• Enlist the Interislander in the earthquake recovery effort!
    Following Monday morning's massive earthquake NZ's most important transport link - the primary route between the North and South Island for freight of all kinds has been critically damaged. In Parliament yesterday and in an interview this morning on Radio NZ's morning report Simon Bridges said he was actively considering the idea of establishing a shipping route to Christchurch. But it appears he has not yet been convinced its a critically important decision that needs to be made quickly. Bridges appears to be is prevaricating and talking about competition issues with the "unsung heroes" of NZ's tiny existing coastal shipping industry. He also mentioned international coastal shipping options. However none of these can be in place quickly and something is needed right now. It doesn't take rocket science to deduce SH7, one lane in some places, narrow, goes over high passes is not a replacement for SH1. The North/South Wellington-Christchurch coastal route is one of the most important transport route in NZ with both a highway and very busy rail-freight route. It appears likely that it will take many months for the route to be operational - and even longer before the fixes have been completed - there is massive uncertainty about how long because the area it travels through is presently suffering the most intense earthquake aftershock sequence in living memory. If trucking is routed over SH7 the road will become a choke point - running through the middle of an very active aftershock zone. In order to ensure that Wellington-Christchurch shipping is up and running in a timely fashion - decisive action is needed now. The Government even owns a shipping company. So price gouging is not a risk. And if other competitors join Kiwirail on the route the risk of price gouging by disaster capitalists will be avoided. In addition in this case there really is no alternative. Sooner or later this ferry route will be established - but the sooner that it is the less economic damage will be done to the entire South Island. Agreeing to get the ferry route up and running using NZ's most loved transportation provider will also be a great way to signal that the Government is providing the decisive leadership that NZ needs in this troubling time. It will help boost everybody's confidence. It really is a no brainer. Kiwirail is keen but someone needs to push the go button to get this up and running as quickly as possible. ...News Reports... NZ Herald - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11748947&ref=nzhbiz_tw Stuff - http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/86464161/kiwirail-looking-at-ferry-service-from-wellington-to-lyttelton Stuff - http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/86429807/trucking-companies-at-a-standstill
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  • Hands Off Our Tamariki
    You can read the open letter in full here: https://www.handsoffourtamariki.org.nz/ You can also join us for a rally on July 30 here: https://www.facebook.com/events/410698589765993/
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  • Save Radio NZ's Funding
    LATEST UPDATE On 11th April the Coalition for Better Broadcasting and ActionStation, combined with the petition of Jo Bond (Fund RNZ campaign) delivered this petition to Parliament. The Minister for Broadcasting Maggie Barry declined to accept but Labour MP Clare Curran accepted and tabled it in the House the next day. You can read about the delivery event here: https://medium.com/actionstation/32-337-demand-government-unfreeze-radio-new-zealand-funding-2b310ed3271d In the first week of April RNZ's Auckland studio was sold. [read https://blog.greens.org.nz/2017/03/21/national-killed-the-radio-station/] We wait now for news on a Select Committee process - watch this space! Also watch out for the people-powered report and policy recommendations from CBB and ActionStation as part of the Make Our Media Better public inquiry to be delivered to the Government in May. [http://www.makeourmediabetter.org.nz/] ***** To the Minister of Broadcasting, RNZ is well loved across the country: - Listened to more than any other radio station - Four out of five Kiwis say it’s a valuable service - 87% think public service radio, like RNZ, is important for New Zealand [1]. RNZ is vital to all New Zealanders. It is our only public national broadcaster [2]. It’s our only commercially independent media organisation and it’s the only media that tells all of NZ’s stories for all New Zealanders. This government is slowly making it impossible for RNZ to continue. Despite the importance of RNZ, our government refuses to fund it properly. They imposed an 8 year funding freeze on RNZ which after inflation amounts to a 12% cut in funding. At the same time the government expects RNZ to expand into digital and online media, which comes with a significant cost. After years of cost-cutting, RNZ is planning to sell its Auckland studios and rent them back from the new owners. RNZ would receive a cash injection but would also go from earning rent to paying rent. Before long that cash will dry up and RNZ will be worse off than before, with less money available for quality journalism and radio programmes for all New Zealanders. All New Zealanders benefit from RNZ’s work to provoke debate, report on the issues of the day, entertain people throughout the country and reflect our national identity. It is a crucially important national treasure and we need to fund it properly. Will you join us to call on the Minister of Broadcasting to unfreeze RNZ’s funding? Unfreezing the funding will allow RNZ to: - Retain ownership of its studios and resources - Invest in digital and online media - Continue high-quality radio services for the whole country - Tell more of our stories - Hold those in power to account with quality investigative journalism. References: [1] RNZ is New Zealands most popular Radio Network and 87 % of New Zealanders think public service radio is important, see RNZ Annual Report 2014/15, page 1: http://www.radionz.co.nz/assets/cms_uploads/000/000/074/RNZ_Annual_Report_2015.pdf [2] RNZ National and its sister station Concert are New Zealand's only public national broadcasters. See NZ On Air http://www.nzonair.govt.nz/radio/what-we-fund/radio-new-zealand/
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  • Reinstate Helen Kelly's nomination to the NZer of Year Awards, mate.
