• People bereaved by suicide within Aotearoa New Zealand need better support
    We are two students currently in the fourth year of our Social Services Degree, and both of us have lived experience of losing a loved one by suicide. We believe the lack of support for those bereaved by suicide is a social justice issue that needs to be addressed. Caro - "In 2017 I lost my brother Declan Peachey to suicide he was 35 and a father of three children. There was no support. My family and I had to struggle alone. Although the pain will never fully be erased, It was only because I found help through counselling (initiated by me), that I myself have started to heal and move on. Not everyone can afford to receive counseling, and not everyone has the means to find support for themselves". "Killarney- In 2012 I experienced losing someone to suicide for the first time. I lost two friends in high school, then in 2017 I lost one of my best friends and then at the beginning of this year we lost a family member. During this time none of us received any support nor did the families involved. The grief and healing process was something that we had to do alone. Access to supports can be expensive and reaching out can be difficult". Estimates made in the past tell us that for every person who completes suicide, six people within their close circle are impacted or affected greatly. More current literature shows that this is a severe underestimate and the number could be around 18 people affected (Hanschmidt F, Lehnig F, Riedel-Heller SG, Kersting A, 2016). Those Bereaved by Suicide, have much in common with those who lose a loved one to any other death. They suffer the usual symptoms of grief, such as cognitive, emotional and somatic difficulties however, they are also more likely to experience “complicated grief”. Complicated grief entails prolonged grieving, with characteristics such as a yearning for the loved one, pain that stays fresh, avoidance of reminders about their loved one’s passing, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), they may have difficulty re-establishing a meaningful life and finally, may contemplate or complete suicide themselves. Not everyone bereaved by suicide might suffer from complicated grief, however, stigmatisation and feelings of guilt, or poor family relations, for example, may exacerbate the chances of them doing so. (Tal Young, I., Iglewicz, A., Glorioso, D., Lanouette, N., Seay, K., Ilapakurti, M., & Zisook, S. 2012; Hanschmidt F, Lehnig F, Riedel-Heller SG, Kersting A. 2016). We believe that the creation of a nationwide support service particularly targeted towards people bereaved by suicide would help to alleviate if not eliminate complicated grief symptoms, prevent possible further suicides, and remove the stigmatisation and marginalisation that those who are bereaved by suicide may face. We believe this goal is achievable because, the Suicide Prevention Office is already in service, and this would be a natural progression and direction for it to take alongside suicide prevention. It would be an opportunity for postvention as well as prevention. References; Ministry of Health. 2019. Every Life Matters - He Tapu te Oranga o ia Tangata: Suicide Prevention Strategy 2019–2029 and Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2019–2024 for Aotearoa New Zealand. Wellington: Ministry of Health. Hanschmidt F, Lehnig F, Riedel-Heller SG, Kersting A (2016) The Stigma of Suicide Survivorship and Related Consequences—A Systematic Review. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0162688. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162688 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?type=printable&id=10.1371/journal.pone.0162688 Beehive.govt.nz (2019) Suicide Prevention Office gets down to work 2019 Press Release RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON DR DAVID CLARK https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/suicide-prevention-office-gets-down-work Beehive.govt.nz (2019) Suicide Prevention Office to drive action to save lives:10 SEPTEMBER 2019 Press Release RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON DR DAVID CLARK https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/suicide-prevention-office-drive-action-save-lives Ministry of Health. (2019). New suicide prevention director: ‘This effort needs all of us’: Media release 10 October 2019. https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/new-suicide-prevention-director-effort-needs-all-us. Tal Young, I., Iglewicz, A., Glorioso, D., Lanouette, N., Seay, K., Ilapakurti, M., & Zisook, S. (2012). Suicide bereavement and complicated grief. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 14(2), 177–186. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3384446/
