Solidarity with Alex Pirie

From barriejsargeant:

A year ago AWSM conducted an interview with social activist Alex Pirie:

Since that interview we have worked closely alongside Alex on various issues such as transgender rights, the nurses struggle and in generally advancing conditions for workers in Aotearoa and elsewhere. He has consistently shown himself to be a staunch advocate for those suffering at the bottom of this economic and political system. We have recently learned that Alex himself is now suffering…our friend has been diagnosed with advanced cancer!

AWSM sends its solidarity and love to Alex and his wife Karly at this time.

For those wishing to give back something to this fighter for social justice in his time of need, please contribute generously to the site which has been established to help fund medical and other costs:


Givealittle can’t be used for campaign fundraising

In what seems to be another example of the Electoral act clashing with the modern world of politics the fundraising site Givealittle has been ruled out for raising campaign funds.

Wanganui Chronicle: Givealittle not for politicians on the campaign trail

A Whanganui local body election candidate has learned that anyone hoping to use crowd funding site Givealittle to raise campaign funds this year will have to go elsewhere.

The site, run by the Spark Foundation, cannot be used for election fundraising because the time it takes to pay users does not comply with the Electoral Act.

Horizons Regional Council candidate Nicola Patrick set up a page last week and received $960 in donations before Givealittle shut down the page after receiving legal advice.

The Electoral Act requires any party collecting funds on behalf of a candidate to hand over the money within 10 days.

Givealittle only pays out once a month.

Maybe Givealittle could pay out more often for campaign fundraising? I think they are now are getting a cut (5%)  of funds raised so it would be in their interests as well as catering for the needs of customers.

“I don’t blame them but they are following the letter of the law.”

There’s other ways of following the letter of the law – like complying with it. But that’s up to Givealittle.

Givealittle chief giving officer Tom Beyer said the site’s donation and payment processes are not compliant with the Electoral Act 1993 and the Local Electoral Act.

“Under the Acts Givealittle would be considered the transmitter of funds, which means we need to comply with a number of regulations,” he said.

It had received legal advice regarding the matter, Beyer said.

“Unfortunately our current processes aren’t compliant so in the interests of ensuring a trusted and safe service for all we can’t support this kind of fundraiser.”

Beyer did not rule out changes to its site in the future.

“It is something for consideration for future electoral campaigns but there is not sufficient time to implement these changes for the 2016 local body elections.”

So they may adapt.

There is not sufficient time for the Electoral Act or the Electoral Commission to modernise either, but neither does their appear to be much inclination  to catch up with the twenty first century.

Active Service Veteran support

Comment from bjmarsh1 from here posted.


I have previously resisted going Public on this state of affairs because of my personal involvement, however, the case of Lt Col Bill Blaikie, an Afghanistan veteran, father of 3, battling with the effects of PTSD and needing treatment that is not available here, but is available in Australia.

This soldier is reduced to having to make a Public Appeal to raise the $40,000 needed for his treatment. He has been rejected by Veterans Affairs for support because they do not fund overseas treatment. The President of the RSA was sympathetic but no funds were forthcoming.

Now isn’t it time that you and I start asking the hard questions of why not Veterans Affairs? And to the RSA, what happened to the thousands of dollars collected on each annual poppy day especially for the welfare of our Veterans?

I have a personal problem with Veterans Affairs relating to their demand that I use the Health Insurance whichI have paid thousand of dollars over the years to ensure the health of my family, to pay for a mandatory procedure required to decide whether or not I could survive the treatment I required for an agreed attributable condition.

When I attended the Hospital to go through the procedure, I found I was sitting next to another officer who was undergoing the identical procedure. I asked him if he had Health Insurance and he confirmed he had the same insurance as I did. He then said that Veterans Affairs had approved payment for his procedure but he did not have to use his Health Insurance.

Now, I ask you is that fair, and was I receiving the same support for the same attributable condition?

I wrote to Veterans Affairs and pointed out that their policy of requiring veterans to use their personal health insurance for the treatment of attributable conditions was “Ultra Vires” i.e. Beyond their right to make such a decision and in support quoted Sect 10 of the Veterans Support Act 201 which says :

“(Section) 10 Functions to be performed and powers to be exercised in accordance with certain principles

Every person who performs any function or exercises any power under this Act must do so—

(a) in acknowledgement, on behalf of the community, of the responsibility for the injury, illness, or death of veterans as a result of them being placed in harm’s way in the service of New Zealand; and

(b) in accordance with the following principles:
(i) the principle of providing veterans, their spouses and partners, their children, and their dependants with fair entitlements:
(ii) the principle of promoting equal treatment of equal claims:
(iii) the principle of taking a benevolent approach to claims:
(iv) the principle of determining claims—
(A) in accordance with substantial justice and the merits of the claim; and
(B) not in accordance with any technicalities, legal forms, or legal rules of evidence.”

As this is a statement of mandatory guiding principles, I believe the principles of equal treatment of equal claims, the principle of taking a benevolent approach to claims, and the principle of determining claims with regard to the substantial justice and the merits of the complaint and not in accordance with any technicalities, legal forms, or legal rules of evidence far outweighs Veterans Affairs justification that they have the right to determine what and where treatment is to occur.

