News

Network News April 2019

Network News April 2019

Community Networks Aotearoa is an umbrella organisation for local community networks. Our goal is to empower and strengthen the community sector by supporting community networks across Aotearoa.

We:

  • Provide advice and support to members
  • Connect community networks nationally
  • Use our collective voice to advocate for policy change and raise awareness of issues affecting the community sector

To find out more visit our website here.

This newsletter covers topical issues in the community sector. In this newsletter:

  • Update from CNA Executive Officer, Ros Rice
  • Guest column – Paul Hunt, Chief Human Rights Commissioner
  • Meet the members: Plains FM, Access Radio Christchurch
  • Charities Act review
  • Save the date! CNA and NZCCSS joint conference 27th and 28th Aug 2019
  • On Air
  • To blog, or not to blog
  • Government reforms/consultations
  • Things to note before you go
  • Special offer for members

Update from CNA Executive Officer, Ros Rice

Tēnā Koutou Katoa

It had been a long day at work and I returned home at the end of the day to find my husband Ken sitting in front of the television with horror on his face.  The endless news about the tragedy in Christchurch streaming off the television took over our lives for days to come.  We attended the vigil in Wellington on an incongruently beautiful, still, sun-filled evening with 18,000 other people mourning and remembering. Talking to my friends in Christchurch one of whom has two Muslim sons who are trying to deal with the death of their friends, the pain and anguish is profound.

Our thoughts are with the Muslim community in Christchurch and all those affected by the terror attacks in Christchurch. We stand firm with others across the country in our determination to fight racism.

All of us were affected by this in our own ways, and if you are struggling please reach out. The Ministry of Health and 1737 have created resources which give advice for those experiencing mental distress, including how to help and support children, and help with grief. You can read more here.

For an update on what we’ve been up to here at CNA click here.

We are pleased to report that the changes announced earlier this year to COGs funding that would have resulted in some areas receiving much less funding has been halted. CNA along with others were quick to raise objections to the reform and Minister Henare has announced this change is on hold (more information can be found at the link above).

Also, please remember the joint conference of CNA and NZ Council of Christian Social Services is on 27th and 28th August. All are welcome. Every year we’ve held the conference it has been a blast, and we expect the same with this year! You can read more about in this newsletter.

And lastly, as always, remember we’re here to help. If you’re a member of CNA and have a problem or issue, or just need some information, please don’t hesitate to contact me on (04) 472 3364 or eo@communitynetworksaotearoa.org.nz.

Guest column: Paul Hunt, Chief Human Rights Commissioner
We must give nothing to racism and Islamophobia

Thank you to the Human Rights Commission for allowing us to reproduce this article, originally published March 19, 2019 

The calamity in Christchurch demonstrates that New Zealand’s geographical isolation does not protect us from violent, transnational, neo-fascist ideology.

For a long time, Professor Paul Spoonley from Massey University has warned about the white supremacist nationalist politics festering in New Zealand. Susan Devoy, our former Race Relations Commissioner, has graphically described how the Muslim community in New Zealand has experienced hatred and abuse in recent years.

In the shadow of the Christchurch attacks, Anjum Rahman ,of the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand, explains that for years Muslim representatives knocked on every door they could, spoke at every possible forum and pointed to the rise of the alt-right in New Zealand. Quaking with rage, she writes: “We warned you. We begged. We pleaded.”

While I have been in Christchurch, in solidarity with the Muslim community, listening to survivors and community leaders, I have seen a large swastika painted in the middle of a busy road. It was daubed within hours of the attacks on the nearby mosques.

Amidst our shock and grief, many of us ask how can we resist this virulent right-wing extremism?

We have to recognise it exists and shout from the roof-tops that we will never compromise our commitment to tolerance, diversity, respect, dignity and equality.

These values lie at the heart of our multi-culturalism, which is based on the Māori-Crown partnership established by the Treaty of Waitangi.

Crucially, these values are embedded in our legally binding national and international human rights standards.

We must urgently refresh – and reaffirm – these human rights for modern times.

We have to ensure that human rights are confined neither to the halls of the United Nations nor the courts of our judicial system. Human rights are not the preserve of lawyers.

At root, human rights are about ensuring a secure, safe, dignified life for all. They are concerned with the everyday lives of all individuals and communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. They are the birthright of us all.

Human rights require us to listen to and support disadvantaged or vulnerable communities, whether Muslims in Christchurch or those struggling to have a decent life anywhere in these islands.

No public figure or commentator should ever use language that disrespects any of our diverse communities, including religious groups, ethnic communities, tangata whenua, Pacific peoples, immigrants and refugees, disabled people, women and girls, and members of the Rainbow community.