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  • BLACK LIVES MATTER
    A black person is just human like everybody else. There is no reason for a black person to feel scared to approach somebody just because they are scared of how that person would react because of the colour of their skin. The story of George Floyd is just enough to explain this, a normal black man but suspected of a crime. He had allowed the officer to arrest him but the officer was still violating his rights while George begs him saying 'I can't breathe'. This whole situation resulted in George losing his life. George had no gun on hand but he was murdered purely because of the colour of his skin. Since January 1st, 2015, 1,252 black people have been shot and killed by police, according to the Washington Post's database tracking police shootings; that doesn't even include those who died in police custody or were killed using other methods. Often there is no need for the police to use weapons but it is just purely because the victims are black that the instinct of the police is to shoot. Every loss hurts it really does. We live in a colonised country here in Aotearoa, and that our solidarity includes standing against racism and I think it is time the silence is broken. Let us not forget things have fired up in America but this shows us what a lot of black people are facing around our world even in our very own backyard. We have taken on so much as black people and have had excessive patience but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
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  • Stop the sale of Vailoa, Palauli lands and return to Vailoa
    Ole fa'afitauli, o Eleele ma le Fa'asinomaga o Vailoa Palauli, lea ua fa'asalalau i luga o le maketi i Samoa ma atunu'u i fafo, mo le fa'atauina e le au aiga o Nelesoni. I le mae’a ai o faamasinoga, e malolo lava le Afioaga ia Nelesoni. Na o tupe alu, ae le maua se faamama avega. Ua tupu le nu'u ma le Itumalo, ua leai ni fanua i tuamaota e tua iai le mamalu o le afioaga mo le ola atinae ma le tausiga o aiga, tautuaina o Ekalesia ma le nuu, Itumalo faapea le Malo. O isi foi pitonuu ua faoa ele sami ona eleele talu ai ona o aafiaga I suiga o le tau. Ua feomai solo ona ua le lava eleele, ua tupu le Afioaga. O le a fa'atamaia mataaga(historical sites) o lo’o i totonu o nei fanua. E o fa’atasi le eleele ma ona tagata. E le mafai ona ta vavae eseina. O nei eleele o le faasinomaga o le Afioaga. O lo’o fuafua e tuuina atu i le Malo nei mataaga, ise faiga fa’a paaga. Ina ia fa’atumauina pea lona matagofie ma lona fa'alauiloaina i atunuu i fafo, aemaise o ni suesuega ia malamalama Samoa I lona tala faasolopito, mo tupulaga I le lumanai. Ae faamalumalu le pulega a Alii ma Faipule, o Vailoa Palauli. O loo ua maea ona iai atina’e, na fai paaga ai le Itumalo ma le Malo, e ala lea i le suavai taumafa, o lo'o fa'asopolia uma ai tagata lautele. E amata mai Palauli se ia paia Pu'apu'a. O le popolega mo le lumana’i, o le a afaina nei vai taumafa. E le iloaina po’o ai lea o le a agai atu e nofoia lenei lauelele, ae poo a foi ni a latou fuafuaga o le a fai, ina ia toe maua mai latou tupe na fa’aalu i le fa’atauina o nei eleele. O lona uiga, o le a afaina nei atina’e, ma ole a mafatia tagata nu’u, o lo’o fa’alagolago i nei suavai, i le galala i le fia feinu. O fanua nei ua fuafua Nelesoni e faatau atu, o lo’o lumafale I fanua o lo’o galueaina e lenei Afioaga. O le a fa’afaigata ona toe sopolia fanua galue. O le a tele se aafiaga o mafaufau ma lagona. E matua leai se filemu e maua ai. Aua e le mafai ese tasi, ona taofia le loto tiga o tagata nu'u, ona o le faoa o lo latou fa’asinomaga. O lea ua iai le tulafono o faiga Palota 2020, i le fa’ataatitia ina o tuaoi palota. Ma ua mautinoa, le agavaa o tagata mai I ma o, e palota e filifilia se sui o Palauli. O se tulaga matautia lea. Aua, o le a le amanaia se leo o Alii ma Faipule o Vailoa, Palauli pe a taunuu ona faatauina nei eleele. Aemaise ai, alu aso ae sau aso, i se isi augatupulaga, ae faapea mai se tasi o nei tagata e lava le seleni, o le a fia alu i le sui tauva o lenei Itumalo. Aua e le talanoa nisi ma mea tutupu i le lumanai. E pei ona tatou i ai i lenei taimi, na amata ole foa’i ae o lea ua oo mai i le taimi nei ua fai mai o le fa’atau. E talosagaina ma le agaga maualalo, la outou lagolago I le taofia ina o lenei faatauga. Ma ia toe faafoi mai Eleele ma Fanua o Vailoa, Palauli. E auala lea, I le “like” o lenei faasalalauga. Faafetai. Faafetai tele mo latou lagolago. Faamanuia le Atua. https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/417299/ancient-site-in-samoa-up-for-sale https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3qbe0JrVcg ALII MA FAIPULE / TAMA FANAU - O VAILOA, PALAULI.
