Equality Network

Political parties endorsing the Health Charter

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Over the last month UCAN chair person Debbie Leyland has asked each political party if they would consider endorsing the UCAN Health Charter.

UCAN is happy to announce that the following parties have endorsed the charter and have also confirmed that they will work with UCAN and other networks to implant the charter.

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UCAN members look forward to meeting with these parties after the election to make the UCAN Health Charter a cornerstone in a health system we can all be proud of.

UCAN also would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the public endorsements of the NZNO – New Zealands Nurses Organization, The Equality Network, Porirua Union and Community Health Service, Hutt Union Health Service, Newtown Union Health Service, Department of Public Health at the School of Otago in Wellington, the Wellington branch of the Public Health Association and the College of Nurses Aotearoa NZ.

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UCAN is affiliated to no political party.

Community Candidates Forum: Have your say!

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PLEASE NOTE! CHANGE OF VENUE INFORMATION

UCAN FORUM VENUE CHANGE Poster ( A4)UCAN is hosting a community public forum in the southern Wellington suburb of Newtown, in the Newtown Community Hall, on the corner of Constable and Daniel St

We have invited candidates to come and join the forum so they can hear first hand people’s experience trying to get the health care that they need.
Candidates include
Paul Eagle Labour Party
Jan Logie Green Party.

We also will have speakers representing The Living Wage Movement and The Equality Network.

Special appearance from The Brass Razoo Band!

We hope you can join in this important conversation.

We hope we’ll see you there at the Newtown Community Hall, on the corner of Constable and Daniel St. 2nd September 1-2 pm.

UCAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

“Health is so much more than health”: UCAN delivers Health Charter and Election Statement to MP’S.

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On Tuesday 15 August, members of UCAN and supporters met on Parliament steps to hand over the Ucan Health Charter and Election statement UCAN Health Charter 2016 to Members of Parliament.

We were joined by supporters and by the fabulous, The Brass Razoo Band.

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We began with Lisa with baby Zac. Lisa represented Tick for Kids. Tick for Kids and Child Poverty Action Group

Muriel Tunoho spoke on behalf of living Wage Network Living Wage and Health Care Aotearoa HCA Healthcare: Home and Paul Barber then spoke from The Equality Network The Equality Network and The New Zealand Council of Catholic Social Service .

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.02.19 PM.pngFrom left to right. Debbie UCAN, Lisa and baby Zac, Tick for kids,CPAG, Muriel, living wage, HCA, Paul Equality Network, NCCSS.

Grant Robertson, Finance Minister from the Labour Party,

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Jan Logie, Spokesperson for Social Development from The Green Party both gave their commitment to support the UCAN Health Charter and make it a reality as did

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Ria Bond, Health Spokesperson, NZ First

This is a positive result as we have 3 political parties that have committed to our Charter.

For more information Please visit our website at ucannz.org.nz

Denbie Leyland

Report from Radio NZ on Equality Network presentation

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Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 10.34.18 AM.pngGood coverage from Radio NZ on the presentation of the Equality Network‘s Election Statement.

It is essential that the issue of reducing inequality remains forefront with an election breathing down our necks. Any inaction on concrete and committed longterm planning to reduce inequalities will continue to have long-reaching impacts for those who live in the harshest of conditions in Aotearoa.

It is essential to keep the pressure up.

Image: Screenshot of Radio NZ page

Presentation at the launch of Equality Network Election Statement

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Debbie Leyland_UCANDebbie Leyland spoke on the step of Parliament voicing endorsement of the Election Statement launched by the Equality Network. Attached is the text of Debbie speech.

“We believe it is possible for all New Zealanders to enjoy a decent life, one where everyone thrives. But we recognise that big imbalances of income and wealth have been deeply destructive and unfair. They corrode our social fabric and limit the life chances of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. Combined with other inequalities – such as those of gender and ethnicity – they damage lives and deepen disadvantage.” Equality Network, Election Statement 2017


My name is Debbie Leyland. I am 53 years old and I am on a benefit. I am also the co-founder, coordinator and spokesperson for UCAN – United Community Action Network, and I am on the steering group of the Equality Network – both of which are voluntary roles.

Every week  after i pay rent power and bills I am left with $70 a week.

The sad thing is, among my friends I’m considered rich.

My $70 covers my weekly food, transport, medication and doctor’s fees. It’s really hard.

Most weeks I’m also helping out my family – putting $10 into my daughter or son’s account, or buying them a top up card or whatever they need.

My daughter has carpal tunnel syndrome which affects her hands so she can’t work. She has an 8-month old baby. Her and her partner are on a benefit, and they are left with just $102  a week after power and rent, to support two adults. and my 8 month old grandchild – $102.  for food and everything else including nappies.

A few weeks ago my daughter was over here, and I found some money under the bed. I asked her what we should buy as a treat, and we both said peaches! It was like we’d won lotto. Who can afford to buy fruit? No one that I know. I haven’t seen a full fruit bowl, in the house of anyone I know, for years.

