• Free Tertiary Education
    Primary and secondary students receive free education in New Zealand, so why are tertiary students denied this right? According to the Ministry of Education Annual Student Loan Scheme report a whopping 731,754 people had a student loan collectively amounting to an unnerving $15.3 billion dollars in the 2015-2016 period [1]. The financial burden of student loans has become a topic of increasing concern within New Zealand society. Student loans not only affect students, but their negative impact is also shared by their families, communities and wider New Zealand society. In our increasingly volatile and changing world there is a pressing need for tertiary qualifications. New Zealanders are told more and more we need to retrain for the future work environment, however many are restricted to a cycle of low-skill and low-pay jobs due to the increasing financial burdens associated with tertiary education. The student loan system does not support the egalitarian ethos that we believe is fundamental to New Zealand culture. We need to break down the barriers that restrict many populations from pursuing tertiary education. As a country we must strive for equality of opportunities to build a stronger economy and ensure tertiary study thrives in New Zealand. We need to move forward from a low-wage and low skill economy to a progressive society, celebrating kiwi ingenuity and innovation. Many students believe that student loans will have long-term negative impacts on their livelihoods- such as their ability to buy a house, afford to have children, and save for their retirement [2]. A better future for New Zealand does not entail placing crippling debt upon future generations; rather, we should be supporting next generations to reach their potential, as they are the future of our country. European countries, such as Germany, Finland and Slovenia, successfully operate with free tertiary education for their citizens, and it is about time that New Zealand followed suit. References [1]. Ministry of Education. (2016). Student loan scheme annual report 2016(Report No. 24). Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education. [2]. NZUSA. (n.d.). We need to talk about debt. Retrieved from http://www.students.org.nz/debt
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  • Save NZ’s largest study of children and their families
    The government has recently cut funding to Growing Up in New Zealand. What is this research about, who is it for, and why does it matter? Based at the University of Auckland, Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) is the largest and most diverse longitudinal study to ever track the lives of children in Aotearoa/New Zealand. It is the only study to track them from before birth through young adulthood. This groundbreaking study represents the lives and stories of almost 7000 children and their families, providing unique insight into what shapes children’s early development and how interventions might be targeted at the earliest opportunity to give every New Zealand child the best start in life. Where previous research conducted in Aotearoa/New Zealand had much narrower frames of reference, GUiNZ is the first study specifically designed to look at outcomes for Māori, Pasifika, and Asian children. The study is an important and unique opportunity to support the children of Aotearoa/New Zealand – it tracks the socioeconomic factors that lead to inequality, while also picking up other influences such as disability and disease. The government recently cut funding to GUiNZ. These cuts will result in only having enough money to collect information from 2000 participants in the upcoming data collection wave. While some may argue that children left out of this wave can be picked up next time, if continuity is lost, the data can no longer be called truly longitudinal. Inadequate funding of GUiNZ will create holes in the data. There is a risk with such a reduced cohort size, that researchers will no longer able to identify when risk factors facing our tamariki become statistically significant. For the research to succeed (to be able to conduct good, sound, scientific analysis for as many health and wellbeing outcomes as possible) it is essential that all dots stay connected. Losing continuity is disrespectful of all the time and effort this huge group of participating whānau has donated –finding and retaining participants will become so much harder. Why has this funding been cut? The current government believes that "big data" (data collected during our everyday dealings with governmental systems like the doctor and WINZ) can tell us all we need to know. Those with any scientific training can tell you it can't, and it won't. Gathering data from people before we know what is going to happen in the lives, shows us so much more. Big data doesn’t have access to biological samples, nor does it give us the depth of information required to understand why families make the choices they do. Please sign and share our petition. Then talk about this study - to your family, to your neighbours, to your friends, to your MP and local candidates. The more people that know about this, the more likely we are to have funding restored. We believe the funding of this critical research should be a priority for the next government of New Zealand. Thank you for showing us you think this is important, too. http://www.growingup.co.nz/en/about-the-study.html http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/84054547/Is-the-future-of-the-ambitious-Growing-up-in-NZ-Study-in-doubt
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  • Save Poroti Springs
