• Our children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis deserve the same care as adults!
    New Zealand has one of the highest rates of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (known as inflammatory bowel disease or “IBD”) in the world. These diseases are chronic and relapsing illnesses, characterised by sudden flares, emergency department visits, frequent hospitalisations, and, often, surgery. It is estimated that there are 20,792 New Zealanders with these diseases and the number is expected to double in the next ten years. Many of these patients are children. While almost every DHB in NZ funds adult IBD specialty nurses, there is not a single paediatric IBD nurse in all of New Zealand, not even at our largest paediatric centre, Starship Hospital. The issue of equity for this very vulnerable segment of our population needs to be raised. The critical role of the IBD nurse is to provide direct, immediate medical access and assessment to children when their disease suddenly flares. In these situations, it is prompt treatment which prevents lengthy hospitalisations and life-altering surgery. In addition, IBD nurses are the primary educators of both patients and caregivers, they manage immunosuppressive medications, ensure that preventative measures such as vaccinations and screening procedures are up-to-date, provide advice on diet, manage side effects of medications, and ensure compliance with treatment regimens. Not only does the work of the IBD nurse improve patient outcomes, but it significantly frees up time for their physician colleagues to perform other tasks. The impact of the IBD Clinical Nurse Specialist on patient outcomes and hospital costs has been well and repeatedly documented. A recent study reported in the British Medical Journal in 2020, demonstrated a one-third decrease in hospitalisations in the year following the addition of an IBD nurse to the GE team (P=0.002). Similar results were reported in a study from the Royal Adelaide Hospital in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis. Hiring a single nurse will not only save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, but, most importantly, will help keep our children out of the hospital and out of surgical theatres. It will ensure that our children have access to the same quality care that is routinely available to adult IBD patients in New Zealand and to other children throughout the world.
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    Created by Richard Stein
  • Ban the Sale of Nazi Memorabilia
    No matter where we were born, the colour of our skin or our religious beliefs we all deserve to live in peace with our families and feel safe here in Aotearoa. But right now, there is an increase in white supremacy and it undermines all of our peace and safety. Nazi symbols are often used by white supremacists to make known their discriminatory views, and can cause harm to both survivors of the World War II and other minority groups. One of the places profiting from the demand for Nazi memorabilia is Lipscombe Auction House in Nelson who has just held another auction that included the sale of Nazi Memorabilia. This isn't the first time they have auctioned Nazi memorabilia, previously a small group of Nelson residents protested the sale, including those leading this campaign, and were physically ejected from the auction. This time the auction was held online so those bidding were hidden. Situations like this show we need a change in the legislation, as we unfortunately cannot rely on people’s common decency to not sell and distribute Nazi memorabilia. The last auction was held a week before Anzac Day and on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.[1] In a country who aspires to peace and care for all its residents, there is no place for the hateful symbols of Nazi Germany. The sale of Nazi memorabilia is banned in a number of countries including France, Sweden, Brazil, and Germany where the symbols are considered to be ‘anti-constitutional’. While the sale of Nazi memorabilia is not illegal in NZ, some organisations include auction sites such as TradeMe and eBay do not allow the trade in such items. However, we think that the issue requires national regulation, and it should not just sit with the decisions of private organisations. We believe that the government should introduce a ban on Nazi memorabilia. By coming together and calling for a ban on the sale and display of Nazi symbols, we can help put Aotearoa on a path towards a future free of discrimination and fear. References [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising https://theconversation.com/the-extremism-visible-at-the-parliament-protest-has-been-growing-in-nz-for-years-is-enough-being-done-177831 https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/122972931/nazi-memorabilia-auction-plan-in-nelson-sparks-concern https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/122977111/nazi-flags-and-badges-sold-at-nelson-auction-despite-protests https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/387199/shop-owner-defends-sale-of-disturbing-nazi-memorabilia https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/113993233/nazi-memorabilia-for-sale-at-auckland-antiques-shop-offensive https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/nazi-memorabilia-removed-from-trade-me/E7UTNWRYG5YLMFV4FY7OCP3ACM/ https://nelsonweekly.co.nz/2020/10/nazi-memorabilia-auction-offensive/ https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/07/returned-services-association-condemns-nazi-replicas-sold-at-auckland-antiques-store.html https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/04/nsw-to-ban-public-display-of-nazi-flags-and-swastikas https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/08/jewish-council-condemns-nazi-re-enactors-in-auckland-park.html
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    Created by John-Paul Pochin
  • End the Supermarket Crisis
