News story: My 38 years in the world of rough sleeping by Jeremy Swain, Deputy Director for the Rough Sleeping Initiative

first_imgFrom the newly appointed Deputy Director of Rough Sleeping, Jeremy Swain.At some point homelessness washes up against most of us. My own personal experience of how it can painfully encroach came very early on in my unintended homelessness career. Having graduated from university with an honours degree in Modern History, I answered an advertisement placed by a London organisation called the Cyrenians, seeking volunteers to manage a group home for homeless people in West London. The remuneration was £12 a week, food in the form of a meal shared with the residents and a bedroom in the house. It seemed an interesting thing to do for the required 9 months before I got a proper job.It didn’t turn out that way, the trap was sprung and like many others with whom I have shared experiences since, I was captivated by the personalities of the homeless people I was asked to support, moved and appalled by the unjustness of their life experiences and fascinated by the sheer unpredictability of the work. So, at the end of the 9 months I resolved to get a salaried job working with homeless people for, well, just a couple of years.Whilst at the Cyrenians, a colleague managing an adjacent house informed me that a homeless woman with my surname was due to move in with her intimidating boyfriend. ‘Your sister perhaps’ he jested. I remember smiling feebly before taking the opportunity to scuttle off and ring my father, the youngest of 14 children from a family that had its fair share of dysfunctionality and tragedy. The homeless women turned out to be my cousin. Her mother, my auntie Vera, had been killed a few years before in a car accident, a catastrophe that had a profoundly damaging impact on her family leading, in the case of my cousin, to a slow, inexorable drift downwards into homelessness.I would like to be able to relate how I maturely dealt with my cousin’s arrival, rejecting any sense of stigma and refusing to be embarrassed by the sudden, bewildering proximity of a family member. Instead, once I had admitted to colleagues that we were cousins I steered clear of her and hoped that this revelation wouldn’t lead to my co-workers seeing me through different eyes. And later, when her boyfriend assaulted the resettlement worker and they were evicted from the house, I was mortified.Those extra couple of years turned into rather more than I expected. After 38 years working in the homelessness sector I continue to be deeply affected by the issue of homelessness and the damage it brings to so many lives. I have also been unable, and unwilling, to shake off my astonishment that it is possible to walk around the streets of our cities, towns and even our rural areas and witness people sleeping rough. Four years as an outreach worker in London in the 1980s, truly dire days in terms of rough sleeping, did not inoculate me against the outrageousness of people making do with blankets and cardboard in a shop doorway, park or derelict building and I know that many of you reading this will feel exactly the same.And now, after many years as Chief Executive of homelessness charity Thames Reach I have moved into what is surely by any standards a proper job – Deputy Director, Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Delivery at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).This is a very special time for me and I hope for everyone who believes that rough sleeping is one of the most grotesque anachronisms of our age. For the first time for over 20 years we have a commitment from government to commit very significant resources directly towards reducing rough sleeping. Initially this is in the form of £75 million of funding over 2 years, much of which is targeted on 83 local authorities with the highest numbers of rough sleepers. Funding has been allocated for 2018-19 and in the last few weeks provisional allocations for 2019-20 have also been announced. We would now like to encourage other local authorities outside the initial 83 with significant numbers of rough sleepers, or with innovative ideas, to discuss with us their plans so that we can see what help we can offer to support their work to reduce and end rough sleeping.To support, advise and hold to account the local authorities and their partners receiving the funding, we have appointed expert advisers to form a multi-disciplinary Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) team. They are steeped in experience of managing homelessness organisations, working within local authorities and commissioning services. Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege of accompanying them on monitoring visits to places such as Southampton, Manchester, Brighton and Cheshire East and observed with admiration at the meetings how they offer a rich mix of advice, guidance, encouragement and challenge. They are a fantastic resource and the reports that colleagues at MHCLG receive from them provide an accumulating body of evidence about the most effective approaches, interventions and programmes necessary to tackle rough sleeping which, in time, we intend to share across the country.Alongside the expert advisers we have specialist advisers covering areas such as health, work and benefits and criminal justice. These too are experienced individuals with amazing levels of knowledge and contacts relating to their particular specialisms and a determination to ensure that rough sleeping, in all its complexity is addressed holistically and not only as a housing issue. I believe we now have a level of resource and expertise which in my experience is unique, working with local authorities and partners across the country to tackle rough sleeping.Rough Sleeping Initiative funding is supporting a great range of posts, initiatives and programmes across the country including rough sleeping co-ordinators, outreach services, assessment hubs, winter shelter beds, and housing-led tenancy support. The Rough Sleeping Strategy, launched in August, quantifies the extent of rough sleeping in England, sets out the government’s initial steps to achieve its manifesto commitment based on a series of interventions to achieve these targets based on the themes of prevention, intervention and recovery. It is an ambitious strategy, supported across government. Over the next few months, we will provide further information about how local authorities and their delivery partners can be part of these and other programmes.We are now entering a crucial phase as we seek to help as many people as possible escape the distress and trauma that accompanies rough sleeping. As the temperature falls and the weather worsens, we are especially aware of the damage, both mental and physical, which is wrought on rough sleepers during winter. Last year, the threat of snow and below zero temperature triggered an urgent and impressive collective response. Local authorities, regional bodies, the homelessness sector, faith groups and supportive members of the public came together to help as many people as possible into shelters and other forms of accommodation. This year we want to do the same, but with more effective planning across an even wider range of bodies and organisations. Our aim is simple: to help as many rough sleepers to come inside as possible and, once they have come in from the cold, to find ways in which their range of needs can be fully addressed, enabling them never to have to sleep rough again.There is much to do. Services funded under the RSI are fast coming into place and it is fantastic to visit projects, to see the early impact they are making and, most importantly, to meet the individual rough sleepers benefiting from them. I will be visiting many more services and projects in the coming months and I know both the Minister for Homelessness and Secretary of State from Housing, Communities and Local Government will also be getting out and about to see at first hand the progress being made. Some funded initiatives are taking longer than I had hoped to get under way and we must inject greater urgency into our collective efforts because, as we all know only too well, the consequences of rough sleeping can be fatal and delay can cost lives. I hope that the official street counts taking place in every local authority throughout England during October and November will, even at this early stage, give an indication of a reversal in the rise of rough sleepers.But whilst the numbers are vitally important, it is the human stories behind the statistics that must drive our actions.At the very first meeting of the newly formed RSI team we were fortunate to be joined by 4 former rough sleepers who candidly spoke about their experiences of sleeping rough in terrible circumstances over many years. All were housed, working and impressively reflective about their former lives and astonishingly free of self-pity. One of our guests, Dave, had to leave slightly early as it was his day off and he had a task to do which, as he explained it, led to his voice cracking with emotion. He needed to pick up his grandchildren from school, a pleasure and responsibility that in his former life as a rough sleeper with an alcohol dependency problem would have been inconceivable. It felt that there was a pause, a collective catch in the throat and then we moved on, aware that for one man, escaping rough sleeping means, in picking up his grandchildren, that he can do something so simple, yet so valuable and meaningful.last_img read more

