• Provide adequate healthcare for all our children
    We know too many children (at least 155,000 children) in New Zealand live in a household that can't afford basic things like putting healthy food on the table every day, giving growing children new shoes and having enough money left over to cover unexpected costs. Doctor visits are one of the many unexpected costs. There is increasing evidence poverty is associated with poor health outcomes and about 40,000 hospital admissions of children every year are from preventable illnesses that have links to poverty. Other poor outcomes of poverty include poor mental health that can lead to depression and anxiety in young people. Although there can be lots of reasons why it is hard to seek help for these things, there are two things we can change now; the barriers of cost and access.  Having health services in schools provides easy access for young people while they are in the education system. Having fully funded GP visits for children and young people overcomes the cost barrier for families on low incomes. From July, 2015 GP visits have been fully funded for children up to the age of 13. This has been significant but is not enough. Teenagers also need this help. These are things we can change now. Lets act. References: Gibson, K; Abraham, Q; Asher, I; Black, R ; Turner, N; Waitoki, W. & McMillan, N. "Child Poverty and Mental Health: A Literature Review.” NZ Psychological Society and Child Poverty Action Group. May 2017.
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  • Establish an Independent Commission for Water
    Water - our lifeblood, a taonga and precious resource. We, and most other life forms on this planet cannot survive without it. In Aotearoa/New Zealand we are fortunate to have a relatively abundant supply and in some places, our water is of unsurpassed quality. But our guardianship of this treasure feels both negligent and negligible. In fact, there is clear evidence that many of our fresh water systems are suffering and our current water use is unsustainable. We have issues surrounding; access, pollution, “swimmable” rivers, the impact of agriculture and irrigation, loss of wetlands and their fauna, privatisation and selling our water to overseas companies. These issues are complex and interrelated. Resolving them will require focused, well-researched and sustained action. We need commitments and action from all aspects of our society – rural and urban communities, farmers and industries, politicians from all sides of the spectrum, scientists and ecologists, local and national government. We already have the Land and Water Forum (http://www.landandwater.org.nz/). They make well researched and constructive recommendations, but their recommendations are not recognised or implemented by government. We need an independent and well-resourced Waterways Commission. A Commission that can implement and enforce its recommendations, that puts the viability, sustainability and sanctity of our water at it’s centre, and that works with the diverse interests to create a national water strategy that protects, restores and sustainably manages this precious resource. And we need to act now. Please sign up if you agree. - Our fresh water 2017, Ministry for the Environment http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/environmental-reporting/our-fresh-water-2017 - New Zealand’s fresh waters: Values, state, trends and human impacts, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/PMCSA-Freshwater-Report.pdf - Top scientist: Fixing freshwater issues an 'enormous challenge' http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/91418638/Top-scientist-Fixing-freshwater-issues-an-enormous-challenge - Dame Anne Salmond: NZ can’t ignore water warnings https://www.newsroom.co.nz/@environment/2017/03/26/16845/oecd-call-on-our-waterways-must-be-heeded - Water Fools? http://www.radionz.co.nz/programmes/water-fools - Landmark report finds freshwater at risk http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/329582/landmark-report-finds-freshwater-at-risk
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  • NZ Deserves Honest Swimming Standards
    A recently released report from NIWA showed that the Government's proposed swimming standards were worse than those from the 2014 policy. Despite the Government claiming to have a goal of swimmable rivers by 2040, their policy weakened human health standards and only applies to 10% of the whole country's waterways. This won't solve our problems. It will only make them worse. Please use this form to make an official submission to the Ministry for the Environment's National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. Submissions are open now until 5pm Thursday 25 May. New Zealanders have asked the Government and the Ministry for the Environment again and again for a genuine swimmable bottom line for rivers & lakes. Aotearoa New Zealand has serious problems of freshwater contamination and polluted rivers and lakes. We must take steps to stop this situation from getting worse and to begin to turn this around. The first step is to write strong protection for rivers and lakes into our country's freshwater policy. We can do this now and, in doing so, it will influence the work of local councils, industry and government to improve freshwater management so that rivers and lakes are protected for all New Zealanders. The OECD wrote in its 2017 Environmental Performance Review that New Zealand is reaching environmental limits and that freshwater pollution is one of areas of degradation that threatens the health of our people, our environment and our economy. As Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor said in a recent interview on his report on the state of the nation's freshwater, "The reality is we cannot keep going as we have been." He's right and the public is right. We have to change and the first step for improving the health of our rivers and lakes is this freshwater policy. It is the document on which decisions around the country will be made. Let's make it the best and the strongest it can be for the sake of this beautiful country. *The signatures counted here also include the submissions made on https://www.toko.org.nz/petitions/nz-deserves-honest-swimming-standards-1 [1] https://niwa.co.nz/news/niwa-technical-background-report-for-mfe-clean-water-swimmability-proposals-for-rivers [2] http://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/microbiological-quality-jun03.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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  • Say no to a pipeline through a Kiwi sanctuary by Mount Aspiring National Park