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  • Cancel RIMPAC 2020: New Zealand withdraw!
    RIMPAC is a violation of international law and Indigenous sovereignty: Hawai'i is indigenous land that was stolen and illegally annexed by the US to be used as a sugar plantation and giant military base for Pacific operations. The indigenous people of Hawai’i demand a return of their stolen lands and the rightful recognition of their legitimate authority over the islands. RIMPAC is a grave risk to life and ecology: During RIMPAC, deadly weapons are used on land and sea causing massive environmental destruction to the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacfic Ocean. The exercise shells island reserves; uses bombs and missiles to sink ships, leaving ammunition and debris in the sea; and detonates underwater explosives. The US Navy is exempt from the Marine Mammal Protection Act meaning it can test underwater sonar weapons that kill and injure whales, dolphins and other species. Covid-19 is an additional threat: Prior to the global spread of Covid-19, New Zealand had planned to send in excess of 300 troops. Due to the pandemic the exercise has been scaled back from six-weeks to two weeks. The NZ government has indicated that it still plans to send the HMNZS Manawanui, a hydrographic dive vessel with 66 soldiers. We have no confidence that the risks to the people of Hawai’i can be effectively managed by the US military given the shocking record of the US government in dealing with infections onboard Navy warships. Nor do we have confidence that there will be effective safeguards to ensure that NZDF personnel are not infected, and do not bring infection back home. A Global Ceasefire: Now is the Time The United Nations have called for a Global Ceasefire, to instead focus on combating COVID-19. The fact that the United States was the only member of the UN Security Council to vote against a global ceasefire shows that it is the greatest threat to global security. War and war exercises are not ‘essential business’ - they are a threat to human life and the ecosystems that sustain us. The New Zealand government has done its best to ensure that Covid-19 does not spread to the Pacific. Now we have a responsibility not to be part of planning for a war in the Pacific that will only see untold human suffering and death. We are living through a time of change, when ensuring a healthy and peaceful world is paramount. New Zealand has the chance now to be a global partner and a model for other countries by choosing not to participate in 2020. In 1982 New Zealand withdrew from RIMPAC activities. We can do it again. We believe the Pacific can be a demilitarised place that respects Indigenous sovereignty. We believe the Pacific should be free and independent. Join us in demanding that that New Zealand government #CancelRIMPAC 2020 - Sign this petition. This petition is led by the Cancel RIMPAC Aotearoa Coalition. References and more information: Webinar, CANCEL RIMPAC: Stop War Games in the Pacific! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcuMaIlr9og Cancel RIMPAC Now and Forever https://medium.com/@sarahhamid10/cancel-rimpac-now-and-forever-26d8ebfe4ce7 26 U.S. Navy Ships Have Covid https://foxsanantonio.com/news/nation-world/26-us-navy-ships-have-covid-19-cases United Nations Chief calls for Global Ceasefire https://www.un.org/en/un-coronavirus-communications-team/fury-virus-illustrates-folly-war To get involved or for more info email us at CancelRIMPACaotearoa@protonmail.com
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  • Half Price Adoption Fees for Older Dogs
    Currently, the cost of adopting any dog from the pound is $260, which for a younger dog we do feel is appropriate but, to encourage and support members of the community to adopt older dogs, we think that a fee of $130.00 would be better suited. We want these older dogs to have a second chance at life in a new loving home, and by lowering the fee, we hope to achieve a better rehoming rate for these golden oldies. Lowering the cost to $130 won't have any direct impact on rates and will benefit the overall rehoming of older dogs and potentially lower euthanasia rates. Dog lovers of New Plymouth, please help us get this change by signing this petition.
