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Wire Wrap-Up: May 13-17, 2019

There were plenty of interesting and eye-opening interviews last week. The Wire Wrap-Up highlights some of those pieces. One interview from each day is selected and we pick out the best parts that you should definitely hear. Trixie Miranda wraps up last weeks Wires.

 

Monday May 13, 2019 

CREATING A NEW CULTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND

The Auckland University Student’s Association held a hui called Zero Tolerance? – A Hui against Hate and Discrimination. It’s intent was to raise issues around racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying that have occurred and are currently occurring in the University of Auckland. The Hui was called due to various media responses raising attention to Auckland University’s lack of action on the alleged white supremacist behaviour, bullying and discrimination. Two reports were being investigated but the university’s Vice-Chancellor stated “there is no evidence that these two unrelated incidents constitute what has been inaccurately characterised as a wave of white supremacy at the University”.

On the Monday Wire, host Jemima spoke to AUSA Vice president George Barton about the Zero Tolerance Hui. Following the Hui, AUSA wrote a report in which they have two main recommendations; one is having a special working group and affirmation from the university that they completely stand behind Zero Tolerance. They discuss the creating and transformation of UoA’s culture to a more healthy and safe environment for all, even through the acts of soft culture change.

Jemima: "There was sort of discussion I know at the Hui about how this change would sort of, manifest itself over the University and whether it would be like a big sort of action. You know, we do this, we do this, we do this. Or whether it’s, people did talk about soft culture change. What is your opinion on soft culture change versus big radical movements to make a change?”

George: “I think it’s both and I think soft power can be big radical movements in changes. I think if we had lecturers and tutors, being able to actively say that you have to be a decent human being in class. That would be a massive transformational change and it’d be one that’ll make a whole lot of our students feel safe in the University”.

AUSA Vice president George Barton continues to explain the importance of us working together and creating the culture that we all would want to be in. To have each other in check and to be responsible for being respectful to others.

George: “I think that’s the thing we’ve gotta realise here is that it’s incumbent upon all of us to create this kind of change. AUSA’s gonna be doing its part, our student groups have gotta be doing their part. Um.. to be able to create that culture, we’ve got to have people willing to call out this behaviour. To recognise that it is problem and to check themselves and what they say. What we’ve seen here is that incidents of White Supremacy have been emboldened, because that more casual racism - for lack of a better way of describing it - because absolutely is racism, hasn’t gone checked or has been allowed to be said. So it’s changing that environment and culture."

 

Tuesday May 14, 2019

ACCOUNTABILITY NEEDED FOR ZERO CARBON BILL

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) we have approximately 10 years to halve the current carbon emissions before significantly worsening the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for millions of people.

On the Tuesday Wire with Oscar, we had the Green Desk where Mitchell spoke to Greenpeace Executive Russell Norman (formerly of the Green Party and an environmental activist) about the Zero Carbon Bill and the proposed Climate Commission. They discuss the “medium-term” commitments that the Bill has listed, and how these aspirational goals can only go so far in keeping the government accountable for meeting the intended targets.

Mitchell: “So what were the key reasons for not. Well pretty much not gonna achieve anything”

Russell: “If these aspirational goals are important. Then, and then… I believe that they are. Then you would make sure that we’ll also have enforcement prevision in it. So the government could be actually made to achieve the goals or kept to achieving the goals. You’d have some kind of independent powers to the climate commission. So that the climate commission could actually have power to keep, uh.. the country focused on achieving the goals. And you’ll also have plans in place to reduce emissions, Government plans in place to reduce emissions in other sectors of the economy. And of course, we have none of those things.”

Norman talks about who the climate commission is and explains what specific tools are needed for a properly functional climate commission, to be able to truly reduce green house gas emissions.

Russell: “So the analogy with climate change, is that if you had a climate commission you would all agree that there certain medium-term goals that you wanna achieve in terms of emission reductions. Uh…And we know that one of the signals that’s essential to do that is carbon pricing, just like interest rates or a price on money. Carbon pricing is a key part of how you can achieve emission reductions. So, What you do is give the climate commission power to influence the price of carbon. If the government was not achieving its goals, if it looks like we were going off track, then the climate commission could increase the price of carbon and that would push towards emission reductions. And it also kinda creates an incentive for the government to use its other policy leaders to reduce emissions, cause if doesn’t then the climate commission will put up the price of carbon.”

 

Wednesday May 15, 2019

TENANCY DISCRIMINATION: “PEOPLE NEED TO TREAT OTHERS LIKE PEOPLE”

On the Wednesday Wire with Lillian, producer Sherry speaks to a teaching graduate of AUT, Rashmi Raorane , who discussed her experiences with a discriminatory landlord. Raorane was first told by the property manager that they were “exactly what the landlord is looking for” but later received a call saying otherwise. Raorane claims they were rejected due to the tenant’s previous experience, with the landlord saying ‘all Indians are dirty’.

