Save the Children – “This house killed my sister”: Children terrified of returning to their homes in earthquake-hit Afghanistan

Source: Save the Children

Children in Paktika province, one of the areas hardest-hit by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan 10 days ago, are still terrified of returning to their homes where their loved ones were killed, Save the Children said.
Tremors and aftershocks continue to rock the region, triggering memories of the earthquake that has left 362,000 children and adults in urgent need of food, shelter and access to healthcare, clean water and sanitation services. Around 770 people – including 155 children – were killed in the earthquake and nearly 1,500 were injured.
Hakim-, 35, lost his two young daughters, a niece and nephew when their home caved in on top of them. He said his children and his brother’s children are still emotionally distressed about what has happened to them.
” Eight of the children cried when I brought them back to the destroyed house for the first time. Seeing the destruction and thinking about what had happened to them on the night of the earthquake, they were terrified of the house,” Hakim said.
” My nephew Farid- (4), asked me why I had brought him back to the house. I told him that we are going to re-build the house for you, and you will be living in the house again. He told me that he will destroy the house so we can’t come back to it again [because he is so scared of living in there again].”
Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children Country Director in Afghanistan, who visited families impacted by the earthquake this week, said:
” I have more than 20 years working in humanitarian disasters and what I have seen is truly shocking. People have lost everything – their clothes, their livestock, their homes and their loved ones. I also met a lot of families who are sleeping out in the open because there are huge cracks in their homes, and they are afraid that the aftershocks will cause their homes to collapse.
“I met children who are still in complete shock about what’s happened to them. They told me: ‘this home killed my sister. This home killed my brother. And I don’t want to go back inside there.’ It is truly heart-wrenching.
” This disaster would have been devastating on its own, but Afghanistan was already facing catastrophic levels of hunger, a collapse of the health system and severe economic hardship. This is an emergency within an emergency and children – not just in the earthquake impacted areas but across the country – need urgent support.
” Governments can – and must – urgently respond. First and foremost, they can provide financial support. This will enable the life-saving work taking place now and over the coming weeks, but also the longer-term work to help these communities recover.
“Critically, this support cannot come at the expense of the existing humanitarian appeal which only has about a third of the total required for 2022. This is a new, additional emergency, and requires new, additional funding. NGOs like Save the Children are currently drawing staff and resources from our existing humanitarian programmes to respond to the earthquake, which will have immediate impact if funding is not replenished.”
Save the Children has sent teams to the most impacted areas in Paktika province and is providing families with emergency cash grants to support them to buy shelter materials to rebuild their homes and to buy other urgent supplies, such as food and clean water and to pay for medical care. The agency is also conducting further assessments to determine children’s needs.

Amnesty International – Use of Cell Buster pepper spray was unlawful

Source: Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand

The High Court has declared regulations from 2009-2017 authorising the use of Cell Buster pepper spray in prison unlawful. It found that Ministers had insufficient information to be satisfied that Cell Buster was consistent with humane treatment, as required by the Corrections Act 2004.
The following can be attributed to Lisa Woods, Campaigns Director, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand:
“This is alarming, essentially the Department of Corrections were allowing a weapon without proper authorisation. This is unacceptable and a further indication that the use of pepper spray and more broadly the use of force by Corrections needs to be examined.”
Amnesty International along with others in the community have been warning of the very real risks of pepper spray for some time.
“We are concerned that pepper spray is not being deployed humanely, and the consequences can be severe. This ruling must serve as a stark warning. It shows a clear failure of the system, the Minister must now step up and take responsibility. The use of pepper spray and more generally the use of force in prisons must be scrutinised for consistency with human rights standards.
With an ongoing stream of serious human rights issues in our prison system, the Minister must take responsibility and act now to ensure all people in prison are safe and treated with dignity and care.”

