Distracted Govt fails to deliver on China tourism

Source: National Party

The Government has failed the tourism sector by not taking the China-NZ Year of Tourism seriously, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“As Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis quietly attended the closing ceremony this week he has overseen the first decrease in Chinese visitors in a decade. Numbers released today confirm visitors from China are down by 39,907, a nine per cent decrease in the year to September compared to 2018.

“The China-NZ Year of Tourism was an opportunity seized by the previous National Government to build upon the growing relationship between our two countries. But a distracted Government has fumbled this opportunity.

“This drop in visitors has a direct impact on small and median sized tourism businesses and means approximately $173 million less has been spent in the tourism economy. 

“By comparison, Kelvin Davis is proud of his Government’s new tourism tax which will only deliver $40 million a year for our tourism industry. 

“This drop in tourism revenue is disappointing from a Government that’s piling costs on business and dragging revenue down. 

“The Government isn’t delivering. It has added new taxes and costs to tourists and has overseen delays in visa processing which means fewer tourists are choosing to come and spend their time and money in New Zealand. 

“New Zealand deserves a Government who actually delivers for our largest export industry.”

NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes direction of school system reforms

Source: New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI)

NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes direction of school system reforms

12 November 2019

NZEI Te Riu Roa has welcomed the direction of the Tomorrow’s Schools reforms announced today.

President Lynda Stuart said it was great to see that the Treaty of Waitangi and the rights of the child were underpinning the changes.

“What we’ve seen today provides hope, and focuses on greater support for school leaders and teachers to meet the needs of our students, while still empowering local Boards of Trustees,” she said.

Ms Stuart said it was particularly encouraging to see the report’s acknowledgement (Recommendation 3f) that teacher aides and cultural experts were undervalued in our schooling system and had precarious employment.

“We agree that changes need to be made as a priority to ensure that these essential staff are appropriately remunerated and developed to continue supporting our students’ success,” she said.

“We’re looking forward to genuine engagement and a high-trust relationship with the Government as we work together on the details of change and implementation. The direction of the reforms is good – how we get there together will be key to their success, along with the necessary resourcing,”  she said.

Ms Stuart said the wider sector was also eagerly awaiting the release of the Early Learning Strategic Plan as it would be of paramount importance to see alignment of our education system for the learners who transition through it.

SH1 Mangaharakeke Stream Bridge to close for urgent repairs

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

State Highway 1 Mangaharakeke Stream Bridge north of Atiamuri village in the Waikato will be closed for six days from 2 December for urgent repairs, with traffic detoured via SH32 and SH30.

An underground stream is threatening to undermine the southern abutment of the bridge and it will need to be fully closed for an effective repair. The bridge is being inspected daily to ensure that it is safe for traffic to continue to use it.

Repairs on the Mangaharakeke Stream Bridge will begin 27 November and for short periods SH1 will be reduced to one lane while equipment is unloaded. For the safety of all road users and site workers drivers are asked to observe any temporary speed limits and be prepared to stop if required.

From 2 December the Mangaharakeke Stream Bridge will be fully closed for up to six days to allow sheet piles to be driven, protecting the abutments from further damage.

While the bridge is closed, SH1 traffic will be detoured via SH32 and SH30.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Acting Waikato Systems Manager Rob Campbell says drivers in the area should expect delays and take alternative routes to avoid SH1 where possible.

“The detour is expected to add approximately 20 minutes to a journey between Taupo and Tokoroa, so please allow extra time for your journey and be patient on the roads.”

Once SH1 is reopened, there will be a further four days of work, which may include further brief lane closures and potentially a period of full closure, depending on progress.

It’s possible that the repairs may take more or less time than expected, and drivers are advised to check out the traffic page(external link) on our website our social media pages or call 0800 4 Highways (0800 44 44 49) for the latest travel information.

“We appreciate how important it is to get traffic back on SH1 as soon as we can, however we are balancing this against ensuring we do the best job possible to repair the bridge,” Mr Campbell says.   

“We would like to thank motorists on SH1 for their patience while we carry out this important work.”

Those travelling between Tokoroa and Turangi who may look to use SH32 and SH41 on the western side of Lake Taupo are advised that the road across the Whakamaru Dam is down to one lane with traffic lights, so expect delays.

