• End the use of the cruel Forced Swim Test NZ
    The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) have just discovered that cruel and scientifically flawed “Forced Swim Tests” are being conducted on animals in New Zealand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SEVznb6vsE Evidence has been found proving that researchers at Victoria University and the University of Otago conduct Forced Swim Tests (FST), where mice or rats are dropped into an inescapable vessel of water and are forced to swim until they are close to drowning. The method of testing is used to model human depression, based on the assumption that a depressed animal gives up trying to escape earlier. Not only is this test cruel but it has no relevance to human depression - There is no single sign or symptom of human depression modelled in the test! People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) scientists have found that in the US, in 30 years from 1989 to 2018, experimenters gave animals 47 different test drug compounds before subjecting them to the FST. 36 of them "showed promise" based on the invalid interpretation of the test. But exactly zero of those are now on the market to treat human depression. Animal models cannot reliably predict human outcomes, so this test is harming animals and sending researchers down the wrong track by producing results that aren't applicable to people. Other animal-based tests used in psychological tests have the same fundamental issue. In order to find real, effective treatments for human depression, addiction or any other human illness, human-relevant research methods should be used, i.e. mathematical or computer modelling of human systems, or by a drug-repurposing program like the IBM Watson for Drug Discovery in the US. We are asking the NZ Government to not only ban the Forced Swim Test in NZ but to also conduct a full review and evaluation on the validity of animal tests used for psychological tests in NZ. Help stop the cruel and invalid Forced Swim Test from hurting any more animals in New Zealand - Sign the petition today. Read more here - nzavs.org.nz/forced-swim-test By signing this petition your information will be shared with NZAVS (nzavs.org.nz) and SAFE (safe.org.nz) who will get in contact from time to time about this campaign and others. You are free to opt out at anytime.
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  • PM Jacinda Ardern: Prevent violence against women and invest in support for victims and survivors
    It’s difficult to know how to express the horror so many of us feel about what happened to Grace Millane. She was 21, on the trip of a lifetime, with her whole life ahead of her… and then she was gone. When women are murdered, it is a reminder that our safety is an illusion. We have some of the worst statistics for sexual violence and violence against women in the OECD. Most of that violence is at the hands of our men. For some time people at the front line with first-hand experience of violence against women, and those who support them, have been calling for the nation to do some soul-searching and to seek solution-based actions. Women going on solo adventures or meeting new people for dates are not the problem here. Men who commit acts of violence against women are. But violence is preventable if we work together at an individual, whānau, community, regional and national level. Most decent New Zealanders will be devastated by Grace’s death. The vast majority of us feel horrified for her parents and her family, and send them all our love. But we must open our eyes to the dangers facing women in our country. We must remove our rose-tinted glasses. The government and men of New Zealand must take action; for Grace and for all of the women who have lost their lives to violence in our country. Rest in peace and aroha, Grace. On behalf of all New Zealanders, we are so very, very sorry. We promise to do better as a nation. *** An open letter with the same asks has already been sent to PM Jacinda Ardern and was published in the New Zealand Herald on Saturday 15 December. See the news story here: http://bit.ly/2ULCWGU See the letter that was sent to PM Jacinda Ardern here: http://bit.ly/2zZi9qp For a list of other ways you can take action and organisations you can donate time or money to, visit www.HelpWahine.org.nz.
