• Better Mental Health Education in All NZ Schools
    We want to see a happy, healthy and productive New Zealand. One of the biggest barriers to this is our widespread problems with mental health. In fact, one in five New Zealanders will be diagnosed with a mental health problem this year, and we have the highest youth suicide rate in the world, but there is a huge lack of knowledge about prevention, and recovery in the general population. Current school programmes focus on counselling and only allude to wellbeing in the context of physical health, but this is educating too little and intervening too late. Furthermore, Health is only compulsory in the curriculum up to Year 10, meaning that they may face the stressful times of NCEA and transition out of school without enough support to their Mental Health. Better trained teachers and/or external providers need to deliver clear and consistent messages about mental health. I started this petition because I faced a lot of distress at the end of high school, and I blamed my friends, my parents and especially myself before I realised that there might be an underlying cause to my extended distress, and even then I was hesitant to ask for help because I feared judgement. So many of my friends have stories like this, and I strongly believe that good education for all young people will encourage them to seek help sooner and improve outcomes long term. All young Kiwis need to know how to best keep themselves well and support each other, and we believe a comprehensive mental health curriculum in schools will help to achieve this. Media: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/90756147/mental-health-campaigner-lucy-mcsweeney-wants-to-shake-up-mental-health-education-in-schools http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/nutters-club/why-we-need-mental-health-education-in-schools-part-1/ http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/nutters-club/why-we-need-mental-health-education-in-schools-part-2/ More information: If you need help - don't be afraid to reach out, it's not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength - here's some people who will be there for you: Lifeline 0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999 Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0) Youthline 0800 376 633 Sources: NZ youth suicide twice Australia’s https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/nz-youth-suicide-twice-australias Suicide accounts for a third of all deaths in those aged 15-24 http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/turned-away-in-a-crisis
    10,167 of 15,000 Signatures
    Created by Lucy McSweeney Picture
  • Save Shakti Wellington Refuge
    Shakti Wellington opened a refuge in 2014 after the murders of two migrant women in Wellington due to domestic violence - Sarwan Lata Singh and Mei Fan. We knew then, as much as we know now, that those women should have had access to refuge services that understood their cultural contexts. They had a right to access life-saving culturally appropriate support services. We have been advocating and lobbying for government funding for the Wellington Shakti refuge for over 5 years, but there have been major barriers. For Shakti, which has been at the forefront of striving for equality and equity for migrant and refugee women in New Zealand, the refusal to consider this specialist need by the government is totally unacceptable. We have hence begun the public campaign for funding to Save Shakti Wellington Refuge. This is a quote from Wendy Vyas. Shakti’s National Advocacy Coordinator on her experience at a mainstream women’s refuge: “As an Indian this whole concept of “refuge” was very daunting for me. I was at no point explained what was going to happen but was told that I am safe. I did feel safe, but not understood. During this time my family got involved and they wanted me to reconcile. I did speak to the staff at the refuge and she informed me that I can always say no. She was right, however, I felt she had no understanding of anything I am speaking – my culture and Asian values.” This is an extract from a letter addressed to Brendan Boyle (CEO of MSD) and Anne Tolley (Minister of Social Development). Migrant and refugee women deserve better. We deserve to be resourced adequately. We have a right to access culturally appropriate services. #NoEqualityWithoutDiversity #SaveShaktiWellingtonRefuge
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  • The TPPA is dead - keep it that way!
    Last year the National-led government committed New Zealand to a toxic international trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). If the deal had gone ahead it would have seriously undermined our government's ability to look after our interests and those of the natural environment, now and in the future. New Zealanders from all walks of life stood up against the TPPA, and participated in the biggest public protests in a decade on the day it was signed. The TPPA fell apart when the United States withdrew in the face of strong public pressure, built off the back of years of activism and resistance. The government is refusing to accept it has been beaten on the TPPA. All the countries, aside from the US, are due to meet in Chile on 14-15 March 2017 to talk about how to bring the TPPA back to life. It is important that we stop this process now. Tell Trade Minister Todd McClay that we, as New Zealanders, want to choose for ourselves the rules that govern our future, and that we will resist a zombie TPPA in the ballot boxes and in the street.
