• Stop the sale of Otakiri Springs to foreign bottling giant Nongfu
    Associate Finance Minister David Clark and Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage granted an application under the Overseas Investments Act 2005 for Cresswell Ltd to purchase land to expand the existing Otakiri Springs water bottling plant near Whakatāne. A decision that will see 1.1 billion litres of Aotearoa New Zealand freshwater being bottled and exported. There is little information as to where the aquifer that supplies Otakiri springs comes from and how fast it recharges. The science behind the allocation of these aquifers is flawed. The data collected is not reliable enough to ensure that it is safe to collect water from. The depletion of the aquifer could potentially leave permanent damage to surrounding waterways. Tangata whenua believe that freshwater including groundwater has important cultural value. It is the belief that the mauri (life force) of the body of water (seen and unseen) needs to be intact to ensure the physical and spiritual survival of all living things. The mauri of Otakiri Springs or as local iwi and hapū know it as Te Otākiritanga ō Te Toki a Iratumoana, is at risk. The removal of water for the purposes of bottling for foreign exchange violates the mauri and sacredness of the water. This activity 1. Allows the continued contribution of plastic waste. 2. Sells New Zealand natural resources (freshwater) for corporate benefit. 3. Compromises the health and wellbeing of the waterways and aquifers. 4. Ignores the concerns of the local Whakatāne community who are directly affected by this activity. 5. Disregards section 6e of The Resource Management Act being the relationship of Māori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands. Who really benefits in this transaction? Not tangata whenua. Not Aotearoa as a nation. But multi-billionaire foreign investors - Nongfu. Bay of Plenty Regional Council still have the power to determine the safety and preservation of our natural resource (mauri) by denying the resource consent. The New Zealand Government cannot continue to market Aotearoa as “clean green” then make decisions that directly compromise the well-being of the waterways and aquifers. Intergenerational and sustainable approaches to the environment need to be implemented to ensure we are not leaving our children a barren wasteland. But firstly, we need to stop selling our natural resources at the detriment of ourselves. When our children ask, “What did you do?” Will the response be: “I cared?” Or will it be: “I sold out.” Mo nga uri whakaheke te take. For the future generations. Please also support the petition: Stop multi-nationals profiting from our natural water resources https://bit.ly/2MQQ38B Relevant articles: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/chinas-ban-foreign-waste-wake-up-call-nz-environmentalists https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/104695650/consent-granted-for-chinese-water-bottling-giant-to-purchase-otakiri-spring
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  • Condemn the Trump Administration's Policy of Separating Families
    Since October 2017, at least 2700 children have been separated from their parents upon entering the United States. In some instances, these families have presented themselves for asylum - a legal means of entering the country. But even those who enter illegally do not deserve to be separated. This is happening due to a policy to increase the prosecution of people seeking to immigrate. Parents are placed in immigration detention. There are rules against children being placed in immigration detention, so families become separated. There is concern about the adequacy of the facilities the children are kept in and whether effort is being made to reunite families. The experience of being separated from their parents, in itself, also causes needless trauma for the children. People seeking to enter the United States are often doing so to flee violence in their own country. This is not a decision they are making lightly. To be met with such inhumane treatment is unjust. These families just want a new chance at life - instead they are being separated and (literally) housed in cages. More information can be found below: https://www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17443198/children-immigrant-families-separated-parents http://time.com/5314128/trump-immigration-family-separation-2000-children/
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  • Restore the Raumati wetlands in Queen Elizabeth Park
    This is important as Wellington has only 2.3 percent of its wetlands remaining and wetlands are increasingly recognised and valued for the ecosystem service they provide (GWRC Wetlands report for the proposed Natural Resources Plan July 2015). Maori used the wetlands of the Great Swamp to canoe between Paekakariki and Paraparaumu. Te kukuwai (wetlands) also supplied a lot of food. It would be a key climate-change initiative for the Kapiti Coast as drained peat lands emit significant amounts of carbon but absorb large amounts when re-wetted, making a carbon sink more efficient than forests. As invasive weeds such as gorse and blackberry cannot survive in wetlands, it would also allay community concerns about fire risk and use of herbicides. A former walk through the wetland sand dune could also be restored for public access in this recreation reserve. Under the farming lease, GWRC can negotiate the retirement of land giving reasonable notice. This petition is timed to coincide with GWRC's review of its Parks Network Plan this year. For more info on the importance of peat lands in climate-change mitigation please see https://drawdowniitkgp.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/peatlands-a-secret-and-surprising-weapon/
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  • Homes for all
    Right now too many people are living precariously in rented homes that are making them sick. Families continue to live in cars, it’s due to be one of the coldest winters and people are freezing while sleeping on the street, in garages, or huddled up in overcrowded lounges. But together we can fix it. Solving such a complex problem needs multiple solutions. After decades of neglect the Government is finally starting to get it’s hands back on the steering wheel to fix the housing crisis. With our support it can go further. Sign the petition so everyone can live in a stable home.
