You know that gnawing feeling of “oh, God, we’re in the midst of something horrible” you have because of the coronavirus? Are you looking around at this crisis sweeping across the world and feeling helpless because you have limited power to stop it?
That’s how many of us have long been feeling about the climate crisis.
The way the world has been able to mobilize itself and shut down in the blink of an eye to properly respond to the coronavirus is proof that political leaders actually do have the ability to make rapid change happen if they want. So where is that rapid response for the climate crisis?
In a massively ironic piece of timing, international research group The Economist Intelligence Unit declared the New Zealand’s government response to Covid-19 the best in the OECD on the same day that massive health ministry failings were revealed.
The Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked 21 countries throughout the OECD on how well they’ve responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. New Zealand’s response went straight to the top of the list with perfect scores on testing capability and an extremely low death rate. The only mark taken off came on non-Covid healthcare.
A future where every single person – regardless of the colour of their skin – is safe and free. A future where police – if they exist at all – help people instead of harming them. A future where every Black person, every indigenous person, every disabled person, every trans person, every Black trans person, every queer person, every poor person, every Muslim, every refugee, every young person, every kaumātua, and every person of colour is honoured, valued, safe and free.
I believe this future is possible but only if people like us continue to use our power, our vision and our courage to make it so.
The Times’s decision to run Cotton’s op-ed is one of many irresponsible and dangerous choices made by corporate media outlets in their coverage of George Floyd’s May 25 murder and the uprising against police brutality that followed it. Mainstream digital, print, and television stories in the last two weeks have consistently offered up clickbait headlines, propaganda and lies about friendly or sympathetic police forces, and an overarching portrait of protestors as violent, irrational marauders rather than exhausted, grieving subjects of systemic police brutality. Such editorial choices are generally explained as efforts to display “journalistic objectivity”—the belief that journalists should show both sides of a situation in their reporting to avoid any bias in their language and framing. However, mainstream reporting in the aftermath of Floyd’s death provides an instructive lens on the failed, harmful, and often racist ideology of “objective” journalism.
While we stand in solidarity with Black and indigenous communities experiencing ongoing violence overseas, we have plenty of work to do here in Aotearoa too. These 10 seminal anti-racism texts by Māori authors are a great place to start.
George Floyd’s death as the result of police violence has sparked protests around the world, including Aotearoa New Zealand. But racialised violence and police brutality are not solely the preserve of the United States.
There are many – far too many – George Floyds.
If you like reading long reports about the health and disability system, Tuesday was your day. The long-awaited, highly-anticipated, Health and Disability System Review was finally released and we all got to see what the big deal was. There were numerous big deals of course, but for me, the proposals for a Māori health authority were the biggest deal of all.
The health and disability system’s failings are obvious. There are marked, persistent, inequities between Māori and non-Māori, which are well known and demonstrated in Ministry of Health and District Health Board data. The causes of these unjust differences are complex, for sure, but colonisation, racism, ableism, and a health system that is designed to work for only some of us all play their parts.
Healthcare workers are on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. A big majority of the public sees them as heroes. And even the politicians responsible for years of cuts to the healthcare system are promising support. But their working conditions are terrible.
Thousands of nurses, doctors, and non-medical hospital workers are fed up with this situation. They are ready to fight for their rights, and they have gotten support from other workers, students, and Yellow Vest movement. On Tuesday, they took to the streets of France’s biggest cities to demand more funding for public hospitals and the entire healthcare system.
Pay talks stalled yesterday and Mediation is the next step for primary health care nurses, says the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO). NZNO has been negotiating the Primary Health Care Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (PHC MECA) since November last year for 3400 nurses, receptionists and administrators across more than 500 practices and accident or medical centres.
NZNO Industrial Advisor Chris Wilson said the employers were not able to increase their offer rejected last month by NZNO members, and that additional funding is clearly needed before they could. However they were also clear that pay parity with DHB nursing staff is necessary to continue delivery of quality primary health care.
Top Labour Party Ministers, including the Prime Minister, are sounding an optimistic tone over the likelihood the Government would implement a significant shake-up of the health sector, if re-elected.
This comes after a “once-in-a-generation” report into New Zealand’s health care system revealed a number of major flaws in the sector and put forward a number of significant recommendations.