We bought some cauliflower the other day and we were in heaven, it was like Christmas. I’d love to be able to fill my cupboards with fresh vegetables and food so when my family come I could feed them a really wholesome meal. My fridge is empty. I’ve got a can of baked beans and a can of tomatoes. I haven’t bought a block of cheese for months. It’s too expensive.

I’m on the invalid’s benefits because I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to things that happened during my childhood. I suffer from depression and anxiety. It’s very difficult but I’m at a level now where I’m well and I can maintain my life. But sometimes I can’t afford my medication, because I don’t have enough money, and then I become really unwell.

I feel like being on a benefit has impacted on my life hugely. The saddest thing for me is the reaction when I’m working out in the community. There’s a lot of people who, when you say you are a beneficiary, think you are either a bludger, or lazy, or whatever. The second part is the financial restraints – it is nearly impossible to live on that amount of money. People frame being on the benefit as a choice. I didn’t wake up and think “I’m going to go on the benefit and live in complete poverty for the rest of my life.” I didn’t ask to be here.

Every day I have to make choices. Do I go to the doctor or do I feed the kids? It’s an ongoing battle. I used to go out and about, and now I don’t.  The last time I actually went out with my friends was 2 and a half years ago. I can’t do things that people take for granted like going out as a family for dinner, or going out to entertainment. It’s really hard.

It was my granddaughter’s birthday the other day, and I just didn’t have enough money to buy her a present or even to go out to Porirua to see her.  I just had to ring her and say happy birthday. I’d like to be able to take my daughter or grandchildren for a walk through the town belt but they can’t afford the train fare from Porirua, and i can’t afford to get out there. Being on the benefit really creates distance within families.

Being on a benefit and being in a Housing Corp house creates a community of fear. If something happens in my house, nothing ever gets done. After the big earthquake, my bedroom door fell off. They haven’t come to fix that. The toilet upstairs leaks, my windows have mould all over them and I have to wash them every few days. You can’t lock the front door – it’s been like that for about a year. I had my granddaughter over here 2 weeks ago, and she kicked a ball through the window. I rang housing corp and they sent someone over to board up the window. It’s been three weeks and they still haven’t fixed it. But you don’t want to kick up too much fuss because there’s a constant worry that they might throw you out.

I hate going to WINZ. There’s nothing more humiliating than having to go to WINZ and ask a complete stranger for money. It’s horrible. When I went to WINZ to get some help with a washing machine, my appointment was at 2 o’clock, but I didn’t get to see my case manager until 3.30. People think that if you are on the benefit your time is not important and you have nothing better to do. What about the people who have to pick up their kids from school? My local WINZ in Kilburnie has moved to Newtown, so if you need assistance or a grant or medicine you have to walk to Newtown. That has affected so many people. We just don’t go now. It’s too far to walk.

I’m asking the Government to increase benefits.  By increasing the benefit and providing fairer income support it would mean that I could actually partake in society. I could spend more time with my family,  I would be able to eat a healthy diet. I could go to the doctor when I need to. I could have some dignity.

Getting special or an emergency benefit for example a food grant, as cash would make life so much easier.  It would mean I could buy veggies at the Newtown market, cheap Indian grains at places like the Spice Market, and shop around for cheap heaters that I want.  Plus, the cards that WINZ gives you are only valid for three days. So in the middle of winter when it’s pouring with rain, you have to walk in the rain to the shops and back with your shopping – all because your card can’t be used on the bus and you don’t have spare money. It’s a real struggle.

I think that that’s why the Equality Network is so important, it keeps these issues at the forefront of what is going on. That’s why I’m involved. It gives a voice to people that don’t have any. I want people to realise that beneficiaries are human beings and that decisions made in parliament affect all of us. It’s tragic to think that we’ve gone from Joseph Savage, who set up social welfare so all citizens could have a decent quality of life, to this – where we are living on crumbs, and having to feel grateful. I ask the Government to be brave and act with courage. To support people like myself to have a decent quality of life.

Thank you.

Not settling for seconds, people demand better.

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slide03When we posted the Kurow Cure, by Professor Don Matheson, last month we thought it may gather a bit of interest. We were quite unprepared for the massive interested it generated in a short space of time. The post itself was shared over 300 times via social media sites.

It seems obvious to us that there is a increasing number of individuals, community organizations, and professional bodies who are deeply disturbed at the degradation of our national health service, and who are looking for practical and equitable alternatives.

It is impressive to see this active engagement at a community level by organisations such as the PSA, NZNO [Shout out for Health], E tū, among others, have embarked on a national roadshow, from tip to tip of both islands, to talk directly with communities on the impact of an estimated $1.8 billion missing from the national health budget.

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 8.20.11 PMAround the launch of this campaign, the Yes We Care campaign announced in a press release the mind-blowing results of a survey of 6000 health professionals.  A massive 90% felt our health system was underfunded to the point that it lacked appropriate staffing and resources meaning that timely health care was not accessible, or available, when needed.

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 8.03.42 PMThe UCAN Health Charter continues to striking accord as well. There have been number of endorsements to date, of which we will make public shortly. It is very exciting for UCAN to be invited to forums, professional bodies and hui to present the Charter to interested parties. For example we ubderstand the UCAN Health Charter will be discussed at the Equality Network Hui in Wellington in March.