Stories of hope from the ActionStation community for December 2020.

Welcome to another edition of the monthly dose of hope!

We are a little bit behind, having sent our last ‘monthly’ newsletter out in September, but 2020 has been a wild year and so hiccups along the way are to be expected! We thank you for being with us for this rollercoaster of a year.

This is my last ever monthly dose of hope as the director of ActionStation. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve this community over the past 6.5 years. I’ve learnt so much, made so many incredible friends and together we’ve made lasting and positive impact.

I hope you enjoy reading this last edition as much as I’ve enjoyed writing and editing it.

We delivered our 11,000 strong petition in support of better Māori representation

A gif of photos from the petition delivery at Parliament. There are 12 photos in total and they feature various people speaking at Parliament to a crowd full of people. Speakers include Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, Labour MP Tāmati Coffey, ActionStation director Laura O’Connell Rapira, Greens co-leader Marama Davidson, both the Māori Party co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi + Toni Boynton from Te Rōpū Tautoko Māori. There is also a cut photo of two dogs in the crowd greeting each other

Last week we had the pleasure of working with Te Rōpū Tautoko Māori to deliver our combined petition in support of better Māori representation in local government.

It was a stunning event. We opened with a karakia and closed with waiata. Toni Boynton from Te Rōpū Tautoko Māori did a karanga as she delivered our two petitions in a kete. MPs from Labour, Māori and the Greens were all there to show their support. Whānau travelled from Taranaki, Rotorua and Whakatāne to be there on the day. Students from kura kaupapa also came along.

Together, with our community partners, we:

  • Launched and grew two petitions signed by 11,000+ people in support of giving Māori wards a fair go
  • Crowdfunded enough pūtea to support members of Te Rōpū Tautoko Māori to travel to from Whakatāne to Wellington for the petition delivery
  • Coordinated powerful media coverage of our petition delivery and the need to increase Māori representation in local government, with stories from TVNZ, Te Karere, RNZ, NZ Herald, Newshub and Stuff
  • Garnered public support from the NZ Māori Council and the Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon
  • Left more than 100 positive comments affirming the importance of Māori wards across multiple news stories on social media

When Tāmati Coffey received our petition he said that when it comes to changing the law that allows Māori voice to be blocked in local government, “it is not a matter of if, but when.”

This is wonderful news, and we’re grateful to everyone who signed a petition, donated to the campaign or volunteered their time.

We’re working with Housing Action Porirua to resist gentrification

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Housing Action Porirua members in a meeting; the green hills and houses of Porirua

Every day, people use the OurActionStation platform to build support in their communities to make change on the issues affecting them most.

When it made headlines that Porirua is now the most expensive city to rent, Housing Action Porirua (HAP) leapt into action. HAP is a collective of neighbours who want to ensure that all families in Porirua have good, stable homes. They’re concerned that whānau are being priced out of the community they grew up in and they’re taking a stand.

HAP members used the OurActionStation platform to gather the support of over 500 people in their community to advocate for housing solutions in Porirua. The submission, which was sent to Porirua City Council, recommends, among other things, that the council:

  • Build more homes in the empty city centre — these houses would be within walking distance of public transport and amenities
  • Ensure all new builds are accessible and maneuverable for wheelchair users, including accessible bathrooms on the ground floor
  • Ensure that all new houses are sustainable and built to high standards for good health.

Check out this interview with HAP coordinator, Jasmine Taankink: ‘Regeneration’ — the new gentrification.

We had a win in Wellington for whānau and communities!

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No More Pokies in Wellington

In September, we supported the Problem Gambling Foundation to gather submissions from over 300 Wellingtonians in support of a sinking lid policy for pokie machines in Wellington.

A ‘sinking lid’ policy is one that commits to reducing the number of pokie machines over time, because it recognises that pokies cause harm to communities and whānau.

Pokies are highly addictive and are often placed by gambling corporations in low-income areas. Some people support pokies because they raise funds for community groups, but research shows that only 40% of the funds are returned to the community, and not always the communities where the money comes from.

The fantastic news is that, in August, Wellington City Councillors voted in support of this change! Well done to the Problem Gambling Foundation and everyone else who showed their support.

Our community 💜 animals

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Romina and Stephanie deliver their petition to stop rodeo; a rabbit in a cage; a ship for export of live animals

Over the past 18 months, more and more people and community organisations have been using the OurActionStation platform to take action for the wellbeing of non-human animals.

🐎 Last month, Rom and Stephanie from Direct Animal Action called on Auckland Council’s Rodney Local Board to end its support of rodeo events. If you would like to support this kaupapa, Rom and Stephanie are now organising a peaceful and positive action on New Year’s day in Warkworth.

🐎 SAFE are calling on the new Associate Minister for Animal Welfare to ban the worst aspects of rodeo.

🐥 Direct Animal Action are working alongside locals in Waikato to prevent a new industrial chicken farm.

🐄 Over 12,000 people supported Liz’s call to Taranaki Regional Council to end the live export of cows.

🐇 Tara and the team at NZAVS are calling on the Government to end animal testing in Aotearoa and help scientists move to better, more effective testing methods that do not harm animals. Add your power here.

In Aotearoa we have a special place in our hearts for animals. The native animals in our forests and rivers, the companions we share our lives with, and the millions on farms across the country. We’re proud to support community groups and individuals working hard to ensure that the animals we share this land with are able to live a good life.

We’re collaborating with 75 charities and community groups to advocate for decent incomes for all

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Liveable incomes for all

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been working with the good people at Child Poverty Action Group and Auckland Action Against Poverty to coordinate 75 charities and community organisations to sign an open letter in support of increasing benefit levels before Christmas.

Together we asked the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister for Finance Grant Robertson and Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni to “make sure everyone, whether they are working, caring for children, living with a disability or illness, learning, or have lost their jobs before or because of COVID-19, has a liveable income.”

Organisations signed on to the open letter include National Council of Women, Salvation Army, Mental Health Foundation, Plunket and the Council of Trade Unions. You can read the full open letter and list of organisations here.

We’ve set up a pop-up shop

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A beautiful view of a lake with inflatable poop emojis

Over the (almost) seven years of ActionStation’s life we’ve campaigned across a whole range of kaupapa — from cleaning up our rivers, funding mental health services, transforming our justice system, and so much more.

We’ve also gathered campaign materials along the way, things like the inflatable poop emojis that you see above. These made international news back in 2017 as part of an action we coordinated to clean up river pollution.

Many of the campaign materials are things we don’t need anymore, so we’ve set up a pop-up shop to clear some space while also raising vital funds for our campaigns.

Will you pick up a campaign memento and help ActionStation keep the lights on? By buying a t-shirt, campaign report, book or sticker you’ll be donating to our community making change in 2021.

Visit the ActionStation pop-up shop.

Are you 30 years old or under?

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A graphic with many illustrations of camping equipment, leaves, signs saying ‘vote’, with text saying Ōtaki summer camp, Three days of ideas, politics, comedy, music & nature

In January Laura will be speaking at Ōtaki Summer Camp.

Young people from across Aotearoa will gather for three days of political discussion, education, music, and connecting with one another. Laura will be speaking alongside incredible community leaders like Behrouz Boochani, Anjum Rahman, and many others.

You can find tickets and scholarships to the camp for you or for the young people in your life here.

Thank you, as always, for everything you do to bring about a thriving and Tiriti-honouring Aotearoa New Zealand.

Written by

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

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