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  • Take GST off tampons and sanitary pads and other related reusable products
    Taxing non-optional items such as sanitary pads is unfair and forces households already under pressure to make choices between hygiene and other essential items such as food. It is estimated that in a lifetime, someone who uses sanitary products every month will have to spend close to $10,000 on tampons alone. The high cost of tampons, sanitary pads and related products impact most on people with a lower income. Everyone who needs tampons, sanitary pads and other related, reusable products, should have access regardless of income. They are essential items and when access is restricted it can create health risks. Agencies such as the Salvation Army and budgeting services are finding that young girls in New Zealand are unable to afford tampons and are missing out on school because of this. There have been reports of girls and women using rags, newspaper and even of people washing and re-using sanitary pads which is unhygienic, and infections have been reported. Background In February I started an OurActionStation campaign to encourage Pharmac (the New Zealand government agency that decides which pharmaceuticals to publicly fund) to subsidise tampons and sanitary pads for everyone. However on 18 April it was announced that Pharmac has declined the application, as in its view, “sanitary products are not medicines or medical devices."[1] Pharmac's decision is a big disappointment and a wasted opportunity. It could have been a chance for Pharmac to really stand up and support girls and women who are paying a huge amount to bleed in this country. There is something we can do though. Many countries around the world have removed the tax from tampons [3] or are campaigning to remove it, [4] making these products more accessible and we reckon New Zealand should do the same here! Quotes: "Especially for young people, children at school. The young girls are getting to that stage of life and some of them are missing school, because their families can't afford to buy sanitary products. We know the stories of women having to wash store-bought one-use sanitary pads and then reuse them, which is quite unhygienic and also quite degrading in a sense. We're hearing of women getting infections." Pam Waugh, The Salvation Army head of social services References: 1. Pharmac rejects request to fund tampons, pads, RNZ, 19 April 2017 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/329040/pharmac-rejects-request-to-fund-tampons,-pads 2. Pharmac considers funding sanitary products, RNZ, 20 Feb 2017 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/324865/pharmac-considers-funding-sanitary-products 3. https://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine/2015/06/04/toronto-woman-behind-campaign-to-kill-tampon-tax-ecstatic-over-victory.html 4. https://www.change.org/m/end-the-sexist-and-illogical-tax-on-tampons-sanitary-pads-and-mooncups-period
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  • Review ethical political party candidate criteria in regards to sexual violence.
    Sexual violence is a key social issue undermining the well-being of Aotearoa, New Zealand in 2017. Approximately 1 in 5 NZ women experience a serious sexual assault in their lifetime and only about 10 out of 100 sexual abuse crimes are reported and only 3 of those get to court. It is imperative for New Zealanders, particularly women, to feel safe, validated and valued when speaking up about sexual violence prevention, intervention and recovery. We must ensure all political parties promote an environment where New Zealanders feel safe, validated and free to speak truth and advocate for a society free of sexual violence. Sexual violence in New Zealand will ultimately only be prevented and eliminated by individual, institutional and intentional social change. This petition asks each registered New Zealand political party to include a statement in the candidate selection criteria which will ensure each candidate upholds the principle of a society free of sexual violence in any form. This measure would be publicly available on all political party websites, advertising and promotional material.
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  • NZ: Stand against the Global Gag Rule!
    The Global Gag rule yanks the funding from reproductive health providers in developing nations who provide, or even dare to mention abortion. This will not stop abortions from happening, it will drive them underground, to the black market where patients face the risk of dying from unsafe, botched, septic abortions. Under Trump, the rule forces the withdrawal of ALL funding from the offending NGO, not just the funding for reproductive health services. If you care about making sure people do not suffer needlessly, please sign the petition. Thank you!