It is my considered view that Veterans Affairs are wrong both in law as well as in terms of natural justice. By their decision they have created separate classes of Veterans, those who have Health Insurance and those who do not!

What do you think?

Comments already on this topic here.

The Lt Coll Bill Blaikie Givealittle page for those interested.

Medical cannabis charity coverage

The Medical Cannabis Awareness charity has just been launched – see Medical Cannabis Awareness. Shane le Brun is been heavily onvolved with this – he has posted here at Your NZ in the past and still pops in to comment.

Use of medical cannabis in particular and use of cannabis generally is getting a lot of attention in New Zealand and in other parts of the world. Peter Dunne along with a New Zealand contingent is currently attending the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) in New York.

The media have picked up medical cannabis as a topic and have been giving it a lot of coverage over the last few months, helped by high profile stories involving Paul Holmes, Martin Crowe and Helen Kelly.

So the launch of MC Awareness is well timed to pick up on this interest, and they are getting some good coverage.

One News: Kiwi medical cannabis charity registered

An organisation looking to fundraise for New Zealand’s medical cannabis users has become a registered charity.

Radio NZ: NZ’s first medical cannabis charity

New Zealand’s first medical cannabis charity want to help pay for patients to get legally available medical cannabis.

Stuff: NZ’s first medicinal cannabis charity fundraising for 10 patients to get treatment

New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis charity is fundraising to provide patients with the unfunded drugs.

Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand (MCANZ) became a registered charity on Friday. Coordinator Shane Le Brun said it had launched a fundraising campaign, initially to fund Sativex for 10 patients.

NZ City: Medical cannabis charity registered

An organisation looking to fundraise for New Zealand’s medical cannabis users has become a registered charity.

Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand launched this week with the goals of raising awareness and advocating for the treatment, along with getting together funds for those already using it.

The charity – the country’s first for medical cannabis – says about 30 Kiwis currently have a prescription to one cannabis treatment, Sativex, but it can cost more than $1000 a month to acquire because it’s not Pharmac-funded.

“The cost of Sativex is a huge barrier. Already, many people have had successful crowd funding campaigns for this medicine, and MCANZ will promote and assist such fundraising through its tax-deductible status,” MCANZ co-ordinator Shane Le Brun said.

The group wants to initially raise enough money through its Givealittle page to support treatment for 10 new patients.

Newshub: Desperate families get behind marijuana charity

Pressure is mounting on the Government to cut red tape for those who want to access medicinal marijuana.

A group of desperate families are speaking out as they launch a charity to raise money and awareness in the battle for Sativex.

Newshub: Medicinal marijuana charity launched

Momentum is growing in the battle for access to medicinal marijuana, with a group of Kiwis launching a new charity.

Shane Le Brun founded “MC Awareness” to raise money and support for those who want Sativex, the only approved medicinal cannabis product, after watching his wife suffer for years with chronic back pain.

Shane Le Brun says there’s still a lot of stigma attached to prescribing Sativex, as doctors don’t want to be seen as dope enthusiasts.

This story has featured ongoing on the Paul Henry show this morning.

Shane and his team have put a lot of effort into establishing a practical means of achieving something practical to help people who would benefit from the use of Sativex.

Their Givealittle page: Medical Cannabis for 10 Patients

Fundraising for Sativex for 10 needy people in New Zealand. Conditions such as Epilepsy, Cancer, and Chronic Pain.

A fundraising pool of 10 patients, who will be revealed in due course,

First up is Jamie,

At 5 weeks of age Jamie O’mara suffered a massive intracranial hemorrhage. This left him severely brain damaged and in need of constant care. This was attributable to Jamie not receiving a Vitamin K injection at birth.

As a result of his brain damage Jamie developed severe epilepsy, which was poorly controlled by numerous anti-epileptic drugs.

At 24 years of age, in 2008, with no other avenue in sight, Jamie finally underwent hemispherectomy (removal of half his brain) This finally rid him of some seizures & as a result, a better quality of life but a lot of seizures still remained day & night.

Jamie is now 32 years old. He recently began to suffer massive aspirations during tonic clonic seizures prompting medical staff to tell the family Jamie wouldn’t make it through one night. Jamie defied all odds and survived this massive aspiration on his own, even after doctors refused him life support. Jamie is a true battler.

The only remaining option is to try Medical Cannabis. After a lengthy wait, Jamie had his first spray of Sativex this week. Time is needed now to show how effective it will be. Please seriously consider this family’s plea for help. For a family who has been so desperate to alleviate their son’s seizures that they even agreed to partial removal of his brain, their request for financial support with Sativex can only be seen as reasonable.


Rebecca Reider’s legal costs

Rebecca Reider fought in court for her right to use prescribed (overseas) medicinal cannabis last week and won.

This has been at a cost, so she is raising funds to cover some of those costs through a Givealittle page:

Medicinal cannabis – defending our rights

She explains her case and cause:

I’ve won my court case, defending my use of cannabis to manage chronic pain. However, I’ve been left with a massive legal bill to pay.

