• Get Victoria University Fair Trade Accredited!
    Fair trade has wide-reaching benefits for disadvantaged producers in developing countries, including commitments to fair wages, environmental protection, gender equality, community development projects and policies against forced and child labour. As students, we want our university to stand with us in our belief that our purchases should empower rather than exploit. Read more about the benefits of fair trade at: fairtrade.org.nz/What-is-Fairtrade/What-Fairtrade-does University of Otago, University of Canterbury and Otago Polytechnic are all Fair Trade Accredited - all we need is for the University Council and VUWSA to pass a resolution in support of fair trade! Other requirements include that fair trade products are readily available at at least 30% of on-campus retail outlets (already achieved!), that a Fair Trade Steering Group be established, that fair trade tea and coffee be the default in university meetings and in 50% of department kitchenettes and staffrooms and that fair trade is promoted within the university. All these conditions are achievable and the Victoria Development Society is working hard to raise awareness on campus of the incredible benefits of fair trade for both producers and consumers. Sign your name and show Victoria University that students care about the people that make our everyday goods!
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  • Free Counselling for all Kiwis: Open Submission to the Mental Health Review
    “Depression and anxiety account for more of the misery in Western Societies than physical illness does … So the front line in the fight against misery is the fight against mental illness.”[1] Counselling and talk therapy is a highly effective treatment for mild to moderate depression and anxiety[2], and in many cases should be the first treatment offered. Yet despite this, it is not widely available and as a result many New Zealanders are not receiving adequate treatment for their mental health difficulties. Frustration with how hard it was to access talk therapy and counselling was one of the most common concerns expressed in the People’s Mental Health Review[3], with many saying they wanted to access talk therapy but were unable to due to cost and availability. https://youtu.be/X_80Zzl23YA Providing Free Counselling and Talk Therapy will enable more people to access treatment earlier, and as a result will take pressure off specialised psychiatric services, already overwhelmed. We know that treatment outcomes for all mental health problems are significantly improved by access to treatment earlier. Improved access to talk therapy and counselling will save money and save lives. With New Zealand having one of the highest levels of suicide in the OECD, we should be doing everything we can to provide treatment for those struggling with their mental health. While many will express concern about the envisioned cost of such an approach, a widely cited WHO-led 2016 study[4] showed, ‘Every US$ 1 invested in scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of US$ 4 in better health and ability to work’. Far from being a “pie in the sky” idea, fully funded counselling and talk therapy has been introduced in other countries, most notably in the UK via the “Increased Access to Psychological Therapies” or “IAPT” initiative. The growing recognition of the impact of the burden of mental health has meant many other nations are looking at how to implement such schemes. Let’s make Aotearoa a world leader in the provision of mental health care. Sign the Open Submission to support the call for Free Counselling and Talk Therapy for all Kiwis. 1. Layard, R and Clark, D. “Thrive: the Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies” (2014). Penguin Books 2. http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/08/psychotherapy-effective.aspx 3. https://www.peoplesmentalhealthreport.com 4. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2016/depression-anxiety-treatment/en/
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  • Stand Together for Social Work - Change the Registration Bill!
    Social work is an integral part of our health and social service sectors. Whether you think of a ward in a hospital, a women’s refuge, a primary health organisation, a school, emergency accommodation, child protection or one of a hundred other settings, we are there. Our profession brings a unique skill set to the table, synthesising theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledges. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. We are a strong and important profession, who play a vital role in supporting families and communities as well as challenging the systemic injustices that generate inequalities. We are worthy of recognition and protection from erosion, undervaluation and manipulation. Yet the Social Work Registration Bill currently before the house does not recognise the complexity and importance of our work. The Bill ignores the views of the overwhelming majority of the sector. It conveys a strong message that social work is vague, confusing, unimportant and fundamentally, unskilled. The Bill does not define or reference a scope of practice for social work. It makes registration virtually meaningless. And it means if your job title includes the words “social work” or “social worker”, you’re covered – and if it doesn’t, you aren’t. And as if that weren’t confusing enough, there are exemptions for some people even if they do have that job