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  • Outrage! Wellington Citizens Advice Bureau is under attack.
    The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is under attack from none other than our local council representatives. The Wellington City Council is threatening to cut 85% of the funding from local CAB’s after seemingly minimal consultation. There is no justification for jeopardising an organisation that is so fundamental within our community. The CAB Wellington offers free information services to anyone who needs it. Be it students, tenants, new migrants, employees, employers, bankers, pet-shop owners, people in relationships or hair dressers - support from the CAB's highly trained volunteers is ready and waiting. The CAB is used by us, the service is delivered by local volunteers who care. If council really care about local community, why are they threatening such an important community service? On June 14th local council are meeting to discuss CAB funding amongst other things. We need to show them that any cut in CAB funding is not acceptable and that we the people - stand behind the CAB - support them by signing the petition.
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  • Save Wellington Citizens Advice Bureau!
    Wellington Citizens Advice Bureau provides a free information and advice service to people in need. It helps people know about their rights and responsibilities and the services available in their community. It is there for everyone, about everything. Despite this, Wellington City Council wants to cut its services and leave its citizens without this essential support. Last year Wellington CAB helped over 30,000 people with questions and problems across the range of issues people face in their lives. These include helping with enquiries about emergency accommodation, noisy neighbours, overhanging trees, abandoned vehicles, relationship issues, enquiries about consumer rights, tenancy rights, employment rights, as well as information about local services - the whole range of questions and queries imaginable. It also includes referrals from the City Council and helping people to fill in Council forms! Wellington CAB has had a long-term strategic partnership with Wellington City Council. In spite of this, the Council have, without consultation, made a recommendation to stop funding the Wellington CAB via its long-standing contract for services, and give a one-off six month grant for the CAB to completely redesign its operation, including shutting the doors on its physical premises. The Council have said there is “no guarantee of funding beyond that”. The CAB is core community infrastructure. It is locally responsive, and staffed by dedicated volunteers from the local community. The people who come to the CAB often don’t know where to go, don’t know what assistance is available to them, can’t access information, or are excluded from services. Without the CAB those people will fall through the cracks. Please show your support and save this essential community service.
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  • No Plastic Bags at Wellington City Markets
    Like many people I used to be addicted to plastic. I purchased plastic products in plastic bags and this plastic waste went into plastic bin liners and ended up in a mountain of plastic. Some ended up in our oceans too. If I'm honest I just didn't think about it. I consumed and I wasted. More recently I realised that my individual actions have a part to play in collective destruction. Plastic is a scourge on our beautiful planet and I am ashamed that plastic is still commonplace in our communities. Sometimes issues like global warming, pollution and the scale of environmental degradation overwhelm me and I don't know what to do. But I know that I can reduce my plastic consumption. This is within my power and control. One tangible change I made was buying a stash of tote bags. Now I use them for the markets, shopping at the supermarket and running errands every day. They're a part of my life now. It isn't hard to carry them with me to the market and they're much stronger than plastic bags which is great because I buy a lot of produce! If plastic bags weren't an option at the markets I'm certain that people would transition to reusable bags quickly, especially if there was a bit of warning in the lead up. It makes no sense to have plastic bags at our markets when they're so harmful and the alternatives are just so easy! Wellington is a city that leads the way. Progressive Enterprises, which runs Countdown supermarkets, announced all its stores would be ditching single-use plastic bags by the end of the year. If a large corporation can make the switch then a local market can do the same. There is no reason good enough to continue with plastic bags.