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  • Limit aircraft noise and pollution over Wattle Downs and South Auckland
    Over the past few years, the neighbourhoods of Wattle Downs, Weymouth, Clendon, Manurewa and Wiri have been subjected to increased aircraft activity creating excessive noise and air pollution both night and day as a result of the Smart Path Trials. There is an endless onslaught of low flying aircraft which has serious impacts on the health and wellbeing of those on the ground close to airports and flight paths. Recently a noise monitor was installed in Wattle Downs. The report over the Winter months indicated that of the average 57 flights per day excessive noise events occurred in 20 flights each day. This is set to increase over summer. We strongly believe that the Airport Authority has conducted unfair and unjust practices towards the residents of Wattle Downs in particular and South Auckland in general over the Smart Path Trials which were conducted over a two year period without notification to those affected. The Southern Flight path and the two Northern Paths use satellite technology which condenses traffic in and out of airports over concentrated areas. The Trials were conducted differently and had discriminatory results. The two northern flight paths were monitored for noise prior to, during and following the trials ● The number of flights were limited, 5 flights to 10 flights per day ● There was a ban on flights during 10pm at night and 7am in the morning ● The communities had press coverage, consultation and a review process ● The negative feedback from residents resulted in the proposed number of flights, (30 per day) being cancelled and landing procedures amended to mitigate noise complaints. ● Total flights for both flight paths for the trial period was 1704 The southern flight path had no noise monitoring prior to during or after the trials, and ● There was no limit on the number of flights over the south ● There was no night time bans on flights, flights being permitted 24 hours a day ● There was no public awareness about these trials and noise complaints dismissed ● There was no consultation process with residents and thus no reviews of the trials ● Total number of flights over trial period: 10,118 The following actions are required: 1. Investigate the process that Auckland Airport Authority followed in allocating flight paths to and from Auckland Airports 2. Justly distribute aircraft noise and air pollution over the entire Auckland area 3. Ban ALL night time flights over residential areas not just those from affluent Auckland areas 4. Implement ALL known noise mitigation tools and strategies to alleviate unbearable noise and air pollution burdens 5. Review all procedures including redress for affected communities 6. Ensure that strong protections for communities and citizens near airports are built into Parliamentary Bills 7. Require that the Aviation Authorities inform and enter into dialogue with any potentially impacted communities of any changes in flight paths or procedures that would impact them. 8. Set up a Health and Medical committee to collate all available scientific information on this public health issue and report it's findings 9. Reassign the responsibility for environmental impact and monitoring and enforcement of acceptable noise and air quality levels to the New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency rather than the New Zealand Aviation Administration which has an inherent conflict of interest https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/69290065/aircraft-noise-a-headache-for-residents https://corporate.aucklandairport.co.nz ANCCG https://corporate.aucklandairport.co.nz/corporate-responsibility/managing-aircraft-noise/being-a-good-neighbour/aircraft-noise-community-consultative-group
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  • An Open Letter- Awhi to our Hana Koko, our Māori Santa
    Our Nelson Santa Parade this year was unique, in that for the first time, the Māori interpretation of Santa Claus was given centre stage. Not as an afterthought, not as a token, not half the stage, but centre stage. The intention behind this letter is to counteract the hurtful voices that emerged with an outpouring of overwhelming awhi, aroha, and deep appreciation. The intention is to tautoko the delight that was felt by many. We seek to express the heartfelt cheer we feel for our Hana Koko, our parade organisers and for our tangata whenua. Through partnership we desire to honour, celebrate and nurture the Māori culture, and the world it opens us to. It is a culture that is rich, layered and profoundly valuable. A culture that teaches much, that has many a beautiful lesson to offer, a beautiful story to tell. It is a culture that has been relegated to the backstage, included as an addition, an extra, a token, for far, far too long. We seek to tautoko the need to push biculturalism further. To be bold. To affirm the courage that tangata whenua have always shown, as you did Mātua Rob, to stand up with openness and pride, without being afraid of being hurt in response. It's time to shed light on those spaces that still remain in shadow, and we are here with you, doing this together, behind you all the way. We seek to support Te Ao Māori with a constant empathy and a willingness to learn and challenge our pre-conditions, for those of us who still need to grow. We, whose names are signed here, are Māori, Pākeha, and a million things in between. Many of us know what it is to stand up and be shot down. We want it to be known that we are happy with our Hana Koko. That many of us have been waiting for Hana Koko. That we hope to see much more of our tangata whenua taking central stage and letting their voice be heard. But more than heard; listened to. 