Stories about awesome humans, for awesome humans
If you’re anything like us, it can get pretty tiring reading all the bad news in our world. So today, why not grab a cuppa and sit down to read through some of the amazing mahi (work) this community have been up to the past six weeks with your help.
Our work at ActionStation is about all of us acting together, in new ways and in real time, to create what we cannot achieve on our own: a society, economy and democracy that serves all of us — everyday people and the planet we love.
HERE ARE OUR HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PAST SIX WEEKS
We’re having a big impact with crowd-sourced stories about mental health
This week we launched our report on the People’s Mental Health Review. This report is based on stories from 500 people who made submissions to the People’s Review late last year. It reveals a mental health system in crisis, with long wait times, a lack of suitable treatment options and an under-resourced and stressed workforce.
The report is already getting amazing traction in the media, with coverage on 1News, Newshub, Radio NZ, NewstalkZB, the Herald and Stuff amongst others, which has meant that the Minister and the Ministry have had to respond to our recommendations.
The report calls for urgent funding increases for mental health services, an independent inquiry into mental health in New Zealand, restoration of the Mental Health Commission and a national education program. We’ve put those recommendations into an open letter to the Government and are inviting you to add your name to the open letter.
We’re protecting our native kiwi from dangerous pipelines
A company called Okuru Enterprises Ltd, now trading as Alpine Pure, has been given the right to take and export 800,000 tonnes of water — about 800 million litres — each month from a water catchment high in the mountains at Mount Aspiring National Park.
As part of this arrangement, the company has also been given the right to lay a pipeline to transport the water out to sea to waiting ships through a sanctuary for New Zealand’s rarest kiwi, the Haast Tokoeka.
There’s just over 400 Haast Tokoeka left in Aotearoa. The Department of Conservation says its status is “Nationally Critical”, and 33 of them are believed to live near the pipeline.
Our national bird cannot afford for this risk. Already more than 13,000 people have signed our petition in just over one week. Now we’re crowdfunding to rent a huge truck to park in front of Conservation Minister Maggie Barry’s office next week — a real attention grabber for Ms Barry and the media.
We’re standing with Ngā Mōrehu (abuse survivors)
On current affairs show The Hui, four brave men spoke out about the physical, mental and sexual abuse they endured while in state ‘care’. It was powerful, tragic, and yet hopeful that there can be resolution.
They’re only a few of the more than 100,000 children who were removed from their families between the 1950s and 1980s. More than half of these children were Māori, and many suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse.
Annelise has started a petition on our community campaign platform OurActionStation calling for a wide-ranging independent Commission of Inquiry to ensure these abuses can never happen again.
An Independent Inquiry would uncover the scale of abuse, acknowledge the harm done to victims and clearly identify the failures in the system that allowed the abuse to occur, so we can ensure that it never happens again.
We delivered a petition signed by 32,337 people in a GIANT block of ice calling for the government to unfreeze RNZ funding
Last Tuesday we delivered a 32,000-strong petition to Parliament in a GIANT block of ice. It was a fun way to highlight the serious issue of the need to unfreeze Radio New Zealand funding.
As you know RNZ funding has been frozen at the same level since 2008 but there is huge popular support to save this essential public broadcaster, and today with the tabling of the petition in Parliament the public demand to restore funding has been heard in the House.
The petition joined the combined forces of ActionStation, Coalition for Better Broadcasting (CBB) and Jo Bond (Fund RNZ) representing the collected wishes of 32,337 supporters of the campaign to save RNZ. The delivery event was generously crowdfunded by you, the ActionStation community.
We’ll keep you updated as the petition goes through the Select Committee process, as we’ll be encouraging you all to take action once again. In the meantime, if you wanted to bump this issue up Maggie Barry’s agenda once more, her email is email@example.com.
Also keep an eye out in May for the people-powered report and policy recommendations from our Make Our Media Better public inquiry to be delivered to the Government in May.
We crowdfunded an ad into The Dominion Post calling for an independent inquiry into the deaths of civilians
When a book was released in March detailing the deaths of Afghan villagers during a raid led by the NZ SAS many of us were outraged. In response, thousands signed a petition demanding an independent inquiry, our Co-Director Marianne Elliott did a powerful interview on TVNZ’s Q+A, and the day after Prime Minister Bill English decided that he didn’t think there needed to be an inquiry our crowdfunded ad was placed in The Dominion Post demanding one.