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  • Create a framework for Therapeutic Villages
    Great people in mental heath and community agencies do good work (often with not enough funding) but then they need to terminate once they have done all they can in their specialty. e.g. Counselling for someone who has no home to go to. Then people return to their old problematic ways. This can happen in addiction, domestic violence and mental health, child support. e.g. Mother and baby are now well bonded after specialist care, but there is conflict with the father and poverty. Isolation creates despair and harms people. "it takes a village to raise a child". The proposal is that a framework is developed by government for the establishment of a series of therapeutic villages. Such villages will support families and individuals who are already receiving a variety of care. They can also perform a preventative function. In essence the therapeutic village is group of people with strong bonds developed through shared significant experiences. Village cohesion comes through clearly defined village membership, village traditions of group work, village sports and cultural events, and the organic development of relationships between new and older members. On admission members will commit to attend regular meetings of the whole village. Each village has its own character, based on its location, formation and the strengths of the leadership team. Each village will have its own name. The form these villages take will be quite diverse. With respect to pragmatic details there are many decisions to be made by the village initiators and the staff. Questions such as: What is the duration of the village membership? How are people encouraged to re-enter their original community? Are dependent on the purpose of the village at its initial conception and how the village evolves in practice.
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  • Hey Auckland Transport, please keep your word on Lynfield bus routes
    Auckland Transport (AT) is about to implement the New (Central Bus) Network in July 2018, without the 191 route they had promised in 2016. After consulting with the community in 2015, AT committed to the new 191 bus route to link Lynfield-Blockhouse Bay-New Lynn in 2016. A map including the new 191 route was produced and the ‘Consultation Summary & Decisions Report’ said “The Puketapapa Local Board has advocated for a bus service to link Lynfield with Blockhouse Bay… This is able to be accommodated by extending the limited (hourly) local service route 191”. This was great news, as many years ago, when the old Auckland City was deciding between putting a new library at Blockhouse Bay or Lynfield, they had gone with Blockhouse Bay and promised Lynfield a bus link that was never delivered. The population of Lynfield has grown a lot since then too, and is about to grow even further with the addition of a large Ryman's retirement village on Commodore Drive. Sadly Lynfield has also lost a lot of the services it used to have - the last bank has gone now, the pharmacy has recently closed (with a new pharmacy coming at some point in the supermarket), and a postal agency but no longer a post shop, as well as the lack of library and civic services. This link to Blockhouse Bay is even more needed that it was when it was first promised many years ago. However AT changed their mind about the 191 route, which will not go ahead. We are calling on AT to keep their word to Lynfield and re-instate this important local service as promised. There isn't another route for people to get from Lynfield to the west, and won't be in the new network either - they will have to catch a route in towards the city and then another one back out (and most likely won't do that at all in many cases). There's a very large steep hill that people would need to walk up, as part of quite a long walk, to get to the bus services that go west. It's not practical for people with mobility issues, and is generally avoided even by fit school children (too many of whom get driven to nearby Lynfield College when this would help them to get there another way). Some people will be driving more, without this vital link, others will be more socially isolated. Organised by Roskill Community Voice and your local Labour MP, Michael Wood. Please sign the petition to add your voice.