Mercury Energy, who own the dam and the road across it, is currently undergoing their standard maintenance programme on the dam’s infrastructure until mid-December.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey this summer. Keep up to date with:

University Sector – Sense of belonging at school key to LGBT students’ success

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: University of Auckland

Students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) are more likely to achieve at school if they feel a sense of belonging, regardless of whether or not they report being bullied.

This was the key finding from a project which looked at the connection between the school experience and LGBT students’ academic achievement. Led by Dr John Fenaughty at the University of Auckland, the research also showed that these students are more resistant to the negative effects of bullying on achievement than their heterosexual peers.

“We presumed that the high levels of bullying reported by this group would impact achievement, but we now know that if they’re at a supportive school, ideally one with high teacher expectations, this minimises the impact,” says Dr Fenaughty.
The research also found differences between LGB and transgender students in relation to factors that support achievement.
“LGB students are more than three times more likely to achieve academically if the principal agrees they have created a supportive environment for them. Supportive structures can include gay and straight alliances, inclusive curriculum content and professional development for teachers on working well with these students.”
At the time, the research didn’t ask about supportive structures for transgender students, but Dr Fenaughty says it’s a known fact that teacher expectation is critical to all students’ academic achievement, and this research is the first globally to show that it’s even more important for LGBT students.
“In fact, LGBT students’ odds of achieving are at least three times higher than those who don’t have teachers with high expectations of them. It is critical that teachers recognise that not all students are the same, and ensure that all are valued and respected.”
Other unexpected findings related to parental support and deprivation.
“Unlike heterosexual students, we found that high levels of parental support for LGBT students wasn’t able to reduce the negative effects of discrimination for these students,” he says. “Rather, achievement for these students relies on an inclusive school environment and this is an urgent reminder for schools to take action on behalf of these students and their whānau.”
Dr Fenaughty says factors like poverty further disadvantage these students, more so than their heterosexual counterparts, but again, these challenges can also be reduced by improving the school environment.
He believes research is needed on how to support schools to do this effectively.
“Increasing students’ sense of belonging and teacher expectations are vital for all students, particularly those who are LGBT, but a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work.Transgender and minority students are often neglected in inclusive approaches.Schools committed to supporting achievement must have structures in place for all students.”
The project used nationally representative datasets from the Youth2000 survey of 8,500 high school students that included around 668 LGBT students.
The results of this project have been recently published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
 

 Notes
 
About John Fenaughty
  • Dr John Fenaughty has a background in community psychology focused on youth wellbeing, particularly the effects of victimisation, harassment and/or LGBT student experiences within school and education settings. 
  • He is an associate investigator with portfolios on educational settings and wellbeing, and sexual and gender minority young people on Youth ’19 Rangitahi Smart Survey. Youth19 builds on previous Youth2000 surveys done by the University of Auckland’s Adolescent Health Research Group. Since 1999, the group has surveyed over 27,000 young people in New Zealand, with findings used widely to inform policy and practice, here and overseas.
  • Dr Fenaughty was an advisor, contributor and collaborator focusing on education and youth for Counting Ourselves – Aotearoa NZ Trans and Non-Binary Health Study.
  • He is also an advisor and contributor to the Growing up in NZ Longitudinal Study, focusing on gender-identity and expression in children aged eight and schooling, gender and sexuality in children aged 11. 

 His current projects include:

  • Supporting LGBT students to thrive and flourish at through and within schooling.
  • Our Voices: The National Census of LGBT and Questioning Teenagers in Aotearoa New Zealand

Tomorrow’s Schools Reforms a step forward for inclusion

Source: Human Rights Commission

Statement by Disability Rights Commissioner, Paula Tesoriero.

Today’s announcement committing schools to being more responsive to disabled learners is a crucial step towards New Zealand achieving a world-class inclusive public education system. 

 

I and others in the disability community have spent many years advocating for these sorts of changes.

 

I am thrilled to see references to world class inclusive public education in the ‘Supporting All Schools to Succeed’ document but this cannot be achieved without the meaningful partnership of disabled people and decision makers.

 

Inclusion is not just about services and supports; it is also about the attitude and confidence of teachers, school leaders and the school community. It is about the bedrock legislation and structures and training that underpin everything. It is about the whole system working together and having the right accountability mechanisms in place.

 

It will be important to see how all aspects of education reform join up in a cohesive bigger picture to achieve this.

 

The introduction of local complaint and dispute resolution panels, and references to the Treaty of Waitangi and relevant human rights in the School Boards’ objectives are good moves, as are the plans to create barrier free access from secondary to tertiary education.

