A toast to our epic community!
This is the second in a monthly series we’ve started this year to give you an overview of the campaign activity for a fair and flourishing Aotearoa New Zealand that is happening across the broad ActionStation community. It won’t cover everything we’ve been doing together as a community, but it should give you a sense of the range of awesome things we have going on.
(If you interested in you can January’s update here.)
We’re travelling around the country to talk with people about how we can improve media
The People’s Commission into Public Broadcasting and Media is a crowdfunded and people-powered investigation to make New Zealand’s public broadcasting and media work better for New Zealanders.
Over the past month, we’ve been travelling around the country with the Coalition for Better Broadcasting and a diverse group of six industry insiders to ask members of the public: How can we make public broadcasting and media better serve the public interest?
The panelists have been travelling the country holding collaborative workshops with the public and other media experts before compiling a report on the state of public broadcasting and media, with a short list of recommendations for how it can be improved, to present to the Government before Budget Day on May 25th. People have also been making submissions to the process online.
The scope includes all publicly and privately owned media, with particular focus on mainstream media and public broadcasting. The major, but not exclusive, focus is on the role of the Government in supporting public interest broadcasting. Our hope is that through this process, we will put public broadcasting — and its funding — on the public and political agenda in 2017.
We’re working hard to fix the public mental health system
Last year, along with psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald and comedian and mental health advocate Mike King, we launched the People’s Mental Health Review, where we invited anyone involved with mental health in New Zealand — from mental health professionals to those with either personal or family experience of the system — to tell their story.
We believe human stories personalise the problems within the mental health system by making it about people, not numbers on a spreadsheet. Stories galvanise popular support and when done right, can push Government to take notice, and action. Stories create empathy, and empathy drives change.
We received more than 700 stories. All very powerful alone, and together even more so.
Over the past six weeks, Marianne and a crew of awesome volunteers have been going through all of the stories, pulling out key themes and findings to create a people-powered report into the state of the public mental health system.
On April 20th, we’ll release our report to the world, and deliver it to decision makers, along with a few key policy recommendations for Government based on your submissions and expert input.
Please be assured, if you’ve asked for your story to be anonymous, it will remain anonymous in our report.
It is our hope that through the sum of these actions, and the sum of your stories, together we can achieve a public mental health system we can all be proud of.
We want to hire a designer to ensure the report is beautiful and has maximum impact, and we also want to build a custom website to share these stories online to ensure our report gets traction.
We’re advocating for clean rivers, and calling out poo in freshwater policy when we see it
When Nick Smith announced the Government’s new “freshwater” plan for our rivers that actually sneakily lowers water quality standards so that our rivers can contain more poo and still be considered “swimmable”, 1452 incredible people in the ActionStation and Choose Clean Water communities responded by crowdfunding this people-powered billboard in downtown Wellington!
The billboard is 12m x 3m on Manners Street. Manners is one of the busiest streets in the CBD and it connects Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. It’s frequented by tourists, Wellingtonians and most importantly MPs!
Together, we are showing that you cannot simply shift the goalpost and hope New Zealanders don’t notice. We need standards that make it clear what is acceptable for our country, not a policy that simply justifies the pollution that’s already happened and allows for worse.
We helped to progress an essential support for survivors of domestic and family violence
A few weeks ago we asked ActionStation members to email Michael Woodhouse asking him to support Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence Victims Protection Bill to go to Select Committee.
The Bill proposed extending leave provisions to include domestic violence leave, giving essential support and protection to victims of abuse so they can stay in work. Staying in employment is critical to reducing the effects of violence. Secure employment enables victims to maintain domestic and economic stability and assists them to a pathway out of violence and to successfully rebuild their lives.
Initially the Government said they wouldn’t support this Bill, but in a surprise turn-around last week, Minister of Justice Amy Adams announced that the Government would support Jan’s Bill to Select Committee. This reversal of the Government’s original position shows that your emails, together with the effort of many others changed the Government’s mind on this.