🎄 If this letter resonates, please sign your name to show your awhi/support for our Hana Koko and our organisers, and more broadly, our aroha for Te Ao Māori. 🎄 Many people have stated that the response was simply a question of being genuinely surprised or disappointed that what they expected, what they were used to, what was advertised, was not what was presented. People have expressed that things were simply not well communicated. Or that they love biculturalism, but that there should have been warning, that there should have been two Santas. I wonder if people would have felt the same level of surprise, or disappointment, if they had received a real, tangible and significant dose of Te Ao Māori in their lives, if their children had been taught, and shown that Te Ao Māori makes up a primary and essential part of the culture of their country. I wonder if Māori culture hadn’t been stamped out so efficiently, so enormously, if people would be experiencing the same level of cultural dissonance right now. We must ask ourselves why, in a country where there are three official languages, where it is acknowledged that Pākeha are not the founders of this country, that a Christmas parade cannot feature a ‘Santa’ that is Māori, wearing Māori clothing, without people recoiling, or experiencing genuine surprise. Why is it, that we claim that we support a bicultural society, yet we expect the dominant majority of events, traditions, resources, supports and initiatives to be Pākeha and to support the Pākeha objective? Even with an entire city built on Pākeha principles, an entire parade that is Pākeha, dominated by Pākeha values systems, even with reindeer and sleighs, bells and mistletoe, people claim that with our Hana Koko, it wasn’t bicultural, and we were missing the white Santa. It would have been bicultural with two Santas, some people say. Or even a Māori man in a white Santa’s suit. A Hana Koko inside a waka could have been displayed: it seems this is okay as long as it is not at the cost of Pākeha culture, expectations, values, and norms. We who have signed our names find this to be insufficient as an accepted status quo. We do not seek to attack these views, just question them, and gently invite some fresh perception, and respectful discussion. We raise the issue of the current societal conditions that have resulted in these lines of thought. It is time to cede, that as long as we claim to be bicultural, that we can expect these (particularly major, community funded, council supported) events to be a mixture of both native and Pākeha culture. This should come at no shock. We should expect Māoridom at every corner, in every store, in every exchange of service. We should not expect Māoridom to feature as an aside, but should be prepared for a Māori person, Māori words, Māori garments, Māori waiata, at any time, in any role, in any situation. And so should our children. This is true biculturalism. We should be normalising Māori culture, a blending of cultural themes and ideas, at every turn. Not just the ones we selectively pick. Imagine how the Māori children in the audience must have felt. For possibly the first time, in an everyday, traditionally white occasion, the headliner looked like them, was representative of them. Possibly for the first time, they were the star of a show that wasn’t a marginalised event, relegated as a separate show, with the specific purpose of being a ‘cultural’ event. There is, of course, deep value in holding space and ceremony for traditions that are solely Māori, but surely it is time that some of us shuffled over and opened the space further.
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  • Bring Back our Bus
    People at Te Korowai Whariki (Mental Health Rehab Service) are trying to get back their independence and need a bus to get into town to do shopping and visit the library. A few months ago our bus service into the centre was cancelled and people no longer had easy access to the Porirua shopping area and all the other resources that others take for granted. Most patients on the ward don't have a car. People who are wanting to bring their grocery shopping back to the unit now have to walk. It takes about 30 minutes without groceries. WITH groceries it is near impossible. "I used to be able to get my groceries no problem... but now I no longer can and am forced to get a taxi or catch a ride with somebody." "We are struggling to rehabilitate and this only adds another barrier to this." Also, people working for the service no longer have the option of catching a bus. "I'd much rather catch public transport than use a car, now I no longer have that option." Once this petition is resolved we can then begin to think about a campaign to change this frustrating new bus system in the wider Wellington region.