 

The proposed actions recognise that to be inclusive, schools need good curriculum support by all teachers of all learners.  The Education Service Agency idea may mean less competition and a move towards deliberate and in-built collaboration.

Seeing the system as a networked system rather than individual schools is a positive move to better coordination.

 

Good practice in inclusive education needs to be implemented consistently across all of the education reform workstreams. 

 

Some short-term actions would really make a practical difference in disabled learners’ lives such as an immediate review of the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) and the creation of more equitable, transparent funding and support streams.

 

I continue to advocate for an explicit commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) and Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to be built into all new education legislation.  This was done in the recent Oranga Tamariki 2017 legislation, so why would we do that for children in that context but not here.

 

I look forward to working with Government and the community on the next steps for this vital work.

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

For media enquiries contact:

 

[email protected]

Shows – Tiny Meat Gang set to make NZ debut next February!

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: LiveNation

TINY MEAT GANG – Announce their debut New Zealand show for February 2020 – TINY MEAT GANG – The North American comedy musical duo and the creators of the phenomenal TMG Podcast and YouTube series That’s Cringe – are heading to New Zealand for for their debut show this summer.

Los Angeles-based Cody Ko and Noel Miller – AKA Tiny Meat Gang – are proving they are true multi-hyphenates, doing a little bit of everything throughout the year: producing, writing, podcasting, touring and even releasing their own music. In addition to gaining popularity for their 120-million-plus viewed YouTube series, That’s Cringe, the guys started the Tiny Meat Gang (TMG) podcast in 2017 and since then, have taken their podcast on the road and performed in venues across North America – and now Down Under!

Their prestigious appearances include headlining performances at Just for Laughs, Outside Lands and Nashville Comedy Festival. TMG won best podcast at The Shorty Awards in New York City earlier this year.

Additionally, the pair has found a significant cult following for their original music. In June 2019, they released their latest hits Walk Man (a self-produced rap track) and Short King’s Anthem – a collaboration with hitmaker Blackbear. Walk Man recently crossed 15 million streams on Spotify and more than 10 million on YouTube. TMG has also produced content for well-known American brands such as Hinge, Old Spice, Honey and Bud Light.

Tickets for all shows – including a limited number of Meet & Greet VIP Packages – go on sale at 10am (local time) this Friday, November 15.  

Patreon members / subscribers may access tickets during the pre-sale beginning at midday on Tuesday, November 12 / today.

My Live Nation members may also be among the first to secure tickets during the pre-sale beginning 10am Wednesday, November 13.

All shows are All-Ages. For complete tour, ticket and VIP Experience information, visit: livenation.co.nz

TINY MEAT GANG
New Zealand 2020

SKYCITY THEATRE, AUCKLAND
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26

TICKETS ON SALE 10AM FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Patreon pre-sale: 12pm November 12 until 10pm November 14
Live Nation pre-sale: 10am November 13 until 10pm November 14

For complete tour and ticket information, visit tinymeattour.com & www.livenation.co.nz

Shows – EILEN JEWELL – Announces Auckland 2020 Show

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: LiveNation

AUCKLAND, NZ (Nov 12, 2019) – EILEN JEWELL will bring her sultry surf-noir sound and Americana style to New Zealand, returning for one special show at the Powerstation in March next year in celebration of her latest release, Gypsy.

Tickets go on sale at 12pm Tuesday November 19.

My Live Nation members may also secure tickets first during the pre-sale beginning 12pm Friday, November 15.

For complete tour and ticket information, visit: livenation.co.nz.

American Songwriter describes Eilen Jewell as “one of America’s most intriguing, creative and idiosyncratic voices.” That singular voice springs forth from a woman of more than one mind, and she taps into many of them on Gypsy, due out August 16, 2019 on Signature Sounds.
 
Long hailed for her ability to interpolate different genres into her own sound, Jewell manages to make the distinct songs of Gypsy play well together, without compromising their individuality. By the same token, she’s rarely seemed more willing to let different facets of her personality and talent shine through.
 
As the reigning Queen of the Minor Key, Jewell leads a tight quartet that blends influences of surf-noir, early blues, classic country, folk, and 1960s era rock ‘n’ roll. For well over a decade, they’ve toured relentlessly for legions of fans from Boston to Boise and Madrid to Melbourne, playing large festivals, theaters, rock clubs, and coffeehouses. The group has shared stages with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Loretta Lynn, Mavis Staples, Wanda Jackson, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, and Blind Boys of Alabama. Eilen’s fans have marveled at her warmth and onstage humor alongside her beautiful songs and fiery performances. In addition to six of her own full-length albums, Jewell has released two albums with her country-gospel side-project, the Sacred Shakers; a tribute album to Loretta Lynn titled Butcher Holler; and a recent album of rare blues covers, Down Hearted Blues.
 