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  • Make mindfulness a central strategy for mental wellbeing in Aotearoa NZ
    Mindfulness is defined as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”. – Jon Kabat Zinn (Professor of Medicine Emeritus Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine). Evidence both here and overseas shows that, when practiced over time, mindfulness: - Decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression (1) - Increases mental wellbeing (2) - Leads to measurable changes in brain structure (3) - Improves concentration (4) - Improves emotion regulation and empathy skills (5) - Helps with the development of positive relationships (6). Based on this evidence, we recommend that mindfulness is included as a central strategy within the diverse sectors of society that impact on our mental wellbeing. MINDFULNESS IS EFFECTIVE The biggest threats to the health of New Zealanders may no longer be injuries or infections (7). Many of today’s stressors target instead our mental health, like the increasing bombardment of information from digital technology that can leave people feeling overwhelmed and disconnected (8). Mindfulness is an effective antidote to this stress. The benefits of regular mindfulness practice provide people with the core strengths and competencies they need to thrive in a modern world. The people behind this submission feel passionately about mindfulness not only because of the robust science behind it but because of our own lived experiences. It has transformed each of our lives in different ways, for example in recovery from post-natal depression and in overcoming negative childhood experiences, and we’ve seen it touch so many others in amazing ways. While it's not a panacea - it needs to be implemented alongside other approaches - we believe it is a crucial part of a raft of changes that would benefit the mental wellbeing of all New Zealanders, and can be implemented across many sectors of society that impact this (9). For example, there is evidence for effective mindfulness-based interventions in prevention, promotion and/or treatment in the following sectors: - Education: Mindfulness boosts cognitive performance, improves mental health and wellbeing and builds resilience (10, 11). - Workplaces: Mindfulness reduces burnout, increases wellbeing, resilience, ability to handle stress, improved relationships, enhances collaboration, and improves leadership, decision-making and creativity (12). - Healthcare: Mindfulness reduces burnout, enhances empathy, and improves the therapeutic relationship in healthcare professionals (13). - Mental Health: Mindfulness based interventions are effective with a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, pain, smoking cessation (14), and substance and behavioural addictions (15). - Criminal Justice: Mindfulness reduces violence in prisons, reoffending rates, as well as negative emotionality, drug use and associated attitudes in prisoners (preliminary research) (16). - Early childhood and parenting: Reflecting research showing the first 1000 days of life is crucial in growing healthy adults (17), mindful parenting programmes are suggested as a preventative approach that can enhance parent-child relationships (18), and preliminary evidence suggests that parental mindfulness reduces stress in children (19). This Government is pioneering in its approach to wellbeing, as shown by initiatives like the Living Standards Framework being adopted by Treasury, and the 2019 Wellbeing Budget. As part of this, there is an opportunity for New Zealand to capitalise on recent advances in mindfulness research to benefit New Zealanders’ mental wellbeing in the digital age, and lead the world in this regard. Together we can make Aotearoa a world leader in mental wellbeing. Help to make MINDFULNESS A CENTRAL STRATEGY of the Government’s approach to mental wellbeing for a flourishing Aotearoa NZ: Sign the Open Submission. Members of Mandate for Mindfulness Working Group: Brigid O’Brien, MBChB, MPH, FNZCPHM, Public Health Physician Natasha Rix, BSocSc, Director Strategy and Operations, Mindfulness Education Group Nick Laurence, BA (Hons), Doctorate of Clinical Psychology Candidate Caroline Taylor, LLB, BCA, Public Policy and Management Consultant Reference list can be found here: goo.gl/fj65Yi
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  • Change the discriminatory law that enabled the Māori wards referenda
    We are a community of people that value fairness and inclusion. We want our cities and towns to be vibrant and flourishing democracies where everybody participates, and our children and grandchildren can see themselves reflected in the leaders we elect. We believe the more people participate in local government, the more council decisions and actions will achieve positive outcomes for all of us - everyday people and the land we love - both now and for the future. Sadly, we are being held back from this vision because Māori are under-represented in local government and they have been for a long time. One way to rebalance this and increase Māori representation is to establish Māori wards. These are a bit like the Māori seats in Parliament, but for local government. They establish areas where those who choose to go on the Māori electoral roll can vote for councillors to represent them. Councillors in five areas - Kaikōura, Whakatāne, Western Bay of Plenty, Manawatū and Palmerston North - had voted to establish Māori wards to increase Māori representation. Until Don Brash, Hobson’s Pledge and a handful of anonymous wealthy backers used fear and the politics of the past to force a public referendum using an outdated, discriminatory law. We are all for increasing participatory decision making. But these referenda are unfair for two reasons. ➡️No other ward (e.g. rural) can be subject to a referendum and decided on this way; and ➡️ The rights of a minority group should never be decided by the majority. On Saturday 19 May, all votes were counted and as of writing, all districts have voted against increasing Māori representation. In Whakatāne, 56.39 percent voted against Māori representation. 