• Upsize the celebration of te Reo with Mahuru Māori
    Te Reo Māori - the Māori language forms a part of our unique identity and culture in Aotearoa New Zealand. It is one of the official languages of our country and as English is spoken every day, everywhere by everyone so should te reo Māori (with sign). A strategy to enable its growth was to have a concentrated period to celebrate and promote te reo māori, that is Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori - Māori language week and has been the case since 1975. Almost 50 years has passed and it's time to uplift the concentrated celebration and positive promotion of our Reo Māori - Māori language to further enable its growth to thrive and flourish, and its development as a language of value for all Aotearoa New Zealanders. It is what makes us uniquely different in the world. Making the official celebration for the month of Mahuru ( September) called Mahuru Māori will really boost the promise of a vibrant future for te reo Māori.
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  • Protect families struggling with power prices
    Electricity is an essential service, necessary for health and wellbeing. Most of us rely on it to stay warm, cook dinner, do our homework and keep the lights on. But lack of action from the regulator - the Electricity Authority, who sets the rules for electricity retailers - is causing unfair hardship. *** Disconnection and reconnection fees are adding debt to whānau already suffering. *** Prepay electricity is more expensive, even though many people who use prepay are doing so because they struggle to pay their bills and have no other option. *** The Consumer Care Guidelines, which are meant to protect vulnerable people, remain voluntary and retailers can ignore them. The Electricity Authority needs to protect people, especially the most vulnerable, by setting better rules for retailers. In 2022, electricity retailers disconnected at least 8,500 households on standard plans where people could not afford to pay their bills. (1) Retailers were then allowed to charge these households “disconnection fees” and “reconnection fees”, which can total over $200, pushing people further into debt. The majority of households who are disconnected then end up with no choice but to use prepay plans, on which overall costs are on average 13% higher than standard plans (2). These prepay users - some 30,000 households - are paying a premium for being poor. Consumer NZ estimates that each night, as many as 50 households on pre-pay are sitting without electricity because they can’t afford to top up (3). Official data about these prepay disconnections is not even recorded. The good news is that the Electricity Authority has the power to intervene. In December 2022, Parliament gave them an explicit objective to ‘protect the interests of domestic… consumers’ (ie households). No group deserves this protection more than the most vulnerable households. It is time for the Electricity Authority to use this power. We’re calling on them to: ***Protect consumers who are already struggling, by banning fees for disconnection/reconnection in cases of unpaid bills. ***End the ‘penalty for prepay’ by requiring retailers to publish prepay disconnection data and to ensure that prepay costs are no higher than their cheapest post-pay plan. ***Protect all consumers by making the full set of Consumer Care Guidelines mandatory, monitoring compliance and introducing penalties when retailers don’t follow the rules. This petition is organised by Common Grace Aotearoa in collaboration with Anglican Advocacy, the Salvation Army, FinCap, Community Law Centres o Aotearoa, Child Poverty Action Group, Consumer NZ, He Kāinga Oranga Housing and Health Research Group (University of Otago Wellington), Citizens Advice Bureau, Toast Electric, Sustainability Trust, NZ Council of Christian Social Services, Presbyterian Support, Family Works New Zealand, The Bishop's Action Foundation and United Community Action Network. We will deliver the petition to the Electricity Authority Board in late 2023. Learn more, and get involved, at everyoneconnectednz.com. (1)Data received under the Official Information Act from the Electricity Authority. www.ea.govt.nz/documents/3370/9_June_2023.pdf (2,3)Consumer NZ analysis in June 2023. www.consumer.org.nz/articles/prepay-customers-paying-much-more-for-power Photo sourced from iStock.
