A dose of hope

A round up of people powered change in May 2020

Welcome to your monthly dose of hope!

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been reaching out to ask as many ActionStation members as possible to help shape our People’s Regeneration Plan: a community-powered vision for the Aotearoa New Zealand that should emerge from this crisis.

Over 4,000 of you gave an average of 30 minutes each, totalling a whopping 2,121 hours of collective brainpower and wisdom!

The next step for our staff and volunteers is to analyse your whakaaro in more detail. What we can tell you right now is that the most popular idea among our community is that:

Free dental care was also very popular. Our team loves both of these ideas and we’re looking forward to developing a campaign strategy around achieving them.

Lots of you were also supportive of a billion-dollar fund to support farmers to transition to regenerative agriculture. Fortunately, Greenpeace is already running a campaign on this, which you can read more about here.

We are proud that 1,250 of the people who took our survey are low waged workers or on a benefit; folks that were being let down by the economic rules put in place by people in Government before Covid-19 and whose experience and wisdom should be central in guiding where we go next.

We are grateful to every one of you for taking the time to share your thoughts, and we can’t wait to share the vision in full with you soon!

In the meantime, here is a selection of campaigns that have taken off over the past month. We hope you enjoy them! :)

We’ve had a 300% increase in the number of people using our petition platform for causes close to their heart

And they’re all really important!

In the last few weeks, we’ve had the chance to help seed and support some amazing campaigns that were started by members of the ActionStation community:

✊ Anna, an early childhood teacher in Christchurch, is mobilising fellow teachers to stop the Teacher’s Council from doubling their registration fee.

🌏 Kaye-Maree, on behalf of her iwi Ngāti Whātua, is rallying to protect Kaipara harbour from a toxic waste dump.

☑️ Jake and Jane combined forces to call for all essential workers to be paid at least a living wage. We helped them deliver the petition to Green MP Jan Logie in an online event.

🐕 Aimee is calling on the New Plymouth council to give more dogs the chance of a forever home by halving the cost of adoption for older dogs.

🚸 Sophie, a young city councillor in Kāpiti is using the platform’s digital tools to save Playcentre, to fill the gap in funding offered in this year’s Budget.

Some of these awesome campaigns are already winning! For the past few months, there have been a growing number of stories about students who have been forced to pay rent for empty rooms during lockdown. The team at the New Zealand Union of Student Associations (NZUSA) launched a petition calling for an inquiry into this, alongside a coordinated media and lobbying campaign. This week, their efforts paid off! Parties across Government have agreed to conduct an Inquiry into Residential Student Accommodation and submissions will be open soon.

NZUSA has worked tirelessly to secure this inquiry into student accommodation, and we’re stoked to be able to lend our support.

Do you have a solution to a challenge facing your community? Start a petition today and we’ll support you to turn it into a winning campaign!

10,000 of us are calling for Matariki to be made a public holiday

In May, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that more public holidays for Kiwis to experience New Zealand is among a number of things the Government is “actively considering” to encourage domestic tourism.

With the Māori New Year coming up, we thought now is the perfect time to make Matariki a public holiday, so we lept into action and launched a petition which quickly grew to over 10,000 people. Our petition was then picked up by a couple of different media outlets which helped grow momentum:

Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades star cluster. It rises during Pipiri and marks the beginning of the Māori New Year. It is a time of remembrance, paying respect to those who have passed, and a time for new beginnings and planning for the year ahead. You can read more about Matariki on The Spinoff, or watch this great video from The Wireless.

Our plan from here is to deliver our petition to Parliament in the next couple of weeks. We are also planning a webinar with renowned Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Mātāmua who will answer all of your Matariki questions, and we are commissioning a poll with UMR to see if the majority of New Zealanders support making Matariki a public holiday — we have a feeling they do!

✍️ SIGN: If you agree that Matariki should be a public holiday

We’re advocating for alternatives to armed police

Mock up of street poster that says, Imagine if, instead of armed police, we had teams of mental health specialists.
Mock up of street poster that says, Imagine if, instead of armed police, we had teams of mental health specialists.
Mock up of street poster that says, Imagine if, instead of armed police, we had teams of de-escalation and mental health specialists on call and available 24/7

Imagine a world where police help people instead of harming them.

A world where public safety means we can call on teams of de-escalation specialists, mental health experts and social workers to help us — instead of teams of armed police. A world where police prioritise help over handcuffs, prevention over punishment, and life over death.

A world like this is possible. But only if people like us use our collective power to make it so.