This is not “political correctness gone mad”. It is a matter of life, death and human rights. Disrespectful words and actions give permission for discrimination, harassment and violence.

We need a mature discussion about internet and social media companies who disseminate hate through their platforms; media who spread messages of division and minimise racist acts; leaders who exploit these messages for their own political gain; and the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude that masks and maintains racism in our society.

We must clarify the human rights responsibilities of social media and other companies. A sensible dialogue about our current hate speech laws is long overdue. We also need a thorough study on, and a national plan of action against, xenophobic extremism in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Human Rights Commission has called for improved data collection on hate-motivated crimes. At present New Zealand does not have statistics about crimes that occur because of a person’s religion, colour, race or ethnicity, or other important personal characteristics such as sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Without such data, we do not know the scale and scope of the problem and so cannot design, implement and evaluate an effective response.

The United Nations also made recommendations about our laws relating to hate speech and racial hatred and the importance of collecting comprehensive data on these matters.

We must all commit to giving nothing to racism and Islamophobia, in line with the commission’s campaign.

But we must go further. We need to grasp the rich diversity of New Zealand’s society. We need to look for ways to engage with people from other cultures, religions and communities. At every chance we must promote and maintain harmonious relations and ensure the protection of human rights for everyone.

Our country must become a global champion of anti-racism, anti-Islamophobia and human rights for all.

In this way we’ll honour the victims of last week’s shocking calamity.

To our Muslim brothers and sisters: never forget that we stand by you. We will do whatever we can to support you, now and in the future.

Paul Hunt is the Chief Human Rights Commissioner at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and formerly an independent human rights expert with the United Nations.

From time to time CNA invites individuals to contribute to our newsletter as a guest columnist. The thoughts, ideas and opinions shared by guest columnists are not necessarily those of CNA. 

Meet the members: Plains FM, Access Radio
Diverse media voices at your finger tips

By Sharon Moreham 

Have you noticed something different about mainstream media coverage in the wake of the March 15 mosque attacks? Perhaps it’s the obvious emotion of broadcasters in their coverage of the story, maybe it’s the courage to question the shadow side of New Zealand culture, or is it the diversity of voices and perspectives, some seldom heard – such as the Muslim community? Did you learn something? Did you feel something? Did you have a shift in perspective? It hasn’t taken too long before things have predominantly turned back to business as usual though. 

But what if the power of authentic, diverse, in-depth and questioning media coverage relevant to our local communities was available to all of us 24 hours, seven days a week? Well it is. Throughout Aotearoa-New Zealand there exists the Community Access Media Alliance – a network of 12 radio stations producing quality citizen-led content broadcast and podcast 24/7. It is a sector that has existed for well over 30 years. Every region has a station telling the stories of their people, created by their people, for their people and beyond. And that means ALL people, not just those with power, privilege and of the dominant cultures or classes.

If you tune in to an access station you will discover they prioritise the voices and interests of those not usually seen and heard in mainstream media: children, young people, women, people with disabilities, Māori, Pacific peoples, ethnic minorities (including refugee and migrant communities) and other minority communities such as rainbow communities and those with diverse religious and ethical beliefs. You will discover the rich tapestry of Aotearoa society and the voices that make us the fifth most ethnically diverse country in the OECD.  And you will hear these voices with a raw authenticity for access stations provide a platform and scaffolding support only, allowing the community to have editorial control.

Being citizen-led doesn’t mean soft and fluffy. These stations tackle the tough stuff – human rights, environmental issues, mental health, drug and alcohol addiction and more – from the people on the ground, at the coal face. They also provide great entertainment! You’ll realise just how talented your locals are when you tune in. Everyone can have their say and have a go: individuals, groups, organisations and agencies make programmes. But access radio stations aren’t just broadcasters, they partner with others in the community to amplify community development outcomes. And if you’re into evidence, then there’s a raft of international literature supporting the effectiveness of community radio in addressing community issues when content is led and delivered by the target audience. So what does this mean post March 15?

Community access radio stations are a vital community asset for the Muslim community and other minority communities to craft their own stories. They are a safe place to ask the tough questions of ourselves and have the in-depth conversations as we face islamophobia, xenophobia, otherisation, systemic racism, unconscious bias and more. They are where we can truly get to know each other, question dominant discourse, thicken narratives and allow the complexity of life to be felt. They hold space for compassion, kindness and inclusion. Check out the podcast After March 15 being produced by Plains FM in Christchurch as an example.