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  • Protect Timaru's Penguins — Improve Road Safety Along Marine Parade
    Last night (08/12/28) a little penguin (kororā) was hit and killed by a car on Marine Parade in Timaru. The incident happened in front of 90 tourists and locals (including children) who had come to watch the penguins come ashore. The bird was of breeding age and its mate was seen calling for over an hour after it was killed. It is not known whether the pair had eggs or chicks on the nest, however, this is likely to be the case at is currently breeding season for kororā. Forest & Bird South Canterbury is calling on Timaru District Council to use this tragedy as an opportunity to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/hr, install judder bars or road islands, and consider closing the road to non-port-related traffic after dark. The current speed limit is 50 km/hr but our members have witnessed people driving at excess speeds along Marine Parade again and again. We often take down the registration numbers of vehicles that we see speeding and report them to local police, yet people continue to speed past — sometimes at up to 100 km/hr. We are exceptionally lucky to have this breeding colony of endangered penguins (kororā) so close to our town centre. After a short drive or walk, we can watch them come ashore — undeterred by traffic and noise from the port just metres away. The penguins are an increasingly important part of our local economy. Last year, they attracted up to 100 visitors every night, with some people visiting specifically to see them. This is a safety risk. Not just to the kororā, but also to the people who stand along Marine Parade to watch them come ashore. The Timaru District Council must keep visitors and penguins safe from dangerous driving by reducing the speed limit to 30 km/hr, installing judder bars or road islands, and considering the closure of the road to non-port-related traffic after dark. We would also like to see local police targeting speeding drivers with regular patrols in the area.
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  • Safe parking for the staff of Middlemore Hospital
    The cars of Middlemore Hospital staff are frequently broken into, causing distress and unexpected costs for the staff. This happens in the staff parking lots which are too easily accessible for people from outside the hospital. Windows are smashed, things are stolen, steering wheels are broken, ignitions damaged. The fact that this mostly happens at night is very stressful for the staff who finish a shift at midnight and then often cannot drive themselves home because their cars have been damaged. There is also not enough parking for all the staff at the hospital.
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  • No more plastic fruit or vegetable stickers for NZ produce
    Removing plastic labels is publicly supported. As at 24 November 2018 86% of Stuff readers think plastic stickers on fruit should go.^^ Just two NZ produced fruit alone in 2016 resulted in an estimated 3.98 billion plastic labels.*** Plastic stickers also cause issues at compost facilities.^^^ This is unnecessary personal hassle for consumers and unnecessary use of plastic and environmental pollution. * https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10352393 ^ e.g. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jan/16/ms-and-swedish-supermarkets-ditch-sticky-labels-for-natural-branding ** http://www.hortnz.co.nz/news-events-and-media/media-releases/new-zealanders-want-country-of-origin-labelling-on-fruit-and-veges/ *** In 2016 124m trays of Zespri kiwifruit were produced and 350,000 tonnes of apples. http://www.freshfacts.co.nz/files/freshfacts-2016.pdf ^^ https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/105890179/Fruit-stickers-are-overused-say-the-creators ^^^ https://modernfarmer.com/2018/03/little-produce-stickers-are-big-waste-problem/
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  • Double investment in drug treatment in this year’s budget
    By mid-December the Government will have made some important decisions about next year’s Budget. First in their minds should be a focus on improving the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders - especially those who are most vulnerable. Unfortunately, by the time the Government makes their budget decisions there’s also a good chance more people will have tragically died from the use of synthetic cannabinoids. There have been 50 deaths at least over the past 18 months, and there is no chance this public health crisis will fix itself. Continuing to punish people who use drugs will only make things worse. We have a plan to turn things around. If the government makes the right funding decisions now, and follows this up by legislating for a health-based approach to drug use, we can save lives. Investing in health and treatment also makes economic sense. An economic report released in October, "Estimating the Impact of Drug Policy Options", found that if we invest $150million extra in drug-related harm reduction and treatment programmes, this would return a social benefit for New Zealand of at least $225million. Sign the petition to ask the Prime Minister to ensure that next year’s Budget reflects just how urgent this crisis is. Let’s ensure that everyone can access help when and where they need it. This petition is supported by JustSpeak, ActionStation, the New Zealand Drug Foundation, Hāpai Te Hauora, the Needle Exchange and Te Rau Matatini. We’ll be doing more work together to ensure the government treats drug use as a health and not a criminal issue in the lead up to election 2020.