Porirua City – Lightboxes to add more colour to Porirua’s CBD

Source: Porirua City Council

New lightboxes installed in Porirua’s city centre will showcase local artists and their work.
Three lightboxes, more than 3 metres tall and made of steel and glass, have been installed in the spine of Porirua’s CBD, Te Manawa, running from Hagley St to Ferry Pl.
The first installation, unveiled by Ngāti Toa kaumātua Taku Parai on Friday, is by Ngāti Toa’s Kohai Grace, featuring her weaving, modelled by her Hongoeka whānau, and photographed by her brother.
“This wonderful opportunity has provided a new way for me to share and continue the mātauranga Māori of this ancient art form that has a rich whakapapa, interweaving past, present and future.”
Porirua Mayor Anita Baker says the lightboxes can only add to the vitality and vibrancy of the city centre.
“There has been a lot of work done to make the centre of Porirua colourful and attractive. The way that Ferry Pl has been opened up to link with the railway station, the stunning artwork on the backs of the buildings, now the lightboxes, which will look great at night – it all adds to making Te Manawa a place residents and visitors can enjoy.”
The three lightboxes will be changed with new artists’ work every four months.
Grace also has an exhibition currently on at Pātaka, showing the breadth of her weaving practices covering tāniko and whatu, and use of muka (flax fibre). 

Health Provision – IHC: Flawed system funding community programmes for disabled adults must go

Source: IHC

New Zealand is once again calling on the Government to overhaul an outdated system that determines what community programmes disabled adults have access to based on flawed assessments they were given as children.

A case note published this week from the Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, highlighted a complaint by the parent of a disabled man whose high needs classification was made under the Ministry of Education’s Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) while he was at school in 1999.

The Ministry of Social Development uses the ORS assessment to determine funding for disabled people for community participation services from the time they leave school until age 65.

IHC’s 2022 Inclusive Education Survey found 99 percent of educational professionals and 100 percent of medical professionals are calling for a complete overhaul of ORS.

IHC Director of Advocacy Tania Thomas says while she appreciates that MSD has undertaken to resolve the individual case, the system needs a complete overhaul to support all disabled adults.

“We support the Chief Ombudsman’s statement that it’s unreasonable that there is nothing in place to reassess funding for community participation programmes for disabled people once they leave school,” says Tania. “Adults should be reassessed to make sure they have equitable access based on their current needs.”

“If you’re to take what a 14-year-old’s needs are and base that on what they have access to once they finish school – it just doesn’t make sense.

“ORS funding wasn’t broad enough in 1999 and it still isn’t today. We are bombarded at IHC with stories about disabled students in classrooms right now, who can’t get ORS and are underfunded and floundering. We also hear from families and schools at their wits' end trying to get disabled children into the classroom, learning and being included every day with very small amounts of money. When this fails, as it does frequently, families must give up paid work to home school their child.

“Research that came out earlier this year showed that neurodiverse children are more likely to be stood down or suspended than the general population. That disparity disappears when the child has ORS funding, so we know that better financial support for disabled and neurodiverse children is critical for their educational success.

“The ORS model is not fit-for-purpose in school, nor after school, and so we are asking for a more flexible system that actually takes into account what works for the individual.

“The new Ministry for Disabled People comes into being today. It needs to be a priority for them.”

About IHC New Zealand

IHC New Zealand advocates for the rights, inclusion and welfare of all people with intellectual disabilities and supports them to live satisfying lives in the community. IHC provides advocacy, volunteering, events, membership associations and fundraising. It is part of the IHC Group, which also includes IDEA Services, Choices NZ and Accessible Properties.

Legislation – Reserve Bank of New Zealand welcomes new legislative foundations

Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand

1 July 2022 – The Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua has today welcomed commencement of its new foundational legislation the RBNZ Act 2021.

The new Act replaces previous legislation that was more than 30 years old, and ushers in a new statutory governance board responsible for all decision-making at Te Pūtea Matua (except decisions reserved for the Monetary Policy Committee).

The eight member governance board replaces the previous advisory board and is chaired by Professor Neil Quigley, who over the past nine months has also led the interim transition board overseeing preparations for the changes required under the Act.

Professor Quigley said he was pleased and proud to be leading a group of such highly experienced, diverse and talented directors, and that its strengthened governance arrangements would stand the Reserve Bank in good stead for the future.

“The next few years will be a critical period for the organisation. Expectations of central banks globally have never been higher, and New Zealanders are looking to us to deliver a strong and stable financial system and help steer the economy through what will undoubtedly continue to be challenging times ahead,” Professor Quigley said.

“The Act also formalises the role of Te Tai Ōhanga | The Treasury as our new monitoring agency and we welcome the additional oversight this will provide as we work to meet our agreed measures and targets.