So go on, tune in! Get involved! Make some radio! Check out Planet FM (Auckland), Free FM (Waikato), Radio Kidnappers (Hawke’s Bay), Access Radio Taranaki, Manawatu People’s Radio, Coast Access Radio (Kapiti), Arrow FM (Wairarapa), Wellington Access Radio, Fresh FM (Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough), Plains FM (Canterbury), Otago Access Radio and Radio Southland. You’ll find them on your radio dial, livestreaming and podcasting on the internet, or download the free Access Internet Radio app from your favourite app store. For as Ben Okri says, “Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.”

Important – Charities Act Review 

The Charities Act 2005 is being reviewed to ensure that it is effective and fit for purpose. The consultation period has been extended to 31 May. More information on the review can be found here.

We have some useful information on our website, including blogs and research papers going over key issues, click here.

Save the date! 2019 CNA and NZ Council of Christian Social Services joint conference 27th and 28th August 2019

CNA and the NZ Council of Christian Social Services are holding our joint conference on the 27th and 28th August 2019 in Wellington. Everyone is welcome. The theme this year is Tātou tātou e (all of us together): The value of relationships in building wellbeing.

We know wellbeing is a key focus for this Government, so the conference is an excellent opportunity to hear about how the community sector fits into the Government’s priorities and highlight the important role of the sector in building wellbeing. The conference will be jam packed with thought-provoking speakers with lots of opportunities for connecting with others across the country.

To find out more, or register, click here.

Click here and listen to Ros interview Dave Henderson on the Charities Review.

You can also listen to previous interviews, including Jo Cribb on a governance project she’s involved in (along with CNA),Chris Glaudel from Community Housing Aotearoa and Paul Barber from the NZ Council of Christian Social Services.

To blog, or not to blog…

Here are the links to the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop. We recommend a browsing through these blogs. They are fascinating reading as always…

Government reforms/consultations 

Current consultations

  • Important – The Charities Act 2005 is being reviewed to ensure that it is effective and fit for purpose. The consultation period has been extended to 31 May. Have your say here.
  • The Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group – Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora – is visiting towns and cities across New Zealand to hear what people want from their criminal justice system. Find out more here (including a list of public forums).
  • The Government has announced a review of the New Zealand Health and Disability Sector. The review is keen to hear your thoughts on what system level changes could improve the performance of our health and disability system. For more information click here.

Other reforms to note

  • The Welfare Expert Advisory Group is advising on the future of the welfare system. The Group has delivered its advice to Ministers and the report is due to be made public in April. More information can be found here.
  • Child Wellbeing Strategy – the strategy will commit Government to set and report on its actions to improve the wellbeing of all children and young people. For more information click here.
  • The Tax Working Group is examining the structure, fairness and balance of New Zealand’s tax system. The Government has now received the Group’s final report – more information and the report can be found here.
  • The Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill has had its first reading in Parliament. This Bill seeks to restore four aspects of community wellbeing in legislation (social, economic, environmental and cultural). For more information click here.
  • The Mental Health and Addiction Report has been released, the Government is yet to formally respond. For more information click here.
  • The Government is considering the establishment of a sector-level bargaining system. This would enable unions and employers to develop Fair Pay Agreements that set minimum terms and conditions for all workers in an entire industry or occupation. The Government has established the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group to make recommendations on the design of this system. The Working Group has released its recommendations. For more information click here.

Things to note before you go

Community Accounting Aotearoa is a free service which offers support, advice or assistance on financial matters.

How Community Accounting Aotearoa can help

Community groups within New Zealand are able to access this service free of charge.

  • Community Accounting Aotearoa provides community groups outside the main centres with free assistance on financial matters.
  • Teams made up of senior accounting students will provide support using digital technology software such as Zoom and Adobe Connect.
  • Community groups require only an internet connection and a computer with a camera.
  • The students are supervised by volunteer Chartered Accountants.

For more information contact Geoff – geoff@ancad.org.nz or phone 021 054 6240

Special offer just for members of Community Networks Aotearoa and their networks – because we think you’re great!

Facing an increase in your insurance premium? Then Community Networks Aotearoa in association with Rothbury Insurance Brokers can help!

This is a package specifically created for community groups and organisations, with extremely discounted rates.

We are pleased to offer this opportunity not only to our member organisations but to their members as well. If you, or one of your network organisations, are interested in receiving an obligation free quote, please contact us for the special code you will require and Rothbury’s contact details.

And don’t forget, we’re here to help.  If you have any problems or issues, or just need some information, please don’t hesitate to contact Ros at the CNA office on Wellington (04) 472 3364 or eo@communitynetworksaotearoa.org.nz  Our staff and ourExecutive Committee are here to provide support to our membership and always welcome your contact.

Photo: Jason Pratt