I’m so happy that my case may ease the way for other patients in need of medicinal cannabis. The supportive, grateful messages from other patients have made this hard and stressful journey worth it.

As a followup to my case, my attorney is now working to confirm that all patients will be able to bring medicinal cannabis products into the country from overseas if needed (until it’s legal to grow it here, which is of course the ultimate goal).

As a partially disabled person, I’m not able to work very much, so I’d really appreciate help covering my legal costs. Many hands make light work – if a magical 420 people each give $5, we’ll get there!

About my case:

In Nov 2015, police raided my house – searching my home and communications devices, and seizing my cannabis, commercially made cannabis oil medicines and seeds. This occurred because NZ Customs had intercepted two medicinal cannabis-infused chocolate bars in the mail to me. On Feb 29th 2016, at my third appearance in Nelson District Court, I was discharged without conviction on all charges of importation and possession.

I’ve been wrestling with a challenging chronic full-body pain condition for over nine years. I’ve seen over two dozen doctors, and most of them have been unable to help or even diagnose me. However, cannabis really helps my muscle spasms to release. I hold a medical cannabis prescription in California, where I was born. I’m so grateful for the soothing power of this plant. In some hard moments, it’s been a saving grace.

The judge recognised the validity of my overseas cannabis prescription – possibly a first in NZ. My defence rested on a previously little-known clause in the Misuse of Drugs Act, which allows a person to physically bring a month’s supply of a controlled drug into New Zealand, so long as it was lawfully supplied overseas and is being used to treat a medical condition.

This case is only one step. But we believe we’ve opened an important new chink in the armour of this country’s inhumane and outdated prohibition of a very important plant medicine.

My attorney and I are currently working to clarify the legal situation and importation protocols so that other patients can follow in my footsteps and bring medicinal cannabis into the country without suffering the massive burden of criminal charges.

This funding campaign covers my attorney’s fees, and my travel costs for my court appearances. It doesn’t cover the significant amount of time I’ve had to take off work to deal with a complex legal process, or the stress of being treated like a criminal – but I’m just glad my hardship has been for the greater good. This campaign also doesn’t cover the significant cost of my cannabis medicines, which the police seized and have not returned, and which were special products suited to my pain condition… I may have to wait for someone to start a Give-a-Nug website to replace those 😉

More info on my case:

More detail on our legal argument, from my lawyer:

It was an interesting case and the judge seemed to have some sympathy for Rebecca’s situation.  As will many people.

It seems nuts that a relatively harmless drug that seems to have many helpful and medicinal attributes is still so risky to use.

Awaroa Beach – public, not political

Seven hectares of land, including a beach and bush, at Awaroa Inlet at the top of the South Island is for sale for $2 million.


A Givealittle campaign has so far raised $1.2 million to by this with the intention of giving the land to the Able Tasman National Park.

Givealittle: Pristine beach in the heart of the Abel Tasman

There is a pristine piece of beach and bush in the heart of the Abel Tasman up for private sale. Together we can buy it and gift it to NZ.

Main image

We rang DOC and they said they had been interested in it, but market price was out of their ballpark. We will gift it to DOC, or a suitable trust. The bottom line for this project is that this beautiful piece of NZ is off the market permanently for all to enjoy.

Not really the time for political aspects of this or relying on ‘the government’. Even our NGO’s can’t mobilise in this timeframe. It might simply be vote with your feet before the opportunity passes.

NZ Herald reports:

Last week, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry confirmed that the beach would be added to the Abel Tasman National Park if the online campaign to buy the land succeeded.

Today, Ms Barry said she had instructed conservation officials to speak to the organisers of the campaign about the legal requirements for making the beach part of the national park.

If the target were reached, free access would be secured for the public in perpetuity.

The Department of Conservation has previously said that it is not interested in buying the spot because it is not considered a precious ecological site, but it would be open to receiving the land as a gift.

A spokesman said the department could not justify spending $2 million on 800m of beach and a section of kanuka scrub.

Sounds good. DOC can’t justify buying the land so a public campaign is raising money to buy it and gift it to New Zealand and New Zealanders. They are well on their way to raising the money.

So why the hell has Andrew Little got involved?

Taxpayer money should help buy Awaroa beach: Labour

Today, Labour leader Andrew Little said the Government should make it a Waitangi weekend to remember by agreeing to meet the remaining cost of buying the beach.

“The Prime Minister should follow the lead of thousands of Kiwis who have already stumped up half the purchase price because they see this beach as more than just any old piece of land,” Mr Little said.

“More than 11,000 people have chipped in to the campaign because they care and they see access to as much of our coastline as possible as a birthright.”

A remote beach has suddenly become popular. People are doing what they can to gift to to the public, and that is a popular campaign.

There’s no need for politicians to get involved.

This seems to be a lame attempt by Little to make himself popular by jumping on a popular cause. Does he see this as a prudent use of public money? Or is he trying to make the Government look mean if they don’t pony up with the cash.

Well done Duane Major for your initiative and a successful campaign. There’s no need for politicians to try and pinch your popularity.