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  • Designate Funding in the 2017 Budget for Postnatal Depression Early Intervention
    The Current Situation • 1 in 8 women experience Antenatal Depression and 1 in 5 women experience Postnatal Depression. It is understood that women are experiencing significantly delayed and sometimes missed diagnosis (1) – estimated at around 63% of women with PND (2) • These women are missed due to poor screening and referrals while under midwifery care (3 &4) • Once diagnosed, General Practitioners (GP’s) are expected to manage a woman’s PND in their short 10-15 minute appointments at an estimated cost of $50 to the patient. Both the limited time and the cost of this appointment are barriers to a woman getting sufficient help for her mental illness. • The only treatment/intervention currently available to assist women in their recovery from mild-moderate PND is to obtain medication through a paid appointment with their GP and private counselling. There is no Government-funded holistic programmes with proven outcomes of recovery from depression/anxiety available to women who have mild-moderate PND • In most cases, counselling is only subsidised by the Government if an individual has a community services card and a diagnosis from their GP to apply for WINZ funding. This leaves a large portion of New Zealand women who are unable to afford counselling for PND and therefore, they are not adequately recovering from it What are we needing funding for? • Professional Development training of midwives in the onset, prevalence, identification, screening, treatment and intervention of AND/PND and when and whom to refer • A service delivering early intervention assessments and recovery programmes with proven outcomes to women with AND/PND who do not fit Maternal Mental Health criteria in the Primary Health sector • Subsidised (free) counselling for all women experiencing Antenatal or Postnatal Depression/Anxiety Why is it needed? Undiagnosed and untreated AND and PND has a significant impact on a woman, her partner and her child. • For the woman and the child, depression has been associated with substance abuse, an increased risk for pregnancy-induced hypertension contributing to pre-eclampsia, gestational bleeding, diminished uterine artery blood flow and poor birth outcomes including foetal death, preterm birth and labour, small infants for gestational age, low birth weight, low Apgar scores and increased risk of neonatal special care and intensive care unit admission (4). She is more likely to develop chronic (ongoing) depression and anxiety the longer it continues untreated. It is more likely to increase in its severity and this puts her at greater risk of suicide. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of maternal deaths in New Zealand (5&6) • The partner is at-risk of developing “partner depression” and their relationship is at-risk of breaking down/divorce the longer her depression is left undiagnosed and untreated (5&6) • The unborn child is at risk of developing anxiety and cognitive, emotional and behavioural issues (4) • In the first three years of life, a child to a mother with undiagnosed and untreated postnatal depression is more likely to experience insecure attachment. This means that the child is more at risk of developing learning difficulties, mental illness, addictions, delinquency, and is at greater risk of suicide as a child or later in life (7,8.9) • Failing to provide prevention and early intervention assessment and recovery services to women at-risk or experiencing Antenatal or Postnatal Depression/Anxiety has a far greater cost to New Zealand than the cost of providing it (10) We believe that the funding of early intervention services to women at-risk or experiencing Postnatal Depression is imperative and needs to be addressed urgently by designated funding in the 2017 budget. References: 1. New Zealand Guidelines Group. (2008). Identification of Common Mental Disorders and Management of Depression in Primary Care [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.health.govt.nz 2. Mothers Helpers. (2015). Postnatal Depression in New Zealand and Feedback on Maternal Mental Health Services. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mothershelpers.org.nz 3. PANDA (2010). Australian Postnatal Depression Website Recognised As World’s Best . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.panda.org.au/. 4. Jones, C. J. (2009). Emotional Disturbances During Pregnancy & Postpartum: A National Survey of Australian Midwives & An Educational Resource. Griffith University, Gold Coast. 5. Health Quality and Safety Commission New Zealand (2012). Report finds suicide remains leading cause of maternal death. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.hqsc.govt.nz/. 6. Best Practice Journal (2009). Purpose and Introduction. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bpac.org.nz/. 7. Stein, A., Gath, D. H., Bucher, J., Bond, A., Day, A., Cooper, P. J., (1991). The relationship between post-natal depression and mother-child interaction. British Journal of Psychiatry. 158, 46-52 8. Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, L.J., Lynskey, M.T., (1995). The stability of disruptive childhood behaviors. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 23 (3), pp.379-396 9. Ministry of Health (2012). Healthy Beginnings. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.health.govt.nz 10. Mothers Helpers (2015). Mothers Helpers' Submission to the Ministry of Health. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mcagnz.org
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  • Send a quick email to Prime Minister, Bill English to #doublethequota
    We have an election this year, which means we have an opportunity to have a national conversation about the kind of country we want to be. What kind of example do we want to send to the world? Will we choose multiracial and multicultural solidarity and coexistence, or will we choose fear, hatred and anger? Trump’s executive order to ban people from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S (except of course the ones America have big oil business with) is not only despicable, it’s not backed by any evidence that it will improve national security. Americans are more likely to be killed by their own clothes, or another American, than by someone from one of the banned countries. New Zealand’s response should be loud and clear: We condemn Trump's xenophobic actions. It's past time to double the number of people granted refugee status in New Zealand, and the associated funding to help refugees rebuild their lives. In 2016, there were a reported 30,000 empty homes in Auckland alone. Let's fill those homes with refugees and homeless people, and then ensure that community groups have the government funding they need to help all of these individuals to live good lives of opportunity, safety, freedom and choice.