The Los Angeles Daily News said, “Sometimes as darkly damaged as Lucinda Williams, at others as defiant and teasing as prime Peggy Lee and always authentically Americana in the Gillian Welch tradition … She’s mighty good.”

EILEN JEWELL

POWERSTATION, AUCKLAND
SUNDAY, MARCH 29

TICKETS ON SALE 12PM TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Live Nation pre-sale begins 12pm Friday, November 15 until 11.59pm Sunday, November 17

For complete tour and ticket information, visit eilenjewell.com & www.livenation.co.nz

Gun Control – LISTEN TO EXPERTS, EVIDENCE ON FIREARMS REGISTRY FAILURES, SAYS COLFO

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: Council of Licenced Firearms Owners

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) is urging politicians to heed evidence from respected international experts on why a proposed firearms registry in New Zealand is doomed to fail.

The Finance and Expenditure Committee today heard from Professor Gary Mauser and Dr Samara McPhedran, respected academics in the fields of criminology and homicide from Canada and Australia respectively.

Both are experts on failed firearms registries in Canada and Australia, and said New Zealand must avoid making the same costly mistake by dumping plans for a registry here.

COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee urged lawmakers to make decisions based on the facts and evidence presented by the two experts.  

“Professor Mauser and Dr McPhedran are independent experts who have no skin in the game, other than knowing and understanding first-hand why registries don’t work.  

“Registries result in bureaucracy and cost blowouts, they inadvertently increase the number of illegal firearms in circulation and – crucially – they do not make the general public any safer.”

Professor Mauser, emeritus professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, said Canada’s experiment with the firearms register cost most than $3 billion. During its existence, no more than 60 percent of firearms owners registered their firearms.

Bureaucratic scandals with the administration of the Canada’s firearms register damaged public confidence. It was one of the main reasons for the Liberal Government losing the subsequent election and the register being ultimately scrapped in 2012.

“And, of course, there was the ultimate failure to bring down homicide or suicide rates.”

Dr McPhedran is the director of Griffith University’s Homicide Research Unit in Queensland.

Her chief concern with the Australian state registries was their inaccuracy.

“Some estimates suggest that up to 80 percent of entries in the firearms registers contain errors.”

Dr McPhedran also noted that Australia’s increase in firearms regulation and buy-back schemes resulted in no change to incidents of suicide and homicide involving firearms.

McKee said the evidence against a registry in New Zealand was clear.

“International experience shows that firearms registries don’t increase public safety and are so inaccurate as to be a costly and pointless exercise. The plan must be scrapped.”

Finance and Credit Sector – FinCap welcomes increased protections for consumers introduced to the the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: FinCap
Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee has made key amendments to the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill, giving borrowers more protection from harmful high cost consumer credit contracts. The changes indicate that the Select Committee listened to the voices of Financial Mentors representing consumers that have experienced predatory, high cost and irresponsible lending.
The Select Committee has introduced an interest rate cap of 0.8% a day, restrictions on repeat borrowing and tighter rules for mobile traders. They have also introduced an obligation on credit providers to alert consumers to the services of Financial Mentors through the MoneyTalks helpline, if the customers are in default, fall behind in their payments or are not approved for a high cost loan. Lenders will also be required to provide statistical information about their business on an annual basis to improve monitoring and enforcement.
FinCap together with a coalition of national NGOs and our local partners working in community led a campaign to introduce an interest rate cap.
Tim Barnett, Chief Executive of FinCap said, “Communities and social service providers have been asking for the introduction of an interest rate cap for almost two decades. Now instead of debating whether there should be an interest rate or not, we can work on ensuring that the cap is working and set at the appropriate level to protect consumers from predatory lenders.”
“It is pleasing to see that the evidence and stories brought to Parliament’s Committee by Financial Mentors has helped to change the legislation for the better. Financial Mentors witness the harm done to people, families and communities from harmful credit products and predatory lenders. The stories, they told about of control interest rates, the harmful practices of truck shops and persistent advertising of high cost loans had a noticeable impact on Committee members.”
The requirement for lenders to refer customers to Financial Mentors means that people in financial hardship will know where to find help when they need it. The MoneyTalks helpline is staffed by trained Financial Mentors and can refer people onto the 200 local financial capability and budgeting services across New Zealand. Last week, the MoneyTalks helpline received 200 calls for the first time, showing the growing awareness about the line and the willingness of New Zealanders to talk about their money issues with trained Financial Mentors.
The report by the Select Committee, shows the careful and considered deliberation of the Committee. The report makes important changes to how the system that protects consumers works and addresses issues with particularly harmful products and lenders. FinCap will be monitoring the changes over the next three years and look forward to further opportunities to work with Parliament to protect consumers and improve the financial wellbeing of New Zealanders, such as protecting consumers from harmful debt collection practices.