    A private water company is applying to build a bottling factory at Poroti Springs, a hapū-owned pure water source, near Whangarei. The plant will not only risk the purity of the spring and aquifer but also add increased activity in the local community and around Poroti Reserve. It will create a significant health and safety issue with 80 truck movements per day, right next door to Poroti School. Please use this form to make an official submission to the Whangarei District Council. Submissions are open until 5pm Wednesday 30 August. Over years the local hapū have been shut out of decision-making over the treasured spring, and the aquifer under their Reserve. For example, the Council spent $1.08 million on establishing the adjacent bore site then sold the site to private interests for $40,000 without hapū knowledge. Now the company with rights to take the water want to build a 3600-square-metre water bottling factory across the road from the Reserve. The factory will bottle up to a million litres of water a day to sell for the domestic and Chinese markets. Your submission on the risks to the spring posed by the factory, from potential groundwater contamination and the increased traffic activity, will help the Council give more consideration to the protection of the spring and aquifer. You will also be standing with the hapū and give support for their right to be heard as guardians of the springs. Make a submission today using this form. If you have local knowledge of the area and/or people you can add a personal message to support your submission. You can make a contribution to the cost of the legal fees to deal with the Zodiac objection here: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/porotisprings Zodiac Holdings Limited - Resource Consent Application http://www.wdc.govt.nz/NewsRoom/PublicNotices/Pages/Resource-Consent-Zodiac.aspx#Expand History: The Whatitiri Māori Reserves Trust is legally responsible for administering the “Whatitiri Māori Reserves” under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 and The Māori Reservations Regulations 1994. The first seven trustees of the reserves were appointed, 28th June 1940 and replaced the people who were originally vested title in the individual blocks. The 1895 Survey Map shows Poroti Springs Reserve as a “water supply” for the benefit of hapu Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau and Te Mahurihuri subtribes of Ngapuhi’ 1960 Sept 28th Gazette Notice – further confirms Poroti Springs Reserve as a “water supply” for the benefit of hapu Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau and Te Mahurihuri subtribes of Ngapuhi. Our hapu of Poroti will object to the proposed building of a bottling factory just across the road from our Poroti Springs. The building is huge and will have 40 in and 40 out truck movements heading to Marsden Point. Up to 2.5 million litres of water is consented daily to Zodiac Holdings Ltd to take from the Whatitiri aquifer that feeds our springs and previous WDC takes have dried us up in 1983 and 1987. This water is intended for export to Asian markets and Zodiac has been marketing the business for sale to overseas interests. This company also markets under the name of “New Zealand Spring Water Ltd”. We as a hapu find this situation to be intolerable and yet our local Governments Northland Regional Council and Whangarei District Council facilitate for our water to be plundered by people whom do not belong to our community. We cannot accept to wake up one morning to see up to 16 foreigners loading our water across the road, 16 hours per day to send overseas. "He waka eke noa" "A canoe which we are all in with no exception. We are all in this together" For more info go to https://www.facebook.com/saveporotisprings/ News media Poroti Springs hapu not happy about bottling plant consent application, NZ Herald, 8 Aug, 2017 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11899815 Northland hapū run out of steam in water-bottling fight, RNZ, 11 August 2017 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/337016/northland-hapu-run-out-of-steam-in-water-bottling-fight
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  • Recycle All Plastic HCC
    We want to protect the whenua and make the most of the resources that we have. All plastics are given numbers by the companies that create them. Currently, only plastics 1 and 2 are collected at kerbside in Hamilton. We don't like sending our yogurt pots and other similar plastics to landfill. We would like plastics 1-7 to be collected at kerbside for recycling. There are so many awesome products that this plastic can be used for, including carpet and outdoor furniture. There are tons of benefits to recycling plastic. It stops the need for as much new plastic production, it stops plastics from ending up in our environment, especially the marine environment, and it stops plastics from being put in landfill where they last for a very long time causing environmental damage. Hamilton City Council's current recycling contract commenced in 2002 and there were limited options for recycling more than plastics 1s and 2s. This contract is now up for review, which is why this is the time to call for these changes. Auckland and Christchurch Councils recycle Plastics 1-7, so we think Hamilton City can too!! Under the current service, 27 per cent our city’s household rubbish is recycled; the remaining 73 per cent goes to landfill. We don't think this is good enough and we would like to be able to do more to protect our environment. Please extend the recycling of plastics in our city.
