Nelson retirees choosing to give their winter energy payment to those in need

Don't opt out, pass it on, is the advice a group of retired community workers are giving. Source: 1 NEWS



The Auckland school that's making kindness cool with their kids

The problem of being kind to others may have been solved by a school in Auckland.

Somerville Intermediate in Howick has created an Undercover Kindness Agency for its students.

Deputy Principal Chris Hall came up with the idea that sees random outbreaks of generosity in the playground.

"I thought it was a good idea in my head. I wasn't sure it would resonate with any of the students, I canvassed them and on the first day and had 90 students sign up," Mr Hall says.

Since then even more students have signed up to join the secret club.

Psychologist Jacqui Maguire says being kind is also helpful to the giver.

"There's decades of scientific research which shows that being kind to others has benefits to the giver. that includes lower blood pressure, increased energy and increased life span," Ms Maguire says.

The kids in the Undercover Kindness Agency are hopeful their kind ways will catch on.

Somerville Intermediate has created an Undercover Kindness Agency. Source: Seven Sharp

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Victoria University student told she couldn’t return to hostel after she tried to kill herself

Warning: This story discusses details of assault and suicide that may be triggering.

A first-year Victoria University student was evicted from her hostel the day after she tried to commit suicide.

Dani tried to end her life in October 2017 at Cumberland House, in Wellington.

Her father flew down from Tauranga to be with her.

Hours after being discharged from hospital the next day, the hall manager told her she could not stay because of health and safety reasons.

"Me and dad went back to the hall and the hall manager asked to meet with us. She did the whole mandatory 'are you okay' thing, but was then like 'okay, you can't stay here, we don't want you to stay here'".

"I understood it as there were exams going on which were stressful, obviously a lot of gossip, but my dad asked 'whose health and safety are we talking about here?'."

In a statement Victoria University Student and Campus Living Director Rainsforth Dix said the hall environment was not conducive to Dani's recovery.

"The University has to weigh up the rights of individuals against the collective good of the hall community and the potential impact on other students," she said.

"In this case, following an incident, the Head of Hall met with the student and a parent. They were told that after a critical incident, the counselling service recommends a period of respite before returning to the hall.

"They were also advised that in this case, the hall environment was not considered conducive to the student's recovery."

The hall also kept the remaining weeks of her rent which she had paid in advance.

After her father emailed university management, the money was refunded.

"That was only because my dad pushed. They were willing to keep my money that I'd paid up until November 18. They run it as a business."

Accepting a place at Cumberland House in October 2016, she filled out all the paperwork - including disclosing under the medical conditions section - that she had been clinically diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, depression and anxiety.

Dani said the hall staff and Residential Assistants were ill-equipped to deal with the "real and gritty" issues she had faced.

At the start of 2017, a few weeks after she moved in, she was sexually assaulted.

A short time after that she requested a room change due to a falling out with her roommate.

She was moved three doors down from the person who had assaulted her at the start of the year.

Some months passed and Dani started dating another student; shortly after she became pregnant, and miscarried.

"I had to go through this experience on a really gross student hall bathroom floor, it wasn't fun. And I didn't feel that I could go to any of the staff and be like - 'hey this has just happened, what do I do'."

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said evicting someone because they have had a mental health crisis was not appropriate.

He said people under 25 were the age group that experienced the highest levels of psychological distress and that the highest rate of suicide in New Zealand was among those aged between 15 and 24.

He said the eviction likely caused significant distress at a time when Dani needed kindness and understanding.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

By Emma Hatton

rnz.co.nz

Dani had a tough first-year at University. Source: rnz.co.nz

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Infighting puts Māori Women's Welfare league at risk amid annual conference

Infighting is threatening to mar the Māori Women's Welfare League's annual conference this week. 

It was once spearheading social change, courted by governments and led by legends.

Now, plagued by internal strife, the group is now facing questions around its relevancy.

"There are so many fights to be fought and I don't think that's the place where we want to be having a fight," social commentator Hayley Putaranui told 1 NEWS.

This week's annual conference is shaping up to be a contentious one.

On the agenda is a motion to dismiss some members, and Mere Mangu is one of them.

"They are actions that are foreign to tikanga Māori and we can follow it up in the legal system. But at the end of the day responsibility rests with our national president," Ms Mangu said.