    Everyone needs to eat and we all deserve to be able to afford healthy, nutritious food. But right now more and more families are having to go without because of the high price of food. Even basic items like vegetables, milk and bread are becoming expensive. There is a food cost crisis. The crisis is a result of successive governments allowing two supermarket chains, Woolworths and Foodstuffs, to dominate our food supply. The profits of these 2 big food chains are extraordinary. The Commerce Commission report showed that the profits of the duopolies are somewhere between 12.7 and 13.1%. (1). By international standards a normal rate of return should be 5.5%. (2). The Commerce Commission estimated that Foodstuffs and Woolworths combined are making about $430 million a year in excess profits. (3) It's not just customers they’re short changing either, the people growing and supplying food to the supermarkets are left with little option to negotiate fairer prices for their produce. One supplier reported that “We have two choices 1) sell to them under their terms 2) don’t sell to them at all”.(4) We all want to be able to trust our supermarkets to deliver us decent food at a decent price. But right now, it is clear that these two supermarket giants cannot to be trusted with the reins to our food supply. Our government needs to step in and create legislation to ensure our food system is fair and that families can keep food on the table. We need the Government to take urgent and definitive action to break up the supermarket duopoly. References: 1,2,3,4: Market study into the grocery sector, Commerce Commission, March 2022: https://comcom.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/278403/Market-Study-into-the-retail-grocery-sector-Final-report-8-March-2022.pdf
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    Created by Rene Jansen and Sonja Lamers
  • Healthy Food and Drink in Schools
    We believe that every child and young person in New Zealand deserves the best start to life and what they eat and drink is vital for optimal physical and mental health. Research in New Zealand has highlighted ‘free sugars’ as contributing significantly to high rates of poor physical health, poor oral health, diabetes and other health-related diseases.[1] The consumption of free sugars in sugar sweetened beverages contributes to 26% of the total sugar intake of children.[2] Studies conducted by the Environmental Health Indicators New Zealand (EHINZ) note that dental decay is now the most common disease reported among children in New Zealand. But sugary drinks are not the only problem. The food our children eat also needs to be healthy and nourishing. Research has demonstrated that children who eat healthy food are better behaved and better able to concentrate in class and learn.[3] Education is key to improving health outcomes in our community and schools need to lead the way. Promoting healthy food and then selling unhealthy food in our school canteens does not make sense. We already have Healthy Food Guidelines, Schools need to be given the duty and support to implement them. [4] For more information, please contact: Shona Jaunas (President Open Forum for Health Information) openforumforhealthinformation@gmail.com https://www.openforumforhealthinformation.com/nz-schools-consultation [1] Free sugars are defined by the World Health Organisation as monosaccharides and disaccharides added to food by both the manufacturer and consumer, including sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juice. [2] Sundborn et al, “New Zealand’s growing thirst for a sugar-sweetened beverage tax”, New Zealand Medical Journal, 2015. [3] Rucklidge and Kaplan, “The Better Brain, How Nutrition Will Help You Overcome Anxiety, Depression, ADHD and Stress, Vermillion, 2021 [4] 20210927-Nutrition-Guidance-Formatted-FINAL.pdf (education.govt.nz)
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    Created by Open Forum for Health Information New Zealand
  • Condemn Israeli aggression against peaceful Palestinian worshippers
    According to international news sources, more than 300 Palestinians were detained on Easter Friday in Al-Aqsa Mosque in what rights groups say was the largest en masse arrest over the course of one hour and in one location in more than 20 years.(1) At least 158 Palestinians were injured in the ensuing violence. Most recently, Israel has prevented Palestinian Christians from entering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to observe the Easter Vigil associated with the Christian Orthodox celebrations.(2) Tensions across the occupied territories continue to mount as the Israeli Occupation forces use violence against Palestinian Muslim and Christian worshippers and peaceful protestors. Every thirty-three years Ramadan, Easter and Passover coincide. It is especially sad that the recent aggression by the Israeli Occupation forces has occurred at a time of religious festivity for all three of the world’s monotheistic religions. Israel’s aggression not only endangers civilians at a holy moment, it also violates the sanctity and meaning of all three holidays. New Zealand has a strong record of supporting human rights including the freedom of thought, conscience and religion as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New Zealand’s response to the March 15th Mosque attacks demonstrates its commitment to ensuring that religious communities should be able to observe their faith free of harassment and violence. We call on the New Zealand Rt Hon Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta to demonstrate their commitment to religious freedom by condemning the aggression of the Israeli Occupation forces against worshippers and peaceful protestors and extending the same concern the New Zealand government has expressed for Muslims in Aotearoa for Palestinians at worship. New Zealand has consistently held a principled position on Palestine through the United Nations in keeping with international law. This includes New Zealand’s vote in 1974 in favour of issuing an invitation to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO’s) chairman Yasser Arafat to address the UN General Assembly (UNGA). New Zealand’s principled stance can also be traced in its 2012 UNGA vote to upgrade the status of Palestine to non-member observer state. When it comes to Palestine, the New Zealand state and its people have historically maintained an even-handed, diplomatic, and consistent approach to the Israeli conflict. We call on the New Zealand Government to maintain its strong principled stance in relation to Palestine and its commitment to Human Rights by condemning the recent Israeli violence. References: 1. https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-aqsa-mosque-jerusalem-storm-raid-settlers 2. https://www.palestinechronicle.com/israel-limits-access-to-holy-sepulcher-church-for-holy-fire-ceremony-video/ This petition has been created by Palestinians in Aotearoa Coordinating Committee (PACC). This petition has been signed by Alternative Jewish Voices (AJV).
