Kia ora koutou katoa,
This email is to update you on the Closer Together Whakatata Mai- reducing inequalities information programme.
Inequality – a defining issue for 2011
The issue of inequality continues to be widely discussed and receive significant media coverage. The continuing impacts of high unemployment, cut backs in social support and rising living costs mean that the socio-economic divide is not decreasing and the pain is being felt unevenly, with our children and young people carrying the bulk of the burden. We expect inequality to be one of the issues of the 2011 Election Campaign.
The election campaign is now under way in earnest and political parties are announcing policies. We have published a short election issues guide and we will be updating this with lots more information as the election campaign progresses www.closertogether.org.nz/home/election-2011/. This information includes using the Fairness Test, which will assess policies on the basis of their impact on reducing or increasing inequality. We plan to include links with other websites that provide quality election information on relevant issues.
Letter to all Party Leaders
A letter has been sent to all Party leaders and political candidates to commit to building a fairer New Zealand by actively supporting policy measures that reduce income inequality and bring people closer together. We are asking all Party Leaders to state whether or not they will encourage Party members to show their support to reduce income inequality by supporting debate around, and policies that support, narrowing the gap between rich and poor. We are also contacting all political candidates to invite them to sign up to our Closer Together Whakatata Mai Choice. We will be posting a list of candidates who have signed on the website www.closertogether.org.nz
Closer Together Whakatata Mai Choice – Sign Ups
A big thank you to the nearly 1400 people have signed their support to the call reduce income inequality, either via a Choice card or the website. More than 10,000 postcards have been distributed to various community, social services and church networks around the country and signed cards continue to be returned to the NZCCSS office daily. We continue to aim for 5,000 or more sign-ups before the end of 2011.
Remember that your signature really counts
It is more important than ever that we all continue to put this issue before decision makers in all settings and ask them how they plan to reduce the income and other social and economic inequalities that are affecting our country, and indeed other countries.
Your signature on a card or your name online is an important part of this message – the more who sign up, the stronger the message. Please continue to remind your friends and networks to sign up to the Closer Together Whakatata Mai Choice. Check whether any of the freepost postcards you may have distributed have been signed and posted back! Keep promoting our website www.closertogether.org.nz wherever you can.
Social Media – Facebook and Twitter
The Closer Together Facebook and Twitter pages are busy and have a steady following of several hundred on Facebook. Content on both pages are highly viewed and shared. Other groups are picking up our cause with gusto and doing a fantastic job of re-posting and sharing our content with their networks too. You can invite your friends and contacts to subscribe to Closer Together Whakatata Mai on Facebook and Twitter, as we use tho se networks for updates and information, as well as our Blog on http://www.closertogether.org.nz/blog/.
The past couple of weeks have seen a burst of media interest. Since the launch, stories or coverage has been included in most church media publications. Other media coverage has included Te Karere, TV1, The NZ Herald Scoop, Radio Rhema Hamilton Press and. Interviews have been given to TV1 Breakfast TV, Radio NZ’s Nine to Noon, Manu Kohiri and Insight programmes, the latter of which is due to run on 6th November.
Networking in Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch has been taking place and we consistently receive very positive feedback during and following such events. Workshops with people interested in promoting the issues further through their own networks have also been held and a further workshop is planned for 17th – 18th November in Dunedin.
Presentations on Closer Together Whakatata Mai – reducing inequalities have been made at a number of events including the Public Health Association Conference in September, a Presbyterian Maori Synod hui, Wellington Early Childhood Social Services meeting and the Upturn ’11 Baptist Conference in August and the Women’s Refuge Summit on Women and Children in September.
Champions of Closer Together Whakatata Mai
Further prominent figures such as economics professor Paul Dalziell and former Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro have given their support to the programme. You can read their statements on our website www.closertogether.org.nz/take-action/champions-for-closer-together/.
Across the community and voluntary sector there is wide support and promotion of the issue and organisations such as Rural Women and Funding Information Services have included articles in their newsletters with circulation of several thousands. Closing the Gap – the Income Equality Project www.closingthegap.org.nz is also busy promoting equality issues.
The book “The Big Kahuna” by Gareth Morgan and Susan Guthrie has brought wide attention to the income inequality issue and its relationship to tax and the universal basic income idea. Prominent figures in the business and economics field are expressing their concern at the impact of high inequality on our country’s future potential.
The OccupyNZ movement has sprung up around the country, inspired by the international calls to reduce the gap in wealth, income and power that exists in many countries and between countries. New Zealand’s story is similar – 10% control most of the wealth and income and we have half a million people with “negative wealth” (otherwise known as “debt”!). These facts are on our website.
Please contact us if you are organising an event, need information or leaflets or have a story about reducing inequality to tell. Thank you for your support.
Ngâ mihi nui,
Paul, Jo and all the team at NZCCSS
Thank you for your continued interest in NZCCSS.
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New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, PO Box 12-090, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, New Zealand
04 473 2627 www.nzccss.org.nz or www.justiceandcompassion.org.nz
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