A dose of hope for September
People powered change — a roundup for the month of September
Together with our allies, we delivered an 8,000-strong petition calling for solutions to child and family poverty and coordinated a huge media drive in support
On the 23rd of September, we delivered our 8,000 people strong petition calling on this government to urgently transform our welfare system so everyone in Aotearoa can thrive.
It was a whirlwind of a day for our Economic Fairness Campaigner Ruby, starting with a 6am interview on TVNZ Breakfast, followed by a press conference and delivering our petition to the Prime Minister’s office.
Together, the power of our voices and the media stories we coordinated about our petition meant that Acting Prime Minister (at the time) Winston Peters was forced to admit this government hasn’t done enough yet for those in our country doing it the hardest.
The press conference combined the release of a report by Child Poverty Action Group, and powerful speeches from people who are currently living within the constraints of our broken welfare system.
Here is a list of all the media coverage generated by our event and campaign:
- Breakfast: Government urged to adopt welfare recommendations
- Radio New Zealand: Petition calls for urgent changes to welfare system
- Radio New Zealand: Government not moving fast enough on welfare changes, says advocates
- Stuff: Can’t budget your way out of poverty
- Stuff: Calls for urgent changes to broken welfare system
- Radio New Zealand: ‘I’m not receiving enough income to cover my basic needs’ — beneficiary
- New Zealand Herald Premium: Hannah McGowan: My disease is not my fault, so why am I being punished?
- The Spinoff: How Ruth Richardson’s Mother of all Budgets is still f*cking us today
- Bay of Plenty Times/ The New Zealand Herald Premium: Tauranga solo mum joins calls for urgent welfare reforms
- Stuff: Mothers kept single by Government rules about relationships for beneficiaries
- Stuff: Benefit relationship test ‘is putting our lives on hold’
Along with the petition, we delivered this beautiful photobook made by Lincoln Heights School children, supporting our call to end poverty and help everyone in Aotearoa have what they need to follow their dreams.
Will you help us keep the momentum going by chipping in to print one of these for every MP who has decision-making power to transform our welfare system?
Following the Minister of Finance’s announcement of a record surplus of $7.5 billion on Tuesday, it is clear there is nothing but a lack of political will stopping this government from raising income support and ending poverty in Aotearoa.
You can help build that political will by chipping in to the print the photobooks and sharing the articles about our campaign with your family and friends.
The Kiwi Bottle Drive team secure a huge win for community recycling!
The team behind the Kiwi Bottle Drive are celebrating after Associate Minister for Environment Eugenie Sage announced the launch of bottle refund schemes for Aotearoa.
A bottle deposit scheme (or ‘cash for container’ scheme) is common in Australia and other countries, and used to be normal in New Zealand. The scheme will add 10 or 20 cents to the price of all plastic and glass bottles and cans, which we can claim back when we take them to a community collection point after we’ve used them.
This prevents used bottles ending up on our streets, beaches, forests and oceans by incentivising people to recycle, reuse or repurpose. If done in the right way bottle deposits also create opportunities for communities to manage their own waste systems, create local jobs and protect our wildlife and forests.
For two years Holly, Rowan, and Warren from the Kiwi Bottle Drive team built public support through a variety of creative actions and community events. Over 15,000 people signed their OurActionStation petition asking for these schemes to be rolled out, and 71 people chipped in to support their petition delivery event last year.
They went to Parliament and spoke directly with politicians about how to fix our waste systems. They worked with groups such as Greenpeace who included the ask for bottle deposits in their campaign to end plastic waste.
Holly says it’s a big win. “There’s been a huge swell of public support in the past few months, and support from councils and many different organisations, so it’s exciting to hear work is underway to make bottle refunds a reality.”
Thanks to decades of activism from many people, New Zealand history will be taught in schools!
In September, the government announced that all primary and secondary schools will be expected to teach our country’s history as part of the core curriculum by 2022.
This will include the history of colonisation and immigration in Aotearoa New Zealand, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the New Zealand Wars and more.
This is an incredible, and long overdue win for our entire country. When we understand the past, we are able to walk more justly into the future.
This is also a change that has not been granted overnight. It is the result of many different people pushing for a fairer, more equitable, Aotearoa over years and years. Many whānau, hapū and iwi, students, historians and teachers had been calling for this change for a very long time.
Building on this momentum, over the next few months, we will be campaigning for the government to work with hapū and iwi to develop a Te Tiriti education strategy for adults and wider communities, and providing resources to make it happen.
This could look like a vibrant array of community events and initiatives that breathe life into Te Tiriti o Waitangi in every part of the country to ensure all of our generations move forward together. If you support this ask you can sign this petition which we will deliver next month.