title. The end result: the public can’t be sure if the person they’re dealing with is qualified, skilled and accountable. We reject the idea repeated by the select committee and Ministers that the practice of social work is difficult to define. This work has been done by our international community and by our social work registration board. If anything else is needed we have more than enough skill and knowledge in our community to define and articulate our own work. It’s laughable to imagine a situation where an employer decides who can call themselves a nurse, or a dentist, or a lawyer. The same should apply for social work. It will create a situation where employers can pay lower wages and cut corners to avoid paying registration and supervision. It will only be a matter of time before this leads to a critical incident within our communities as the quality of practice is diminished in favour of affordability. This bill is outrageous and shows how far we still have to go in valuing work traditionally seen as “women’s work.” If you think that social work can be done by anyone and is not highly complex, skilled and emotionally demanding work we urge you to go into the field with a social worker. If you vote this bill through to law, you will cripple our profession. We urge you to urgently redraft the bill taking into account the views of those working in the sector. We are, after all, the experts in our own work. The Social Work Community of Aotearoa New Zealand and our allies. Social workers call for govt to scrap registration bill 24 April 2018 https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/355836/social-workers-call-for-govt-to-scrap-registration-bill Social work bill ‘nonsense’ - Dr Ian Hyslop, University of Auckland 24 April 2018 https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/04/23/106052/social-work-bill-nonsense# Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_74844/tab/submissionsandadvice
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  • We need more healthy, affordable housing in Palmerston North
    I am adding my support to this campaign because I know someone, or I am aware there are people in Palmerston North who, sometime in the last 12 months, have been in one of the following situations: - Been without shelter, (‘sleeping rough’); - Been sleeping in a car or vehicle; - Been in temporary accommodation or in a motel; - Been living with another household (‘couch surfing’); - Been living in an overcrowded situation (More than 2 people per bedroom); - Been living in a home that is unhealthy (cold, damp or without necessary services) Poor and unstable housing can make people sick, make it harder for kids to learn and impacts communities as people are forced to move around. Good, stable housing has great health and education outcomes and makes for better communities. Check out these links for more about Palmerston North housing: About the 10 Year plan - https://i.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/103156209/palmerston-north-council-draws-fire-for-housing-renthike-plan Public Health and Housing - http://www.toiteorapublichealth.govt.nz/vdb/document/196 The Salvation Army - https://i.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/97902244/no-romance-in-being-14-hours-homeless-for-roving-reporter Homes for People - https://i.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/96058685/action-helps-people-buy-affordable-houses MUSA - https://i.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/96110425/fighting-for-better-housing-in-manawatu The Salvation Army - https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/92977406/budget-bolsters-welfare-but-what-about-housing
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  • Fair wages for Huckleberry workers
    Huckleberry is a chain of organic supermarkets that is rapidly expanding across New Zealand. It is owned and backed by the same group as EcoStore. Huckleberry workers are paid as little as 50c above the minimum wage. On the whole, Huckleberry workers are paid less than workers at most mainstream supermarkets. FIRST Union has been bargaining with Huckleberry since December 2017 for increased and better conditions. Union members originally asked to be paid the Living Wage (then $20.20 per hour), but this was refused. The Living Wage is the hourly wage a worker needs to pay for the necessities of life and participate as an active citizen in the community. It is calculated independently each year, and is currently 20.55 per hour. As it stands, many workers at Huckleberry struggle to pay their rent, or to afford the organic and ethical products they sell each day. Recently, the L'Oreal Distribution Centre in Mangere jumped from a the minimum wage to the Living Wage: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/103003822/loreal-to-pay-living-wage-in-mangere-distribution-centre Another New Zealand organic company, Tonzu, was the first Auckland-based employer to sign on to the Living Wage movement: http://tonzu.co.nz/about/living-wage/ Huckleberry has demonstrated that it has the resources to open new stores and expand its business. It should take a leaf from Tonzu's and L'Oreal's books and invest the resources to fairly pay its staff. FIRST Union members at Huckleberry are taking industrial action to support their cause. Your support would help a lot. Please sign the petition and share widely. More on the Living Wage: https://www.livingwage.org.nz/
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  • Hospo-Go-Bio!
