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If I take part, then I belong.
Help me connect with my community

 

We are lucky to live in a society that values joining in and being creative together, be it kapahaka, talanoa, song and dance, sport and recreation, church groups, arts and crafts. From a very young age, opportunities are in our community to join in and meet others through different kinds of group activities. At election time, we even get to make the biggest decision – who gets to be in government? – together.

The groups that we’re a part of - big and small - help us feel included and give us things to look forward to. If they weren’t in our lives, we would feel lonely and isolated. Even when there are opportunities in our midst to take part, if for some reason we can’t make it, it feels like missing out and that is depressing.

The sad fact is that more and more groups of New Zealanders miss out all the time from these opportunities. Children and young people in poorer households often pass up school trips, clubs and teams, because their household barely makes ends meet and can’t afford the fees for joining in. Those in low-paid jobs have to work longer hours, leaving them exhausted and with less time for their own involvement. People with some disabilities have to miss out when activities don’t cater to their special needs. Those who come down with chronic illness or injuries, too, need support more than ever, but find that instead, they are isolated at home with just their caregiver for company. And more people are out of work now, thanks to Covid 19.

For all these reasons a strong community, that ensures opportunities for everyone to join in, is more vital now than ever before. Wheelchair access, information that’s provided in different languages, including sign language and braille, free internet connectivity and free public transport are all good places to start. But communities need funding to manage accessible centres and classes, with enough volunteers and leaders to run the peer groups and activities, classes, drop-in and deliveries that could help everyone stay connected.
So here we are again, about to all join together for another election, to take part in a decision about who gets to lead us all. As a national community, perhaps we all should think beyond our own individual interests, consider everyone’s right to play and take part, and pick leaders who think inclusively:

  • Support schools to be child-centred hubs of their community, with funding to provide the resources for every one to take part

  • Fund drop in centres for people living with mental illness

  • An adequately trained and paid youth development workforce to support them through life’s changes without anxiety and depression

  • Fund peer support groups for people coping with chronic illnesses, disabilities, and addictions

  • Public early childhood education and adult education

  • Free public transport for children and people holding a community services card or pharmacy card for longterm prescriptive needs

  • Free internet connectivity and computer access in remote or low income communities

This election, we encourage all New Zealanders to engage candidates with the following questions, then vote for those that answer YES!

  1. Do you think schools should be funded to be more than education centres, but education-focused hubs for their whole school community?

  2. Will you fund communities adequately to provide support to members with mental illness and chronic longterm conditions?

  3. Do you support greater funding and investment in youth development, to address New Zealand’s high rate of youth suicide and depression?

  4. Do you support greater funding for public early childhood education?

  5. Do you support greater funding for adult education programmes in every community?

  6. Will you support transport policy that makes public transport free for people who need it the most? Children, those holding pharmacy cards or community services cards?

  7. Do you support total internet coverage across New Zealand and funding more free connection spaces and computer access in low-income communities?

 

 
 
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