    A company called Okuru Enterprises Ltd, now trading as Alpine Pure has been given the right to take and export 800,000 tonnes of water – about 800 million litres – each month from a water catchment high in the mountains at Mount Aspiring National Park. As part of this arrangement, the company has also been given the right to lay a pipeline to transport the water out to sea to waiting ships through a sanctuary for New Zealand's rarest kiwi, the Haast Tokoeka. There's just over 400 Haast Tokoeka left in Aotearoa. DoC says its status is "Nationally Critical", and 33 of them are believed to live near the pipeline. Our national bird cannot afford for this risk. The use of DoC land costs the company just $5000 year, and the consent which expires in 2027 costs nothing, except for minor administration and processing fees. It'd bad enough we're selling off our water for private profit at next to nothing. It's worse we're willing to put our native kiwi at risk. The resource consent states that Okuru Enterprises must develop a ‘kiwi management plan’, with the objective of “avoiding adverse effects from construction and ongoing activities within conservation land on Haast tokoeka [kiwi] living within a 100ha radius of the proposed pipeline route”. It goes on to state that if kiwi are adversely affected, they will be “removed from the site”. But here’s the thing, ‘If things go wrong, we can just move the kiwi’ is a really bad precedent to set. To make matters worse, the endangered Fiordland Crested Penguin also lives in the pathway of the pipeline at Jackson’s Bay. The proposal to take our water, ship it off shore for what seems like marginal benefit to the local community but with a potentially catastrophic cost to two species that are already at critical risk of extinction looks like a bad one. As we know from our own history, humans tend to underestimate how wrong things can go, and it’s usually our wildlife, trees, rivers, birds and lakes that pay the cost. Please sign the petition and share it with your friends today. Read more: http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11777864 http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/88099749/from-national-park-to-overseas-plan-to-export-billions-of-litres-of-west-coast-water http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/04/company-given-right-to-lay-pipeline-through-kiwi-sanctuary.html
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  • Let's End Single-use Plastic Bags in Wellington, NZ!
    Plastic bags often end up in our rivers, lakes, beaches and oceans. Plastic bags in the ocean are a huge hazard to marine life. The bags can be swallowed, wrapped around the necks or fins of marine animals. They can be mistaken for food and generally don't belong in the ocean. By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish on the ocean. Humans are killing the oceans with our rubbish and plastic bags are a big part of the problem. Waiting for consumer behaviour to change or for businesses to use voluntary measures to reduce plastic bag use simply isn't working. Regulation like this is urgently needed! Plastic bags are made from petroleum products a non-renewable resource and often end up in landfills. There are alternatives to unrecyclable and toxic plastic bags such as biodegradable bags and reusable bags. It is estimated New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion single-use plastic bags every year. Wellington is especially windy and plastic bags are easily lost and discarded. Aotearoa NZ has a reputation for being clean and green. Ending single use plastic bags is an easy thing for us to do that would make a big difference. Many other nations and cities have done it, for example Wellington's sister city San Francisco. Please join the Let's end Single-use Plastic bags in Wellington Facebook page and join the event to make a submission on the Wellington Region Waste Management Plan. Thanks!
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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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  • Better sex education in schools
    1 in 3 girls experience sexual assault before the age of 16. The same goes for 1 in 7 of boys. Many of us teenagers, still in high school, have experienced sexual harassment, sometimes within school environments. We're scared, we assume that this will be a part of our lives, and it doesn't come as a surprise when we're catcalled or people make jokes about rape. We don't want to live in a world where rape culture is normal anymore. People protesting rape culture outside parliament in Wellington last Monday called for better education of consent and sex education in schools. Hekia Parata responded to this in a recent RadioNZ article, saying that they are ruling out introducing compulsory education around sexual consent in high schools and "the subject is best addressed in a family setting." We think this is unacceptable, and that the chance of someone missing the vital lesson of consent is too high with this approach. In light of recent events at Wellington schools, and the general rape culture that is ingrained in our society, we believe as young people that a change needs to be made now. We believe addressing the issue in schools is an important first step. These are issues that LGBTQI+ people are often excluded from. However, they are heavily affected by rape culture and so we think it is important to include them in how these issues are addressed. The article with Hekia Parata's statment: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/326678/wellington-college-students-suspended-for-rape-comments An article on the protest outside parliament: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/326507/'we-will-not-put-up-with-rape-culture-any-longer' An informative video about Mates and Dates: http://www.acc.co.nz/about-acc/videos/index.htm?mediaID=WPC139081
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  • Introduce a bottle deposit scheme!