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  • Homes for People, Not for Profit
    All people should have a secure and healthy home to live in. A place to come back to, for quiet and rest, a place to experience joy with friends and family, a place to feel grounded in community. But people in government having a hands off approach to the economy means it is geared towards protecting private profit – treating houses as commodities, rather than homes for living. Housing affects every part of our lives. The stress of hyper-short tenancies, week-to-week emergency housing grants, and the looming threat of rental increases pricing people out of their communities has a major impact on people’s wellbeing and working lives. Public housing can provide stable and safe homes for people, yet successive governments have neglected the state housing programme, choosing to privatise and commodify houses instead of ensuring everyone has a home. [1] Real estate magnates are extracting profits while everyday people are being locked out of homes. We need a bold plan out of this crisis, not piecemeal change and band aid solutions. An ambitious and significant public housing programme is a proven way of truly addressing the issue of housing. In Aotearoa, this must happen alongside a Te Tiriti based housing system where Māori have tino rangatiratanga over housing. Government neglect of public housing impacts everyone. Forty years ago, it was possible for a family to buy a home because household income was equal to the average house price in Aotearoa. Today, families need eight times their household income to buy a house.[2] If the government takes action to prioritise public housing, it can create the conditions where housing will be more affordable for everyone. 1 in 4 renters spend 40 percent or more of their income just on rent. [3] Health care workers and teachers are being priced out of their communities. [4] If we had more public homes available to more people in more areas of Aotearoa it increases people's opportunities to lead thriving lives - teachers can walk to their local schools to educate your kids, and health care workers to our hospitals to care for your loved ones. By the government’s own criteria we have nearly 30,000 people and families waiting for homes right now. [5] But if we consider all the people and families living in unaffordable, uninhabitable and insecure housing who don’t meet the government’s criteria – the need for a build and buy programme able to house everyone becomes abundantly clear. We know from research there are 105,747 people struggling with some form of homelessness or housing deprivation.[6] There are also 346,998 people who are reliant on Accommodation Supplements because they cannot afford homes. This starts to paint a picture of a ‘true waitlist’ that could really benefit from more good quality, affordable public homes. Right now, the government spends millions of dollars a week on the accommodation supplement, and emergency housing. These mechanisms are ways the government subsidise the profits of private landlords and moteliers who can charge exorbitant prices and raise this at will. Instead of doing this, the government can choose to prioritise building and buying public homes, rather than propping up property magnates and corporate profits. Aotearoa New Zealand is falling behind when it comes to public housing, making up just 3.8% of all homes, far behind the UK at 17%; and Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands all above 20%. [8] Countries with higher public housing and more generous eligibility criteria have better housing outcomes for people and families. Public housing is infrastructure for care, connection, cohesion and contribution. We need the Government to look after all of our long-term wellbeing by building and buying more public homes to house everyone. Public Housing Futures (PHF) is a group made up of Aotearoa based researchers and organisers who believe that everyone in Aotearoa should have access to beautiful, accessible, sustainable and secure housing, and that public housing is a pathway towards this. ActionStation has teamed up with Public Housing Futures to work on this campaign. 1. Kāinga Kore: The Stage One Report of the Housing Policy and Services Kaupapa Inquiry on Māori Homelessness. Waitangi Tribunal - WAI 2750, 2023 https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/WT/wt_DOC_197630281/Kainga%20Kore%20W.pdf 2. Generation Rent: Rethinking New Zealand’s Priorities. Eaqub and Eaqub, 2015; New Zealand house prices drop again but still out of reach for first-time buyers. Guardian, 10 May https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/10/new-zealand-house-prices-drop-again-but-still-out-of-reach-for-first-time-buyers 3. Housing affordability more challenging for renters than homeowners. Stats NZ, accessed Jul 2023 https://www.stats.govt.nz/news/housing-affordability-more-challenging-for-renters-than-homeowners/#:~:text=In%20the%20year%20ended%20June,released%20by%20Stats%20NZ%20today 4. Housing costs driving teachers, aged care nurses away from cities that need them. Stuff, Aug 2021 https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/126061577/housing-costs-driving-teachers-aged-care-nurses-away-from-cities-that-need-them Public Housing Quarterly report. HUD, March 2023 https://www.hud.