Since then, the issue has gone out of the media cycle. Easter has happened and the Prime Minister is banking on us forgetting about it. But ActionStation members like you are doubling down on our efforts to keep the demand for an inquiry alive.
Already 70 people have signed up to volunteer to keep driving the campaign. We had productive planning call with the 10 volunteers, from right around the country, that could make it on Tuesday evening discussing some powerful tactics that will keep persistent pressure on for the months to come. If you’re keen to be involved in driving this campaign you can sign up here.
We presented to Select Committee on the need to stop KiwiSaver investments in weapons (yes, it’s still legal)
We teamed up with Amnesty International Aotearoa to tell the MPs who sit on the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee that 17,000 people in this community, along with 86% of all New Zealanders, want the Government to take the lead in ensuring our KiwiSaver funds aren’t invested in illegal weapons.
The Committee heard a very clear message: they need to take action to ensure that all New Zealanders can place their savings into KiwiSaver funds confident in the knowledge that our savings are not funding the production of weapons and bombs.
We need a cross party approach for this so while we wait to hear back from the Committee are you able to contact Committee Chair Chris Bishop, or Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson to ask what steps they are taking to ensure we have a KiwiSaver that saves rather than harms?
You can call Chris Bishop’s Parliamentary office on 04 817 9093 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can call Grant Robertson’s Parliamentary office on 04 817 8204 or email him at email@example.com.
Our amazing volunteers are collecting petition signatures all around the country for a fully funded public health system
A recent damning report says that 1 in 4 of us are unable to get the primary care we need because we can’t see a GP, while hundreds of thousands of people in this country have a need for specialist care, such as surgery for a hip replacement, which is not being met.
We believe every single New Zealander — regardless of their age, income, postcode or ethnic background — should have access to quality affordable healthcare when and where they need it.
We have 21 days, just three weeks to support our local campaign leaders of the Save our healthcare campaign to get as many signatures as we can. Why 21 days? Our campaign leaders are looking to deliver their individual petitions to their MP before the May Budget, on 25 May.
The leaders of the campaign are all volunteers with a passion to save our healthcare. Some have personal experience of the problems facing the health system and others work or have worked in hospitals and have seen first hand the importance of quality care to everyday New Zealanders.
You can read about their stories and the work they’re doing here.
If you can help our leaders to restore adequate funding for our essential health system by going out to help collect petition signatures, join the 21 days of action event on Facebook.
You can also sign the online petition here.
We’re supporting Lauren and Ruby to get modern, effective consent and sex education in schools
Despite recent events when two Wellington students posted comments encouraging people to rape drunk, unconscious girls the Education Minister Hekia Parata has said that consent education is just ‘a family issue’ and she will not make it compulsory in schools. High school students Lauren and Ruby disagree and have started a community campaign calling for consistent and compulsory sex education in our schools.
While social norms and attitudes have come a long way, this is such an important issue right now as questions of how to counter rape culture are being asked by teachers, students and parents. If we want young people to understand healthy relationships then we should be providing consistent education about consent, regardless of their family situation or what school they go to.
Hundreds of people have been signing their petition and Lauren has been featured on Newstalk ZB and the New Zealand Herald and other media, such as this in-depth piece on the media site for young women Villainesse.
The Education Minister has the power to make consent, and sex education taught consistently in every New Zealand school. Will you ask her to do that?
We’re taking a stand for love and human rights 🏳️🌈
More than 100 men have reportedly been arrested under suspicion of being gay in Chechnya, Russia. At least three men are reported murdered.
Laura, our co-director has launched her own petition on our community campaign platform calling on the New Zealand Government to urge Russia to investigate the detention and murders of the (perceived) gay men in Chechnya, publicly condemn this violent persecution, demand an immediate halt to the violence against the LGBTI community within Russian borders and the release of those detained. Will you add your name to the call?
Everyone deserves the right to life, love, freedom, safety and security.
To round off this month’s highlight email, we leave you with this wonderful quote from author and anthropologist Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Thank you for all that you do ActionStation whānau — big or small, every bit of kindness, compassion and courage makes a difference.
Ngā mihi nui (With gratitude),
Laura, Marianne, Rick and Eliot — your ActionStation team.