Press Release – Occupy Wellington
Following a request by the Wellington City Council to name a definite leaving date, Occupy Wellington has released a statement expressing their concerns about a number of pressing issues in New Zealand, and proposing a framework for transitioning to …Occupy Wellington Clarifies Position in Response to Leaving Date Request
Following a request by the Wellington City Council to name a definite leaving date, Occupy Wellington has released a statement expressing their concerns about a number of pressing issues in New Zealand, and proposing a framework for transitioning to a more equitable and sustainable society.
Problems identified in New Zealand include the widening gap between rich and poor, worsening child poverty, and widespread environmental degradation.
Occupy Wellington’s statement recognizes that the situation in New Zealand is not identical to that in other countries, but notes that we are affected by “many of the same global problems”.
According to the statement, the group advocates a transition away from institutions that promote inequality, towards a “genuinely sustainable system based on human values and the principles of real democracy”.
The release coincides with the forced eviction of Occupy Wall St, the birthplace of the Occupy movement, with more than 200 arrests. According to the Guardian, at least four journalists were included in the arrests, as New York police imposed a “media blackout”, closing airspace to prevent press helicopters documenting the eviction.
For more information, please contact: Occupy Wellington Communications Committee Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Full text of Occupy Wellington Vision Statement below:
Who are we?
We are you; we are the people of the world: all ethnicities, backgrounds, genders, generations, sexualities, dis/abilities and faiths. We stand together in solidarity with pro-democracy movements around the world: the Arab Spring, the Spanish Indignados, popular uprisings in Greece and Iceland, and most recently the global Occupy movement in over 2,500 cities.
Why are we speaking out?
Each of us can identify different problems with the current system, but we are unified in our desire for a move towards social, political and economic systems that benefit all.
Globally, we face increasingly widespread environmental destruction, economic exploitation and disregard for human rights. The institutions perpetrating these abuses against our people and our planet are bigger and more powerful than any government.
How does this apply to New Zealand?
While we recognise that the situation in New Zealand is not identical to that in other countries, we are subject to, and contribute to, many of the same global problems.
• We are internationally recognised as the third most unequal society in the OECD, with an ever-widening gap between rich and poor. This year foreign-owned banks posted billion dollar profits and 151 individuals increased their wealth by $7 billion, while 200,000 children live in poverty.
• In the past 3 years, an unprecedented number of bills have passed under urgency, eliminating the opportunity for public debate while rushing through damaging changes in education, taxation, policing, copyright, and employment relations, to name a few.
• Deaf to the global call for climate action and blind to ongoing environmental catastrophes, our government seeks to open up our fossil fuel reserves to commercial speculation, mine our National Parks and drill for deep-sea oil.
• The cost of education continues to increase, while cuts in funding and resources further compromise its quality.
• Wages are not consistent with the increasing cost of living, meaning more people find it harder to make ends meet.
• This year five homes a day have been foreclosed because the owners can’t keep up with mortgage payments. The possibility of owning a home is getting further out of reach.
We are speaking out now in the hope of prompting positive change before things deteriorate further.
What is causing these problems?
The local and global problems currently facing us are the result of hierarchical economic and political institutions with the wrong priorities: the pursuit of power and profit is currently placed above the needs of people.
How do we find solutions?
We cannot expect the solutions to these problems to come from within the institutions that created them. Solutions must come from the people, united. A change is required, locally and globally, which can only be achieved with the collaboration, cooperation and creativity of all the world’s people.
We need real democracy
Real democracy is not attainable when the political process is influenced by economic power and institutional self-interest.
Decision-making processes involving more voices will generate solutions that benefit all of us.
Right now, the principles of consensus-based decision making, in which all people have an equal say, are being adopted in thousands of cities around the world. This process can be applied on local, national and global scales.
A question of priorities
We believe that society should prioritise universal values of peace, justice, equality, freedom, solidarity, collaboration, sustainability, companionship, respect, and wellbeing.
These rights should be fundamental: health, nutritious food, safe water, housing, education, self-determination, culture, political participation, freedom of movement and peaceful association.
Our vision is a genuinely sustainable system based on human values and the principles of real democracy, in which all planetary resources are treated as the common heritage of all the earth’s inhabitants.
In New Zealand, we are fortunate enough to possess the resources needed to realise this transition. We feel it would be irresponsible not to.
The time is now. Have your say. Shape your future.