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  • Email TVNZ to ask them to replace Mike Hosking
    Over 80,000 of us signed one of two simultaneous petitions in the last week when we heard Mike Hosking would be the moderator for the upcoming election debates.[1] Mike Hosking is over-opinionated, biased, polarising and unfit to be the moderator of the Election Debates. This election event is too important to be left to TV personalities with well-known political views. When asked by media whether TVNZ would consider replacing Hosking, John Gillespie told Mediawatch no. "I'm not prepared to reconsider at the moment. I'll keep an open mind and look at what the numbers are saying, but more than a million people tuned in to our election coverage last time. I'd expect that to be similar or maybe increase so I'd weigh any number against a million," he said.[2] I believe if John knew the depth of our feelings and outrage that TVNZ is treating the Election Debate so casually he may be more open to reconsidering. TV ratings are not the aim for the 2017 Election Debates - the quality of debate, sharing of ideas, and openness to solutions is what's important. I read many of your comments on my petition and I know you’re as outraged as I am - but to effect change, TVNZ needs to know that too. The nationally televised election debates are widely viewed and have the potential to engage and influence a lot of voters. It is vital that media surrounding the election and debates is unbiased, and offers parties and their candidates fair opportunities to promote their policies. Email John Gillespie, Head of News at TVNZ now to let him know you won’t be watching the Debates as long as Hosking is moderator, and encouraging others not to also. You can also post a comment on TVNZ’s Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/TVOneNZ/ 1 - https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/replace-mike-hosking-as-election-debate-presenter / https://www.change.org/p/tvnz-remove-mike-hosking-as-presenter-for-2017-election-debates 2 - Mediawatch http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/mediawatch/audio/201854325/mike-in-the-middle-of-debates
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  • Replace Mike Hosking as Election Debate Presenter
    It is vital that the nationally broadcasted election debates offer an unbiased opportunity for candidates representing their political parties to debate on policies. Mike Hosking's socially irresponsible style of presenting has led to public campaigns for his removal, notably his comments on Andrew Judd in 2016. Hosking is an inappropriate choice to present the election debates in a fair, unbiased manner.
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  • We demand a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the NZ Family Courts
    *All signed letters will be delivered to Parliament this week, so please share to your social media to help spread the word!* In 2016, over 60,000 cases went through the Family Courts, and of those, over 6,800 children were involved in cases initiated under the Domestic Violence Act.[2] After separating from abusive partners, we expect that the Family Court should provide survivors of violence against women with protection and safety, for them and their children. The experiences of our community however, reveal that this is very rarely the case, and instead the Family Court is unjustly removing children from their protective mothers, and handing them over or even forcing them back into the abusive environments that they were removed from. In May this year, the Backbone Collective undertook a survey of almost 500 women who had been involved in the Family Court system post-separation. The survey report found that their experiences of violence and abuse were not believed, were minimized, their evidence was struck out, they were blamed for the violence and abuse, silenced, or their experiences were never responded to.[3] We believe these findings are but a micro-reflection of a rising voice of thousands who are currently suffering in fear, traumatised by longterm abuse that has been sanctioned by the Family Court. For many years, complaints have been made appealing Family Court decisions and telling those in authority of the harm that the Family Court is doing. They have not listened or taken action to change what is happening. However in time, history will reveal the blood on the hands of all those who participated in these harmful Family Court practices, or who stood by passively while our children suffered this state sanctioned abuse. Not only is it your professional duty to expose and address the systemic failings of the Family Court, it is your moral and ethical duty to provide a voice to victims and to ensure a robust framework moving forward by which to protect our children of Aotearoa. We are unified in our view that the harm being done by the Family Court is the result of the interpretation, implementation of the current laws. These problems will not be fixed by legislative changes, but only by an Inquiry into the entire Family Court system. There is enough evidence before you to call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Family Court immediately. As a community, we are distressed, grieving and fearful for the safety and lives of our loved ones who have been and are being abused by the current system. We anticipate many further social issues will result as a direct consequence of the harmful operation of the current Family Court System and urge you to take action immediately in order to prevent further abuse, crime, and tragedy in the lives of our children! 1 - Backbone Collective is a national coalition of survivors of Violence Against Women in Aotearoa New Zealand - https://www.backbone.org.nz 2 - NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse Data June 2017 - https://nzfvc.org.nz/sites/nzfvc.org.nz/files/DS3-Children-and-Youth-2017.pdf 3 - Backbone Collective 2017 reports can be viewed at https://www.backbone.org.nz/latest-activity/ 4 - Image is by Bev Short. The women in black veils represent all those women who have experienced violence and abuse but who are afraid to show their faces for fear of being punished by the Family Court for speaking out about how the system is failing to keep them and their children safe. The black veils also represent the hundred or more women who are murdered by their (ex) partners every 10 years in New Zealand. Many of the women who came together to participate in this photograph have their own story to tell; some are survivors, others are friends or family off survivors and some work on the front line with victims. Two of the women participated in memory of their loved ones who had been murdered – in one instance an Auntie and in the other a daughter – both of whom had been brutally murdered by their partners.