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  • No Dump in Dome Valley - Protect Kaipara Moana
    The current Dome Valley Landfill Application is focused on meeting the current needs of Auckland City Council’s waste requirements, without regard to Mana Whenua and our special relationship to the Whenua and local community It is the position of Ngāti Whātua that the landfill proposal in its current form will cause irreversible damage to Papatūānuku and pose significant ongoing risks to the sustainability and mauri of the Hoteo River, Kaipara Moana our whenua and the broader environment. We must consider the long-term environmental outcomes, and the first step for protecting the future of the Kaipara Moana is to consider sustainable waste solutions. We ask the Council to halt all discussions with Waste Management NZ and as a Treaty partner provide our Iwi the opportunity to co-create a partnership that will assist our communities to manage waste in a way that puts Papatūānuku and our community at the center of decision making. Ko au te Kaipara - Ko Kaipara Moana ko au Ngāti Whātua ask for national support for this kaupapa and are seeking tautoko/support from all Uri, whānau, hapū, marae and tribal partners to sign our national petition and put forward a submission which closes 11.59pm Tuesday 26th May. To make a submission and to learn more about the Iwi national campaign visit https://www.ngatiwhatua.iwi.nz/dome-valley Listen to locals share their concerns about the pending environmental disaster this proposed dump will bring to the community and the Kaipara Harbour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYklFdyCW0I We acknowledge the efforts of Fight the Tip, Save the Dome who have been fostered strong community opposition https://www.facebook.com/FightWMSavethDome/ National Press Release - Council ignores their obligations to Mana Whenua https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK2005/S00530/auckland-council-ignores-obligations-to-mana-whenua.htm
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  • An Open Letter to save Playcentre
    Playcentre is the embodiment of New Zealand's Early Childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki*. The principles of this bicultural curriculum are: - Family and community - Relationships - Holistic development - Empowerment For many families, Playcentre has supported generations of children to pursue creativity through child-led play. Another key role local Playcentres play is to enabling smooth transitions to schooling and building a sense of community. *https://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Early-Childhood/Te-Whariki-Early-Childhood-Curriculum-ENG-Web.pdf https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/05/playcentres-threaten-closure-over-lack-of-government-funding.html
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  • Launch an independent inquiry into residential student accommodation
    1) Firstly, the legislation that governs residential student accommodation is insufficient, confusing, and unclear. Residential student accommodation is not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), meaning that in the case of disputes between residents and their accommodation provider, the option of going to the Tenancy Tribunal is not available to them. Relatively, the power imbalance between a tertiary student and a student accommodation provider is much larger than that between individual tenants and landlords. Because of this, we believe that the lack of option of disputes to be heard by the Tenancy Tribunal is damaging to a students’ access to redress. The Interim Code of Practice for Pastoral Care which was introduced in 2019 also makes no real substantive change. Most of the processes specified already encompass what is going on in halls around New Zealand. This piece of legislation was designed to improve pastoral support and is not sufficient to solve the deeper issues raised here. There needs to be more specific legislation governing halls of residence to ensure the safety of students who reside there. The lack of central government regulation creates inconsistent approaches within the system of residential student accommodation. This is not only apparent in different managements of accommodation within a single tertiary provider, but also between tertiary providers. 2) Secondly, the purpose and function of residential student accommodation is unclear and inconsistent. The lack of central government legislation to support the delivery of residential student accommodation blurs the purpose of the service; is it to make the tertiary provider a profit, or is it to provide a service to students to support their education? While some tertiary providers operate their residential student accommodation services to not make a profit, other tertiary providers appear to use residential student accommodation for the purpose of money making. Often this is done in partnership with external companies, who own and/or operate the accommodation facilities. The blurred purpose or function of student accommodation is not just limited to halls of residence accommodation for high-school leavers. Irrespective of the type of residential student accommodation (i.e. catered or self-catered accommodation), the overriding purpose and function of residential student accommodation should be the same and should be clear to those using the service. The varying degrees of rental alleviation that residential students across the country received from their accommodation providers during Levels 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 lockdown has sharply highlighted how inconsistent the sector is, and raises questions around who the setup is designed to benefit. 