Stress may add to pollution risks for low-income children

first_imgChildren living in low-income neighborhoods, often exposed to unsafe levels of pollution, may also face additional risk from the stress of growing up in poverty, according to a new body of research. Such children may actually be more biologically susceptible to contaminants such as lead and car exhaust, even at low levels, because dealing with financial strain, racial tensions, and high crime rates may wear down their immunity and disrupt hormones.“This type of stress can have negative, lasting effects on key systems in the body,” said Rosalind Wright, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health, in a June 6, 2012 Environmental Health News article. “It’s like having the fight or flight response turned on all the time.”Robert Wright, also an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Rosalind Wright’s husband, told EHN that “the toxicity of lead may be stronger in a child also exposed to the stress of poverty.” Lead exposure has been linked with reduced IQs, attention problems, and aggressive behavior.The EHN article also quoted a May 4, 2011 American Journal of Public Health report, co-authored by Joel Schwartz, HSPH professor of environmental epidemiology, and David Bellinger, professor in HSPH’s Department of Environmental Health, and Johns Hopkins’ Thomas Glass, that said that increased risks due to social status are “a critically important but neglected area within risk assessment, and should be incorporated in the future.” Read Full Storylast_img read more

New video is ‘Thank You’ card for post-Irene help

first_imgA new video, released by the Vermont Community Foundation, says thank you to everyone who has contributed to Irene relief and recovery on behalf of all Vermonters. The short message is drawn from storm footage as well as recent interviews with flood victims, local heroes, and state leaders. The Community Foundation is distributing the video to share this message of gratitude with people across the state and beyond who have helped heal Vermont. While Vermonters continue to recover, the remarkable response from near and far has already had an enormous positive impact. Long before the water receded, people started donating their time, materials, and money. Since the storm struck, the Community Foundation has collected more than $3.8 million in charitable contributions and has been an active partner in post-Irene relief and recovery efforts, working closely with donors and other organizations to create and manage a number of Irene-related charitable funds.‘We felt that this holiday season was an appropriate time to stop and reflect on what these contributions have made possible and to express our gratitude to the many who stepped forward to help,’ says Vermont Community Foundation President & CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay. ‘Our hope is that this short video reaches every last person who has given ‘ and who continues to give ‘ in one way or another.’Visit is external) to learn more about the video and see extended interviews. The website was established by the Community Foundation to provide detailed, updated information about the Foundation’s Irene recovery efforts, including grants available and grants awarded. It also has a useful resources section with a comprehensive list of flood resources and information about Irene recovery work being done by other organizations.The Vermont Community Foundation has been helping donors give to the causes and organizations they care about since 1986. It is Vermont’s largest homegrown grantmaker. Together, its family of over 600 funds provides more than $10 million in grants per year. In addition, it helps keep Vermont’s nonprofit community vital by offering endowment management and planned giving services, and providing leadership in charitable giving of all kinds. Visit is external) or call 802-388-3355 for more information. After Irene: Vermont Thanks You is available online at is external).last_img read more

Cash woes prompt Moody’s to lower outlook for ExxonMobil’s credit rating

first_imgCash woes prompt Moody’s to lower outlook for ExxonMobil’s credit rating FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Exxon Mobil Corp. had the outlook on its top-notch debt rating lowered by Moody’s Investors Service Inc. to negative due to a “substantial” cash burn to fund growth.The oil major’s credit metrics will probably weaken over the next few years as it pursues a rebuild of its upstream portfolio, as well as new chemical facilities and refinery upgrades, Moody’s said in a statement Tuesday. The outlook on its Aaa rating was reduced from stable.“ExxonMobil’s negative outlook reflects the company’s substantial negative free cash flow and expected reliance on debt to fund its large growth capital spending program,” Peter Speer, a senior vice president at Moody’s, said in the statement. Debt will likely rise despite asset sales, he said.Over the past 10 quarters, Exxon has frequently spent more cash on its operations and dividends than it generated as it ramps up mega projects from Guyana to Mozambique. Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods says now is a good time to be investing while rivals are retreating. But investors are wary, with the stock underperforming rivals over the past five years.“The company’s high level of growth capital investments cannot be funded with operating cash flow and asset sales at projected levels given ExxonMobil’s substantial dividend payout,” Moody’s said.During the 2016 oil price crash, S&P Global Inc. stripped Exxon of its highest AAA credit rating for the first time in the producer’s history, cutting it by one notch to AA+.More: Exxon’s credit rating outlook goes negative on ‘substantial’ cash burnlast_img read more

Tioga County maps out plan to recover from virus

first_imgThe county must also implement testing, telemedicine, and protect essential workers. Each business in the county must create a work place readiness plan which follows CDC guidlines, safety precautions and state guidelines. “It’s all about working together,” says Martha Sauerbrey, Chairwoman of Tioga County. “You cannot be an individual county and expect to open.” (WBNG) — Tioga County officials says the Tioga County Economic Recovery Council held its first meeting last week working toward local support and guidance. The county chairwoman reiterated Governor Andrew Cuomo saying each county must follow the state’s reopening plan.last_img read more