This Bill provides legislation that signals domestic violence is unacceptable. This Bill will create a system to support businesses to respond effectively. Companies like Countdown, ANZ, and the Warehouse already provide many of the benefits in the Bill.
We’re cracking down on mega-wealthy tax cheats
After a year of public pressure, and people powered campaigning, the Government finally announced changes to our tax system targeting international companies to pay their fair share of tax. But, as with many issues, our Government isn’t going far enough.
The proposal means more companies will pay tax, like the rest of us.
Yet big businesses like Facebook, Google, and Apple, who have little to no physical presence here, but still make truckloads of money off us, will continue to get away with cheating our country of public funds for essential services, like roads, schools and hospitals, that we all use.
So, together, we crowdfunded a GIANT postcard to send to Minister for Revenue, Judith Collins, thanking her for the progress she’s made and urging her to go further.
The postcard is at the printers and we’ve requested a meeting to present the postcard to Collins and talk about how we can improve our tax system so it works for all of us and the planet we love. However, she’s yet to accept. Can you send her a tweet encouraging her to accept the postcard?
We’re working out how we can work past our differences in order to achieve greater impact this election year
Two weeks ago, along with The Collective Project, we hosted a two-day hui (meeting) with 30 or so people from different organisations who are committed to building a fairer, more flourishing country and world.
The hui took place at Youthline in Manukau and the purpose was to see how we can work more effectively together as a ‘progressive movement’ for greater impact in our work.
We had people from Ara Taiohi, JustSpeak, Renters United, Council of Trade Unions,Anew New Zealand, Loomio, WWF NZ, 350 Aotearoa, Manawa Ahi, Hāpai te Hauora,Auckland Action Against Poverty, UNICEF, For Purpose, Handle the Jandal, PledgeMe,Greenpeace, RockEnrol, Progressive Coders Network, Young Innovators Collective,Living Wage Aotearoa, YesWeCare.nz, Access Alliance, Generation Zero, NZNO andSAFE attend.
Effective collaboration is central to the work that we do, and even more so during an election year. You can read more about the hui and its outcomes in this blogpost.
We are helping Shakti Wellington Refuge with our digital tools
Shakti Wellington Refuge was set up in 2014 to support migrant and refugee women experiencing family violence after the murders of two migrant women in Wellington — Sarwan Lata Singh and Mei Fan. It was seen that those women should have had access to culturally appropriate refuge services that understood their cultural contexts.
Last year the Refuge provided service for over 350 women in 2016, with over 200 referrals coming in from the police.
This year, funding for Shakti Wellington Refuge was categorically declined by the Ministry of Social Development despite a needs analysis that showed a clear need for specialist refuge services for migrant and refugee women needing intervention and support from family violence.
The group of passionate young people that form Shakti Youth found this totally unacceptable and have started a campaign on OurActionStation to demand the Ministry adequately funds Shakti Wellington Refuge. Already over 1000 people have signed the campaign, and if enough of us support, it could be enough to persuade the Ministry to reverse its decision.
We are working hard to make homelessness a Budget issue in 2017
One in 100 New Zealanders are now homeless, including children, the elderly and young families. It’s never been worse, and the Government needs to act.
A recent cross-party enquiry has made 20 recommendations of policies proven to be effective overseas. The centrepiece of the recommendations is to create a national strategy to address homelessness. These recommendations are backed by experts and and have cross-party support.
But the Government has brushed the recommendations off, saying homelessness has always been a problem, and that they are already solving it.
In a crisis like this, this just isn’t good enough. Families with children are sleeping in cars, and it’s only getting worse.
This crisis isn’t something to be swept aside, smoothed-over or paid lip-service. This is a real housing crisis affecting real New Zealanders and we won’t go away until it’s done.
We’re working with Gimme Shelter to get our petition up to 10,000 signatures before we deliver it at the beginning of May (just in time for the Budget). Will you sign and share to help us get there?
Ngā mihi nui (With gratitude),
Laura, Marianne, Rick and Eliot — your ActionStation team.
PS. If there is something you are passionate about working to change in your town or city, you can start a campaign here. The best part? We’ll be there to support you every step of the way!