Dairy and fertiliser lobbies will pop champagne over PCE report

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s (PCE) just-released report, Farms, Forests and Fossil Fuels, looks to have been influenced by the agricultural lobby, says Greenpeace.

Senior Campaign and Political Advisor, Steve Abel, says while the report has some merit, it continues to treat our dirtiest industry – dairy – with kid gloves, because it focuses on offsetting the highly potent greenhouse gasses nitrous oxide and methane, rather than actually cutting them.

“We expect the champagne corks will be popping at Ravensdown and Dairy NZ this afternoon, because they are being let off the hook once again,” he says.

Greenpeace opposes the unbundling of greenhouse gasses, which Abel says, “goes against our international obligations”.

“Unbundling greenhouse gasses and then lumping nitrous oxide and methane into their own group is highly problematic,” he says.

“We don’t support the recommendation that nitrous oxide be put together with methane in climate policy. Nitrous oxide is a long-lived greenhouse gas, 298 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. It is also the most problematic gas for depletion of the ozone layer.

“Both methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture must be urgently reduced at their source. That can only be done through eliminating synthetic nitrogen and heavily reducing cow numbers. We cannot primarily rely on offsetting these emissions through tree planting.”

Nitrous oxide emissions in agriculture come from the application of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and livestock effluent. According to the Ministry for the Environment, direct nitrous oxide emissions from synthetic nitrogen fertiliser in New Zealand have increased 478% since 1990.

Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is used on New Zealand farms to increase stocking rates. Since 1990, the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser has increased seven-fold in New Zealand. In the same period dairy cow numbers have more than doubled.

Abel says any serious response to the climate crisis must include the country’s biggest emitter – agriculture.

“To deal with the climate crisis requires a sense of massive, unified national effort, and this cannot be created if we are running a system which continues to privilege the agricultural industry and fails to deal with methane and nitrous oxide emissions at source,” he says.

“Privileging biological emissions also has international implications. Livestock produce 19% of global emissions, and it’s the area where New Zealand has a responsibility to offer global leadership.

“For New Zealand to dodge addressing agriculture is like Australia giving a free pass to the coal industry merely because they are hugely influential industries.

“We need the Government to listen to the science and the people and stand up to big lobbies like dairy, rather than kowtow to their influence.”

However, Abel says there are also positive aspects of the PCE report. Greenpeace supports the call for a cut to gross emissions of carbon dioxide, but says it must begin immediately and be achieved much sooner than 2075.

“We support getting to gross fossil fuel emissions down to zero, but waiting until 2075 is too late,” Abel says.

“To deal with the climate crisis requires an urgent transition away from industrial livestock farming. That starts with fewer cows, a ban on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and a nationwide shift to regenerative farming.”

ENDS

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Oxfam Trailwalker raises almost a million dollars for charity

Source: Oxfam New Zealand

The fourteenth annual Oxfam New Zealand Trailwalker this weekend has raised almost a million dollars thanks to fundraising efforts from over a thousand participants.

Local Whakatane team “Lazer Photos & Cameras Deranged Four” powered through the 100km to cross the finish line first in 16 hours and 45 minutes. Team leader Kendan Gibson said they ran most of the way to achieve the incredible time, and although some of hills proved tough, there was “never a moment” that he thought they couldn’t do it.

“Just the hills, we slowed down a little bit as the body tired out. Running back through the town, we really got our run going again, which was real cool. The supporters and that have been massive.

“I would like to thank our support crew first, they were amazing. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. And just the local community getting around the whole thing – it was a big buzz.”

A drizzly Saturday morning saw the 250 teams of four set off on a mission to finish either 100 kilometres in 36 hours or 50 kilometres in 18 hours to raise money for Oxfam’s fight against poverty. Many teams walked through the night, with the last team coming at an admirable 35 hours and 3 minutes.

So far, participants have raised over $950,000 towards Oxfam’s work to eliminate poverty and injustice in the Pacific and around the world.

Oxfam New Zealand’s Fundraising Events Manager Lizzie Quill said: “Every single participant who challenged themselves this weekend for a good cause should know they’ve made a real difference.

“People living in poverty often have to walk long distances to collect something as basic as water. Thanks to the support of our wonderful participants and those who have donated, we will be able to change lives in the Pacific through Oxfam’s projects. The amazing physical and mental challenge that teams have just been through is absolutely incredible, as is the support from the local community. A huge thanks to everyone involved in making this event possible.”

Teams will continue to raise money until the fundraising deadline on 30 April, supporting Oxfam’s humanitarian and long-term development work in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Oxfam Trailwalker has so far raised $950,000 and is edging closer to its $1 million target. Donations to teams can be made at oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz.

