Nine reasons to be hopeful ❤️

A highlight reel of ActionStation activity over the past eight weeks

A collage of ActionStation campaigns

Like me, I imagine that what you want is a society, democracy, and economy that puts everyday people and Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) first.

Whether we’re campaigning to get multinationals to contribute their fair share of taxes, clean up our rivers or save Radio New Zealand — what all our issues share is a broad commitment to fairness and the common good.

This budding movement is a broad tent of fair-minded people who want to get things done. It’s our shared values, plus a willingness to act, that makes someone an ‘ActionStation kind of person’. Not your age, income, postcode, party politics or ethnic background.

You might not have a lot of spare time or a huge bank account, but here you learn you don’t need those things to make a big impact. When we all come together to do what we can, the result adds up to far more than the sum of its parts.

This post is a highlight reel of the incredible activity happening around this growing community of 170,000 awesome humans over the past two months. Enjoy!

We are coming together in real life and over food to discover the more beautiful world our hearts tell is possible

Doris and co at a Kai & Kōrero event

When communities come together over food amazing things can happen.

This election year, we are encouraging thousands of New Zealanders to get together over food, and have a real conversation about what kind of country we want Aotearoa to be in 2040, and what needs to happen and change for us to get there. We’ve partnered with Civic Dinners to make hosting a conversation easy.

The insights these conversations generate will form the basis for a crowdsourced vision and plan for Aotearoa New Zealand that will steer our election campaign work, and for the five to years beyond.

We’ve called this project ‘Kai & Kōrero’ (food and conversation). Will you sign up to host or attend an event?

You’ll be helping to build an agenda for our country’s future, and at the same time you’ll get to connect with friends, family and maybe make some new friends. Here’s what one Kai & Kōrero host (pictured above) had to say about the experience:

“It was a new experience to fill up our family table with a wonderful mix of family, old friends and strangers, who turned into new friends by the end of the evening. I loved hosting the well laid out simple process and everyone engaged so earnestly. We all LOVED the practice of listening to one voice at the time. Wonderful that it was not a debate where one had to try to agree or to convince the other. Simply a beautiful practice of hearing each other’s stories of joys, deep concerns and challenges of living in precious Aotearoa.” — Doris

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Mary delivered a cheeky clean rivers message to Environment Minister Nick Smith

Nick Smith and Mary Sullivan at the Saturday Nelson markets

We love clean rivers and we think the Government needs to do more to ensure every river and lake in New Zealand is clean, healthy and safe.

This is Mary, a Nelson local and member of the ActionStation community.

Mary delivered homemade cupcakes baked in the style of poop emoji to Environment Minister Nick Smith as part of our ongoing campaign calling on the Government to #cutthecrap in our rivers and lakes. Her courageous and cunning act was covered by Stuff and the Nelson Mail.

Thanks so much for your great work Mary!

We celebrated one year of community-led campaigning

Photo of Wellington Girls High School calling for consent education in schools. They have a petition on our community campaign platform here: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/better-sex-education-in-schools

‘People power’ isn’t just a nice slogan at ActionStation: it is ActionStation. It’s why we’re here and how we get things done.

Our community campaign platform OurActionStation is one year old! In May 2016 we launched a new way of campaigning where you lead the campaigns that matter to you most, and our staff will support you to ensure maximum impact.

Since it launched, members of our community have launched more than 100 campaigns and collected almost 200,000 signatures. It’s still young and growing but we have started building a network of confident citizen campaigners.

If there’s an issue close to your heart that you’d like to campaign on, you can start your campaign here.

The quality independent journalism that RNZ delivers is crucial to holding power to account in our democracy.

In April we delivered our joint 32,337 strong petition for increased RNZ funding to Parliament, and the Government responded with a $2.85m funding boost in the May Budget. This is the first increase in eight years!

While we celebrate the boost there’s still more work to do. Dr Peter Thompson, from the Coalition for Better Broadcasting recently calculated that RNZ is actually underfunded by $14m a year. The fight for RNZ goes on!

We’ve been invited to speak to a group of MPs from all the political parties this Thursday to make the case for even more RNZ funding. These MPs are responsible for making recommendations to Government.

We want to make our submission something to remember. We only have 15 minutes to make the case for increased support for RNZ. Will you please chip in to help us print a professional-looking report that will show the politicians on the Committee exactly what is needed for a healthy and well-resourced RNZ?

Together, we’ve made mental health a budget and an election issue

Lucy McSweeney speaks to the media scrum at her petition delivery event for Better Mental Health Education.

We want a public mental health system that cares for all New Zealanders and we have been working hard on this for more than a year now.

This week, we made a giant people-powered submission to the Ministry of Health on behalf of 13,501 members of the ActionStation community. You can read the submission in full here.

We’ve also been supporting Lucy McSweeney, an Auckland University engineering student, who has been campaigning for better mental health education in schools. Lucy’s OurActionStation petition was signed by 9,482 people to Parliament.

Lucy’s local MP David Seymour (ACT) accepted the petition, with cross party support from MPs Chris Bishop (National), Catherine Delahunty MP and Barry Coates (Greens). The event was featured on RNZ, 1News, and Newstalk ZB among others.

ActionStation volunteers led the campaign to properly fund our public health system

Collage of our amazing health defenders!