The Reserve Bank Governor is a member of the new Board as well as RBNZ Chief Executive. Governor Adrian Orr said he wanted to thank and acknowledge the many people across the organisation and at the Treasury who have worked hard to implement all the changes required under the Act.

“Our strengthened legislative foundations are a significant step in our wider transformation efforts under which Te Pūtea Matua is evolving into a modern, agile, fit for purpose central bank for Aotearoa,” Mr Orr said.

“We have strong leadership and exceptionally capable people, and I have full confidence in our readiness to meet the increased levels of accountability and transparency required of us.

This includes releasing our new Statement of Financial Risk Management later this month and Statements of Prudential Policy, Intent and Performance Expectations in August. These key strategic documents set out how we approach our work, what we aim to achieve, and how we measure our performance.”
 

More information

BusinessNZ – Winners and losers in NZ-EU FTA

Source: BusinessNZ

Director of Advocacy at BusinessNZ Catherine Beard said while the NZ Government and Officials were able to land some wins for exporters in the newly announced FTA with the EU, it is also a deal that falls well short of our best FTA’s in that two of our biggest goods export sectors (meat and dairy) did not get commercially meaningful outcomes.
“Horticulture, wine, honey and seafood exporters will be pleased with the result, but the EU has not lived up to its mantra of being an open economy with the protectionist approach it takes to meat and dairy imports from New Zealand. This is not only to the detriment of NZ exporters from the meat and dairy sectors, but it means that EU consumers will be paying more for our high quality sustainably produced food.
“We note that there is an ambitious outcome on climate action that has never been included in an FTA before, making our commitments under the Paris Agreement subject to binding dispute settlement. While that could be challenging for New Zealand, it could also be challenging for the EU, and we will be monitoring this closely.
“BusinessNZ is pleased to see that services exporters will be able to compete in the EU market on a comparable basis with other EU trading partners and services exporters from other countries, including the UK and Singapore.
“While we could not call this a high quality comprehensive FTA, we acknowledge the hard work our negotiators put into this deal and the difficulty they were up against with the multitude of countries that make up the European Union.”

Porirua City confirms Annual Plan for 2022-23

Source: Porirua City Council

Porirua City Council has confirmed its Annual Plan, sticking to the budget set out in the Long-term Plan (LTP) adopted last year.
Every three years the Council is required to produce a Long-term Plan, with annual plans in the non-LTP years. In June last year Council adopted the LTP 2021-2051 after wide community consultation.
Mayor Anita Baker said it was important that Council stayed true to what was agreed with the community during the LTP process.
“Your input guided us to strike a balance between funding essential services and core infrastructure, while keeping rates increases to a minimum,” she said.
“Because there are no significant changes this year, we have decided not to consult again. The budget is in line with the LTP, and the average rates increase of 7.65 per cent remains the same.”
Mayor Baker said Council was also still committed to the focus clearly set out in the LTP – improving our ageing infrastructure so it meets the needs of Porirua people, the health of Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour, and the city’s future growth.
“Investment in 3 Waters infrastructure continues to be a priority,” she said.
“We’re continuing work on the major, multi-year 3 Waters projects in the LTP include $43.8m for a wastewater storage tank in the CBD, $16.8m for a new reservoir in Aotea and $40m for the wastewater main upgrade in Bothamley Park in partnership with Kainga Ora.”
Transport issues were also being addressed, and these were essential with the significant growth in the city, and new connections with Te Ara Nui o Te Rangihaeata (Transmission Gully motorway), Mayor Baker said.
“With recent growth in the Kenepuru area, we have budgeted $19.3m from year 1 through to year 5 of the LTP, to improve local roads, walking and cycling routes, including an upgrade to the Kenepuru Drive/Titahi Bay Road intersection.”
The budget also includes $10.1m over three years for the Wi Neera to Onepoto shared cycling and pedestrian path to improve the connection between the city centre and Titahi Bay, $4m for three years for Whitford Brown Avenue corridor improvements, $2.6m for the first two years of the LTP toward extending the life of Spicer Landfill, and $2m toward improvements at Trash Palace.
“With more intense weather events our response to climate change is now urgent,” Mayor Baker said. “We’ve invested $20m to address flooding hotspots across the city. We’ve also budgeted $6m across 2022/23 to 2023/24 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Council facilities, reduce organic waste going to the landfill and accelerate the transition of Council’s vehicle fleet to electric vehicles.”
Mayor Baker said that Council was acutely aware that the community was still feeling the impacts of Covid, both economically and socially.
“Many people are struggling with cost of living increases and some small businesses have been hit hard. As a result, the Council decided to pause the implementation of paid parking until March 2023.
“From 1 July, we’re also removing library fines to make sure all our residents can access library services.”
Mayor Baker said the Council was mindful of the challenges people were facing when it made the decision to stick to the agreed rates increase, despite the Council too facing increasing costs.
“We know that rates increases add pressure to household budgets, and we urge you to spread these costs over the year to make things a little easier.
“However, we also know that failing to make critical investments in our infrastructure and essential services would cost much more in the long run, so we’ve worked hard to find a balance.” 