Fastest times 100 km

1. Lazer Photos & Cameras Deranged Four 16h 45m (Whakatāne/Ōhope)
2. Don’t worry BEE happy 17h 44m (Whakatāne, Tauranga)
3. Trail Rangers 18h 01m (Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington)

Fastest times 50km

1. WSP Opus Locusts 7h 43m (Auckland)
2. Legs Miserables 7h 52m (Auckland/Hawke’s Bay/Manawatu-Wanganui/ Wellington)
3. We’ve Got the Power 7h 55m (Whakatāne, Ōhope)

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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: 

Sarah Heeringa: Sarah.Heeringa@oxfam.org.nz, 021 939 450
Kelsey-Rae Taylor: Kelsey-Rae.Taylor@oxfam.org.nz, 021 298 5894

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A message of support and solidarity to the people affected by Cyclone Idai

Source: Oxfam New Zealand

As Oxfam leaders from across the world, attending our annual board meetings in Kenya, we send our solidarity to the people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi whose lives have been devastated by cyclone Idai. Our hearts go out to the families of those who have perished, and the more than 2.6 million people who have been robbed of precious livelihoods, homes and lands. Many of these people were already struggling to make ends meet and living in communities with fragile infrastructures such as roads, water and power. 

These floods are a sign of things to come. Climate change is a reality that we must all rise to confront and we must focus on building the capacity of the most vulnerable people so they can withstand its effects. That is why we work with others across the world to ensure that the most vulnerable communities – who have contributed least to the climate crisis – are not forced to bear the heaviest burden.

Oxfam teams are currently on the ground in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, working with other agencies to assess the extent of the damage and deliver life-saving support. The road to recovery for these communities will be a long one. Oxfam will walk alongside them in their journey. We commend the agencies and governments who assisted with rescue efforts. We must all redouble our efforts now to save and support people.

While the scale of this disaster is extreme, flooding and disasters in these parts of Southern Africa is the norm, not the exception. Yet the state of disaster preparedness has not improved over the years, and people’s lives continue to be lost and imperiled needlessly. We all need to do better, particularly governments.

This tragedy calls us to take bold action on climate change and disaster preparedness. The priorities of our governments must change to focus more on the resilience of their nations, and especially of poor women and children who are the most vulnerable. The lives and suffering of people affected by cyclone Idai must not be in vain.

Oxfam Executive Board, 2019

Follow Oxfam’s response on Twitter

Donate to Oxfam’s Disaster Response Fund

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Waking up to Idai. When extreme weather hits home

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

Zimbabwe is a small country often known for its political and economic drama. But for those who truly know the country, they will tell you about its friendly people and idyllic weather. My father would often comment on just how perfect the weather in Zimbabwe was.

It’s hard to believe those words are describing the country I am seeing on the news right now. Cyclone Idai has left a path of complete destruction in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Millions are affected and the death toll and devastation continues to rise. The UN says this may be the worst disaster to ever hit this region.

Worst but not the first. Extreme weather events have been increasing in the region over the years:

  • This planting season, Zimbabwe experienced a mid-season drought caused by unusually high temperatures, threatening the harvest.
  • In 2000 both Mozambique and Zimbabwe were battered by Cyclone Eline.
  • And experts say the drying up of Malawi’s Lake Chilwa has increased due to climate change.

Locals stand beside a damaged section of the road between Beira and Chimoio in Nhamatanda district, central Mozambique, on March 19, 2019, after the area was hit by the Cyclone Idai. © ADRIEN BARBIER/AFP/Getty Images

The beautiful northeastern region of Zimbabwe, Chimanimani, home to lush green mountain ranges, is the hardest hit in the country. Roads, phone lines and homes have been destroyed and lives have been lost. Like many Zimbabweans in the diaspora, I felt frustrated being so far from home.

But after posting a plea on social media to find out how I could help, I was overwhelmed by the response. Despite the difficulties facing many in Zimbabwe, individuals, organisations, communities across the country came together and used their collective power to mobilise in mass and provide relief to those most affected.

Huge numbers of volunteers worked with local charities to mobilise donations for Cyclone Idai victims © Benevolent Masora for BLCK Media

Our planet’s climate continues to change and it’s upsetting to see the most vulnerable bear the worst of the devastating impacts. It’s worrying to know that this will not be the last time an event like this occurs at home, and it’s angering to know that this is something that leadership, not only in Africa but around the world, can take action on.

Climate change policy can no longer afford to be a side event to economic and social development in Zimbabwe and other African countries. The world needs to urgently act on its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

But as more volunteers and communities take action, I’m reminded that we are not helpless in all of this. People-powered movements are growing and demanding more climate action from governments and corporations than ever before.

Many are still in need of aid as the impact of Cyclone Idai slowly starts to be evident. Here are some organisations working to help those most affected:

You can also take action and stand up for climate justice by joining the movement here.