43.37 percent in favour. The total Māori population in Whakatāne? 43 percent. These referenda shouldn't have ever happened. It's long past time to change the discriminatory law that enabled them in the first place. That is what we are asking Nanaia Mahuta to do. Together, we can create an inclusive community where we all have a voice, and everyone is involved in making good decisions together about our shared future. *** MORE INFO: www.votemaori.co.nz https://thespinoff.co.nz/atea/14-05-2018/why-we-need-maori-wards/
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  • Fund Mental Skills Training for All Children and Young People in Aotearoa New Zealand
    Latest data shows New Zealand ranks 34th out of 41 countries regarding overall childhood wellbeing. Our adolescent suicide rate is the highest among developed nations. (1) Antidepressant medication being prescribed to children under 13 years in New Zealand has increased 79.4 percent since 2006, and increased 101.9 percent among teens aged 14-18 during the same time period. (2) Recent analysis has shown that increased smartphone and tablet usage corresponds with increased feelings of loneliness, decreasing levels of sleep and decreased social interactions among young people, leading some experts to comment that we are on the brink of a major mental health crisis among children and young people. (3) NZ school children, teachers and youth services staff are not receiving the support they need due to an absence of funding for evidence-based and proven programmes such as Pause, Breathe, Smile and ATAWHAI. EVIDENCE-BASED, AOTEAROA-DEVELOPED SOLUTIONS Pause, Breathe, Smile and ATAWHAI have a combined highly positive impact for young New Zealanders across a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. This includes: - mainstream primary, intermediate and high schools - Māori and Pasifika tamariki and rangatahi - schools with high ethnic diversity - children impacted by the Canterbury earthquakes - marginalised youth dealing with anxiety and depression - youth in alternative education and youth justice Both programmes are being translated into Te Reo Māori with a focus on applications and research in partnership with iwi and within Kura Kaupapa Māori settings. Pause, Breathe, Smile aligns with the New Zealand Education Curriculum, making it easy for schools to implement. It is supported by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and has an internationally recognised published evidence base of effectiveness. ATAWHAI is a youth mentoring and mindfulness-based programme that has resulted in transformational change among high-priority youth. Research (4,5,6), and evaluation results of these programmes show children and young people experience: - Increased calm and resilience - Increased focus and attention - Enhanced self-awareness and conflict-resolution skills - Increased kindness, empathy, connection and pro-social behaviour - Statistically significant increases in emotional and general wellbeing Teachers, youth mentors and program facilitators also report reductions in stress. These findings add to the international evidence base, which shows that when taught in schools, mindfulness boosts cognitive performance and builds resilience (7). Please sign now to recommend funding for these programmes. Together we can boost the wellbeing of our nation’s young people, ensuring they’re equipped with awesome mental skills to thrive and not just survive in the face of a rapidly changing, uncertain world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s_nkIo3TwM&t=64s https://youtu.be/ABoQdxBFnss ABOUT US: Mindfulness Education Group: https://www.mindfulnesseducation.nz The Kindness Institute: http://thekindnessinstitute.com REFERENCES: (1) UNICEF (2017). Building the Future - Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries. UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. Florence, Italy. (2) Wiggins, Amy. Number of children and teens on anti-depressants doubles. New Zealand Herald. 7 June 2017: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11870484 (3) Twenge, Jean M. Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The Atlantic. September 2017: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/ (4) Rix G and Bernay R (2014) A study of the effects of mindfulness in five primary schools in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, Volume 11, Issue 2, 201-220. (5) Devcich D A, Rix G, Bernay R & Graham E (2017). Effectiveness of a mindfulness-based program on school children’s self-reported well-being: A pilot study comparing effects with an emotional literacy program. Journal of Applied School Psychology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15377903.2017.1316333 (6) Bernay R, Esther Graham, Daniel A. Devcich, Grant Rix & Christine M. Rubie-Davies (2016): Pause, Breathe, Smile: a mixed-methods study of student wellbeing following participation in an eight-week, locally developed mindfulness program in three New Zealand schools, Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, DOI:10.1080/1754730X.2016.1154474. (7) Zenner C, Herrnleben-Kurz S and Walach H (2014) Mindfulness-based interventions in schools—a systematic review and meta-analysis. Front. Psychol. 5:603. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00603
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