Rashmi: “In that very evening, she gave me a call and she told me “I’m sorry we can’t rent you the property” and I said “It’s Okay” because there could be several reasons to not rent the property to us. And we had gotten a few rejections before so I didn’t care, so I said okay fine I was going to move on. But she, went ahead and she told me the reason. She said “it was because the landlord didn’t want Indian tenants.” and that was when I asked why because I said okay, that’s not cool. And I haven’t faced this in Auckland before, I’ve been here almost a year and a half. I asked her why and she said “because he had a bad experience with Indian tenants before. And they trashed the house, they didn’t keep the house clean” they were…then she, she did not use the word not clean she used the word dirty. She said “They kept the house dirty, then left the house the dirty, hence she thinks ‘All Indians are Dirty’”. And, I was just shocked, I said “okay I didn’t wanna hear anymore.”

Raorane continues to discuss with Sherry her thoughts on what could be done better for the future of Auckland and its residents.  

Sherry: “It isn’t something you should feel like it’s common. It shouldn’t be something anyone has to put up with”

Rashmi: “Exactly! and people have been putting through it and it has become a part of their life, you know what I mean?”

Sherry: “What do you think needs to change to protect groups and minority groups? Something needs to happen right, it’s just… it’s so frustrating”

Rashmi: “You know, I think. I think, honestly I think all that needs to change is for people to view others as people ... Because he had an experience, according to him, he had an experience with Indians but I think he had experience with people. So, if you consider people as people, you’re never going to experience this. It’s all about the way you think.”

 

 Thursday May 16, 2019

MINISTRY BREACHES BENEFICIARIES PRIVACY

On the Thursday Wire with Stewart, Olivia spoke to Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Ricardo Menendez March. There has been a report from an investigation revealing Ministry of Social Development employees systemically and unjustifiably breaching people’s privacy. Specifically, there have been cases of beneficiaries who are suspected of being in an undeclared relationship as the targets of being spied on. 

Olivia: “Why did the Ministry refuse to update its practices despite ongoing concern from these advocacy groups?”

Ricardo: “It’s the negligence of successive governments to ignore, the need for review of the code of conduct of investigators when there’s already been public concern on the methods that they were using to collect things like intimate text messages and pictures. And I think it boils down to a toxic culture where beneficiaries are treated as second class citizens who are not deserving of basic human rights. And I think this needs to urgently change if we are to have a government that speaks of compassion and kindness to our most vulnerable.” 

Jemima and Ricardo Menendez continue the conversation, speaking on the specific methods performed by the Ministry and how they get a hold of text messages from beneficiaries’.

The Private Commissioner heard the concerns about how the Ministry gathered information, in 2018. It was revealed that they would acquire these texts by contacting telecommunications companies. Quite often these texts involve the beneficiary and another party showing pictures or sexting. While the Ministry uses this very personal information to question beneficiaries on their legitimacy. Spokesperson Ricardo Menendez wants a call for change and he continues.​

Ricardo: “Just as the response by the Ministry of Social Development to the commissions report needs to include an apology. And people who have overseen this need to be held responsible and Carmel Sepuloni, as the Minister of Social Development, need to be sacking people who proactively thought to intrude people’s privacy.”

 

Friday May 17, 2019

DRUG DRIVING TESTING

Lastly, in Friday’s Wire with Laura. The cannabis legalisation referendum is approaching soon, so Louis and Senior Lecturer at the School of Social and Cultural Studies at Victoria university of Wellington, Fiona Hutton, discuss the issues involved in the testing of drug driving - as it only tests the presence of the drug instead of the driver’s level of impairment.

Fiona: “As I understand it, the government has put forward this consultation document. And…So the Transport Agency, the Transport Minister has put forward the consultation document. And it will be about just testing the presence of drugs, which to be honest I don’t think is acceptable. And if we’re going to introduce something which is going to potentially have a large impact on New Zealanders, more so on some populations than others. Then, we need to make sure that we are doing it properly and we’re actually testing people on impairment rather than just detecting drugs in their system.”

Approximately 71 deaths have resulted from drug impairment. But unfortunately, there are no developed technologies that can potentially test for synthetic cannabinoids, new psycho-active substances, and so on. So it may not be a fair or accurate way of ensuring safety for all those who take illicit or prescription drugs.

Fiona: “So I think we do need to address deaths on the road, of course we do. But I would question whether this is road side testing, saliva testing which in Australia has demonstrated to only 60-70% accurate anyway ... So presence, just to detect the presence, never mind impairment. Umm… we question whether this is the best way to go about it.”

 

And that is the Wire Wrap-Up, if you want further information on the interviews above here is a link to the 95bFM bcasts:


What next? AUSA's Response to the Zero Tolerance Hui: May 13, 2019

The Green Desk: May 14, 2019

Tenancy Discrimination w/ Rashmi Raorane: May 15, 2019

Privacy Commissioner Report w/ Ricardo Menendez: May 16, 2019

Drug Drive Testing w/ Fiona Hutton: May 17, 2019

You can also find other podcasts that were not mentioned in the Wrap-Up here.