    Almost a billion plastic bottles are being landfilled, littered or entering the oceans every year in New Zealand. Our communities and seas are precious so we want to stop this totally avoidable waste and pollution. We can ensure effective recycling and reuse of all drink containers with a bottle deposit scheme. This will help stop the wasteful production of new plastic bottles and allow for existing plastic to be reused instead. Bottle deposits (also known as container deposit schemes) give people a >10c refund on a bottle when they recycle it. This incentive creates a circular economy system that will easily double New Zealand’s recycling rates overnight! [1] We had a system like this in Aotearoa NZ until the 1980’s, and ‘bottle drives’ were popular fundraisers for groups like the Scouts! When plastic bottles were introduced they created a throw away culture and the conditions for our current waste crisis, Bottle deposit schemes are now taking off worldwide as a way to keep plastic out of the environment. It’s definitely time we got in on the game. Australia will have them in all states by the end of 2018 and Germany has achieved a 98% recycling rate on plastic bottles! If we bring in a bottle deposit scheme, before we know it there’ll be less plastic on our beaches, the local kids will be fundraising by collecting bottles, and we’ll have created over 2,000 new jobs! Bottle deposits will massively increase recycling rates and: - Reduce plastic pollution in the sea - Create over 2000 jobs - Save councils and tax payers $26-40 million per year - Reduce CO2 emissions - Fund community groups - Supplement low incomes - Foster a sustainable, circular economy Local councils are committed to introducing bottle deposits and a survey has shown 92% of New Zealanders agreed with them [2]. What are we waiting for? The Ministry can bring in a refundable deposit scheme with a commitment to at least 85% recycling rates, under S2.23 (1)(c-e) of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. The legislation is in place, now we want it to be put into action! Please sign the petition to tell the government - there's no more time to waste! Bottle deposits are common cents for recycling. This petition is part of The Kiwi Bottle Drive, a broader campaign to get a bottle deposit scheme in NZ - get involved! http://www.kiwibottledrive.nz. You can help collect signatures in person with this form: https://bit.ly/BDpetition ______________ References: 1. Envision; The Incentive to Recycle: A Container Deposit System for New Zealand (2015). https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By5tj62u3HilUzZfSGNGTk5vd1k/view 2. Time to bring back container deposit scheme http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/opinion/83793677/time-to-bring-back-container-deposit-scheme
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  • Introduce robust citizenship education in schools and lower the voting age to 16
    We believe young people have amazing ideas, creative thinking and energy to offer our country, but they are being locked out of a political process and system that is not set up to engage, inform or inspire them to participate fully and that is why so many young people don't vote. There is a lot of research as to why this happens. Young people don't identify with the left-right political spectrum; they care for issues but not party politics. They have aspirations for a different type of politics, one that feels more values-based and authentic. They feel doubtful that the current political system can deliver the kinds of change they want to see. Their time, energy and money are tight, so they don't always feel confident they have all the information they need to make a meaningful contribution to politics. The young people least likely to vote are of Māori, Pasifika or Asian descent. Recent migrants are less likely to vote than long-term migrants, as are young people who live in rural areas, or are low paid or have only a basic education. In short, if you are part of a group that is already marginalised in our society and economy, you're likely to be marginalised in our democracy too. This cannot be fixed with simple get-out-the-vote tactics and brilliant one-liners. To shift this, it requires government-led commitment, investment and a strategy. We are calling for the New Zealand government to implement universal and robust citizenship education in schools. The programme should focus on fostering agency, critical thinking and teaching the power of social movements and activism, alongside parliamentary politics. We need to work out how to cater for teacher bias and undue influence, but that can be done. As well as this, we are also calling for the government to lower the voting age to 16. This would signal to young people we take them seriously and care about their views. It starts the voting habit early and would challenge political parties to aim their campaigns and policies at the new generation. The age was permanently changed to 16 in Scotland, after 75 per cent of 16- and 17-year-olds turned out to vote in the 2014 referendum to leave the United Kingdom. We know there is no silver bullet to youth participation in politics, but these two interventions will go a really long way toward creating a democracy that represents and involves everyone. Please sign and share today. *** RockEnrol is dedicated to engaging, inspiring, informing and activating the political power of rangatahi (young people) in Aotearoa New Zealand. Read more about us here: www.rockenrol.org.nz
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