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/Public-Housing/HQR-Mar23-web-V2.pdf 5. Public Housing Quarterly report. HUD, March 2023 https://www.hud.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/Public-Housing/HQR-Mar23-web-V2.pdf 6. Severe housing deprivation in Aotearoa New Zealand. Amore et al., 2018 (updated Jun 2021) ​​https://www.hud.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/Severe-Housing-Deprivation-2018-Estimate-Report.pdf 7. Over 100,000 people are in severe housing deprivation and struggling to access a home. Human Rights Commission, accessed July 2023 https://housing.hrc.co.nz/over_100_000_people_in_severe_housing_deprivation_and_struggling_to_access_a_home#:~:text=A%202022%20OECD%20report%20found,OECD%20average%20of%207%20percent
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  • Oppose AUKUS: For an independent, demilitarised and nuclear-free Pacific
    AUKUS is an aggressive military pact. Security in New Zealand and the Pacific can only be ensured by centring sustainable development, Indigenous rights, and environmental protection. AUKUS makes the world more dangerous. New Zealand participation in AUKUS would deepen geopolitical tensions in the Pacific, and threaten Pacific nations’ long held policy of “friends to all and enemies to none”. AUKUS impedes climate action. Climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of all peoples of the Pacific. The threat of climate change requires international diplomacy and cooperation, not militarism. AUKUS threatens our nuclear free legacy. Aotearoa New Zealand has a proud history of anti-nuclearism and solidarity with the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific movement. AUKUS is not based on public consultation. It accelerates climate injustice, violates our treaties and regional commitments, and erodes regional decolonisation efforts. We urge the New Zealand government to reject any role in the AUKUS military pact and condemn the use of nuclear weapons and non-peaceful nuclear technologies in the Pacific. We urge the New Zealand government to recommit to an Independent and Pacific-led foreign policy, in accordance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, our regional obligations, and our national identity. This petition is led by Te Kuaka. More information on MATIKA HAWAIKI campaign events can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/matikahawaiki More information on AUKUS can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fz3DaAXmcll7U-C6Fd063VVq-C37sLgzNPlXFdghl1k/edit
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  • Rule out Residences: Let's do better for our kids
    Time and time again, we have reports that tell us Oranga Tamariki residences are not fit-for-purpose and are not meeting the therapeutic needs of children under their care. Many organisations and individuals have raised concerns about Oranga Tamariki residential care. Still, the urgency of these concerns continues to go unaddressed. This is not just a question of which government department is in charge. It is time these facilities are replaced with a new, more effective system that is fundamentally redesigned to centre the complex needs of the children and young people in their care. Our current system is causing more harm to communities by failing to address the underlying issues that lead to children and young people requiring residential care. Punitive “Tough in crime” approaches to youth crime are holding our country back. We need to build paths that lead young people to better outcomes and address reasons for reoffending by understanding and overcoming issues in a young person's life. It is time these facilities are replaced with a new, more effective system. New Zealand needs a system in which young people who require care or have offended are being met with rehabilitation and therapeutic methods. We need resources and pathways that help prevent offendings, such as mental health support, educational support and addiction services. Our communities deserve to have preventative services to ensure we solve the underlying issues that are causing harm. We want to see whānau and community focused solutions making them less reliant on state care. Having the current workforce trained and upskilled in therapeutic and trauma informed practices will help them support the communities in need better. We also ask for transparency and accountability from those on top so that when things go wrong policies are set in place that allows for real change to happen We all want to see our youth thriving and right now they need our support because the current system is failing them. We ask the Government to do better for the next