3) Thirdly, student welfare and support within residential student accommodation is limited and inconsistent, for both staff and residents. Student welfare and pastoral care within residential student accommodation is largely delivered by Residential Assistants (RAs). RAs receive very limited remuneration (if any), often work more hours than they are paid for, and despite trying to do their best in difficult situations, receive very limited training or support. This has a flow-on effect to residents, who often do not receive the necessary support to deal with issues that arise. The type of work that RAs do can be equated to the job of a Youth Worker, but without the training and salary. Almost all of their weekly paycheck goes towards paying their accommodation fees, meaning they are left with little money at the end of it, if any at all. Furthermore, an overwhelming proportion of RAs are students themselves, and the burden of responsibility on them to support hundreds of other students through often difficult circumstances, with little to no higher support for themselves, lays bare the harrowing ordeals that these providers put them through. Incidents of sexual harassment in halls of residence, and the lack of pastoral support to students who are struggling with mental health, have demonstrated the inadequacy of ongoing training and support provided to these students placed in positions of pastoral care. Currently, there is little to no legislation protecting RAs. There are also no guidelines for other supports for residents at student accommodations, such as Student Support Coordinators (SSCs). This means that often SSCs are assigned more than one hall, and more than a thousand students. The quality of their work therefore is lowered, as they are stretched out in capacity. We call on the Education and Workforce Select Committee to conduct an independent inquiry into the purpose and operations of residential accommodation in Aotearoa, and the legislation that governs it. This inquiry should be broad in scope, examining the investment and funding models, the cost of accommodation for residents, the legal protections for residents, and support structures for residents.
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  • Make Matariki a public holiday
    In May, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that more public holidays is among a number of things the government is “actively considering” to encourage domestic tourism. With many small businesses struggling to keep their doors open, more public holidays to encourage folks to spend their disposable income exploring our beautiful country is a fantastic idea. Matariki is a time to gather with friends and whānau to remember those who have passed, to reflect on the year that has been, and to celebrate new beginnings. If Matariki were made a permanent public holiday, it would provide communities with an opportunity to learn about the Maramataka (Māori lunar calendar), connect with the elements and honour those who have passed away. A public holiday would foster understanding and celebration of Māori knowledge and wisdom and invite us to slow down our busy lives and share kai with the people we love. A recent poll, crowdfunded and commissioned by ActionStation members, has revealed that the majority of people in New Zealand believe Matariki should be a public holiday. Now is the time to make it so. 🌟🌟🌟 LEARN MORE: https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/13-07-2020/the-people-have-spoken-we-want-a-matariki-public-holiday/
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  • Call for International Students' Fee Refunds
    In response to COVID-19 Alert level 4, Victoria University of Wellington has announced that teaching will recommence online on 28 April 2020, and will continue ONLINE for the remainder of Trimester 1. 1) INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS PAY EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE FEES FOR THE FULL STUDENT EXPERIENCE, NOT ONLINE CLASSES It is unreasonable that the University continues to charge full tuition fees when all courses are being delivered online to the students, especially given the fact that international student tuition fees are extortionate, which is four times higher than the standard tuition fees. 2) ONLINE LEARNING IS LESS EFFECTIVE There is a growing concern amongst students that the online learning methods the University has adapted (due to the pandemic) are NOT as effective, especially when done independently from any form of face-to-face teaching. More specifically, International Students believe that the current online learning approach does not justify international students’ tuition fees. 3) LACK OF ACCESS TO FACILITIES As teaching recommenced online under Alert Level 3 and 2, students are unable to gain the full learning experience due to the lack of access to the University’s physical facilities, especially those enrolled in courses with practical components (such as campus library, studio classes, and laboratory sessions) will miss out on hands-on learning experiences. It is unreasonable for students to pay more than $4000 to study a course that carries out practical components entirely online. 