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    Created by Palestinians in Aotearoa Coordination Committee Picture
  • Ensure access to ERP therapy for people living with OCD
    Fixate is an online community for NZers living with OCD or supporting someone living with OCD, with over 800 members. Personal experiences shared within Fixate reveal heart-breaking stories of individuals and families struggling with untreated OCD. Aside from the enormous personal cost, there is a hidden public cost in the “revolving door of care'' where people receive ineffective support for unrecognised, misdiagnosed or untreated OCD. Early diagnosis and targeted interventions would reduce both suffering and the need for costly support and long-term therapy down the track. When emerging OCD symptoms that could be “nipped in the bud” are left untreated, they become embedded and more resistant to treatment. The best practice treatment for OCD is ERP therapy (2). Sometimes this can be accompanied by medication that ‘quietens the obsessive thoughts’, making it easier to do the exposure work. Most people who access these treatments experience substantial improvement and/or recovery (where troublesome unwanted thoughts still occur, but are manageable and no longer disrupt everyday life). In Aotearoa New Zealand, people experiencing severe OCD are referred to secondary mental health services. However there is a high bar to acceptance of referrals and staff with expertise in ERP therapy are reportedly scarce to non-existent. Even when a referral is accepted, people are added to long waiting lists and don’t access treatment for many months. Those who don’t meet the threshold for referral are left in primary care where health professionals lack training in ERP therapy. 1. https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/125409931/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-convinced-woman-she-was-a-dangerous-murderer 2.https://journals.lww.com/intclinpsychopharm/Fulltext/2020/07000/Clinical_advances_in_obsessive_compulsive.1.aspx To learn more about people living with OCD and ERP therapy, go to www.ocd.org.nz https://iocdf.org/blog/2017/03/31/view-the-new-documentary-living-with-me-and-my-ocd/ https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/news/lawtalk/lawtalk-issue-944/obsessive-and-compulsive
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    Created by Marion Maw
  • NZ Govt: speak up for Human Rights in Sri Lanka
    We are facing the worst and most inhumane economic crisis in the history of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is running short on food, medicines, fuel, gas, electricity, paper, and other essential commodities. There are also power cuts which go as long as 15-hours occurring everyday. The crisis has been caused and exacerbated by the corrupt, repressive and undemocratic actions of the ruling Rajapaksha regime, which has deepened inequality in Sri Lankan society. This compounding crisis has created a sense of solidarity and unity within the Kiwi Lankan community as we witness what our friends and whānau in Sri Lanka are going through during this time. It is also important to highlight that minority communities in Sri Lanka have been enduring ongoing crisis and repression for decades, since the state’s independence. Particularly the Tamil community, who for decades have endured systemic oppression at the hands of subsequent Sinhalese-dominated governments. We urge the New Zealand government, particularly the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to condemn the Rajapakse led Sri Lankan government’s actions against its own people. We ask that they use their influence to advocate for the self-determination and dignity of activists especially within our Tamil communities in this time of unrest. We ask for the fair treatment of activists, journalists and minorities. There are roughly 16,000 Kiwi Lankans who call Aotearoa home but the feeling of connection to our motherland is never lost, so it’s heartbreaking to witness as a community what is happening and to have no support or acknowledgement from our government here. We are asking the New Zealand government to condemn the heinous actions of the Sri Lankan government and help ensure the safety of our family and friends who we are not able to be with or even contact during this time. Please note - This petition is not the one that was signed during the Sri Lankan Mt Wellington Protest
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    Created by Duality NZ
  • Free bus fares for tertiary and high school students
    With rent, utilities, gas and food prices rising, the cost of public transport is not another factor young people should have to worry about. Free bus fares are about making sure everyone has an equal opportunity to get to places of education. No one should have to make the choice to stay home because they can’t afford to go to school or university. Many countries, including the UK, Australia, Germany and Italy have already made this equitable move and it is time we follow in their footsteps.