generation and create new community focused rehabilitation services. References and further reading: 1. Report: How we fail children who offend and what to do about it: ‘A breakdown across the whole system’: https://www.borrinfoundation.nz/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Children-Who-Offend-Final-research-report-March2022.pdf 2. Ko Te Wā Whakawhiti, It’s Time for Change - A Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki https://whanauora.nz/publications/ko-te-wa-whakawhiti 3. Young Adults in the Criminal Justice System in Aotearoa New Zealand Young-Adults-in-the-Criminal-Justice-System-in-Aotearoa-NZ-report.pdf (borrinfoundation.nz) 4. John Campbell on OT youth justice: 'Most of us will never meet kids this broken' https://www.1news.co.nz/2023/07/05/john-campbell-on-ot-youth-justice-most-of-us-will-never-meet-kids-this-broken/
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  • Keep Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre open
    Where a gap once existed, this state of the art centre has served many whānau, aiga & families. Over 860 babies have been born there. Thousands of women have experienced vital support via labour cares, antenatal clinics, lactation consultant appointments, contraception and birth education/hapū wānanga. 75% of women birthing at Nga Hau Māngere identify as Māori and/or Pasifika. Research has shown that in the first 2000 days Māori and/or Pasifika have preventable, inequitable experiences. Pregnant Māori and/or Pasifika have the highest death rates and are less likely to receive specialist care. Nga Hau Māngere is an already 'up–and–running' solution aligning with new health reforms under Te Whatu Ora's Te Pae Tata (2022). "Kahu Taurima | Maternity and early years" is 1 of the 5 priority actions this government plan (under priority action 1 ‘place whānau at the heart of the system to improve equity and outcomes’). The local community have spoken of how important the centre is: "Māmā in South Auckland deserve the best care while they are pregnant. Speaking from experience Nga Hau Birthing Centre was exactly that for me. They were amazing from the beginning until the end... I truly believe that if I had been with Nga Hau for my first pregnancy it would not have been so traumatic." "Our experience at Nga Hau truly set (us) up for success when we took our baby home. We were as rested as we could be and I was given all the help they had to offer to start our breastfeeding journey... I’ve always had such a sense of calm and a strong feeling of safety when walking through those doors. Mothers deserve to birth at Nga Hau and Mangere/South Auckland deserves to have this incredible facility in our backyard." "All in all a 10/10 experience for me... I pray to God that this place stays so that midwives are able to birth more of mine and other ladies' babies!" Nga Hau Māngere provides an essential service to the community and the Government needs to ensure funding is provided so it can remain open.
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  • Open Letter: Progress modern slavery legislation before the election
    New Zealanders pride themselves on treating others with dignity, respect and kindness—and this should extend to the people who grow our food, sew our clothes and mine the metals for our phones. Yet, we know that New Zealand is importing billions of dollars of goods at high risk of being made by people forced into slavery and businesses are taking little action to address these risks in their supply chains¹. This is because New Zealand has no law requiring companies to know who makes their products or to ensure they are not using slavery. This disregard for the lives of others is not the New Zealand way. Last year, your government shared a plan to change this. Your then Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Michael Wood, said he expected to introduce a modern slavery bill to Parliament in this current term. It’s now been months, and we’ve seen no action. Prime Minister Hipkins, you said that this matter was a priority for your government and that decisions would be announced soon, but we are still waiting. And while we wait, men, women and children are trapped in slavery making our products. There’s been too much progress to let this legislation fail at the eleventh hour. An open letter from the business community; a 37,000-strong public petition; Modern Slavery Leadership Advisory Group meetings; and a public consultation process demonstrated overwhelming support for the legislation. But your government has failed to deliver. There is a proposal for law ready-to-go that is fit for purpose, well-prepared, and has widespread support from businesses and Kiwis. We’ve heard loud and clear that New Zealanders want legislative action on modern slavery. There’s no time to waste. Introduce the bill to address modern slavery to the House before the election. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpcDxIH3CrQ ¹ World Vision New Zealand (2023), Risky Business report.