Transport Sector – Go Bus drives South Auckland bus drivers to full strike action after month from hell

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: First Union
Go Bus drivers in Auckland will be taking full strike action from tomorrow as relations reach a new low with their employer following a week where the company has cancelled regular wage bargaining, arbitrarily suspended union-affiliated drivers, rejected mediated bargaining and endangered the safety of striking workers, FIRST Union said today.
Drivers from the East Tamaki and Airport Go Bus depots will withdraw their labour from 4:00am tomorrow for 24 hours, which may cause some disruption to passengers in South Auckland. This follows weeks of non-disruptive protest that included free fares strikes, partial strikes, and repeated attempts to negotiate with both Go Bus as the operator and Auckland Transport as the service provider. Go Bus have also today declined MBIE’s offer to attend mediated bargaining with drivers.
FIRST Union Secretary for Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing, Jared Abbott, said that bus drivers have been left no other option after being met with total hostility by their employer and receiving no response after writing to Auckland Transport.
“These drivers tried peaceful strike action and were met with arbitrary suspensions that targeted union delegates and anyone else holding out for fair wage bargaining,” said Mr Abbott.
“Both Go Bus and Auckland Transport have tried to pit drivers against the public, which is irresponsible and disingenuous – none of them have taken these actions lightly, and they care about their jobs and their passengers.”
“What they forget is that these drivers are the public, too – they’re low-waged workers fighting for a fair deal at work and regularly scheduled wage bargaining that doesn’t devolve into the zero-sum game that Go Bus have tried to force during one-sided negotiations.”
“Auckland Transport need to wake up and recognise that Go Bus are acting unlawfully and unethically – they’re funded to provide a proper service for the city but instead they’re undermining experienced drivers to keep wages low and pocketing the rest of it while their buses are under-maintained and their drivers are underpaid.”
Carol Clark, a 48-year-old bus driver and union delegate, believes union members are being targeted by Go Bus for seeking better wages and conditions while the wider public has been supportive throughout the industrial action.
“My passengers have been amazing, bringing me food and coffee and checking in on how the strike’s going – they understand that it’s not easy for anyone but they want to help,” said Ms Clark.
“They’re just amazed that anyone can work a 14-hour shift and stay polite and friendly on such low wages with poor working conditions.”
“I know my passengers well, and between them and the non-union drivers, there are lots of people supporting us and wondering why Go Bus wouldn’t want to negotiate with us.”
“Back at the depot, I’m seeing experienced union drivers being targeted by managers who don’t know how to do the job, and people being suspended for all sorts of historical stuff that Go Bus never cared about before and still don’t care about non-union drivers doing.”
Bargaining between FIRST Union members and Go Bus was initiated in May 2019, but the company was unwilling to enter negotiations with drivers until October. A new round of bargaining was set to begin again on Friday this week, but the employer has now cancelled it and continued to suspend striking drivers, as well as declining MBIE’s offer of mediated bargaining. 
“It’s total nonsense to hear Go Bus claiming they’re worried about strike action being an inconvenience to commuters when just last week they were suspending drivers left and right simply for being members of a union who are trying to negotiate fair wages and conditions,” said Mr Abbott.
“Auckland Transport need to stop running interference for their bus operators and recognise that there’s something going very sour at Go Bus – they can’t afford to lose all of their experienced drivers, and there’s no reason they should be trying to.”
“We’re hopefully for a meaningful dialogue with Auckland Transport, but in the meantime, drivers have voted to continue with industrial action tomorrow.”
“We’re asking passengers to be patient and empathetic, bearing in mind that strike action like tomorrow’s is the absolute last resort for bus drivers.”