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  • Let Us Finish! Remove student loan cap for future doctors
    UPDATE: Prior to the 2017 Election, we secured promises from the Labour, New Zealand First, Greens, and ACT parties, that they intended to lift the cap if elected. We now have that new government, with Hon Chris Hipkins as Minister of Education. However, despite these assurances, unfortunately removal of the EFTS cap was not included in Budget 2018. The government has failed to live up to these expectations and we intend to hold them accountable. Hon Chris Hipkins has suggested that lifting the cap is still an intention for the government, but we need to show him that this is URGENT. We are already aware of students having to go to extreme measures, such as fundraising, to pay their fees. The longer the government waits, the more future-doctors we risk losing. Sign our petition to help us help others! Say YES to letting us finish! #LetUsFinish BACKGROUND: In 2017, NZMSA and Te Oranga conducted a survey of New Zealand medical students and identified at least 142 students affected by this cap - many of whom may be prevented from finishing their degrees. Medical degrees are at least six years long, making them the longest programme in New Zealand. Each year, approximately 30% of medical entrants are selected from a pool of applicants who have already completed a previous degree. Most of these graduate students will have used at least three of their allocated 8 EFTS in this process. Without a student loan, students will have to come up with approximately $25,000 per year to fund the remainder of their studies and living costs. Without the support of a guarantor and no source of income, it is almost impossible for students to access a private bank loan. The reality is, without an affluent background to shoulder the enormous cost of completing a medical degree, the EFTS cap negatively impacts students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Graduate students have completed extremely valuable study in their respective fields. These students are essential for the development of an effective and diverse health workforce in order to best address the changing health needs of our communities and health system. The previous Minister of Education Paul Goldsmith stated that he wanted students to complete their study as quickly as possible, yet also encouraged students to take time out from their programmes to save money for fees. This not only delays future doctors from taking their much-needed place in the health workforce, but also is completely out of touch with the realities of working New Zealanders. With the EFTS cap in place, some students will have to save more than $50,000 to afford the remainder of their studies. All this, whilst simultaneously having much of their paycheck deducted to service existing student loans. We know medical graduates tend to repay their loans quickly, however we can’t do this if we can’t finish. By enforcing this cap, the government is undercutting their own investment, negatively impacting our health workforce and the health of New Zealanders. How is this the best use of taxpayer dollars? Answer: It’s not. Every student that is affected by this cap is a missing doctor for New Zealand. These are hard working, dedicated people who are passionate about making a difference and improving the health of all New Zealanders. Without student loan support, we will not be able to work for the betterment of our communities, and our health system will remain overloaded and understaffed. MEDIA: RNZ: Med Students Disappointed by Broken Budget Promises https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/357727/med-students-disappointed-by-broken-budget-promise Stuff: Medical students upset Budget didn't extend student loan cap https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104055757/medical-students-upset-budget-didnt-extend-student-loan-cap TV3: The Project: https://www.facebook.com/TheProjectNZ/videos/1066642473472405/ Newshub: Medical student debt could cost the health of New Zealanders http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/06/medical-student-debt-could-cost-the-health-of-new-zealanders.html Te Kāea: Māori medical students push loan caps to be lifted http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/national/maori-medical-students-push-loan-caps-be-lifted Women’s Weekly: My dream has a price https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/new-zealand-womans-weekly/20180115/281608125837244 Radio NZ: "I'd already need to be a doctor to save for it" https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/344614/i-d-already-need-to-be-a-doctor-to-save-for-it Radio NZ: Med Students face dropping out over loan cap https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/336713/med-students-face-dropping-out-over-loan-cap Stuff: Medical Student forced to turn to Givealittle after hitting student loan borrowing cap https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/99581590/medical-student-forced-to-turn-to-givealittle-after-hitting-student-loan-borrowing-cap
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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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  • Ask Countdown NZ: Ban The Bag