ActionStation volunteers all around the country delivered local petitions to restore the missing $1.85 billion in Government funding for health. The Auckland campaign leader Hamish Hutchinson has done a written submission which is now being considered by the Health Select Committee.

Apart from the outreach activity of gathering petition signatures, the volunteers shared all the campaign jobs themselves, from the coordination with MPs, approaching and talking with the media, writing press releases, updating the blog, managing their social media — it was all led by the campaign leaders themselves. They put their names and faces to the campaign and the issue and represented ActionStation in their communities. They are ActionStation in their communities.

With this campaign we have started building a network of volunteer campaigners who see ActionStation as the new force that can bring people together, on multiple issues, who can engage with the campaigns for effective and positive change.

We’re supporting James in his campaign to end homelessness

James Crow of Gimme Shelter at Parliament, after making a submission to the Select Services Committee.

On 21 June Parliament heard from James Crow from Gimme Shelter who made a submission to the Social Services committee on why the Government desperately needs a national strategy on ending homelessness.

More than 10,000 of us signed his OurActionStation petition delivered last month asking the government to create effective policy to end homelessness.

Unlike other countries in the OECD New Zealand does not give responsibility to ending homelessness to one Government ministry. It does not even have clear data to measure the scale of the problem.

At the petition handover in May: Tenisha Kumar(AUT Human Rights), Laura O’Connell Rapira (ActionStation), James Crow (Gimme Shelter), Phil Twyford (Labour), Jacinda Ardern (Labour), Shahd Mahmoud (AUT Human Rights) and Dr Desmond Darby (ActionStation volunteer) with images showing the OECD Ministers responsible for homelessness alongside the missing New Zealand Minister.

Homelessness is an issue that most of us can’t believe is happening in our ‘first world’ country, with a ‘rock star’ economy that is supposedly stable and doing well.

We need a cross party approach for this so while we wait to hear back from the Social Services Committee are you able to contact Committee Chair Joanne Hayes to ask what steps they are taking to ensure the Government has a coherent strategy to end homelessness?

You can call Joanne Hayes’ Parliamentary office on 04 817 9509 or email her at jo.hayes@national.org.nz.

We’re still working hard to get Government to crackdown on tax cheats

Judith Collins and Andrew Bayly with our giant crowdfunded postcard message

We have been trying to deliver this giant crowdfunded postcard to Judith Collins for months. It calls on the Revenue Minister to go further in cracking down on multinational tax dodgers who are robbing our schools and hospitals of vital funds.

In lieu of repeated failures to get an appointment with Judith Collins, our Campaign Director Laura delivered the postcard to her colleague Andrew Bayly at the live recording of TV show Back Benches, where one of the themes of conversation was *drumroll please* tax dodging.

The postcard thanks the Revenue Minister for her good work getting started on the crackdown on multinational tax cheats and urges her and the Government to go further by introducing a Diverted Profits Tax (DPT).

Our petition calling for the DPT has been signed by almost 10,000 people and they will be very happy to see Ms Collins take further action in this space. We all do better when multinational companies pay their fair share and the Government has the power to enforce that.

To explore what more the Government could do to make our tax system fairer for everyone, we teamed up with the comic genius White Man Behind A Desk to create a video about how rich people avoid paying tax in New Zealand. 274 awesome people in our community chipped in to help make this happen and it’s now got more than 58,000 views!

Check it out and chip in here to help us put it in front of more people:

We’ve made great progress with medicinal cannabis

A few weeks ago we were able to celebrate as a community our part in Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne’s announcement that doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products, improving access to pain relieving drugs.

This is exactly what more than 6000 of us were asking for and it was an important step in the right direction. But those changes do not make enough of a difference for many people in need. There is a lack of cannabidiol (CBD) only products internationally and none approved in New Zealand.

Since then a Private Member’s Bill was chosen to go through Parliament meaning that the opportunity to truly reform our cannabis laws is here. The Bill, sponsored by MP Julie Anne Genter, would “make it legal for New Zealanders who are suffering from terminal illness or any debilitating condition to use cannabis or cannabis products with the support of a registered medical practitioner.”

This will increase access to therapeutic cannabis for the people who need it if they have support of a registered medical practitioner.

We have chosen to support the passage of this Bill and updated the text of the petition to reflect this. Together, we can make sure people who need medicinal cannabis can get it without fear or unfair barriers.

If you haven’t already, you can sign and share the petition here. If you’d like to see ActionStation be more active on this issue chip in today.

Lastly, I want to give our thanks to Nina who has been with ActionStation since before we launched. First as an intern, then as our Community Campaign Manager, and then looking after our Operations. Nina has been offered an amazing job with our sister organisation in Australia GetUp! Where she’ll be working hard to stop coal company Adani and save the Great Barrier Reef. Best of luck Nina!

To close, we leave you with this whakataukī (Māori proverb) which inspired the Kai & Kōrero project:

He aha te kai a te rangatira, he kōrero
What is the food of a chief? It is talk.
He aha te tohu a te rangatira? He manaaki
What is the sign of a chief? It is generosity
He aha te mahi a te rangatira? He whakatira te iwi
What is the work of a chief? To unite the people

Let’s unite.

Ngā mihi nui (With gratitude),

Laura, Rick, Eliot and Marianne — your ActionStation team.


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