A dose of hope for May

Welcome to our dose of hope for May — the latest community-powered wins for a fair and flourishing Aotearoa, delivered fresh to your inbox. As we enter into our colder months, grab your favourite woollen blanket and get cosy with these stories of change.

☀️ Seven Steps for a Fairer Future ☀️

An image with seven diverse looking hands held up with the words ‘Seven Steps for a Fairer Future’ above the image and ‘Fairer Future Collaboration’ underneath. The background is half yellow, half turquoise, cut on the diagonal with poutama in two corners. Surrounding the image are logos of the 38 organisations who support the release of the action plan.

On Monday, we were proud to release the ‘Seven Steps for a Fairer Future’ report, alongside 37 diverse and powerful organisations from across the motu!

As living costs soar, the need to release the pressure on people with the least is urgent. This seven step action plan outlines the key changes our welfare system needs for people to live with dignity, stay healthy and participate in community life.

While the Government has taken some steps to lift incomes and improve the system, significant change is still needed.

This report is the result of hours, weeks and months of discussion within the Fairer Future collaboration. Over the last 18 months, we’ve coordinated this collaboration that includes communities, and organisations working and living on the frontlines of poverty, and those who support and serve them.

‘Seven Steps for a Fairer Future’ outlines tangible steps people in government can choose to take to unlock families from poverty. It calls for an immediate increase in core benefit levels to be liveable incomes — backed by research on what constitutes a liveable income in 2022. It outlines how increasing the minimum wage to the living wage can help people catch up with the rising cost of living, and the urgent need to increase the Disability Allowance. The other steps set out changes to policies and practices — like ensuring people can get into relationships without their incomes getting cut, removing sanctions (where benefits are reduced, suspended or cancelled, often for confusing, arbitrary, or demeaning reasons); the wiping of debt owed to the Ministry for Social Development; and improving supplementary assistance and urgent grants.

As the Assistant Māori Commissioner for Children, Glenis Hiria Philip-Barbara, said at our press conference — when 38 community organisations are calling for these steps, the Government needs to listen.

📖 READ: The Seven Steps for a Fairer Future Report
📹 WATCH: The report launch press conference
📝 READ: Liveable incomes in 2022 findings

🚞 People-power keeping us on track 🚞

A snapshot of the top of a news article on 1News, reading: ‘KiwiRail has quietly announced its Auckland to Wellington and Picton to Christchurch same-day train services will resume after a vocal campaign.’

In a major win for public transport, KiwiRail has reinstated the same-day Auckland to Wellington, and Picton to Christchurch services!

There is no doubt this is a result of the epic people-powered campaigning by the Save Our Trains campaign team and the 8,000+ ActionStation members supporting them. If you are one of those folks — thank you for your part in this awesome win!

Reinstatement of services was only half the campaign goals. Now, the Save Our Trains team is focussing on a comprehensive strategy for long-distance passenger rail that takes into account accessibility, affordability, climate action and regional development. To keep the wins coming, you can sign their OurActionStation petition here.

🍞 Kai for everyone 🍞

An empty supermarket trolley in an aisle in a supermarket with a big black price tag that says ‘End the Supermarket Crisis’

Deeply concerned about soaring food prices and the impact on struggling families, brother-and-sister duo Rene Jansen and Sonja Lamers are taking on the supermarket duopoly!

The pair says everyone needs to eat, and we all deserve healthy, nutritious food. But right now more and more families are forced to go without because of the high prices supermarkets are demanding.

“The two supermarket giants Woolworths NZ, who own Countdown and FreshChoice, and Foodstuffs, who own New World, Pak’nSave and Four Square, are literally making record profits at the expense of the rest of us.”

Rene and Sonja are calling on the Government to act quickly to break up the supermarket duopoly, and bring in laws to protect both shoppers and suppliers. Sign the petition for urgent and effective action to break up the supermarket duopoly’s stronghold on our food supply.

🕯️ Justice for people seeking asylum 🕯️

An image with on the left a family of 3 holding luggage with a large yellow hand looming overhead, on the right is text that says: ’NZ Government:People seeking asylum should be welcomed, not imprisoned.’ And a button in the bottom right corner that says: take action with a yellow arrow pointing to it.

This month we’re celebrating a significant step toward caring for and showing manaaki to people who seek asylum in Aotearoa. Thanks to the dedicated work of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand and the Asylum Seekers Support Trust, Immigration New Zealand has announced they will stop sending people who make asylum claims in Aotearoa to prison.

In 2021, Amnesty International released a report on the imprisonment of asylum seekers in Aotearoa called ‘Please Take Me To A Safe Place.’ While most of the people who apply for asylum in Aotearoa are not detained, 86 people were imprisoned between 2015 and 2020, sometimes for months and sometimes for years. The research included first-hand testimonies of 12 people, detailing horrific experiences.

In the words of the General Manager of the Asylum Seekers Support Trust, Mustafa Derbashi, “People who seek asylum deserve to have a safe place to build a new home. They are refugees by circumstance, not by choice. They have to be treated with dignity.”

Our gratitude and love goes to everyone who made this happen, especially the people who boldly told their stories, as well as supporters and advocates, the researchers at Amnesty International, the Asylum Seekers Support Trust and community leaders.

💜 Are you the next ActionStation team member? 💜

A Zoom screen featuring six ActionStation staff smiling and laughing

ActionStation couldn’t exist without the small donations of everyday people who want to see a fairer Aotearoa. Every single person who chips in matters to us, and we want to show our appreciation! So we’re looking for a part-time Fundraising Coordinator who can create a program to care for our donors, as well as lead fundraising efforts to keep us working for change well into the future.

If you, or somebody you know, has fundraising skills and a passion for social justice, you can apply with us here. Get your application in before Thursday the 12th of May.

From our woollen blankets to yours,

Kassie, Madeleine, Ann, Pania, Aiko, Ruby, Nikky, Andrés, Indi, Ali and Max — your ActionStation team.

P.S. We know a dose of hope goes a long way, so share this blog post with your friends and whānau.

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ActionStation

ActionStation

Community campaigning organisation bringing people together to act in powerful and coordinated ways to create a fair and flourishing Aotearoa for all.