Some of you will have seen the tragic and unnecessary end to George Floyd’s life. Our karakia and thoughts are with his whānau and friends. Our thoughts are also with the three people who were shot and killed by police during the six month trial of armed police here in New Zealand. Like George Floyd, they were people of colour. And like George Floyd, their lives did not have to end.

Just as folks in the US are standing for justice and courageously calling for the end of racist policing, we stand for justice and the end of racist policing here too.

Over the past 12 months, thousands of ActionStation members have:

  • Delivered a petition to the government opposing armed police in a powerful event that was broadcast to the nation on 1News
  • Coordinated a powerful piece of research that shows the majority of Māori and Pasifika people believe we need to prioritise mental health and trauma-informed alternatives to armed police
  • Launched our findings through a big media push, generating news stories that were seen, read and heard by tens of thousands of New Zealanders
  • Commissioned, wrote or published three powerful op-eds on why NZ needs to move away from the use of armed police

You can read those op-eds here:

Now we are crowdfunding to flood the streets with giant posters that we commissioned from Māori Mermaid that illustrate that another path to justice is possible — one based on support, care, and compassion instead of police with guns.

Here’s what they could look like:

Street poster mockup. Poster says, Imagine if police helped people instead of putting in handcuffs …
Street poster mockup. Poster says, Imagine if police helped people instead of putting in handcuffs …

Click here to help make them a reality

If you can’t donate right now, that’s okay too. We’d love it if you would share our poster on Facebook instead, or download and distribute copies in your local community.

We’re calling for transformative and systemic change of Oranga Tamariki

Photo of Dr Alison Green presenting to the Royal Commission into Historic Abuse in State Care
Photo of Dr Alison Green presenting to the Royal Commission into Historic Abuse in State Care
Watch: Dr Alison Green presenting to the Royal Commission into Historic Abuse in State Care. Photo: RNZ / Patrice Allen

Last year, over 17,000 of us signed an open letter calling for transformative and systemic change of Oranga Tamariki. Hundreds of us rallied on the steps of Parliament and thousands of you courageously shared your stories of hurt and hope to help build a better future for our tamariki and mokopuna.

Recently, we were asked by the Social Services and Community Committee to present our case for transformative and systemic change of Oranga Tamariki to the group of MPs charged with making recommendations to the government about child, youth and family care and protection.

So we reached out to Dr Alison Green who is a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan. Her postdoctoral research compares legislation and policy for the removal of Indigenous children from families in Aotearoa and Canada. She also has lived experience of this kaupapa as she was removed from her whānau 10 days after birth and adopted out to a Pākehā couple in a 1950s closed adoption.

Dr Green generously offered her time and expertise and if you have a spare 30 minutes, we highly recommend watching her submission here or reading it in full here. She presents an inspiring case study of Indigenous rights in Canada that New Zealand could learn a lot from.

We’re building a community of online warriors to build support for a kinder welfare system

Our next round of Welfare Tautoko is due to start on Tuesday 16th June. Welfare Tautoko is a six week, one evening a week, program where we train everyday people to become powerful online advocates for a compassionate welfare system. Here is what a participant from the first round of Welfare Tautoko said they got out of the course:

You can learn more about the program and sign up here.

Our friends in the Unions have launched a campaign for increased sick leave

A person in bed holding a sign that says #Stay Home with the text ‘Safer Sick Leave’ written over the top
A person in bed holding a sign that says #Stay Home with the text ‘Safer Sick Leave’ written over the top

Some of you may remember that in March, we sent out a survey to get your help in guiding how our community should respond to Covid-19. In response we:

✍️ Launched a petition calling an emergency basic income for everyone.

✉️ Set up a tool that enables you to email people in government to call for increased and individualised core benefits.

🇳🇿 Developed and launched a community toolkit to support people who want to help others in their community.

🏡 Grew and delivered a petition calling for everyone to have a secure and warm home during and after Covid.

In that survey, there was also huge support for a campaign to permanently increase minimum sick leave requirements because current laws only provide for five days paid sick leave.

We passed the news of your support for this idea on to our friends in the Union movement and they’ve now launched a campaign. You can add your name and show your support for more paid sick leave for all working Kiwis.

Finally, we want to thank each and every one of you for everything that you do to bring about a thriving, just and equitable Aotearoa New Zealand. Whether it’s signing petitions, writing to decision-makers, attending webinars, donating to giant street posters or anything else you may be doing — big or small — it makes a difference.

If you are interested in getting even more involved by volunteering your time or skills with us, please complete this short survey here, or a screen-reader compatible version here.

We work together to create a society where people and planet are more important than profit and Te Tiriti o Waitangi is honoured.