Greenpeace – New Zealand’s silence on deep sea mining risks deep wounds to Pacific relations

Source: Greenpeace

In a dramatic shift at the United Nations oceans conference in Lisbon this week, a series of Pacific Governments have formed an alliance to oppose deep sea mining in international waters but Greenpeace says the continued silence from the New Zealand Government on the issue is deafening.
To standing ovations, a series of Pacific nations including Fiji and Samoa joined an alliance opposing deep sea mining announced by Palau on Monday. Adding to the momentum, the following day, Tuvalu, Tonga, and Guam announced their support for a halt to deep sea mining and France is now also calling for a legal and robust framework to ban deep sea mining in the high seas. But to date the New Zealand Government has not formed a position on the issue.
Greenpeace Aotearoa’s James Hita says: “New Zealand risks standing by while deep wounds are inflicted on its Pacific neighbours if it continues to stay silent on deep sea mining.
“This move by ruthless corporations to begin deep sea mining in the Pacific is the latest example of colonisation in a region that has already suffered so much from nuclear testing, overfishing and resource extraction by the developed world,” says Hita.
“It’s a sad irony that when French nuclear testing threatened the Pacific, Norman Kirk’s Labour government sent a frigate in protest, but now, when corporate seabed mining threatens the Pacific, Jacinda Ardern’s Labour government does nothing while Macron’s French government speaks out to protect the Pacific.
“New Zealand has a golden opportunity right now to show real solidarity and leadership in the Pacific and we call on New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta and Minister of Oceans & Fisheries David Parker to seize the day and make us proud.
“To maintain respect in the Pacific, the Ardern Government needs to start standing up for the things that matter to the Pacific. Palau, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa are all calling for a moratorium on seabed mining but so far the New Zealand Government is sitting on its hands,” says Hita.
Deep sea mining is a destructive and untested industry where minerals are sucked up from the ocean floor and waste materials pumped back into the ocean leaving a sediment plume that smothers marine life, threatening vulnerable ecosystems, fisheries and people’s way of life.
Scientists say that disruptions to the ocean floor may also reduce the ocean’s ability to sequester carbon, adding to the climate crisis.
Without action from Governments to stop it, mining of the deep seas in the Pacific could begin as early as mid 2023.
Greenpeace Aotearoa launched a petition in June calling on the New Zealand government and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta to support a ban on deep sea mining in the Pacific and around the world and already over 9,000 people have signed.

Prof Jane Kelsey – Government: cut the spin and give a truthful assessment of the EU deal

Source: Professor Emeritus Jane Kelsey

“When will governments and trade negotiators realise they have more credibility if they tell the truth about free trade agreements (FTA) like the new deal with the European Union (EU), instead of their fancifully positive spin?”, asks Jane Kelsey, Professor Emeritus of law at the University of Auckland.

The business community has quickly debunked claims of a bonanza from market access to the European Union and highlighted the potentially huge impacts of geographic indications, which will flow onto the United Kingdom under the FTA with them.

But Dr Kelsey points out there is much more at stake here than just agriculture, with several chapters seeming to impose greater restrictions on New Zealand laws and how the government can regulate than the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

“How far that’s the case we can’t tell without access to the text, which only the governments have.”

Dr Kelsey gives credit to the government for holding firm on its promise not to allow foreign investors to directly enforce the investment chapter, known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). But this remains just policy and is vulnerable to change under a new government.