    There is no need for another 100,000 plastic straws to end up in Wellington harbour. The technology is here. With a world is awash in plastic waste Wellington can help a great deal by stopping the use of one-time-use plastic containers and packaging that will immediately go into our landfills, into our streets, into our drains and into our ocean. Most straws are used only once before being thrown away and take up to 200 years to break down. Some bars used up to 800 straws a day over the summer period. Single use plastics, including straws, make up more than three-quarters of all the 1.3 million litres of rubbish they've removed from New Zealand beaches.[1] Wellington City Council has said it plans to bulk purchase paper straws to help its local food places make the switch to more sustainable alternatives. [2] Wellington Hospitality Group, which owns 25 venues throughout Wellington has already stopped using plastic straws. Group retail manager Andrew Williams said all its bars and restaurants had been trialling the "no straw approach" for months, and most customers had embraced it.[3] Our beautiful, coastal and windy city has been contributing an outsize amount of pollution to an environment that is not coping - It has to stop. Wellington leads the world in our own special ways - let's make Hospo-Go-Bio and add another! 1 - https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/347498/contributing-to-plastic-waste-the-last-straw 2 - https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/99987970/plastic-straws-disappearing-from-auckland-food-stores 3 - https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/101706914/wellington-hospitality-group-to-stop-using-plastic-straws
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  • Save The CAMHS Crisis Team
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9eDFYFgZxs The NMDHB has decided to get rid of the 24/7 specialist dedicated CAMHS crisis team. The CAMHS crisis team is run by our local CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Service). It is a crisis line that young people can call any time of day or night and one of the CAMHS staff (with at least two years of specialist training) will help that young person if they are in crisis, for example, at risk of suicide. The crisis team will meet the young person face to face if need be, alert any relevant emergency services and provide support for the family of the young person as well. The DHB in Nelson wants to run the dedicated CAMHS crisis team only during the day time. They want the after hours service to be covered by the adult crisis team. This is how Child and Adolescent crisis is handled in the rest of the country where the suicide rates are much higher. Some of the current CAMHS staff have had two years specialist training in how to deal with children and adolescents needing mental health support. Concerns were raised staff in the all ages team would not have the same level of expertise. [1] This is the only dedicated CAMHS crisis team in the country and over the 20 years that this team has been going, there have only been two suicides in the age band the team serves. This is much lower than anywhere else in the country.[2] While the health board has allocated more funding to services to help those with mild to moderate depression, there could sometimes be a wait of up to six weeks before the person was seen.[3] Removing the CAMHS crisis team is highly likely to result in more youth suicides in the Nelson area. This is contrary to the stated aims of the government to reduce youth suicides. Removing a service that saves lives for no clinically sound reason is a breach of human rights. We need the public of Nelson and New Zealand to stand up for its young people. 1 - https://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/100588811/no-youth-mental-health-specialists-in-afterhours-service 2 - https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/96418545/mental-health-crisis-services-restructured-in-nelson-marlborough 3 - https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/95099356/dhb-restructure-could-put-youth-in-mental-health-crisis-at-further-risk http://nelsonweekly.co.nz/2018/04/mental-health-silence-slap-in-the-face/
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  • Restore the postgraduate student allowance now
    In 2013, the previous Government scrapped postgraduate allowances. Last year, Labour pledged to bring them back, and NZ First and the Greens have also shown their support. Now, we're looking for a start date! Restoring the postgraduate allowance isn't just good for students, it's good for the country. Across Aotearoa, postgraduate students are studying in fields that are crucial to our country's future success - clinical psychology, teaching and learning, and environmental studies to name a few. The current Government is committed to important national issues such as addressing the mental health crisis, uplifting the teaching profession and tackling climate change. In order for this work to succeed, we urgently need to be empowering and supporting our people to gain skills in these areas. A postgraduate student allowance is an easy first step towards making this a reality. Supporting postgraduate success is supporting our country's success. We're calling on the Government to restore the postgraduate student allowance now! No post-grad allowances for first semester, no set start date http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/11/no-post-grad-allowances-for-first-semester-and-no-set-start-date.html
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  • Save the All Wheels Cruiseway Trial on Pilot Bay!