4) LACK OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE IN NEW ZEALAND One of the most crucial factors is International Students also miss out on the international education experience unique to studying abroad as they are unable to interact and build connections with fellow students and academic staff from various backgrounds. 5) 30% FEE SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY SHOULD BE AMENDED In March, a 30% fee scholarship was offered to students who are studying at a distance in Trimester 1, or who were not able to commence study in Wellington on the first day of classes on 2nd March 2020 due to the travel ban. Since then, the situation has evolved significantly, and current border closures now affect all International Students who are in their home countries and are unable to return to New Zealand. The scholarship offer shows that the University recognise that the International Students are unable to get the full student experience in line with the fees that they have paid because of the restrictions put in place following the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, it is reasonable to ask that this scholarship be extended to all International Students whose student experience has been impaired due to the crisis. This campaign is led by Victoria University of Wellington International Students' Association (V-ISA) Endorsed by 1) Wellington Singaporean Students' Association (WESSA) 2) Victoria University of Wellington Chinese Students' Association (CSA) 3) Victoria University of Wellington Thai Students' Association (TSA) 4) Myanmar Students' Association at Victoria University of Wellington (MSA) 5) Victoria University of Wellington Japanese Students' Society (JSOC) 6) Wellington Malaysian Students' Organisation (WMSO) 7) Victoria University of Wellington Taiwanese Students' Association (WTSA) 8) Victoria University Sri Lankan and Indian Club (VICSLIC) 9) Vietnamese Students' Association in Wellington (VSAW) More articles at: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/121031270/coronavirus-students-want-refunds-after-universities-move-learning-online https://nzisa.co.nz/2020/04/08/international-student-fees-what-are-we-paying-for/
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  • End Youth Homelessness
    During Covid-19 young people experiencing homelessness have been at increased risk. There has been no coordinated, or youth specific strategy to provide for the needs of young people, and no housing made available to specifically meet their needs. We know that young people are over-represented in the homeless community, with young Maori, and rainbow youth, disproportionately affected. We know that there is limited safe, secure and suitable accommodation for young people experiencing homelessness. We know that - due to limited resources - Youth Housing services are having to turn hundreds of young people away. Yet, our nation has no youth specific strategy - and has provided limited resources - to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community. If you are a young person, and you experience homelessness in New Zealand, your options for finding emergency accommodation are low. If you're 16-17yr's old, your chances get even bleaker. With the gains made during COVID19 for our homeless community we have an opportunity as a nation to end rough sleeping in Aotearoa for ever. However, to end homelessness, we must first End Youth Homelessness. To do this, we need your help. Manaaki Rangatahi call on Aotearoa, and the NZ Government, to join with us to #EndYouthHomelessness. Will you sign the petition and support the call and help us to #EndYouthHomelessness? You can read more about Youth Homelessness here: Youth Homelessness is Hidden Homelessness: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/116095068/the-hidden-homeless-alarming-child-and-youth-homelessness-in-auckland If we truly want to end homelessness, we need to start here: https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/currently-social-issues/nz-ending-homelessness-starts-with-helping-young-people
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  • Say no to doubling teacher registration fees
    Teachers need to be valued. Yet the proposed change increases fees from $220.80 over three years to $157 yearly which equates to $471, more than doubling current fees. This is outrageous. Lumping teachers with a huge increase in costs does not reflect the amazing work they do and is completely unfair and unjustified. We question where the extra money will be spent and how it will benefit us teachers as individuals? Many teachers spoke out in opposition of the fee increase yet have been ignored. https://teachingcouncil.nz/content/fees-announcement Photo: Ricky Wilson/Stuff
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