A dose of hope for June!
Ka rewa a Matariki, ka nui ngā mihi o te tau hou! We hope that you, your whānau and community are safe, well and warm right now. Despite icy conditions, the passion and energy from our ActionStation community are fiery with success!
These displays of hope and change show our community is capable of incredible things when we act together. Every week ActionStation members combine their time, energy, and power to create a fairer, more equal society where everyone is cared for.
Check out this snapshot of people-powered wins in June to warm you up this winter.
💥 Our community helped secure the biggest rise to benefits in a generation 💥
Our ActionStation community campaigned for two years alongside our friends and allies at Auckland Action Against Poverty, Child Poverty Action Group, Disabled Persons Assembly and many others, to make sure every person and whānau has a liveable income.
And it’s working. In a significant win for people-power, last month the Government announced a $3.3 billion dollar investment to increase income support levels.
Together we stood up for ourselves, our friends, loved ones, neighbours, and whānau who deserve to thrive, but have been locked into poverty by inadequate income support levels. Over the last two years ActionStation members:
✏️ Sent thousands of letters and emails to MPs.
🗞️ Wrote and contributed to hundreds of news articles and opinion pieces.
💸 Pitched in to support people with experience of welfare to share their stories.
📅 Met with local MPs encouraging them to back increasing income support.
📣 Organised and attended events and rallies.
💐 Contributed to a powerful Mother’s Day video highlighting the epic work so many folk are doing, raising kids despite the constraints of poverty.
✅ Chipped in for polling which demonstrated how many people in NZ support changing our welfare system.
💻 Volunteered their time to have compassionate conversations about economic fairness online, and tautoko whānau sharing their stories in the media.
✉️ Coordinated 75+ organisations to collaborate on an open letter calling on the Government to show kindness to people on benefits
➕ And so much more
Without the actions, commitment, and support of ActionStation members and our allies, the increase to benefits wouldn’t have happened. This is a moment to acknowledge the milestone we’ve reached on the path toward a fair Aotearoa for all. While these increases alone won’t achieve liveable incomes for all and solve our poverty crisis, it proves what we’re doing is working. Step by step, we’re bringing closer a future where everyone can thrive.
🐧 #ProtectPūtiki for future generations 🐧
More than 17,000 of us took action to #ProtectPūtiki in just the last month. Members of Ngāti Pāoa, Protect Pūtiki and Waiheke residents are occupying Pūtiki Bay on Waiheke Island to protect their ancestral moana, Tikapa Moana.
Pūtiki Bay is a wāhi taonga, a significant cultural landscape and the landing site of the ancestral Arawa and Tainui waka. Pūtiki is home to kororā (little blue penguins), makō (sharks), aihe (dolphins), and parāoa (whales).
But it’s under threat. In violation of a rāhui placed around the foreshore to protect kaimoana, developers Kennedy Point Boatharbour Limited began construction on a 7.3 hectare marina. Their plans include 186 births, two septic tanks for blackwater and greywater sunk into the seabed, and a floating car park. Hundreds of steel piles could be drilled into the seabed to float the marina’s concrete structures.
Many uri (descendants) of Ngāti Pāoa are reconnecting with Waiheke Island (Te Motu Arai Roa), returning with their ancestral stories, and with their mātauranga (knowledge, understanding). They are present on the whenua each day, documenting the effects of the preparations for construction and the environment.
The Protect Pūtiki rōpū are adamant the proposed marina is a threat to the ancestral moana. They are calling on Auckland Council, Acting Minister for Conservation Ayesha Verrall, and Minister for the Environment David Parker to make sure these connections and mātauranga are acknowledged and respected.
⚡Political power to the young people ⚡
Young people across Aotearoa are building and flexing their political power for a Tiriti-honouring future, where everyone has a home, and everyone’s voice is heard. The OurActionStation platform is buzzing with youth-driven political action.
🗳️ Make it 16 is a youth-led campaign pushing for young people’s voices to be heard in our democracy. They’re calling for the voting age to be made 16, so young people get a say in decisions affecting them. Check out this short doco about this awesome rōpū and their campaign. Ka rawe!
🏠 Young people from A City for People, Generation Zero, and Renters United combined their powers to call on Wellington City Council to pass an ambitious Spatial Plan that sets the foundations for large numbers of quality homes to be built. They know that to ease the housing crisis, we need to build way more homes. And they won!
🏙️ Jahvaya Wheki is campaigning for Hamilton City Council to update the city emblem so that it reflects the Te Tiriti o Waitangi. She surveyed young people on Instagram, and gave an oral presentation to the council. In Jahvaya’s words, “We want an emblem that we are proud of. We want an emblem that represents Maaori, our city, and our diverse multicultural population.”
Communities across the motu (islands) use OurActionStation to create change on issues affecting them. It’s a tool that enables and uplifts young people in political decision making. Anyone can start a petition, access campaign tech tools and receive support from our team, free of charge.
⚖️ Justice for all ⚖️
When rangatahi (young people) are supported to know who they are, discover their passions, and navigate their own way, our whole whānau experience their flourishing
ActionStation member and youth development worker Aaron Hendry works with young people experiencing homelessness. He knows what that support needs to look like. Safe and stable accommodation, and services in the community that focus on strengths and have the flexibility to bend to meet the needs of each rangatahi. And trusted youth workers who understand what’s going on in a young person’s life.
But certain politicians were trying to push forward a law — The Oranga Tamariki (Youth Justice Demerit Points) Amendment Bill — that would introduce a demerit point system, punishing young people through the justice system. Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft said the law “would’ve set the youth justice system back at least 30 years”, criminalising more children and young people.
Aaron took a stand; he broke the issue down for supporters in an opinion piece, launched a petition with four solutions to support rangatahi, and organised the people who signed to make submissions to the select committee, showing them that New Zealanders want a more compassionate and restorative justice system.
After hearing from Aaron and many others, the select committee decided not to accept this punishment-first approach. While the law change was voted down, it has highlighted the many gaps in support available to young people.
Add your name and people power to Aaron and Manaaki Rangatahi’s campaign to develop a strategy to support rangatahi early on, and end youth homelessness for good.
That’s all for this month!