted up to 100 visitors every night, with some people visiting specifically to see them. This is a safety risk. Not just to the kororā, but also to the people who stand along Marine Parade to watch them come ashore. The Timaru District Council must keep visitors and penguins safe from dangerous driving by reducing the speed limit to 30 km/hr, installing judder bars or road islands, and considering the closure of the road to non-port-related traffic after dark. We would also like to see local police targeting speeding drivers with regular patrols in the area.
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  • Dear Winston, let's double the refugee quota and do our bit
    The Government already has plans underway to support the small number of families that will come with a rise in the refugee quota. The opening of facilities in Invercargill and Christchurch will make it easy to meet the needs of people granted refuge in New Zealand.[2] What we really need to do is fix both the housing crisis and help those in need. We could be taxing extreme wealth in individuals and corporations so the government has enough money to do both. Millions of people around the world are looking to rebuild their lives where it’s safe. To raise our refugee quota from 1000 to 1500 is still a small number compared with other countries - even Australia accepts many times more people seeking refuge than New Zealand per capita.[3] With 60 million people around the world looking to set up a safe home, an increase from 1000 to 1500 is a small number for us, but will mean the world for those people.[4] Email the Rt. Hon. Winston Peters to urge he gets behind lifting the quota. Use the email template to send a quick message. 1. NZ is a long way off its international aid commitment, but is moving in the right direction https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/103751999/nz-is-a-long-way-off-its-international-aid-commitment-but-is-moving-in-the-right-direction 2. Invercargill chosen as new refugee settlement location https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/media-centre/media-releases/invercargill-chosen-new-refugee-settlement-location 3. Fixing NZ's 'dismal' refugee figures https://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/fixing-nzs-dismal-refugee-figures/news-story/d5ad0c7d3c6a7d17d0642fc5767a924f 4. Figures at a Glance http://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html Also: Winston Peters declares U-turn on Government's plan to boost refugee quota https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/09/winston-peters-declares-u-turn-on-government-s-plan-to-boost-refugee-quota.html NZ works to double refugee quota as others close their borders https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/104837520/NZ-works-to-double-refugee-quota-as-others-close-their-borders Winston Peters: NZ should increase refugee numbers https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11451314
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  • Reconsider the purchase of the P8s
    The New Zealand government is about to spend $2.3 billion to buy four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, replacing six old P-3K2 Orion planes.[1] The planes are due to be delivered and begin operations from 2023. These planes are designed to hunt submarines and signals a troubling shift in foreign policy, moving away from an independent stance.[2] The P8s are war-fighting planes and as such will spend much of their time overseas on exercises with Five Eyes partners (an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States), or on coalition missions, most likely in the Middle East. They will be less available for what we really need - for fisheries patrols or search and rescue over our Exclusive Economic Zone, the Southern Ocean and the South Pacific. There are plenty of maritime surveillance planes with high technical specifications that can be purchased for less than $100 million.[3] The $2.3 billion to be spent on the P8s could be saved for much needed social spending such as increasing wages for teachers and nurses, building houses and fixing our health and mental health systems. The New Zealand P8s will be fitted out with surveillance systems, communications platforms, and weapons targeting, all geared to work in tandem with the American and Australian P8s. In effect they do the same job. The P8 purchase can only be interpreted as siding militarily with America, against China. These surveillance planes, optimised for anti-submarine warfare, are only useful to fight alongside America in a major war. The purchase of four signals an even closer military alignment with the United States, and reflects badly on our non-aligned status. Sign to show your support for New Zealand is as an independent player, acting as a mediator, peacemaker and a general advocate of progressive policies. 'The officials considering our national maritime patrol requirements concluded that New Zealand does not need to maintain a maritime patrol force that includes an anti-submarine capability.' Prime Minister Helen Clark, 2001 World BEYOND War is a new global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. We aim to create awareness of popular support for ending war and to further develop that support. We work to advance the idea of not just preventing any particular war but abolishing the entire institution. We strive to replace a culture of war with one of peace in which nonviolent means of conflict resolution take the place of bloodshed. https://worldbeyondwar.org References 1 - Govt to spend $2.3b on planes to replace aging fleet https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/361421/govt-to-spend-2-point-3b-on-planes-to-replace-aging-fleet 2 - New sub-killer planes may never fire in anger but Govt wants the option https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/105452173/New-sub-killer-planes-may-never-fire-in-anger-but-Govt-wants-the-option 3 - Canada’s Field Aviation provides such planes for clients including Australia and Sweden. http://www.fieldav.com/ Comment: Campbell: Five reasons not to spend billions replacing P-3s http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1807/S00058/campbell-five-reasons-not-to-spend-billions-replacing-p-3s.htm Splashing $2.3bn on aircraft erodes NZ’s independent foreign policy https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/14-07-2018/splashing-2-3bn-on-aircraft-erodes-nzs-independent-foreign-policy/ New Defence purchase deserves close scrutiny https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/361568/new-defence-purchase-deserves-close-scrutiny Editorial: $2.3b Poseidon purchase is a questionable adventure for Defence Force https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/editorials/105375361/editorial-23b-poseidon-purchase-is-a-questionable-adventure-for-defence-force
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  • 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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