If you would like to help us to continue in this mahi (work) so that pakeke (adults) and kaumātua (elders) learn alongside our tamariki (children) and taiohi (young people), you can make a koha here: https://donate.actionstation.org.nz/nzhistoryeducation
Our friends at SAFE are working hard to protect animals from harm
We know animals can experience a full range of emotions from joy to sadness, to fear, to love.
The laws around animal welfare have been updated to acknowledge this and are meant to protect animals from harm. However the government still allows farmers to export cows and other animals for commercial reasons to countries with much lower animal welfare standards than New Zealand.
While exporting animals for slaughter was stopped back in 2003, farmers are still exporting animals for ‘breeding purposes’. Last month a ship took over 5,000 cows to China in this category and farmers have sent over 17,000 cows overseas in the last eight months.
The animal charity SAFE are working to stop future shipments as they say these cows are likely to end up in concrete factory farms and when slaughtered it will be with cruel methods that are banned in New Zealand.
The legal protection for these animals ends when they leave our shores. And while we can’t, unfortunately, change the rules for how other countries treat animals, we can change the rules in New Zealand and stop sending animals away to suffer.
In two weeks time on Friday 24 October SAFE and supporters are heading to Parliament to ask the Minister for Primary Industries Damien O’Connor to ensure cows and other animals are kept safe and no more are sent overseas.
We’re calling for Oranga Tamariki to live up to its name
In the last four months, tens of thousands of us have stood up to demand that children and babies be kept with whānau, and that CYFS undertake urgent and transformative change.
Together we delivered an open letter signed by more than 17,000 people, rallied on the streets to say Hands Off Our Tamariki, and courageously shared stories of our hurt and hope to help build a better future.
In two weeks, we will launch a report featuring some of these stories. The report will shine a light on the harm CYFS can cause and illuminate whānau-centered solutions.
Our hope is that the report will continue the momentum we have been building together for the past few months. Momentum for policies and practices that keep babies and children with their whānau, and public services that help families with whatever they need to flourish.
The report acknowledges our history — that the sirens were sounded on CYFS decades ago in Pūao-Te-Āta-Tū. It summarises the themes we heard in 70 stories from people who know how necessary changes are; those who CYFS have taken from their families and put in state ‘care’, whānau who have had a tamaiti (child) taken from them, and social workers who have worked on the frontlines and seen the harm to communities. Finally, the report shines a light on the kaupapa Māori models and solutions that form the foundations for a better social welfare system.
We will launch our report on Thursday 24 October at a press conference in Wellington and coordinate supportive op-eds and media stories like we did for our campaign to fix poverty (mentioned above).
There are two ways you can help us campaign for whānau wellbeing right now: chip in to help us launch the report, and/or tell us what to name the report and you think how we should ensure it has safe passage from our community into the world. People power isn’t just a nice slogan at ActionStation, all of our work is powered and directed by you.
Young people organised thousands of us to demand climate action
What a day! The young leaders of the School Strike 4 Climate movement organised Aotearoa’s biggest march for over a decade. 170,000 New Zealanders joined hundreds of thousands more around the world demanding effective policies and urgent action on climate breakdown.
At Parliament the students delivered an Open Letter (hosted by ActionStation) with five specific demands of our elected representatives:
- To acknowledge the magnitude of the climate crisis;
- To pass an ambitious Zero Carbon Act into law;
- To cease all exploration and extraction of fossil fuels;
- To invest in building a renewable and regenerative economy now; and
- To honour its responsibility to our Pacific Island neighbours by ensuring its domestic climate policies align with the Paris Agreement 1.5 goal.
Last day to have your say in local elections
We’ve got just one day left to vote for who will represent us on our local councils, community boards and District Health Boards. Local elections close tomorrow at midday (Saturday 12 October) so make sure you get your votes in! And if you want some inspiration, our friends at RockEnrol have written this great piece about the link between mental health and voting for DHBs.
If you haven’t voted yet, you can drop off your voting papers at your local council service centre or library by noon Saturday. If you don’t have your papers, or you haven’t enrolled, you can enrol and vote at the same time at your council service centre (check with your council where that is) until 4pm today.
If you’re in Auckland and you’re reading this in time there is a stall at the University of Auckland
(20 Symonds Street) 12pm — 4pm and one at the Papatoetoe market (Hunters Plaza, corner Great South Rd & Sutton Crescent) 5.30pm — 8.30pm where you and your friends can enrol and vote at the same time. No ID required!
If you’ve already voted, awesome! Make sure you encourage your friends and whānau to vote too.
Over the last couple of months we’ve spoken with 40 independent candidates under 40 who aim to shake up councils and advocate for people, planet and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
114 ActionStation members made donations to support their campaigns and our work to profile them. Over 50,000 people have read about them on our blog and through our emails and 200 ActionStation volunteers committed to getting three of their friends to vote. Ka rawe (awesome)!
That’s it for another month! Regardless of the local elections results next week, our community and collaborators will still be here acting together in creative and innovative ways to build a fair and flourishing Aotearoa.