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  • Make tertiary education accessible: study wage for all
    1. Learning is an inherently valuable contribution to society. To genuinely acknowledge education as a public good, we must value not only our educators, but also the students. 2. The current means-testing of the student allowance scheme exacerbates student poverty and is too flawed to truly ensure equity and fairness to marginalised groups. 3. We want to stop the downward trend of students dropping out because they can’t afford to keep studying. We need more students, including those who otherwise could not afford to study, in tertiary education so we have citizens prepared for an increasingly complex world. 4. Tertiary education is not just an investment into the individual, but to their whānau, community and Aotearoa. 5. Pre-1990, Aotearoa had relatively universal student allowances, and free tuition. Overseas, since 1996, Denmark has provided a universal student allowance too (which was 860 euros per month in 2022). Our own history and Denmark prove that a Study Wage for All is entirely possible. Normalised student poverty is not inevitable, it is a political choice. There are no more excuses to keep putting student poverty on the back burner. Barrier-free education is a public good that benefits our collective future. A Study Wage for All is critical to achieving this. Reference: * Calculations for a Universal Student Allowance prepared by the Parliamentary Library using HYEFU 2022 (at p148), the Ministry of Social Development’s Monthly Benefits Update – March 2023, current minimum wage rates, and StudyLink Statistics (2022).
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  • #CareNotCagesNZ: Transform our justice system - implement the recommendations of Turuki! Turuki!
    Everyone in Aotearoa deserves a justice system, which addresses the root causes of crime, holds people who have caused harm to account, and helps to heal people who have been harmed. We know that children and young people from communities with high unemployment, low school achievement and a lack of other resources are more likely to be swept into our justice system and end up in prison. Too much of our justice system targets people who have grown up in poverty and under-resourcing. The result is a justice system that creates injustices, by discriminating against people based on how they grew up, their income, or what they look like. This system is so ineffective that it is hurting all of us: victims, whānau, communities and the people who commit crime. It especially hurts Māori. The Police are more likely to arrest Māori than Pākeha for the same minor crimes. While more Pākeha are charged with violent crimes, dishonesty, property and traffic crimes, more Māori are convicted of these crimes. The Government needs to build paths out of the maze of our justice system. These paths have already been proposed in the Turuki! Turuki! report. The report reiterates and builds on decades of research into the criminal justice system that have repeatedly demonstrated that the system fails survivors, those who have caused harm and Māori. This research has been largely ignored by successive governments. The Government has not yet implemented the 12 recommendations put forward by Turuki! Turuki!. Instead of providing these clear pathways out of the maze, the Government has largely continued with the same, failed tough on crime policies. All these tough on crime policies are a dead end. They've been repeatedly tried in Aotearoa and have either failed outright or created more damaging outcomes. It is time to consign tough on crime policies to the dustbin of history. We need a responsible approach to justice, using proven alternatives. We need a system that prioritises restoration, habilitation, transformation, prevention, rehabilitation, healing and honouring Te Tiriti. We call on the New Zealand Government, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Police and the Minister of Corrections to take immediate steps to implement all 12 recommendations made by Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora - The Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group's Turuki! Turuki! report in 2019. Further resources: 1. Turuki! Turuki! report: https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/turuki-turuki.pdf 2. He Waka Roimata report: https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/he-waka-roimata.pdf 3. Ināia Tonu Nei report: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/60d12cb5a665b46504ad8b32/t/60fe31b1735d6f7990bf3f5a/1627271661386/d8s653-Inaia-Tonu-Nei-Hui-Maori-English-version.pdf
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  • Bring in the big changes that Aotearoa needs right now!