She says it's payback for supporting ongoing High Court action questioning whether the president can legitimately serve more than one three-year term. 

Prue Kapua was voted in for a second term last year. 

"I wouldn't have ever anticipated it would have gotten to this point," Ms Kapua said.

The cost of the division is that younger women are not engaging and questioning the league's relevance. 

"Looking forward to 2020-2030 what is the league's place there? Why would I want to be associated with it and what would I get out of it as well, And what could I give back?" Ms Putaranui said.

Ms Kapua said: "We can only do that when we're internally well organised and working well together."

The Māori Women's Welfare League has a proud past but its future at risk as the infighting drags on.

Plagued by internal strife the group’s now facing questions around its relevancy. Source: 1 NEWS


Calls for foreigners to be able to legally operate in New Zealand's sex work industry

Immigration New Zealand says illegal sex work is on the rise in New Zealand.

"The noise in the industry and what we're hearing indicate to us that the numbers have gone up and that's concerning because it is very much an underground industry and people can be exploited," Immigration New Zealand assistant compliance general manager Peter Devoy says.

Immigration New Zealand has announced an investigation into the issue as part of a wider focus on exploitation.

The programme's aim is to find out how illegal sex workers are getting into the country, how widespread the issue is and where exploitation is happening and how it can be stopped.

Immigration officers will hear views on the issues from the sex industry, provide education and carry out regulation.

Figures released to 1 NEWS by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show 179 suspected sex workers were barred from entering the country in the last year to August. Of those, 79 came from Brazil, the biggest group, and a significant number came from Asia.

"On some of the inspection of their goods by New Zealand customs service or looking into their phones it becomes obvious that they are sex workers," Mr Devoy said.

In the past three years, 38 migrant sex workers were sent deportations warning notices, and five were deported.

Voluntary departures, where people cooperate with Immigration New Zealand, were made by 22 people.

"There are migrants from all around the world coming here... different pathways in, they might be coming in as students and supporting themselves by working part-time in the sex industry… there are a number of reasons why," Mr Devoy said.

Prostitution in New Zealand was decriminalised for New Zealanders in 2003, but remains illegal for migrant sex workers.

Mr Devoy said society has changed a lot since then, and evidence from the investigation could lead to fresh discussion over the law on migrant sex work.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said this law is part of the country's obligations to the United Nations "to do everything we can to stop the trafficking of persons".

"It is in part a good measure to prevent the exploitation of foreign sex workers coming to New Zealand," Mr Little said.

Human Rights Commission’s Rebekah Armstrong said while the law was made as a trafficking safeguard, it may be putting migrant sex workers at risk of trafficking and exploitation as migrants feel they cannot report exploitative employers due to the risk of deportation.

Ms Armstrong says The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has recommended that the illegal status of migrant sex workers should be removed "to reduce its negative impact on women".

A Japanese sex worker living in New Zealand says the fear of deportation is stopping her from working here, but she would if she had no other way to get money.

"It should be legal. I think one of the main concerns people talk about why it's illegal for migrants is people are concerned about human trafficking… but also people who desperately need to work would work anyway and if that’s people working in illegal conditions, it might more likely be unsafe and risky," she told 1 NEWS.

"I think it would be harder to speak up if you're in trouble because even if you got bad clients or been an issue and if you want to report it somewhere… but if you're working illegally it's risking yourself and your right to be here as well."

Some of those involved in the domestic sex industry also want to see migrant sex work decriminalised.

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective co-founder Catherine Healy said she’s heard from illegal workers who have had earnings withheld by brothel operators, and others who have been raped and are too scared to seek support or report incidents to police.

"We think this section (of the Prostitution Reform Act) has actually contributed to creating those conditions that make it very difficult for people to speak out about exploitation," co-founder Dame Catherine Healy said.

Dame Catherine said she was looking forward to seeing the findings of Immigration New Zealand's report.

Mary, a Wellington-based madam, said sex work should be legal for those on work visas, calling it a matter of human rights.

"We have a world-leading model of decriminalisation but sex work is the only occupation that is singled out to be illegal for people with work visas," Mary said.

Illegal sex work by people from overseas is on the rise here. Source: 1 NEWS