• Consent Education should be compulsory for First-Year Tertiary Students
    In a world free from sexual violence, students would be able to learn and achieve, without fear, harm or violence. Students would be able to walk through campus, attend lectures, engage in tutorials, knowing that they are valued, respected, and treated equally. Starting tertiary study is an important time in a young person's life, and sets them up for their entire life course 'pipeline'. When a student faces barriers or trauma during their study, it often has lifelong ripple effects and consequences. Recent research shows that 1 in 3 students will experience sexual harm during study [1], and this mirrors Thursdays in Black's own findings, which highlighted that over 50% of participants had experienced some form of sexual harm during study [2]. Research on wider populations shows that in Aotearoa, 1 in 3 women, 1 in 6 men, and 1 in 2 transgender people will experience sexual harm. Research also shows that women, Māori, Queer/Takatāpui, and disabled students are at significantly higher risk of experiencing harm in comparison to other identities, and that 90% of sexually harmful situations happen between people that know each other, for example friends, relationships, colleagues, or family. At Thursdays in Black, our vision is to improve these circumstances, by mandating sexual consent education for first years students. This education will empower young people by giving them the skills to navigate and create their own healthy sexual relationships, help prevent harmful behaviours, and contribute to the ongoing culture change of tertiary institutions. By teaching these skills to students aged 17-20, we will be setting them up with a kete of tools that will benefit them throughout their life, and help make our communities safer. Yet at present, there is no legal requirement for tertiary institutions to offer compulsory courses to teach students about sexual consent. New Zealand institutions currently have a fragmented approach to consent education, with different institutions offering different levels of engagement, different approaches, and some with out any programmes at all. At Thursdays in Black, we believe that Aotearoa can do better, and see that implementing such an education policy as not only urgent, but long overdue. We request that the Minister pass legislation requiring tertiary institutions in Aotearoa to provide sexual consent education to all first-year tertiary students. Such education should be a research-based program, created with and facilitated by subject matter experts and the sexual violence sector, it should engage student leaders, operate on a bi-cultural model that upholds Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and reflect an intersectional approach that respects the disproportionate impact sexual violence has on specific groups. Tertiary institutions, for the most part, remain out-dated and traditional in their thinking -- often reinforcing a rape culture of power imbalances, misogyny, and toxicity. This does not make a safe environment for our tertiary students. Help make education safe. Sign the petition today to call on the Minister to implement compulsory consent courses for first-year students. 1. Unpublished Phd Thesis by Kayla Stewart, for a preliminary discussion of her findings, see https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/113090659/a-third-of-women-university-students-report-being-sexually-assaulted-what-do-we-owe-them 2. In 2017, Thursdays in Black Aotearoa conducted a report titled ‘In Our Own Words’, which details the extent to which tertiary students experienced sexual violence prior to, and during, their studies You can find it here: https://library.nzfvc.org.nz/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=5557
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    Created by Jahla Lawrence
  • Supporting paid leave for women after abortions
    The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has a focus under Goal 5 on safe abortion as part of protecting “human rights and promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”. Target 5.6 seeks to ensure “universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences”. We believe that the Holiday Amendment Bill act could be changed to better suit the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to better support women in Aotearoa. We hope you consider our suggestion as young people and women going into the workforce. As a society, we believe we need to do more to ensure women have equal rights and have equitable working conditions. Thank you for helping us in our fight to remove the word ‘unplanned’ from Ginny Anderson’s Holiday Amendment Bill. Ngā mihi, Lorna Hallett Renee Hamilton Kate Chu Athena Kapralos Ella Murdoch Evie Harrington Bella Redshaw Bintou Fiti-Jaiteh Natasha Taylor Valora Leilua-Tiatia Tia-Rhiena Martin-Upton Nicole Askari Ruby McGovern Sophie Irving
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  • Moratorium on Mining Permits for Conservation Land
    In 2017, in the Speech from the Throne, the Labour/NZ First/Green Government made a commitment to having no new mines on conservation land. The Government has, however, failed to implement this policy, and as a result numerous permits for mining related activity (prospecting, exploration and mining) have been granted across the nation’s conservation estate. This is unacceptable. This campaign is so important, and so urgent that the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand are now supporting this petition also (from May 2021). Conservation land is highly valued by New Zealanders, and is held by the Government for conservation purposes. It makes up approximately 1/3 of New Zealand's total land area and is simply too precious to mine. There are classes of conservation land including National Parks, public conservation land and marine reserves and other protected lands and waters; public conservation land includes forest parks, scenic reserves, ecological reserves and stewardship land. Stewardship land has been cited as one of the main reasons that the no new mines policy has not been implemented. Some are of the belief that stewardship land is 'low value' and should be excluded from the policy, when in fact, stewardship land includes a range of land, a significant portion of which has very high conservation values; stewardship land contains approximately 28% of biodiversity priority sites. The Hauraki Coromandel region alone has more than 300,000 hectares of stewardship land, including the Hukarahi Conservation Area, the site of the first closure due to kauri dieback on the Peninsula, the