    Dear NZer of The Year Awards, We the undersigned New Zealanders imagine the decision to remove Helen Kelly was not lightly made. Nevertheless we think your decision should be reconsidered. And if a rule change is needed to achieve this we ask you to make that rule change. Helen is a hero and inspirational role model to tens of thousands of New Zealanders - many of whom nominated her for the award while she was alive (till Oct 14th) and still fighting to stay that way.  Voting closed for nominations for the award on September the 30th. At that time she had received the most public nominations. That Helen had such widespread support for this recognition is far from surprising. In the final months of her life Helen connected with thousands more NZers as she continued to do what she had always done - fight for justice and fairness for the benefit her fellow Kiwis. Her death itself, up to her last breath, was the most dignified you could possibly imagine. A week before her death she was still tweeting in defence of the rights of others. As she approached death she gave up precious time to media interviews to highlight the suffering of her fellow Kiwis, mounting the final campaign of her life in support of making access to medicinal cannabis for terminally ill New Zealanders easier. Public polls showed Helen's final campaign was supported by an overwhelming majority of the public. Helen accomplished an enormous amount in her 52 years of life, before her time with us all was cut short by an aggressive lung cancer. We agree with the chorus of eulogies following death which have said that she would have doubtless accomplished a great deal more if she had survived. But for us she was a hero for what she had already done, for her Trade Union work and support of workers rights - whether unionised or not, New Zealander or not - for her integrity and for her kindness. For all these reasons, if ever there were a case when the New Zealander who has died should remain eligible for this award it is this one. Respectfully Your mates. ----------------------------------------- Media Coverage Of This Petition ---------------------------------------- Newshub >> http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/petition-to-put-helen-kelly-back-on-the-shortlist-for-new-zealander-of-the-year-2016102913 Stuff >> http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/85874277/helen-kelly-ineligible-for-the-new-zealander-of-the-year-award-category RNZ >> http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/316789/helen-kelly-ineligible-for-nzer-of-the-year NZ Herald >> http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11738289 TVNZ >> https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/online-campaign-helen-kelly-made-eligible-honour Paul Henry Show >> http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/huge-respect-but-no-honour-for-helen-kelly---pm-2016103109 Stuff >> http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/85897243/john-key-agrees-with-not-awarding-new-zealander-of-the-year-posthumously Scoop >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1610/S00096/5000-nzers-back-helen-kellys-reinstatement-to-nzer-of-year.htm Scoop >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1611/S00034/helen-kelly-and-the-compassionless-people.htm ----------------------------------------- UPDATE NOVEMBER 8th : - ADDING A PLAN B ---------------------------------------- Many New Zealanders believed Helen Kelly might have become a great Prime Minister had she not been taken so young. In this context Helen's style of principled, enlightened, and selfless political activism serves as a wonderful example to future generations of activists and politicians. These days few people are willing to consider a move into representative politics – the nastiness and apparent futility makes it appear to be a frightening path to pursue. But it is one which we need to encourage people to consider and then choose to pursue. With that in mind a solution for honouring Helen Kelly becomes obvious. Let's create a new award - bearing Helen's name (with her family's permission) - to celebrate selflessness, achievement and courage in political service – either as activist or politician, to be awarded annually to someone who is truly the best of us, as Helen undoubtedly was. If you would like to help put together some kind of meaningful memorial for Helen Kelly – either this idea or another - then please email me at alastair@scoopmedia.co.nz - It is going to take a coalition to get something like this flying. Read more here >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1611/S00034/helen-kelly-and-the-compassionless-people.htm#proposal
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  • Get Serco out of New Zealand prisons
    Privately owned, profit-driven prisons like Serco's are not only expensive and inefficient, they’re leaving us all worse off. They are designed primarily to make money, not to rehabilitate offenders. This can mean inmates leave prison more likely to re-offend, meaning more crime and more prisoners in the long run. Only 18 months old, the only Serco run prison had already recorded some of the worst levels of assaults, positive drug tests and justified complaints by inmates. It's time to drop the profit-driven New Zealand prison experiment for good.