Trump tries to claim victory even as ballots are being counted in several states — NBC has not made a call

first_imgWASHINGTON — President Donald Trump falsely claimed early Wednesday that he had won the presidential election, even though millions of legitimate votes had yet to be counted and a half-dozen battleground states were still not called.“A very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise [people who voted for me] and we won’t stand for this,” Trump said from the East Room of the White House. – Advertisement – “This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country,” Trump said in a rambling press statement. “It’s a very sad moment to me, a very sad moment, and we are going to win this,” he said to a room filled with more than 100 well-heeled aides and supporters. “As far as I’m concerned we already have won this, so I want to thank all of our supporters and I want to thank everybody that worked with us.” – Advertisement – “We were getting ready for a big celebration. We were winning everything, and all of a sudden it was just called off,” Trump said. “We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop,” Trump continued. “We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.”It was unclear what Trump meant by “going to the Supreme Court,” given that the nation’s highest court is rarely the first judicial venue for a case, but rather reviews previous rulings. – Advertisement – Trump’s election night claim of victory is not a spontaneous response to good results in key states, as he would have people believe. Instead, it has been months in the making. As Trump has trailed Democrat Joe Biden in polls, he has sought to undermine faith in the multi-day process of vote tallying, and to lay the groundwork for insisting that the only valid election results were those tallied on election night.Ever since the coronavirus pandemic necessitated that millions of Americans vote by mail this year, Trump has also worked to sow doubts in the integrity of mail-in voting, baselessly claiming that votes cast by mail are rife with “fraud.” He has shared outlandish conspiracies about mail-in ballots being altered somewhere on the path from the voter to the local election board. He has also amplified isolated reports of misplaced or discarded ballots, claiming that these tiny anecdotal events are symptomatic of something much bigger than a few votes. In September, Trump seized upon a report of nine ballots found discarded along a highway in Pennsylvania, claiming they were evidence of Democrats trying to “steal” the election from him.  “They throw them out if they have the name Trump on it, I guess,” Trump said of the ballots, some of which were blank and some of which were filled out for Trump. In reality, voters in Pennsylvania this year are on track to cast more than 5 million votes, making the fate of just 9 of them statistically insignificant. But it’s not just Trump alone, making wild claims with no follow through. On the contrary, Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee have spent millions of dollars this year challenging individual states’ efforts to expand mail-in voting in response to the pandemic. Pennsylvania, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey and Montana are just some of the states where Trump’s lawyers have gone to court to try and prevent the expansion of mail-in voting. Their arguments often boil down to the same baseless claims of fraud that Trump himself has pushed, and as a result, they’ve seen their lawsuits tossed out by judges at both the state and federal levels.The president’s willingness to undermine a cornerstone of democracy — the integrity of the individual vote — stretches back much farther than this year. During his first campaign for president, Trump amplified and spread false claims that the election would be “rigged” in favor of his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton. Back then, it wasn’t mail-in ballots that Trump claimed would be the culprits. Instead, it was undocumented immigrants somehow casting millions of illegal ballots for Clinton. Even after Trump won the electoral college tally in November, he continued to insist that the 2016 election had been marred by fraud. “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted in late November of 2016. For the past four years, professional fact checkers have regularly disproved Trump’s claims of rigged elections. But so far, that hasn’t stopped Trump.  – Advertisement –last_img read more