Whangapoua Forest Conservation Area, some 5000ha of mature native forest and the Otama Wetland, a part of the nationally significant Otama Dune system. To groundtruth all stewardship land in Aotearoa will take many years, and our conservation land must not be left vulnerable to mining until that happens. The simple fact is that the Government indicating their intent to ban new mines being established on conservation land has resulted in the industry not only rushing to get permits to prospect, explore and mine in areas they want to target, but also lobbying to exclude stewardship land. This can not be a blanket in or out decision - there is too much at stake. Changes proposed in any review of stewardship land must include giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi via negotiations with manawhenua of that rohe. A moratorium would ensure that the question of stewardship land can be considered carefully to ensure that any policy is robust in protecting all conservation land, while not sacrificing some of our most significant areas to mining while the policy is finalised. Support from: https://www.forestandbird.org.nz/themes/custom/forestandbird/images/logo-forest-and-bird-og-image.jpg
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  • Intergenerational Open Letter for Climate Action Now
    This would be disastrous for the youth of today, and for all future generations. Increasing extreme events and sea level rise have the potential to wreck our civilisation and bring misery and hardship to billions of people globally. It is time for climate change to be at the heart of every decision the New Zealand government, now and in the future, makes. The generations of today, and those not yet born demand this of you. For communities in the Pacific this means sea level rise, it means damage to food and water supplies, and for some island communities it may mean losing the islands they have lived on for generations. Here in New Zealand, many of the same issues will threaten our livelihoods and lifestyles around the country. We know the technologies are at hand – renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, hydrogen fuels and many others, but we just need to get on and deploy these as fast as we can. We urge that all New Zealand governments act urgently on climate change, as we must start future-proofing our country economy and mindsets to climate change as we can do this. The Climate Change Commission in its April 2020 letter to government has indicated the way of achieving this - through clean energy and energy efficiency; improved transport systems including public transport; sustainable land use and robust transport, energy and water infrastructure. Through the response to COVID-19, we have seen the power of people to act as a collective. It is time to see to climate action and climate justice, this really is our moment across all generations. We are out of time – we have had the Pandemic – and it is time for action by all.
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    Created by Jim Salinger
  • 6 PROMISES FOR 6000 (CHILDREN IN THE STATE CARE SYSTEM)
    Aotearoa New Zealand has over 6000 children and young people in our state care system. VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai believes 6 PROMISES must be made to them. These are promises you would want to make to your children should they ever be in a position to need the care system. We are putting a call out to every New Zealander to compel their elected representatives to stand behind these promises and ensure they are fulfilled. VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai worked with care experienced young people to come up with 6 PROMISES FOR 6000 – a call to all those running for elected office to agree to uphold six basic asks. Our Members of Parliament are uniquely placed to deliver on these promises. With your support, we can amplify the voice of children and young people in care and seek political commitment to these promises. Through a groundswell movement of people across Aotearoa, we would like to see all our politicians sign up to these 6 PROMISES to ensure the care system becomes a truly caring system. Please sign the petition asking all elected representatives to commit to these 6 PROMISES. Also, please express your support for the movement via your social channels using #6promises. VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai was created by children with care experience for children with care experience. Established in 2017, VOYCE is an independent organisation that helps to advocate for more than 6000 young people young children living with whānau or foster families, all over New Zealand. We exist to amplify the voices of tamariki and rangatahi and ensure they are at the centre of all conversations and decisions being made within the care sector. We see the potential, abilities and strengths apparent in the care community every day and know we can have a system that ensures they realise their full potential. Thank you for your support.
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  • Support families in need. Extend the Winter Energy Payment
    As New Zealanders, we believe in justice and compassion. We want everyone to have the opportunity to thrive. But, right now, hundreds of thousands of people in our country are living in poverty. Despite our differences, we share a responsibility to make sure everyone has a decent standard of living and the same chances in life. Poverty in New Zealand affects people of all ages and situations – children and their parents, young adults, people in and out of work and people with disabilities. The stress that comes with poverty can erode people’s mental and physical health. Showing compassion as a society means making sure no-one has to endure the harms of poverty. On October 1, 2020, the Winter Energy Payment that is provided to people on government income support, to assist with heating a home, is due to expire. This will cut the already low incomes for people locked in poverty by $63 a week for couples and $41 a week for an individual. But as research has shown, $40 - $60 less per week means not being able to go to the dentist or doctor, not being able to afford emergency bills and not being able to pay for kids to participate in extracurricular activities like sports, art or volunteering. At a time where food banks are reporting record demand and the number of people needing government income support had its biggest jump in 24 years in April, the government needs to show some compassion. By permanently extending the Winter Energy Payment, the government can help make it possible for everyone to do well.