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  • Raise the Youth Justice age to 21
    Update: In December 2016, the Government announced that they would raise the age of access to the Youth Justice system to 18 years, this means that most 17 year olds in New Zealand who are charged with a crime in New Zealand will be able to access a justice system designed specifically for young people. This is a great progress towards our goal! Thank you for your support so far, and we hope you'll continue to support this campaign to reach our ultimate goal of all young people in New Zealand being dealt with in our specialist youth courts. Our Youth Justice system is praised around the world. Every year scholars and practitioners come to New Zealand to watch us in action. But as soon as a child turns 17, they're processed through the adult criminal justice system where 91% of under 20s are reconvicted within 2 years after release. Young people need support to help them learn from their mistakes while still holding them accountable to their victims and communities. The adult justice system blindly punishes with no solutions for stopping future harm. Our youth justice system, currently available to 14-16 year olds gets young people on the right track while giving victims a say in the process. We need to raise the age of the youth justice system to 21. You can find out more here: http://justspeak.org.nz/including-17-year-olds-youth-justice-system-facts/
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  • Peace For Pekapeka : Return Waitara Lands
    The New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill 2016 is not supported by the vast majority of hapū and iwi members within Waitara. The Bill further divests the lands confiscated including the Pekapeka Block, from hapū and iwi. Our tupuna Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake stated clearly that Waitara must remain in the hands of our people. "I will not agree to our bedroom being sold (I mean Waitara here), for this bed belongs to all of us; and do not you be in haste to give the money. If you give the money secretly, you will get no land for it. You may insist, but I will never agree to it. . . All I have to say to you, O Governor, is that none of this land will be given to you, never, never, till I die." Wiremu Kingi to Governor Browne, April 1859. The Waitangi Tribunal emphasised that any settlements of these claims must not create further injustice, as stated: "A more arguable case would appear to be that the settlement of historical claims is not to pay off for the past, even were that possible, but to take those steps necessary to remove outstanding prejudice and prevent similar prejudice from arising; for the only practical settlement between peoples is one that achieves a reconciliation in fact." (Waitangi Tribunal The Taranaki Report, Kaupapa Tuatahi: p.315). It is our view that this Bill fails to meet the expectation by the Waitangi Tribunal and the whānau, hapū and iwi of Waitara that the settlement process would be honourable and would not reproduce the prejudices of that past. For true, meaningful and enduring resolution to take place in Waitara the stolen lands held by the NPDC must be returned to the hapū of Te Atiawa at no cost. The NPDC (and earlier councils such as the Waitara Borough Council) have received lease payments of these lands for over 100 years. Many of the original confiscation lands within Waitara have already been made freehold sections and privatised without the knowledge of the hapū and iwi. Both the council and those private owners have benefited financially while the hapū and iwi have struggled to maintain our connection to our ancestral lands. Hapū and iwi should not be forced to 'buy back' our own lands that were illegally confiscated by the colonial forces. Te Atiawa iwi should not be expected to 'buy back' lands from those that have benefited directly from the confiscation. The lands in Waitara must be returned for our people to have any sense that our voices have been heard. The lands in Waitara were stolen, the lands must be returned. Me riro whenua atu, me hoki whenua mai.
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  • Tell My Food Bag to drop Talley's!
    As customers and/or supporters of My Food Bag, we want to know the fellow Kiwis who are working to produce the food in our bags are being treated fairly at work!