Wednesday people roundup

first_imgBouwinvest – Property investor Bouwinvest REIM has appointed Kees Beuving and Roel Wijmenga as members of its five-strong supervisory board. Beuving has been executive chairman at Friesland Bank, as well as Fortis Bank Netherlands. Wijmenga has been in several financial positions on the board of insurers AMEV, Interpolis and Eureko/Achmea. His most recent job was CFO at ASR Insurances. Mirae Asset Global Investments – April Yeung has been appointed by Korean emerging markets firm Mirae Asset Global Investments as client portfolio manager covering the UK, European and Middle Eastern markets. She will be based in the firm’s London office and be in charge of product management client communication. Yeung joined Mirae Asset Global Investments in 2010 in Hong Kong as an assistant manager in the product development and marketing team, and became head of the product development and marketing team in 2013. Invesco – Invesco’s ETF business Invesco PowerShares has hired Gilles Boitel as business development director in Switzerland. The appointment is part of the business’s ongoing expansion in Europe, it said. Boitel comes to Invesco from Source, where he was in charge of institutional clients in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Before that, he worked at Accenture. The Pensions Trust – Mike Ramsey has been chosen as chief executive of the Pensions Trust in the UK, having been acting as interim chief executive at the workplace pension fund since April. His most recent role was chief executive of Barbon Insurance Group. The trust said Ramsey’s appointment comes during a period of restructuring, with the business focusing on strategic development. AXA Investment Managers – Bill Healey has been hired as global head of smart beta and UK head of buy and maintain at AXA Investment Managers, while Philip Roantree has been appointed senior portfolio manager within the asset manager’s fixed income team. Both men will be based in London, with Healey reporting to AXA IM’s CIO and head of European and Asia fixed income Chris Iggo, and Roantree reporting in turn to Healey. Healey was previously working for JP Morgan Asset Management as head of European high-yield debt for three years. Roantree comes to AXA IM from Morningstar, where he was a fund analyst covering fixed income and absolute return funds. Kames Capital – Alexander Pelteshki is joining Kames Capital as investment manager in the firm’s financials teams, reporting to Gregory Turnbull-Schwartz. Pelteshki previously worked at ING Bank in the Netherlands as senior credit analyst. Before that, he worked in New York for UBS Wealth Management. GAM Holding – David Solo is stepping down as group chief executive at GAM Holding at his own request, and being replaced by Alexander Friedman with effect from 8 September. Solo joined the group in 2004. Before joining GAM Holding, Friedman was global CIO at UBS Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas. Prior to that, he was CFO at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Mirabaud Asset Management – Majid Hassan has been appointed head of business development activities for the Middle East at Mirabaud Asset Management. He will be based in Dubai. Hassan has worked for the HSBC Group in Dubai, as well as AIG Investments and Standard Chartered. Threadneedle Investments – Maya Bhandari joined Threadneedle Investments as investment strategist in the firm’s multi-asset allocation team on 18 August. She is based in London, reporting to head of asset allocation Toby Nangle. Threadneedle said her appointment followed the recent hiring of Craig Nowrie as client portfolio manager to the team. Bhandari was previously a director of global macro strategy and asset allocation at Citigroup. Lombard Risk Management – Nigel Gurney has been appointed to Lombard Risk Management’s board as CFO. He previously worked at Lepe Partners as CFO. Avida International – Simone Lavelle is joining Avida International as a partner in its UK office. She has previously been a director at Law Debenture and before that was COO and CFO at Cardano UK. Tikehau Group – Nathalie Bleunven and Luca Bucelli have been appointed by Tikehau Group to join the firm’s private debt team. Bleunven was previously managing director and deputy head of mid-caps, LBO and corporate acquisition team at Société Générale. Bucelli was most recently at AlixPartners, where he was involved in financial and operational restructurings with French and Italian clients. Pictet Asset Management – Percival Stanion, Andrew Cole and Shaniel Ramjee are joining Pictet Asset Management in next few months, coming to the firm from Baring Asset Management, where they have worked for 13, 28 and seven years, respectively. Pictet Asset Management said the hires were part of a move to improve its multi-asset product offering. Stanion will become vice-chairman at Pictet Asset Management, and his role will be head of multi asset strategies, excluding Switzerland. He will report to head of asset allocation and quantitative investments Olivier Ginguené. Heidrick & Struggles – John Hindley has been hired by consultants Heidrick & Struggles as partner within the financial services practice and be based in the firm’s London office. He previously worked for Credit Suisse Prime Services, as head of the EMEA Prime Consulting team. Goldbridge Capital Partners – Neal Kutner has been appointed head of business development at Goldbridge Capital Partners. He comes to the firm from BNY Mellon Asset Management, where he was managing director, based in Switzerland. Petercam, Capital Group, Aviva Investors, Bouwinvest, Mirae Asset, Invesco, The Pensions Trust, AXA IM, Kames Capital, GAM Holding, Mirabaud Asset Management, Threadneedle Investments, Lombard Risk Management, Avida International, Tikehau Group, Pictet Asset Management, Heidrick & Struggles, Goldbridge Capital PartnersPetercam – The €14bn Belgian asset manager Petercam Institutional Asset Management has extended its Dutch team with the appointment of Lennaert Huijing as senior sales and account manager. Together with Marco van Diesen, Huijing will focus on existing and new institutional clients in the Netherlands. Lennaert comes from BlackRock, where he has been working as an account manager for Dutch institutional clients. He will be operating from Petercam’s Amsterdam office. Capital Group – The active investment manager has appointed Marnix van den Berge as business development manager for the Benelux region. He will be based in Capital Group’s Luxembourg office, focusing on financial institutions. Van den Berge joins from CBP Quilvest, where he was head of investor solutions. Prior to this, he held positions at Deutsche Asset and Wealth, where he was responsible for Northern European distribution, and Credit Suisse Asset Management, where he was head of Benelux, France/Monaco and Nordic distribution. Aviva Investors – David Lis has been hired by Aviva Investors as CIO of equities and multi-assets, moving from his current role as head of equities at the company. Lis will join Aviva Investors’ executive committee with immediate effect and report to the company’s chief executive Euan Munro.last_img read more

