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It is not ‘them’ or ‘us’ – it is ‘we together’

photo of Trevor McGlincheyTrevor McGlinchey
Executive Officer
New Zealand Council of Christian Social  Services

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā maunga, e ngā awaawa o ngā hau e whā, tēnei te mihi atu ki a tātou katoa.  All authorities, all voices, all mountains, all rivers – greetings to us all.

I spent Waitangi Day with whanau and a wide community representation at Ōtākou Marae commemorating this important occasion with Ngāi Tahu whānui. We were privileged to hear a number of excellent speakers, one of whom was Tā Tipene O’Regan.   He reflected on the maturity we have gained as society when considering the Treaty of Waitangi and what it means for New Zealanders. Read more »

Them or Us?

Phil McCarthyPhil McCarthy
Director
Prison  Fellowship of New Zealand

In their 2013 book ‘Contrasts in Punishment , John Pratt & Anna Eriksson explored the differences between the Criminal Justice approaches of ‘Anglophone’ countries (specifically England, Australia and NZ) and those in Scandinavia.

Scandinavian counties are less punitive and have far lower rates of incarceration than NZ and systems like ours.  The authors argue a root cause is that Nordic countries are, and have for centuries been, more inclusive. Read more »

Building a wall – who’ll pay for ours?

Dr Katie Bruce
Director
Just Speak

Walls. A campaign promise and a metaphor. Barriers, exclusion, racism and hate threaten values of equality, peace and hope. But we’re better than that. That would never happen here. We can be secure in our moral outrage here in Aotearoa right?

Right now it’s pretty easy to in a perpetual state of outrage as the new US President signs order after order and strips away hard fought-for rights, freedoms and opportunities. I marched. I marched with my husband and our son to mark our outrage. To show solidarity with those who are already suffering and those who will. To show solidarity with those who marched for the first time and those who wonder why they have to march again for the same things they marched for 50 years ago. Read more »

What do we want? Participatory democracy. When do we want it? Now (more than ever)!

Scott Millar Aug 2015_croppedScott Miller
Chief Executive
Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ)

Marchers filled streets across the world over the weekend, generating a sense of collective purpose and demonstrating the authenticity of physical engagement in a world of slacktivism.

While each of the estimated 3 million people in over 670 locations across the world had their own reasons for marching under the umbrella of challenges a newly appointed, democratically elected President will provide to humanity, I felt some nascent hope for participatory democracy. Read more »

Social Investment – are we getting it right?

Brenda photoBrenda Pilott
National Manager
Social Service Partners Aotearoa

With Bill English and Paula Bennett now PM and Deputy PM, social investment’s main champions are well and truly holding the reins of power.  Social investment was already the only game in town –here’s Treasury’s summary of what it means:

Social Investment is about improving the lives of New Zealanders by applying rigorous and evidence-based investment practices to social services. It means using information and technology to better understand the people who need public services and what works, and then adjusting services accordingly.”

Seems uncontroversial?  Not so much. Read more »

Nanny State and a spoonful of sugar

Warren L 200x300Warren Lindberg
Chief Executive
Public Health Association of New Zealand | Kāhui Hauora Tūmatanui

Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman said back in April, “There is still no evidence a  [sugar] tax would actually decrease obesity.  There is no simple answer otherwise people would have tried it”.

We can agree with the part of his statement that says “there is no simple answer”, but there’re also quite a few people in the health sector determined to help the Minister find a range of answers – some complex, others quite simple.

Read more »

Working together in times of hardship

Ros 2015 short hairRos Rice
Executive Officer
Community Networks Aotearoa

This is a hard blog to write, but lately I have experienced examples in our amazing community sector, of how competition can destroy incredibly good and collaborative organisations.

Let’s not get this wrong.  Monopolies are not the best way to ensure that costs are kept down, and can allow organisations to get too comfortable in their mode of working without keeping up with what their client’s needs are.  Sometimes we all need a bit of a shake-up.  But in our sector’s case, it is our funding reliance on others that has forced us into this competitive model. Read more »

Keep it local

Josie PaganiJosie Pagani
Director
Council for International  Development

The good news is that according to a recent survey about 85% of Americans now believe that climate change is real and man made. Unfortunately the remaining 15% are now in the White House.

Maybe Donald Trump’s bite won’t be as bad as his bark. But the evidence isn’t great. During the election campaign he said that climate change was a hoax made up by the Chinese. He woke up one day, it snowed and he felt cold. If he ate lunch today, that would mean global hunger is a hoax too. Read more »

Seismic shifts and other revolutions

Gabrielle OBrienGabrielle O’Brien
CEO
Birthright NZ

Come opinion writing time, I am always watching out for a topical or newsworthy event to comment on.  This time around I feel like it’s a case of be careful what you wish for!

Here in New Zealand we have felt the ground shift literally under our feet whilst in the United States, the physical earth may not have moved but there is no doubt that they have experienced change of significant magnitude. Read more »

Whangia ka tupu, ka puawai: That which is nurtured, blossoms and grows

Anya_ComVoices (1)Anya Satyanand
Executive Officer
Ara Taiohi

It’s International Youth Worker Week! An extraordinary youth worker from Rainbow Youth, Morgan Butler, has been named from the hundreds of nominees as a finalist in the Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards. Morgan is a Support Manager at Rainbow Youth, an organisation which supports queer and gender-diverse youth by providing and running training opportunities, peer support services and advocacy campaigns. Read more »

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