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  • Expand the terms of reference for "Trade Policy Strategy" review
    TPP, RCEP and TiSA are not quite dead as yet. The NZ Government proceeded with TPP ratification forcing the TPP Amendment Bill through the House for it's final reading Thursday 15 November 2016. It requires the US and Japan to Ratify it before it comes into force. Do we really want our domestic social, environmental, economic and cultural policies determined by foreign powers? http://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=11749471 TPP is one of a series of interlocking trade and investment treaties that are opposed by Civil Society. More are under negotiation, RCEP and TiSA. There is rising concern internationally and within New Zealand over current treaties. Internationally, TTIP is considered to have failed by senior politicians from France and Germany; the US President elect Donald Trump, and a large public majority oppose the TPP; a number of developing countries are withdrawing from negotiations on trade agreements that are unbalanced; and a growing number of countries are withdrawing from investment agreements or rejecting the inclusion of ISDS provisions. In New Zealand, a majority of the public oppose the TPP. The loss of political mandate reflects the growing evidence that such treaties give unwarranted preferential rights to foreign investors over laws, policies and judicial decisions. Criticism of ISDS and treaties such as the TPP is coming from trade, legal and economic experts as well as a range of social and environmental researchers and institutions across society. Restrictions on the right of governments to regulate in the public interest has been shown to have adverse impacts on the environment, action on climate change, progressive social policy, labour rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, human rights, health and many other issues of concern to citizens. However, our concerns extend far beyond the mechanism of ISDS, to include issues such as excessive monopoly powers conferred through patents and copyright; the loss of rights for governments to support local economies and communities; the primacy of trade agreements over protection of human rights, health, indigenous rights and the environment; and the removal of legitimate regulation under the guise of lowering ‘non-tariff barriers’. We call on The New Zealand Government to undertake a fundamental re-think about the aims of our trade agreements. We agree that New Zealand needs to be able to trade with other countries, but recent treaties extend far beyond the common definitions of trade to threaten issues of vital importance across society. More trade and investment has become the driver of our international treaties and much of our international diplomacy. The use of treaty negotiations to alter domestic arrangements, regulation and legislation is arbitrary and undemocratic. Policies driving treaty negotiations should be assessed by their contribution towards redressing growing inequality, supporting decent jobs and livelihoods, living within our ecological limits, contributing to a good quality of life and being a good global citizen internationally. In our experience of MFAT consultation on the TPP and agreements such as RCEP and TiSA, there has been no real dialogue. We are talked at but not listened to. This trade policy review process must step back from the limited scope of the terms of reference, and engage with individuals and groups in society through a process of examining the evidence and developing new aims for our trade policy. We call on the Government to engage in a real dialogue for a real review of trade policy. Failure to do so will ensure strong public opposition to future undemocratic and unconstitutional impositions. .
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  • Stop Online Charter Schools
    The facts out of the USA, where these schools have been widely implemented, show that these schools fail to deliver anything approaching quality education. Face to face time with teachers cannot be achieved with digital technology - at least not in a way that improves outcomes for our children. Taking education funding from public schools to spend on a model that is proven not to work is poor policy making and a waste of taxpayer funds. Reference the linked article, "Online Public Schools are a Colossal Disaster" from Salon magazine as evidence of this: http://www.salon.com/2016/02/15/the_walton_family_foundation_admits_partner/
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  • Denounce The Political Murders In Ethiopia
    For over two decades the government of Ethiopia has killed, tortured and violated the human rights of Amhara and Oromo majority in the country. Ethiopia has suffered under this extreme oppressive regime, a government that has sought to systematically divide Ethiopia based on ethnicity, and has pursed an agenda of genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Amhara and Oromo since 1990. The government has detained, killed and tortured politicians, journalists, bloggers, and any individuals who oppose their regime. According to Human Rights Watch, the Ethiopian government has killed an estimated 400 people, and injured thousands more since November 2015 for participating in protests in the Oromo region. The people of Ethiopian want to be free from this dictatorship, they want to be able to express their opinions and live a life that’s free of fear. Our brothers and sisters who are violated by this regime need us to fight this injustice act. We call on New Zealanders of every race, ethnicity, and religion to help us stand up against the TPLF and be a voice for the voiceless, and protest and denounce their brutality. New Zealand, Ethiopia needs you! Read about why Olympian Feyisa Lilesa has risked his life to oppose the TPLF's merciless killings: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11698817
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  • Equal support for Convention Refugees
    The Asylum Seeker Equality Project, initiated by the Human Rights team of the Wellington Community Justice Project and ChangeMakers Refugee Forum, seeks to secure equal resettlement support for all refugees in New Zealand. People granted Convention refugee status, commonly known as asylum seekers, are people who claim asylum upon arrival in New Zealand. In comparison, people with Quota refugee status are brought to New Zealand under the UNHCR Resettlement Programme. This is the only practical difference between the statuses. People under each status come from the same war-stricken circumstances and flee the same persecution. Despite this, only people with Quota refugee status receive official help and support upon their arrival to New Zealand. Through the Government’s Refugee Resettlement Strategy, they receive help with resettlement, accommodation, employment and education for the first 12 months of their life in New Zealand. These processes are imperative to meaningful resettlement. People with Convention refugee status are denied this support and suffer increased hardship across all sectors of their lives. They endure human rights violations, harsh living conditions and are immediately marginalised by the government policy, making their transition into New Zealand society incredibly difficult. By signing this petition you acknowledge that the New Zealand House of Representatives has a moral obligation to ensure all people with refugee status in New Zealand receive the same treatment and support. Read the extensive nature of the inequalities in ChangeMakers's report "Marking Time" here: http://goo.gl/XvIUNF
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