Merchant Navy Ratings fund hires Towers Watson as fiduciary manager

first_imgThe £850m (€1.1bn) Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund (MNRPF) has hired Towers Watson as its fiduciary manager, further growing the consultancy’s footprint in delegated management.Towers Watson said in a statement it would offer strategic advice and execute the strategy set out by the MNRPF’s trustees.It said it had been appointed fiduciary manager after the scheme conducted an independent review of how to amend its governance.Chris Wagstaff, independent chairman of the MNRPF’s investment committee, said: “After a comprehensive process to identify our investment beliefs and the best governance structure for the fund, we are pleased to have Towers Watson as our fiduciary manager. “As a result of this approach, we believe we have the governance structures and working arrangements in place to build an investment portfolio consistent with our investment beliefs to deliver optimal fund performance for our members.”The fund also selected Barnett Waddingham as its independent intermediary, assessing the performance of Towers Watson as fiduciary manager.The approach is similar to one pursued by the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund (MNOPF), which in 2010 selected Towers Watson as its delegated CIO.The appointment eventually led to the hire of Hymans Robertson to introduce a “check and balance element” into the arrangement.Since hiring Towers Watson, the MNOPF has steadily focused on de-risking, recently completing a buyout of the £1.3bn old section and transferring £1.5bn of longevity risk to a re-insurer.last_img read more

Shanghai Salvage Starts Removing Kea Trader Debris from Reef

first_imgShanghai Salvage Company (SSC) has started recovering debris from the reef where the ill-fated Kea Trader ran aground a year ago.The operation, during which the company would remove debris detached during storms, follows completion of a new independent bathymetric survey, Lomar Shipping, the owner of the vessel, informed.The survey determined current surface conditions and the precise location of debris, enabling shallow work vessels to move around the rock hard reef for divers to collect the metal fragments.Airbags have been used to remove larger pieces of hull structure off the reef bed and onto the logistics support & command platform Ju Li, that is now coordinating SSC operations on site. Lomar Shipping said that this work would continue and escalate over the coming months with the return of more favourable weather.The materials and debris being recovered would be recycled by local businesses in New Caledonia.Additionally, the company informed that plans for recovering more substantive pieces of hull from the reef bed are well advanced, with the intention to mobilise new heavy resources with heavy lift capabilities – the design of which is subject to complex engineering studies and final approval by the authorities.“Tremendous progress has been made in the past 12 months to safely remove the Kea Trader – however these efforts have been stymied by horrendous conditions on site,” a Lomar spokesman said.Four offshore vessels continue to work on site, whilst also monitoring the ocean for any floating debris and pollutants.The vessel’s vertical fracture last November and subsequent storm damage released a quantity of tar balls and polyurethane insulating material, as well as pieces of containers and carpet, that washed ashore in New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands.The 2,194 TEU Kea Trader ran aground on July 12, 2017, only six months after it was delivered to its owner from Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard in China.last_img read more