    Why? Aotearoa is at a tipping point. Glaring inequalities, people struggling to pay bills and find secure housing. Whenua and awa polluted, forests, seas and wildlife struggling and no real action on climate. A festering legacy of colonial injustice. A country drifting towards entanglement in overseas wars instead of tackling these crises at home. But all round the motu people are working to create a different future, one where we care for one another and Te Taiao. We are creating a new world within the shell of the old. Support their mahi. Add these demands to your party’s 2023 election platform: The changes we need (NB this list is not exhaustive! 1) Commit to constitutional transformation and doing democracy better Immediately start the process for the national conversations that Matike Mai recommended in 2016 Trial Te Tiriti-based Citizens’ Assemblies to deal with key questions affecting all of us 2) End poverty, disparity and income insecurity Expand universal basic services - starting with: Free dental care Free public transport Free early childhood education Immediately implement all the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group End the ethnic and gender pay gap - support the recommendations of the Human Rights Commission 3) Solve the housing crisis Rent control A comprehensive capital gains tax Higher rates/tax on empty houses Adequate funding for a state house building programme and for iwi and community housing 4) Tax the richest to ensure income security for everyone Wealth tax, capital gains tax, financial transactions tax, remove GST 5) Real environmental action Immediately support farmers transitioning to restorative farming focused on food security and reducing cattle herds, and phase out artificial fertilisers and imported stock food End coal, oil, and gas extraction and prospecting on land and sea by 2027, and reduce fossil fuel use by at least 20% per year from 2024 without offsets or expanding biofuels Ban all seabed mining and bottom trawling 6) Jobs that support everybody’s welfare, not endless growth in corporate profits, starting with - A four-day working week with no loss of pay A Ministry of Green Works creating jobs, homes and infrastructure that will prepare Aotearoa for a low emissions future 7) Justice reforms as recommended by the Safe & Effective Justice Advisory Group 8) Oppose militarisation of the Pacific An Aotearoa with a non-militarised foreign policy in alliance with other nations working to create a strong global voice for peace and climate action, especially the nations of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa Sign the petition! Spread the word! What else you can do - You are invited to the Tapatahi Launch event on Sunday 25 June. This will be a hybrid online and in person event with hubs in Tāmaki Makaurau, Pōneke and Ōtautahi, where we’ll have activities and a panel of speakers. Learn more at www.tapatahi.nz Political parties – include these changes in your policies and election platform this year NGOs, unions, schools, workplaces - join Tapatahi - Coalition for a People’s Aotearoa and let’s share our campaigns, resources, experience and skills. We are stronger together. Individuals, whānau, friendship groups – use Tapatahi for inspiration and connection. We’re spreading and connecting, like the hidden mycelium linking the roots of the trees in the forest! Tapatahi - Coalition for a People’s Aotearoa This petition has been created by Tapatahi - Coalition for a People’s Aotearoa, an alliance of groups working in many different ways for transformational change in how we live with one another and Te Taiao. We want to help build a strong network of groups supporting one another’s campaigns and mahi. We are stronger together in our diversity. Support the organisations and campaigns behind these demands: Many of these demands have been drawn from recommendations and reports and campaigns by a variety of groups focused on specific issues. We tautoko their work, some of which can be found below. Matike Mai Report: https://nwo.org.nz/resources/report-of-matike-mai-aotearoa-the-independent-working-group-on-constitutional-transformation/ Welfare Advisory Group Report: www.weag.govt.nz/weag-report/ Fares Free Coalition: https://freefares.nz/ NZCTU Discussion Document: https://www.buildingabetterfuture.org.nz/ (4-day working week, Ministry of Green Works, free early childhood education) Wellbeing Economy Alliance https://weall.org/hub/newzealand and Degrowth Aotearoa NZ https://www.degrowth.nz/ on economic transformation Human Right Commission pay gap recommendations: https://76v71b.p3cdn1.secureserver.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Pacific-Pay-Gap-Inquiry-Executive-Summary.pdf Ecu Action tax proposal: https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2206/S00076/ecuaction-proposal-for-a-fairer-tax-system.htm Renters United recommendations: https://rentersunited.org.nz/plan/ Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group: https://natlib.govt.nz/records/42614970?=items Dental for All (unions and health workers): petition Https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/make-dental-care-free-for-all-nz Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigns on farming and bottom trawling https://www.greenpeace.org/aotearoa/campaign/regenerative-farming-revolution/ Kiwis Against Seabed Mining https://www.kasm.org.nz/ Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s campaigns on emission reduction: https://coalaction.org.nz/ Peace Movement Aotearoa network http://www.apc.org.nz/pma/
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  • For the People: Tax Corporate Profits