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  • Calling on Parliament for a Green Response to COVID-19
    Our Recommendations We are calling on you, our leaders and representatives, to put the climate crisis at the forefront of this election. We urge you to make strong, effective policies to fight climate change. a) Honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi by actively seeking and listening to the Māori and Pasifika leadership when making green policies. This inevitably requires constitutional transformation and recognition of tino rangatiratanga. b) Re-build from COVID-19 with environmental bottom lines and climate change at the forefront c) A just transition into a forward-looking low carbon economy. d) Listen to and work with climate scientists who have been warning us for decades. e) Take action now We ask what policies you and your party plan to enact which address these recommendations? Please let us know at [email protected]
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  • Restore all the Queen Elizabeth Park wetlands
    The protection of the Queen Elizabeth Park area is so important to the Wellington region for environmental, recreational, social and climate change reasons. Now we have the opportunity to increase the area of the protected environment and restore the wetlands. The Wellington region has less than 3 percent of its original wetlands left. Drained and farmed peat emits huge amounts of carbon dioxide whereas rewetted peat will become a carbon sink so this action is consistent with GWRC declaring a climate change emergency. It also reduces the need for chemical weed control as woody weeds such as gorse and blackberry cannot survive in wet earth. Natural spaces in urban environments offer huge benefits to community well-being not to mention native flora and fauna. By expanding the protected area we could set a precedent for the rest of the country to show what is possible. It could also become a significant education tool. We've had some wins to protect what still exists, but we can do more! Add your name today and be part of this joint submission to show the public support to protect this special area. See our previous petition at https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/save-the-raumati-wetlands-in-queen-elizabeth-park-and-create-kapiti-s-biggest-carbon-sink Greater Wellington Parks Network Plan: http://www.gw.govt.nz/parks-network-plan
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    Created by Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park Picture
  • Leave no-one behind: Campaign to address digital exclusion
    Have you or someone you know ever tried to fill out a government form online? How about doing that on your phone? And uploading documents to it? What if your internet connection was limited? Or English wasn’t your first language? Or you were vision impaired? Or didn't have a credit card? What if you needed help to understand, and what you really wanted was someone to talk to? Consider the frustration this causes you and what it looks like when you’re made further vulnerable as you stare into the digital divide. The digital-only or digital-first approach being embraced by government agencies is excluding some of Aotearoa’s most vulnerable people and communities. This is unacceptable. We want to see people’s needs put at the centre of public services and are asking our representatives in Parliament, to pledge to ensuring this is the case. Interacting with government services is often about accessing rights and entitlements and it’s important that there aren’t any barriers in the way. Digital services are not the right response for all people or in all circumstances. There needs to be genuine choice for people about how they can interact - whether online, face-to-face, through others or by phone. It is critical that as a country we don’t allow the digital transformation of public services to further entrench disadvantage and vulnerability. We have written to politicians asking them to commit to addressing digital exclusion so that no-one is left behind or left out because they can't or don't wish to engage online. As part of this campaign, we are also seeking funding to cover the transfer of costs that has resulted from government agencies closing up shop in communities and sending people to get help from CABs, including to get paper copies of forms. Join us in this call to address digital exclusion so that we leave no-one behind! This campaign builds on the findings and recommendations of our report, ‘Face to Face with digital exclusion’. You can read the full report here: https://www.cab.org.nz/what-we-do/social-justice/digital-exclusion/
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    Created by Citizens Advice Bureau New Zealand Ngā Pou Whakawhirinaki o Aotearoa Picture
  • No more pokies in Wellington!
    Wellington City Council is seeking feedback on its proposed gambling venues policy for electronic gaming machines, more commonly known as ‘pokies’. The Council has powers to determine which TABs, pubs and clubs can host pokie machines. The current policy limits the number of machines in certain areas, but we would like the policy to include a ‘sinking lid’. That means no new pokies venues would be able to open in the Wellington area. We think a sinking lid is the best policy available to reduce the number of pokie machines and reduce gambling harm. Currently Wellington City has 633 pokie machines across 40 venues. In 2019, people in Wellington lost over a staggering $40 million on these machines. Some people support pokies because the gambling losses are used to fund community groups. But only 40% of the losses are returned to the community and not always into the community it comes from. Pokies are highly addictive and are the most harmful form of gambling. It is estimated that 30% of the money lost on pokies comes from people experiencing harm. Pokies outside casinos make up almost 50% of the people who seek help about their gambling. Pokie machines in Wellington are clustered in the most deprived neighbourhoods in the city where people can least afford to lose significant amounts of money. Council’s consultation process is public and your comments will be available for public inspection. Submissions are open until 1 October 2020. Your submission won’t be returned to you, so if you require a copy, please make one before submitting. Your name, address, phone number, and email address are required for this official submission and will be for Council use only. If you require a special private hearing where your identity will be protected and you have experienced gambling harm, please contact PGF Group on 0800 664 262.