Alliance of Community Leaders & Organisations Launch ‘Vote NO’ Campaign

first_imgSayNopeToDope NZ Media Release 8 June 2020An alliance of community organisations and leaders (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors, health professionals and community workers) have joined together to form Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ), and will work together to oppose any attempt to legalise cannabis in New Zealand in the upcoming referendum.“We’re pleased to have such a wide-ranging group of organisations and experts from all areas of society to come together to argue against legalising the recreational use of cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety,” says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.“The use of cannabis is associated with increased risks of a number of adverse outcomes including educational delay, welfare dependence, increased risks of psychotic symptoms, major depression, increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, increased risks of tobacco use, increased risks of other illicit drug use, and respiratory impairment.”“At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we go and legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm?”The New Zealand coalition has aligned itself with the prominent US group SAM which is led by Dr Kevin Sabet, a former advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations (Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations) – the only drug policy staffer to have ever served as a political appointee in a Democrat and Republican administration.“Our NZ coalition is stoked to be aligned with such a credible organization as SAM. SAM’s Staff and Science Advisory Board is composed of world-recognised experts in research, addiction, and treatment who work tirelessly to advance public health and safety, and stand up to a powerful marijuana industry.”SAM-NZ(Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ) REFERENDUM ON THE LEGALISATION OF RECREATIONAL CANNABIS Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In US states that have already legalised the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes, youth marijuana use, and costs that far outweigh tax revenues from marijuana. These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana. It plays a significant role in domestic violence, crime, accidents, mental disorders and lost productivity.The referendum proposed by the Government on the legalisation of cannabis will therefore be a watershed moment for the health and well-being of all New Zealanders.Legalising the drug would in effect legitimise and increase its use in New Zealand. Regulations and the educative approach have failed to prevent the abuse of alcohol in this country with all of us having to suffer its adverse consequences in road accidents, violence and anti-social behaviour.When education and regulation fail, the legal status of the drug is the only bottom line to prevent its wholesale adoption with all of the negative consequences for us as a nation.Smart Approaches To Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ) is an alliance of community organisations and leaders (including ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors, health professionals and community workers), and opposes any attempt to legalise cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety.We argue that drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. A smart arrest policy can both provide a societal stamp of disapproval and provide an opportunity to intervene and stop the progression of use. Keeping marijuana illegal through an appropriate application of the laws that cater for ‘youthful indiscretions’ and which focus predominantly on supply and dealers is as much a public safety policy as it is a public health policy. But if those with addictions commit serious offences, as does happen, the criminal law cannot simply turn a blind eye. The community still needs to be protected.We fully support the increased provision and funding of drug counselling services, drug treatment centres and drug education programmes in schools. These should remain our preferred ‘smart’ approach to cannabis use.This is not a ‘war on drugs’ – this is a defence of our brains and health. People should always come before profits.Retaining it as a criminal offence sends a clear and unequivocal message that New Zealanders regard drug use as a dangerous and unacceptable form of recreation.We urge New Zealanders to be fully informed on this debate, to think deeply on the implications, and to vote NO to legalising cannabis in the referendum.Aaron Ironside                         Spokesperson: SAM-NZPat Buckley                               Amped4Life TrustImraan Ali                            New Zealand Muslim AssociationPat Walsh                                  Secondary School Principal, former head of a Principal’s Ass’nRev Pane Kawhia                    Anglican Minister, RuatoriaChristine Rankin                     Transforming Justice FoundationDr Ate  Moala                          PACYFIC TrustVic Tamati                               Community WorkerMo McLeary                            Drug Free AmbassadorsDr Andreas Leinfellner         Paediatrician.Kirk Hardy                               The Drug Detection AgencyAlli Axford                               Drug Free WorldMazin  Al-Salim                      Working Together Group (WTG)Sully Pa’ea                               Community Worker – South AucklandMaureen MacDonald             Drug-ARM WellingtonWayne Mulqueen                   Focus on the Family NZJess McVicar                           Sensible Sentencing TrustDave Pizzini                             Ex-Police (Detective Senior Sergeant)Bob McCoskrie                        Family First NZDarryl Wesley                         Health ProfessionalStuart Caldwell                       Get Smart (Tauranga)Brendon Warne                      Anti-P MinistriesAlan Vink                                 LeadershipWorxDale Kirk                                  MethconStuart Lange                            NZ Christian NetworkNick Tuitasi QSM                   Pacific WaveJohn Subritzky                        Promise KeepersRob Nordstrom                       Rubicon Alcohol & Other DrugGaylene Fraser                        Drug Free WorldKarrin  Coates                         Sensible Sentencing Group TrustGreer Keane                            Te Ata Rangi RangatahiGlenn   Dobson                       International Board Member – National Drug and AlcoholScreening Association (NDASA)Gayann Phillips                      NZ Christian NetworkChristina Stroud                     World Federation Against DrugsIsmail  Waja                            Working Together Group (WTG)Bruce Couper                          Ex-PolicePhil Paikea                               Community WorkerTrevor Turner                         Drug Free WorldRonji Tanielu                          Community WorkerAllan Va’a                                Community Worker – South AucklandBev Adair-Beets                     Youth AdvocatePiripi Rakete                           Drug Free WorldDr Kevin Sabet                       SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)Luke Niforatos                       SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)last_img read more