Latest Event Updates
“This year there will be thousands of families who won’t be able to afford Christmas. They have no Christmas tree and their children will wake up on Christmas morning in a cold damp house with no presents and no food,” said UCAN’s chairperson Debbie Leyland to the group of 60 gathered in front of parliament. Protest organiser, youth advisor to UCAN and beneficiary Stacey Ryan said it wasn’t just parents and children locked in poverty by the inadequate income support rates.
“Disabled and chronically ill people all over Aotearoa need help, and we need it now. This is not just about Christmas, this is about survival,” said Ryan.
“Protesters to descend on Parliament urging politicians to consider those less fortunate at Christmas”
“The demonstration has been organised by the United Community Action Network (UCAN) after more than 40 welfare and poverty charities signed an open letter to the Government pleading for them to increase welfare in the lead up to Christmas…They are all going to go to homes that they own and they are going to have big dinners and lunches and gifts for all of the family and I want them to see the faces and hear the voices of people who don’t have that opportunity. The real people who are affected by the decisions that they are denying us.”
As we all know, The Labour Party’s recent election campaign focused heavily on “eliminating poverty in New Zealand”. However, now that they hold the majority in government, they have said that “this is a problem that cannot be fixed in a month, a year, or even a term”.
They seem to have U-turned on this policy. Anger and indignation on this stance are rife throughout the country.
In response to this, UCAN and other groups have organised a picket protest outside of Parliament on Tuesday December 8th, gathering from 1:30pm and beginning at 2pm when Parliament rises for the day. At the same time, there will be a partner protest outside of Jacinda Ardern’s MP office in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, being run by AAAP, another in Ōtepoti, Dunedin, and also in Ōtautahi, Christchurch.
Bring your signs and banners for the day.
We are looking for speakers for the Wellington event. You can contact the organiser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0226942372.
After the protest, Ricardo Menendez-March of the Green Party, Spokesperson for Social Development and Employment, has reserved seats for protestors to watch his Maiden Speech in Parliament at 4:30pm.
Disclaimer: UCAN is not affiliated with any political party.
On Friday 28th August 2020, members from UCAN met with Finance Minister and Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson. These are the notes from that meeting.
⦁ Grant agrees that the current Pharmacy Card System is clumsy and needs to be addressed.
Under the current system, the Pharmacy Subsidy Card expires on February 1st every year. After that date, people who rely on medication for their day to day lives need to pay full price for their prescriptions until they have paid a minimum of $100, at which stage their card will be re-instated. He recalled joining a protest against co-payments with Helen Clark many years ago.
⦁ He agrees that another Tacy Street type structure needs to be implemented in South East Wellington for Mental Health.
Tacy Street Clinic in Kilbirnie was mental health facility. Since it’s closure, the residents of South East Kilbirnie have nowhere to turn to in their area.
⦁ Grant has said that he will ask Paul Eagle (Rongotai MP) to follow up on Mental Health facilities for the area.
⦁ DHB’s nationwide have been informed that Boards have responsibilities related to housing for people with mental illness. Mental Health Crises Housing is their responsibility. This is a specific task for this financial year (starting July 1st).
This is in relation to mental health patients being put into unsuitable living circumstances. Either they are put into community housing, even though they are not capable of living with other people; or people are left to live alone when they are not capable of caring for themselves. Both of these circumstances have lead to tragic and unnecesary losses of life.
⦁ New Mental Health housing facilities have been set up in Wellington Central, but the DHB has not followed through on all of their responsibilities to such housing.
Clarification is needed on when these where founded, and percentage of the community is currently being helped, and whether or not they are making a difference to people’s lives. However, due to COVID-19, this has been delayed.
⦁ We were informed that most decisions on Mental Health are actioned through the local DHB, not through the Ministry of Health.
The 20 District Health Boards that exist in New Zealand, although they are governed by the Ministry of Health, all work independently of each other. In previous years Boards have been left to address housing issues as they saw fit. Grant said that in this financial year the Budget includes provision for housing people with mental illness. This should appear in the CCDHB Annual Plan for 2020-2021.
⦁ Grant brought up the point of Inter-District Flows – A DHB charging a patient’s local DHB if they are not local to the area that they are treated in.
Due to discrepancies in procedure prices, this leaves many DHB’s under-funded, as many will only pay out the amount that they themselves charge, rather than what they are quoted.
⦁ We were informed that just a couple of days prior to this meeting, the Ministry of Education had been given extra funding to continue the roll-out of devices and internet connection to students in need.
Grant has agreed to meet with UCAN members again within the first 100 days if reelected this election.
In attendance were Debbie Leyland, UCAN Chairperson; John Cody, UCAN Committee Member; Stacey Ryan, UCAN Youth Advisor.
Tick 4 Kids, Child Poverty Action Group, Anglican Movement, ActionStation and the Equality Network have come together to host this Election forum event.
Come listen to the political parties answer the demands of people living and working on the frontlines of housing, welfare and tax issues.
The online political forum will go from 6 – 7.30pm.
*If Wellington is at Alert level 1, the event will proceed with limited seats at St Peters on Willis Street and by livestream on Facebook and Twitch. At level 2 only the politicians and those hosting the event will be in person. If we are at level 3 or above, everyone will be online.
Our very own UCAN member Stacey Ryan is on the program, challenging the candidates with questions on tax and income support measures. Let’s give her loads of support by registering and attending this event!
Please forward this invitation to friends and neighbours and click the event link above to register via the facebook event page.
We hope to see you there!
For the first time ever, the World Health Organisation is holding an International Film Festival – Health for All.
The United Community Action Network (UCAN) have submitted a short film they produced as part of the local government and District Health Board elections last year. UCAN and the Public Health Association (PHA) partnered together to raise the public’s and the candidates’ awareness of the social determinants causing inequity in health outcomes for New Zealanders.
The Health for All Film Festival aims to put storytelling power in the hands of people and seeks to showcase the role of individuals and communities as champions for health and well-being.
“The festival is a great fit for us, we wanted to focus attention on health equity, and we did this through asking people in the community to come forward and tell their story about inequity and the change they’d like to see” says Debbie Leyland, the film’s director and UCAN spokesperson.
The entire project was achieved through volunteer contributions from UCAN and the PHA’s wider network including the Child Poverty Action Group, the Equality Network and members of UCAN and PHA. The film brings together in one place best practice and solutions to some of New Zealand’s most pressing problems.
“This is especially important with a general election coming up this year. We have a unique go to resource that provides information on what works, a helpful tool in holding our elected officials to account and judging progress” says Dr Prudence Stone, Chief Executive of the PHA
devastating statistics when it comes to equity. But there are solutions out there and we wanted to focus attention on this knowledge about what works” says Prudence.
The list of selected videos will be announced in March 2020 and the selections screened in Geneva in May, coinciding with the 73rd World Health Assembly.
The film can be viewed here: https://filmfreeway.com/VotingforpublichealthRaisingAwarenessduringdistricthealthboardelections
The following DHB Candidates have endorsed the UCAN Charter for Health.
We will be updating the following list over the next 2 days
Auckland District Health Board
Bay of Plenty District Health Board
Capital & Coast District Health Board
Dr Alvin Mitikulena
Counties Manukau District Health Board
Lakes District Health Board
Mid Central District Health Board
Whanganui District Health Board
Judith (Jude) MacDonald
Waitemata District Health Board