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  • Put children and whānau wellbeing at the heart of welfare
    No one in Aotearoa New Zealand should be forced to live in poverty. In good times and in hard times, we should all have the dignity and security of a roof over our head, healthy kai on the table and the essential things we need. A stable whare (house) is the foundation for a good life. None of us can go about our lives, raise a family, go to work or stay healthy without a warm, dry and safe place to call home. But right now, due to the way in which successive governments have run down the welfare system, and taken a hands-off approach to the housing market, New Zealand’s homes are some of the least affordable in the industrial world. Families are having to choose between rent and food. When people lose their job, get sick or end a relationship and then can’t keep a roof over their heads, we are seeing the failures of an unkind, unjust and unbalanced economic system. When corporations are taking in record profits, but there hasn’t been a real increase in income support for a generation, and more and more people can’t make ends meet, our society is out of balance. These statistics should both astound and compel us into action: - The wealthiest 20 percent of people in New Zealand hoard 70 percent of the wealth, while the poorest 40 percent have just three percent. - Two New Zealand billionaires have more combined wealth than the poorest 30 percent of people in this country. - Over 50 percent of all people in New Zealand who receive an Accommodation Supplement to pay for their housing needs are spending more than half their incomes on housing, while four out of every five renters cannot afford to pay their rent comfortably. - The median Pākehā has $114,000 of wealth. The median Māori has $23,000. That’s a gap of $91,000. The median Pasifika person has even less at $12,000. - Between 2004 and 2010 the wealth of the richest one percent - about 34,000 people - increased from $94billion to $147billion; that’s $4,323,529 per person. Meanwhile the poorest 10 percent of people saw their net debt increase from $5.7billion to $7.4billion. CEO pay is increasing at almost five times the rate of the average worker. - 27 percent of New Zealand’s children live in poverty, where poverty is defined as having less than 60 percent of the national median household income (after housing costs), while six percent (70,000) of all children live in severe hardship. - There are now at least 41,000 homeless New Zealanders, more than half of whom are younger than 25. There is too much wealth in too few hands while everyday New Zealanders struggle to make ends meet and the cost of living continues to soar. We need government intervention to end the poverty trap and rebalance our economy. We need government intervention to ensure that everyone one in this country has enough pūtea (income) to live with dignity and participate fully in the community. If we are to fulfil the Coalition Government’s goal for Aotearoa to be the best place in the world to be a child, then all parents, whānau and caregivers must have a liveable income. A hands-on government can fix our broken economic system. A hands-on government can change the rules to make our economy fair, kind and just. A competent and caring government can ensure that every child and whānau flourishes. Read more: www.welfareforwellbeing.org
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  • Right to Vote for All
    We believe that in a fair and democratic society all members should have the right to vote, and people living in prisons are part of our society. They are valued members of communities and families. To take away their right to vote is an unfair disenfranchisement We all expect that people in prison have the opportunity to heal and learn so they can contribute to a thriving society when they return to their communities. By not allowing people to vote while in prison, we are removing their ability to invest in and contribute to society and our democratic process. It's cruel and counter-productive. When Parliament changed the law in 2010 they used voting rights as a form of punishment, and this breaches the Bill of Rights. As New Zealanders we seek fairness and community. If we reinstate voting rights for people serving time in prison, it means that come next election time, thousands more people would be able to participate in our democracy, and put their ballot in the box as an investment in their - and our - futures. We believe a thriving society requires the voices of all it's people in order to make decisions that elevate everyone. By including everyone's voices we can have a truly representative democracy.
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  • Open letter to Waikato Regional Council to pay contractors a living wage
    A Living Wage is the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. The Living Wage enables workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society. Research has found a Living Wage enables employees to be able to spend more time with their families, feel valued, be less stressed and consequently happier and more motivated in their workplaces. Furthermore, treatment of employees is integral to business success. A report undertaken in the UK found implementation of a living wage decreases staff turnover and increases productivity. Reference: Brown, Newman & Blair, (2014) "The Difference a Living Wage makes" Paper to the Population Health Congress
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