    No matter who we are, where we live, or what we do, everyone should have the resources they need to build the lives they want for themselves and their families. To do this, we need strong public services that look after our basic needs. This looks like well-staffed hospitals that can provide medical care to our whānau when we need it. It looks like teachers who feel valued so they contribute to thriving schools, kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa and early childcare where our children can receive a quality education. It looks like more public housing that can offer a stable roof over our heads. It sounds like buses showing up on time that are free and accessible. It looks like preparing for climate change so that our natural world is restored and communities can withstand and recover from severe weather events. But right now, large corporations are extracting profits that are throwing our society out of balance. Many of us are feeling the stress of high costs and prices which forces us to make huge sacrifices every day. While workers miss important family events in order to work longer hours, and people are forced into debt to cover essentials such as food and petrol, corporate profits have increased by 39% to $72 billion in the most recent year. According to the data available, this is the largest increase we have ever seen. In just one example, the major supermarkets were making around a million dollars a day in excess profits, while most people are struggling to make ends meet to put kai on the table. The price increases people are experiencing aren’t random: they are corporate decisions, and right now no one is reining them in. The story of corporate greed is not new, but what we've seen over the past few years is an alarming trend where multinational companies will exploit the pandemic and public health crisis to grow their wealth. Right now, corporations exploit lacklustre tax laws and are laughing all the way to the bank, while everyone else feels ripped off at the checkout or petrol pump. It doesn’t have to be this way. It is unacceptable that corporate profits can continue to blow out of proportion, while wages cannot keep up and food banks are struggling more than ever to keep up with growing need. Our country has enough wealth to look after all of us. Bernard Hickey writes that we have a net household wealth of $2.25 trillion, which is $450,200 per person. When large corporations use their power to increase profits, and not give back to workers or wider society, then it enables the massive syphoning of wealth that locks more and more people into poverty. Our Government has an important role to play in keeping our society fair and funded for the services we need to thrive. Tax and economic experts have offered a range of policies from a windfall tax (which means taxing the excess profits made from unexpected circumstances such a global crisis) to increasing the corporate tax rate (which is a tax on corporate profits). Many solutions are available, we just need to commit to taxing our largest profit-makers. It means we can keep prices down, and build public services up, while holding corporations accountable to pay their fair share. Now is the time to rebalance the scales and make sure corporations increase their contribution to the collective pool, so that we can all thrive together. ------------------------- References: 'Is the inflation in NZ because of profits?' RNZ. https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/2018849004/is-the-inflation-in-nz-because-of-profits 'Supermarkets making profits of around $1m a day; Govt announces steps to lower prices.' NZ Herald. https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/business/government-to-address-commerce-commission-report-into-supermarket-industry/ 'The twin crises that fuelled the hostel fire.' Bernard Hickey, The Spinoff. https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/18-05-2023/the-twin-crises-that-fuelled-the-hostel-fire
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  • Subsidise degrees that lead to Mental health jobs
    As of October 2022, employment data shows New Zealand needs 643 Mental Health staff, including 120 Psychiatrists, 408 mental health nurses and 115 Clinical Psychologists. New Zealand needs Mental Health workers, which starts with degrees. New Zealanders should not struggle to access Mental Health services, in 2017 it was found that 90 children a day were being referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Camhs), and the number of severe cases has been increasing. In 2016 1824 children were rejected or quickly referred from Camhs. This is a real problem as we had 538 people die from suicide in the 2021 to 2022 financial year. The 1.9 billion dollar budget for Mental Health has not seen any change to accessibility in specialist Mental Health services in the last five years. The vision for this subsidy is to increase the number of people taking degrees. that lead to mental health jobs. This could lead to an increase in people going into Mental Health jobs and decrease the shortage of Mental Health workers in New Zealand. A subsidy for study would incentivise students to study mental health by relieving the financial burden of study (which for a practising clinical psychologist is 6 years, and much longer for a psychiatrist). In Australia, the NSW Labor Government has recently announced it will invest $97 million in health study subsidies to attract staff and retain talent in the public health system, New Zealand should be following in their footsteps and investing similarly.
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