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  • Save our school libraries
    The School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) is launching a nationwide campaign to highlight the plight of our school libraries. SLANZA is deeply concerned about the demise of school libraries in Aotearoa. It is estimated that of the 2500 schools in New Zealand only 900 have a library. Stuart McNaughtons recent report entitled “The literacy landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand” states that 52% of 15 year olds only read if they have to and 28% think reading is a waste of time. Yet his report did not mention School Libraries once and we know from international research that schools with a well-resourced library and specialist library staff positively impacts learning outcomes across all year levels. Our libraries are being closed, relocated to hallway cupboards, are having budgets slashed. We have low decile high schools trying to raise literacy rates but can only fund their library $1000.00 a year to operate and are buying books from Op Shops to stock the shelves. These stories are not acceptable in New Zealand. SLANZA believes that all school students in New Zealand, at every level of their education, should have access to effective school library services that will support their reading and learning. We plan to promote the value and necessity of every student having access to a school library, supported by a specialist librarian with a budget and hours to provide a high-functioning learning environment within all school communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Ministry of Education will mandate every student to have access to a school library staffed by specialist school librarians and is Ministry of Education funded. We know school libraries make a difference for our students for their well being, hauora, their learning outcomes, their ability to critically analyse and their growth in empathy. School libraries transform and we in this campaign will be informing our nation of the lack of funding, space and staffing within our school libraries. We want the government to listen and to act, so our school libraries can be resourced fully to continue to transform the lives of all of our students. Our campaign will be launched on September 1st and is called “School Libraries Transform.” Please refer to our website for further information pertaining to our campaign. http://www.schoollibrariestransform.org.nz/
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  • Māori self-determination for Health
    Please refer to our video documenting delivery of this petition here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_662YzLuZMA&feature=emb_logo At this time of the covid virus we can be especially thankful that our publicly funded health system in Aotearoa New Zealand is among the best in the world. However the health system doesn't work the same for everyone. Māori whānau and communities are treated unfairly in the current model and experience severe and persistent health inequities. A fair society means everyone participates in enhancing our social, economic and educational activities, which builds collective confidence and safety. We all benefit in a fair society that is more prosperous and harmonious. https://youtu.be/sFlM5B008Ts More Videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2v0dLjHVJL1UqCe7T-n3WQ Māori kids and adults visit a health professional the same as or more than non-Māori. Yet the outcomes across the population are different. For example, Māori women are dying at two times the rate as non-Māori from breast cancer, four times in cervical cancer and five times more in lung cancer. The recommendation of 10 of 12 health experts who were tasked with a two year investigation of unfairness in our health system and how to address this, concluded a Māori Health Authority with commissioning rights was the best approach. This means an Authority that will have the autonomy to control, make decisions, and determine how to spend health dollars most appropriately for Māori. In order to provide the same high outcome for everyone our health system needs to be informed by Māori needs and Māori decision making. Māori must be able to enact rangatiratanga (self determination) to best meet the needs of their own communities. Such an approach will result in diverse options for everyone. For example, a Mātauranga Māori commissioning frame recognises the inseparability of health, education, environment, income, and civic responsibilities. This world-leading approach honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi which lays out terms of settlement. Te Tiriti is how we achieve a society where improved health is protected for every person, whānau, and social group regardless of social advantage and disadvantage. Though the government has accepted the creation of a Māori Health Authority, they rejected commissioning rights for the Authority. Without commissioning rights, the Māori Health Authority is subordinate to the Crown's representative, the Ministry of Health. Add your name today to call on our government to give Māori commissioning to the Māori Health Authority and ensure equal health outcomes for everyone in Aotearoa. **** References The New Zealand Health and Disability System Review https://systemreview.health.govt.nz/ "We have now some quite good evidence that racism at a range of levels does determine access, experience and outcomes in the healthcare system." Dr Ashley Blomfield, to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2018 Racist health system no cure for sick Māori, July 2019 https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/113917099/racist-health-system-no-cure-for-sick-maori 'We have totally failed': Rheumatic fever: The Third World disease entrenched in New Zealand, Aug 2020 https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/122260447/we-have-totally-failed-rheumatic-fever-the-third-world-disease-entrenched-in-new-zealand National Urban Māori Authority calls for Māori self-determination in health https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/300036653/national-urban-mori-authority-calls-for-mori-selfdetermination-in-health Māori should have a stand-alone health system https://www.facebook.com/TeAoMaoriNews/videos/3592536994197158 Public Health Association calls for the Minister of Health to intervene and support the Māori Health Authority alternative commissioning framework https://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/article/undoctored/public-health-association-calls-minister-health-intervene-and-support-maori
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    Created by Emily Gill