    A trial for a proposed cycleway (“all wheels cruiseway” for skateboards, scooters jogging prams, wheelchairs etc) around Pilot Bay is at risk of not getting off the ground. Councillors are voting next Monday 9 April whether to allow a six month pilot testing a one way route from Pilot Bay around Adams Ave to Maunganui Road to go ahead. Currently there is a 50/50 split in support for this project from elected members. TCC transport team have researched this proposal and refined it to ensure it meets balanced needs of our community for both car users and cyclists, they believe as we do, that combined with connecting cycle routes, this will give options for local people to not bring their cars in to an already overloaded network. The trial would create a 3 metre wide two-way cruise way, and only ONE less car parking space overall. One concern of councillors is that this proposal will create more traffic congestion on Maunganui Road. We dispute this thinking. The provision of this cruiseway system provides the very cycling infrastructure that Tauranga residents are asking their Council to provide for them so they can move around the communities without their cars. We need the community to tell Council there is much to gain with this proposal - from retailers who will enjoy increased sales, to the opportunity to reduce car congestion, to restoring the relaxed holiday vibe that makes Mount Maunganui one of the great destinations in New Zealand. The other important thing to remember, is that this is a trial, so it can be adjusted and modified in response to issues. We do not see positive change in our community without making change, and a trial empowers people to have a say in the final outcome, while giving a new approach a chance. Your support is vital to this petition, please sign and comment, if you live in The Mount, please briefly state this and how you and your friends and family would benefit. Grateful thanks Bike Mount
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  • Sensible Sentencing Trust should not have charitable status
    On March 31, Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) founder Garth McVicar took to Facebook to congratulate police for fatally shooting a 29-year-old east Auckland man after a police chase. He said: "One less to clog the prisons! Congratulations to the New Zealand Police, our thoughts are with the officer who was forced to take this action to protect the public." McVicar founded SST in 2001 for the purpose of lobbying government for a more punitive justice system that is based more on his ideology than actual evidence. McVicar later stood as a candidate for the Conservative Party. In 2010, SST were stripped of their charitable status because they had become a lobby group rather than a charity. The Charities Commission found that the trust "...had not provided any evidence of how ensuring stricter laws concerning violent crimes will protect human life." To get around this, in 2015, the McVicar family set up the Sensible Sentencing Group Trust (SSGT) which is a seperate organisation that has been granted charitable trust status and all of the tax benefits that come with it. The SSGT Administrator is Anne McVicar. Given the Independent Charities Registration Board's recent decision to deny Greenpeace charitable status because of their "independent purpose to promote its own particular views", it seems correct to independently reassess whether the activities of SSGT are in fact charitable. Please sign and share so that we together we may force a review. *** REFERENCES: https://www.charities.govt.nz/news-and-events/hot-topics/update-on-greenpeace-of-new-zealand-incorporated-from-the-independent-charities-registration-board/ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12024068& https://www.charities.govt.nz/news-and-events/media-releases/sensible-sentencing-group-trust-registration/
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  • Don’t mine under Waihi
    A multinational mining corporation is planning to expand its exploitation of Waihi by literally digging under the town. It must be stopped. OceanaGold, which owns the giant open cast pit mine in Waihi, has notified the local council that it wants to expand and mine under people’s homes. Mining under residents houses will be a disaster for a town that has had years of disturbance from the mine activity. There have been landslides in the mine and earth slips causing homes to sink. The uncertainty around the mine activity has affected house values and is wearing down the patience of residents. This is the same corporate giant that tried to sue the El Savador government $300million for regulating to protect the environment. It’s time we put people and our precious planet first and stop this giant private corporation undermining Waihi for its private profits. The corporation plans to lodge consents to mine with the local council which will be pressured by financial interests to accept it. With sustained public pressure against the company right now we can force the corporation to ditch its plans to dig under the town. Sign the petition to OceanaGold now to demand it withdraw plans now for their mine expansion. References OceanaGold proposes new underground mine at Waihi, 29 Mar 2018 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12021586 Waihi homeowners close to deal over subsidence 2013 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10857990 OceanaGold sues El Salvador https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/03/australian-mining-is-poisoning-el-salvador-it-could-soon-send-it-broke-too Map of Waihi gold mine: https://watchdog.org.nz/info/gold-mining-and-eden-park/
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  • Include churches in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse
    People who have experienced abuse in churches and faith-based schools need the opportunity to be heard in this once-in-a-lifetime Inquiry. Faith-based institutions are known to have been involved in the abuse of children and young people, and some covered-up abuse or were complicit in the protection of abusers. Right now, there are 330 integrated schools, many of which are church schools, and all of which receive at least some state funding. Given the provision of state funding to these schools, and the requirement for the state to ensure appropriate standards of care, it would be negligent to exclude them from the scope for this inquiry. The Royal Commission is taking place against a background of national and international concern about abuse in New Zealand state care. The Terms of Reference confirm that New Zealand has international obligations to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to protect individuals from abuse, including measures for the prevention, identification, reporting, referral, investigation and follow-up of incidents of abuse. Abuse of individuals in state care is inconsistent with applicable domestic and international human rights law standards and principles. Abuse - including that which took place in faith-based institutions - warrants prompt and impartial examination, both to understand, acknowledge and respond to the harm caused to individuals, families and communities. The enduring impacts of abuse take a significant toll on the mental health of survivors. For some of these people, seeing churches and associated organisations excluded from this Inquiry will create a sense of revictimisation due to being silenced by the state. Including these faith-based institutions is an opportunity for healing and will contribute to the truth, justice, and reconciliation that so many people need. References: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/101825746/man-who-claims-to-have-nearly-killed-a-priest-to-stop-a-sexual-assault-calls-for-state-abuse-inquiry-to-be-widened https://www.nzcatholic.org.nz/2018/02/02/nz-abuse-inquiry-likely-include-churches/ https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/353367/churches-push-for-inclusion-in-royal-commission-into-abuse
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