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    Created by Anne Leakey
  • Climate Accountability Now
    We rarely hear of government policies on climate change, the greatest threat to the future well-being of our children and grandchildren-and indeed of the whole planet. In 2019 the Prime Minister said that the climate crisis is ‘this generation’s nuclear free moment’ and Government declared a climate emergency. Arguably, Government has failed to treat it as such. I believe it is time to take action which makes a vital and lasting difference and to hold Government to account. Regular press conferences specifically about climate change will encourage reporters with specialised knowledge to attend and will give them the opportunity to question Government closely on this crucial issue. Knowledge is power! The majority of Kiwis believe the country is doing well in its response to the climate crisis. However, the international Climate Action Tracker rates our performance as ‘highly insufficient’. Press conferences will enable the public to be realistically informed about our CO2 emissions which will pressure the government to take action. New Zealand by itself can make only a small difference but countries with small economies are numerous and together have a significant effect on CO2 emissions. NZ could be bold and lead by example. Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions will help create a future without damaging storms, droughts and floods and will reduce the dangers of sea level rise. It will create a country of communities connected by efficient public transport and green, liveable cities for future generations.
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    Created by Bernard Schofield
  • Radio New Zealand: responsible science/environment coverage please!
    As taxpayers, we have a right to expect responsible public broadcasting. In today’s ‘post-truth’ environment, it’s more crucial than ever that we are all well-informed about issues that are utterly vital to the future of our mokopuna - particularly resource limitation challenges such as climate disruption. The reality is current COP pledges will result in a catastrophic +2.7oC above pre-industrial levels.(1) A viable future will have to be low-carbon; as a public service broadcaster, RNZ have a duty to make this clear. The changes we request would be consistent with the Government's declaration of a climate emergency. Many media organisations now have dedicated climate pages on their websites, notable local examples being the Stuff and Newsroom websites; internationally, the BBC,(2) Al Jazeera, the Guardian and Independent websites, and the Washington Post have all stepped up. - It’s time that RNZ did the same, and used their programme content to educate audiences about the climate crisis - including coverage of recent and future COP meetings. References: 1. https://phys.org/news/2022-03-options-halt-climate-crisis.html 2. https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/climate-content-pledge-cop26-1235101792/
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    Created by Graham Townsend Picture
  • COVID in Our Prisons - An Open Letter to the Justice Sector
    Over the last two years, a crucial piece of the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been implementing health measures to contain and minimise the spread of the virus. This response has been met with widespread support because, as a country, we have understood that the health and wellbeing of every person in Aotearoa New Zealand is worth protecting. We address this letter to you now out of serious concern over the news of the spread of COVID-19 in prisons in Aotearoa. We call on you to apply a common sense health-based approach to better protect incarcerated people from COVID-19. This matter is urgent. As we are seeing, an Omicron outbreak within New Zealand prisons could easily overwhelm prison health-care services and put pressure on the rest of the healthcare services. Incarcerated people cannot meaningfully practice social distancing or have to forfeit what limited opportunity they have for leisure and social interaction to do so. The ongoing practice of double-bunking makes this even more difficult. Family or whānau visits are similarly restricted under the current Covid Protection Framework settings, adding further pressure and stress. The spread of COVID-19 in prisons particularly puts the health of older people, pregnant people, and those with relevant pre-existing health conditions (including COPD, respiratory illnesses and those with compromised immunity) at risk. There is an unacceptably high risk to Māori in prison, prison staff, whānau and communities from COVID-19. The Government must honour its obligations under Te Tiriti O Waitangi, and prevent this pandemic from further entrenching existing inequities for Māori. Reducing the number of people pulled into the justice system and being held in our prisons is essential to avoid further harm caused to Māori communities, individuals and frontline workers in the courts and prisons. This would also demonstrate the Government’s commitment to partnership and long-term wellbeing as promised in the Police strategy Te Huringa O Te Tai and the Department of Corrections strategy Hōkai Rangi. In signing this open letter, we are calling on the government to take action to protect people in the justice system from COVID-19, including through reducing the prison population, and ensuring effective health and safety measures are being implemented.
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    Created by Kirsten Van Newtown
  • Overhaul the electricity sector so that power is affordable for all households
    With the cost of living continuing to skyrocket in New Zealand the last thing our communities need is bigger power bills. As winter is approaching, I am especially concerned for vulnerable households, the elderly and people with medical conditions affected by the cold. By bringing back the low user power tariff you will be preventing further power poverty and financial hardship and make the electricity market more equitable.
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    Created by Debbie Port