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  • Bring refugees banned from the US to New Zealand
    This photo is of five members of the Jouriyeh family, Syrian refugees headed to the US as part of a resettlement program. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh) - as reported in The Times Of Israel. A number of families and individuals are due to enter the US as refugees in January and February. They have been through all the vetting, medical, legal and other checks necessary to enter the US as refugees. At the last minute, their place in the US has been taken away from them, without notice, by an Executive Order from the Trump Administration. Offering a home in New Zealand under the New Zealand Refugee programme will give these families and individuals a place to go. We will be able fast-track many of our usual procedures, as these people have already met vetting requirements for entry into the US set under the previous administration. A review of New Zealand's refugee quota last year showed that we have the capacity to welcome far more refugees here than we currently do. We have room for these people, they are ready to travel, and we can step up and offer them an alternative to the home they were hoping for. Such an action on the part of our government will also demonstrate that New Zealand does not support the inhumane, and likely illegal action that the Trump Administration has taken in banning refugees by Executive Order, without any regard for the lives of people already in the system and already accepted as refugees. Bill English, we call on you to seize this moment and open our doors to people who have been denied their place in the US through no fault of their own.
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  • Legalise the use of medicinal cannabis
    In June 2017 the ActionStation community won a campaign to allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis. The changes are welcome but do not make a big difference for people in need. There is a lack of CBD only products on the international market and none being approved in New Zealand – meaning no greater access to products in the short term, and no real difference to the current situation. Let’s now get behind the proposed Bill. The medical use of cannabis should be legal, accessible and affordable. Many thousands of Kiwis, often older people, are using cannabis products for medicinal purposes, and in doing so are breaking the law as it now stands. Support the legalising of medicinal use of cannabis, and show MPs that we want common sense approaches to an issue that is about our health, not law and order. UPDATE - 2 June 2017 WIN! Today Associate Minister for Health, Peter Dunne, has just announced that the Government will allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis. Thanks to you and the over 6000 people who signed the petition calling for this change! Associate Health minister Peter Dunne on Friday announced the medicinal cannabis product cannabidiol (CBD) would no longer require a person to get Ministry of Health approval to use it. The changes mean CBD would be able to be prescribed by a doctor to their patient and supplied in a manner similar to any other prescription medicine. Mr Dunne said it was a move towards legalising medicinal cannabis, but wouldn't "immediately bring about a revolution". "I have taken advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) that CBD should not be a controlled drug, and am pleased Cabinet has now accepted my recommendation to make this change. "Therefore, I am now taking steps to remove restrictions accordingly." Common sense has prevailed with overwhelming public support. This will make a huge difference to people dealing with severe chronic pain and improving their quality of life. You can email the Associate Minister to congratulate him on his decision at p.dunne@minister.govt.nz News coverage: Kiwis will now be able to get medicinal cannabis from their doctor, Government announces http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/93268869/restrictions-on-medicinal-cannabis-product-to-be-removed-government-announces **** Medicinal cannabis is used by an estimated 178,000 New Zealanders to treat a variety of ailments such as chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson's, appetite loss and nausea. It is currently possible to get legal access to cannabis drugs for medical purposes, however it is a expensive and prohibitive process. Stories “I hadn’t thought much about medicinal marijuana until Helen Kelly campaigned for better access last year. It’s not something you really have to think about, until you or someone you love is sick and in pain, and could be helped by a cannabis-based treatment. That is now the case for me. So, no more sitting on the sidelines. It’s time to make sure people whose health and well-being depend on access to medicinal marijuana treatments can get them from their doctor, safely and without risk of criminal charges.” Marianne Elliott, Director of Strategy and Story, ActionStation Jessika Guest moved from Whangarei to Colorado so that her daughter Jade, 7, could use medical marijuana. Jade's diagnoses include hypotonia (a state of low muscle tone) and epilepsy, which used to cause up to 40 seizures a day. In Colorado, she has been on skin patches containing cannabinoids and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid - a non-activated THC which means the cannabis does not have high-inducing properties. Mrs Guest said her daughter's seizures have since decreased in frequency by 90 per cent. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11415156 [Alex Renton’s] treatment included groundbreaking use of medicinal cannabis oil, Elixinol, after a campaign by mother Rose and family after conventional treatments did not work. http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/70155247/cannabis-treatment-teen-alex-renton-sparked-national-debate McKee had his leg amputated 30 years ago after a car accident and smokes cannabis to relieve phantom pains. Last year, he fought charges of selling and cultivating cannabis all the way to the Supreme Court but lost and is now serving a six months' home detention sentence. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/9655674/Cannabis-spray-priced-out-of-reach-say-patients More information Changes to medical cannabis legislation http://www.nzherald.co.nz/national/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503075&gal_cid=1503075&gallery_id=171181 Why isn’t medical marijuana a shoe-in? (Toby Manhire & Toby Morris) http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/297299/why-isn't-medical-marijuana-a-shoe-in Support for cannabis reform: why so high? http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/311073/support-for-cannabis-reform-why-so-high Nelson lawyer Sue Grey takes government to High Court over cannabidiol http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/88612808/nelson-lawyer-sue-grey-takes-government-to-high-court-over-cannabidiol Helen Kelly backs medical marijuana http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/helen-kelly-backs-medicinal-marijuana-2015060910 New Zealand urged to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/77453718/New-Zealand-urged-to-grow-cannabis-for-medicinal-purposes Medicinal cannabis https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/cannabis/medicinal-cannabis https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/matters-of-substance/august-2015/QandA-Toni-Maree-Matich
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  • Camp Purple Toilet Access Initiative
    From 13 to 17 January, 57 children with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic autoimmune diseases of the digestive tract, attended Camp Purple Live at El Rancho Camp in Waikanae. The camp was organised by Crohns and Colitis NZ Charitable Trust, a whose mission is to support those with Crohns Disease and ulcerative colitis. There is no cure for these diseases which usually require potent chronic immunosuppressive medications and often multiple surgeries. NZ has one of the highest rates of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis in the world and they are diseases that often strike in childhood, causing symptoms that no one likes to talk about: abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and bleeding. Imagine being on a school trip and having to stop five times to have an urgent bowel motion. Imagine pleading to use the employee restroom in a shop and having to explain why. Imagine being told that you will need to search for a public rest room somewhere else. Imagine being 12 years old and having an accident in the middle of the city. On the second day of camp the children visited Parliament in downtown Wellington. Many had to stop along the way to use the restroom. On their tour they asked the tour guide how to go about getting the House of Representatives to enact a law similar to one known as “Ally’s Law” in the United States. Ally’s Law is named after Ally Bain, a 14 year old girl with Crohn’s disease. Ally was denied access to the employee toilet by a store manager in Chicago, resulting in an embarrassing public accident. Ally fought for a law in the State of Illinois and was successful. Ally’s law guarantees access to employee toilets to people whose conditions require the urgent use of a toilet such as Crohn’s disease, pregnancy, and those with ostomy bags. There are now similar laws in 15 other States. Coincidentally, the Parliament tour guide had Crohn’s Disease himself. He explained to the children the legislative process. Immediately on her return to camp, with the help of one of the volunteers, Nicole Thornton, a 12 year old girl with Crohn’s disease wrote a petition. It requests that the House of Representatives enact a law similar to Ally’s Law in NZ. It was signed by all 57 campers, along with 30 of the camp volunteers, including three doctors and four nurses. MP Trevor Mallard had agreed to table the petition in Parliament.
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  • Sports games of national significance should be live and free-to-air for everyone
    Sport is a part of our cultural identity. We invest $960 million each year in sports and recreation, but most live 'Games of National Significance' are only available to Kiwis who can afford a $1,000 a year pay-TV subscription. That's paying twice. All New Zealanders should be able to watch our sportspeople competing at the highest levels. New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell, has put forward a Bill that would make sure "games of national significance" are broadcast, live and free-to-air, on TV for all New Zealanders. The bill would cover the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, all Rugby World Cup matches involving New Zealand, all domestic rugby test matches, the Super Rugby final, all domestic netball test matches, all Netball World Cup matches, and major cricket, rugby league, football, tennis and basketball matches. Sky Television currently holds the rights for many of these events, including all All Blacks games. Statistics show more than one million homes in New Zealand don’t have Sky Once upon a time, when New Zealand was a more egalitarian society and not divided as sharply into the haves and have-nots, the All Blacks test matches in New Zealand were free to view on television. Kiwis love our sport, and should be able to have access to live coverage of 'Games of National Significance' without having to pay ridiculous amounts to private broadcasting companies for the privilege. Australia and the UK already have 'anti-siphoning' laws that prevent pay-TV media getting exclusive broadcast rights. Let's even the playing field here.
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