    Woolworths Australia Countdown NZ's parent company is banning single-use plastic bags. [1] New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion single-use plastic bags every year. 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.[2,3] It has recently been revealed plastics were being eaten by the majority of New Zealand fish, and that a third of turtles and seabirds that washed up dead on Kiwi beaches had eaten plastic.[4] There is strong support from local government, the retail sector, and everyday Kiwis to do something.[4] Countdown listened to the Waiheke Island community. It is both plastic bag free and encourages the use of biodegradables.[5] Doesn't the rest of NZ deserve the same? By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish on the ocean. Not using plastic bags is an easy thing for us to do that would make a big difference. We need to Ban The Bag before its too late. Please help! Please take action! Countdown Waiheke Island did it, sign and share the petition asking Countdown NZ to ban the bag. Comment on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/countdown/ Tweet @CountdownNZ #CountdownBanTheBag #BanTheBag Phone the Countdown Customer Care Centre: 0800 40 40 40 email: customerinfo@countdown.co.nz Spread the word however you can #CountdownBanTheBag #BanTheBag 1 - Australian supermarket giant Woolworths to ban plastic bags within 12 months, 14 July 2017 https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/world/94756897/australian-supermarket-giant-woolworths-to-ban-plastic-bags-within-12-months 2 - Drowning our marine life in a growing sea of plastic, 27 Mar 2017 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11825914 3 - More than 9 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since 1950, and the vast majority of it is still around, 20 July 2017 https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/94924204/Theres-literally-a-tonne-of-plastic-garbage-for-every-person-in-the-world 4 - Plastics were being eaten by the majority of New Zealand fish, 27 July 2017 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/95119319/17800signaturestrong-petition-calling-for-a-plastic-bag-levy-presented-at-parliament 5 - Countdown Waiheke Island did it, 27 July 2016 http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/82435349/after-15-years-the-wait-is-over-for-new-countdown-waiheke 24 May 2016 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1605/S00726/countdown-waiheke-is-now-plastic-shopping-bag-free.htm
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  • Amend legislation to prevent workplace bullying in New Zealand
    Latest update from Allan Halse at CultureSafeNZ in Hamilton: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/workplace-bullying-causes-some-kiwis-suffer-mental-health-issues New Zealand has the world’s second highest rate of bullying in the workplace. Statistics suggest that over 350,000 (17.8% of workforce) employees are currently being bullied. [1,2] However currently the laws as they stand make it hard to combat. There is no formal process or jurisdiction to combat workplace bullying behaviours in New Zealand. This means there is no place in New Zealand to take a complaint about workplace bullying. Presently cases are directed to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), however the ERA can't deal with workplace bullying as a health and safety issue. Workplace bullying is a health and safety issue, not an employment issue. This means that cases are almost impossible to win and even if they are won are not settled appropriately. For example even if you win a case you will be ordered to pay the costs of the bully’s legal fees.[3] There needs to be a specific formal jurisdiction set up in the legislation where workplace bullying complaints can be heard as health and safety cases. There also needs to be trained professionals and independent investigators who know what bullying behaviours look like and how these behaviours impact people. They also need to be independent so that the “sham” investigations that employers currently use can be left in the past and all evidence can be presented. Let’s address these problems and get rid of bullying from all our workplaces. This petition will alert Government to our serious concerns, and demand action. References 1 - http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/83618177/new-zealand-has-worlds-second-highest-rate-of-workplace-bullying 2 - ‘Ex morgue worker on bullying claims: 'We've lost everything'’ https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11855415 3 - http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/67597611/former-health-board-employee-must-pay-costs
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  • Choices for our Children - Whanau against Auckland Kindergarten Association changes
    These changes are taking away the choices for our children at kindergarten in favour of maximising government funding. Forcing families to have our small children at kindy for a longer day than a school aged child is not ok. Penalising families for wanting to spend quality family time with our children during the school holidays, and essentially making them pay to spend time with their children is not ok. The current session structure is perfect for little ones beginning their kindy journey in the mornings, who are then able to go home for quiet time or a nap. It is a rite of passage when they can cope with a longer day, adding the afternoon session too. - The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 3 1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. - Currently a child can be at kindy for five mornings a week and be fully funded with 20hrs free ECE. - Three days at an Auckland Kindergarten Association kindy using the government's 20 hours free ECE will cost $735 a year after the changes. - How can teachers provide the same quality of early childhood education with 480 less non-contact hours each year? The best choices are not being made for our children by the Auckland Kindergarten Association. Join the Facebook page Stop Auckland Kindergarten Changes Visit saveourkindergartens.co.nz
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