“Other things are not so good” she said. The intellectual property (IP) chapter was always crucial for the EU and it will not have wanted any precedents for deals with other countries by walking back its standard template.

“New Zealand seems to have held back likely demands that would have increased the cost of medicines to Pharmac, something suspended in the CPTPP version of the TPPA.”

“But it looks like the copyright term has been extended for 20 years, which was also suspended in the CPTPP, and has recently been extended in the UK agreement.”

While it is positive to have a definition of “manuka” as exclusive to New Zealand and culturally important to Māori, something the UK refused to do, it is in the unenforceable Māori trade chapter and does not override the intellectual property rules.

The Māori trade chapter appears to be modelled on the UK chapter, which is unenforceable, is only about “cooperation” and doesn’t require any commitment or resources on the part of the parties to do anything.

Dr Kelsey highlights another crucial area, so-called digital trade.

“At a time when governments are belatedly recognising the need to regulate Big Tech and data, the last thing we need is digital trade rules that tie their hands.  That is also the area where the Crown was found to have breached its Tiriti obligations to Māori in the CPTPP.”

“Yet that is what the EU routinely demands, so long as personal privacy is protected. This is a chapter where the outcome document is especially vague.”

Dr Kelsey notes there are bound to be other areas of concern that are not so readily apparent.

She calls on the government to release the text as soon as possible, and ensure that its National Interest Analysis provides a genuine assessment of the pros and cons of the agreement, not another “party piece” like this outcomes document and previous FTAs.

The select committee also needs to ensure there is proper scrutiny, not the “derisory” ten minutes it has been providing for presenting submissions and responding to questions in recent FTAs.

Professor Emeritus Jane Kelsey
Faculty of Law
University of Auckland.

NZ-EU FTA: EU market remains largely closed to NZ dairy – DCANZ

Source: Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ)

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is disappointed that the free trade agreement (FTA) between New Zealand and the European Union leaves the EU market 98.5% closed to key New Zealand dairy products.
“The combination of very small quota volumes relative to the market size and trade restrictive in-quota tariffs has this deal falling well short of being commercially meaningful for the dairy industry,” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey.
DCANZ analysis of outcome value differs significantly to that calculated by New Zealand’s Government. While it can be theoretically claimed that the value of this access grows to $600m over seven years, the commercial reality is far less given the remaining trade restrictive in-quota tariffs and quota administration. In-quota tariffs of around NZ$630 per tonne for butter and NZ$435 per tonne for milk powder will constrain competitive opportunities, including versus alternative market opportunities closer to home.
“This is a considerable missed opportunity for the New Zealand economy as a whole when considering that dairy accounts for 28% of NZ exports and has been a pillar of resilience for the economy through COVID”.
DCANZ strongly encouraged the New Zealand Government to continue negotiating rather than close on an outcome that fails to broaden meaningful trade opportunities.
“Opportunities to reset and upgrade access with trading partners come along once in a generation. Failure to capitalise on this opportunity, as occurred with the NZ-UK FTA, leaves us poorly placed in this much bigger market for a long, long time”.
By not doing more to liberalize dairy trade, the deal reached is also a lost opportunity for sustainable food systems. The EU has largely rejected the opportunity to provide its own consumers with access to NZ dairy products that have a considerably lower carbon footprint. New Zealand dairy farmers will be disappointed that their considerable efforts in adopting on-farm sustainability practices are not able to gain the extent of market recognition they deserve under this outcome”.
The agreement also includes the loss of New Zealand cheesemakers’ rights to feta. It will also prevent any new business development opportunities for parmesan and gruyere. This is a significant blow to the many New Zealand feta, gruyere and parmesan cheeses which were last night celebrated for their quality at the annual champions of cheese dinner.
DCANZ acknowledges that the deal includes market access improvements for other smaller NZ export sectors beyond dairy and meat. But in terms of really addressing the large, more than 2:1, goods trade imbalance between the EU and NZ the opportunity to really close this gap has been missed.
DCANZ thanks the New Zealand negotiating team for their hard work over the past four years. This negotiation was always going to be difficult because of entrenched EU protectionism which is increasingly out of step with global food production and sustainability trends.