Kudzayi Ngwerume is a content editor with Greenpeace International

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Photos from school strike for climate on March 15

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

On Friday the 15th of March 1.5 million school students took to the streets in 123 countries out of fear for their future, love of our planet and anger at our leaders’ failure to act.They are asking policy-makers and business leaders: are you as smart as we are?Here are some of the images from around the world.

Wellington organiser Raven Maeder leads the 10,000 strong Wellington Climate Strike march on Parliament © David Tong

School students who are deciding not to attend classes and instead take part in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

Student activists join the international movement and strike to show the climate crisis is the most important issue humanity faces. Strikes took place across the US and in more than 40 countries around the globe. © Livia Ferguson / Greenpeace

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Protesters during a Climate Change Awareness March on March 15, 2019, outside Sydney Town Hall, Australia. The protests are part of a global climate strike, urging politicians to take urgent action on climate change. James Gourley/Getty Images

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg at the demonstration. The Fridays for Future is an international movement of school students who are deciding not to attend classes and instead take part in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

Students in Bangkok strike and demonstrate to support the School strike for the climate movement, also known as Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate and Youth Strike 4 Climate. Students demand politicians to act urgently in order to prevent further global warming and climate change. © Biel Calderon / Greenpeace

Students in Bangkok strike and demonstrate to support the School strike for the climate movement, also known as Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate and Youth Strike 4 Climate. Students demand politicians to act urgently in order to prevent further global warming and climate change. © Biel Calderon / Greenpeace

Rome’s school student go on strike and take to the streets to protest about climate change. © Massimo Guidi / Greenpeace

Rome’s school student go on strike and take to the streets to protest about climate change. © Massimo Guidi / Greenpeace

School students in Hong Kong who are deciding not to attend classes and instead take part in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change.

PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 16: A protester holds a sign reading “Game over” as he takes part in the “March of The Century” (La Marche du Siecle) to demand answers to climate change on March 16, 2019, in Paris, France. Several thousand people demonstrated in Paris to denounce the government’s inaction on climate. © Chesnot/Getty Images

TOKYO, JAPAN – MARCH 15: Participants hold signs and shout slogans during the Fridays for Future march on March 15, 2019, in Tokyo, Japan. Students around the world took to the streets on March 15 to protest a lack of climate awareness and demand that elected officials take action on climate change. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old environmental activist who started skipping school since August 2018 to protest outside Sweden’s parliament, school and university students worldwide have followed her lead and shared her alarm and anger. © Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

Student activists join the international movement and strike to show the climate crisis is the most important issue humanity faces. Strikes took place across the US and in more than 40 countries around the globe. © Livia Ferguson / Greenpeace

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Measuring deprivation in New Zealand regions – a CPAG presentation series

Source: Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and Associate Professor Dan Exeter are launching a series of discussion documents which look at the concentration and drivers of deprivation in regions across Aotearoa, using The New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).

The IMD, produced by Dr Exeter and his team at the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health, is a set of tools for identifying and measuring concentrations of deprivation in New Zealand. It measures deprivation at a neighbourhood-level with populations as small as 500 in data zones that have been custom-designed to produce better small area information without losing information due to confidentiality or suppression issues.

If used widely, the IMD has the potential to inform a critical understanding of what systemic levers are needed to provide a better outlook for children and whanau in the most deprived areas, and to guide more efficient and appropriate distribution of resources.

The IMD comprises 28 indicators grouped into seven domains of deprivation: Employment, Income, Crime, Housing, Health, Education and Access to services, which may be used individually or in combination to explore the geography of deprivation and its association with a given health or social outcome.

In his presentations, which are being held in Nelson, Dunedin and Christchurch, Dr Exeter will discuss the development of the IMD, and demonstrate the different ways in which the IMD and its domains can be used to better understand the drivers of deprivation within each city’s region.

“The situation for people suffering the ill-effects of disadvantage isn’t going to get better any time soon, unless we get real about the causes of deprivation,” says Dr Exeter.

“The IMD’s strength is its ability to drill down to see which of the seven domains are driving deprivation in each region, because it varies from region to region.

“High rates of crime in one area may be significant while it may be poor health outcomes in another.”

The individual reports are intended to provide an overall understanding of how the IMD works along with an overview of each particular region. They also contain case studies to illustrate how the tool can be utilised for examining variations in the types of deprivation being experienced at a small neighbourhood area level.

“It is our hope that people who read the reports will realise the value of the IMD dataset and use them to guide solution-driven deprivation analysis for the region that they are concerned with,” says Dr Exeter.

The first of Dr Exeter’s presentations on regional deprivation data will be held in Nelson tomorrow, Tuesday March 26.

Further presentations will follow in Dunedin on April 2, and Christchurch on April 3. They are free to attend and media are warmly welcomed. For more information visit CPAG’s website.

The report “Deprivation in the Nelson Marlborough Region” is available for download here.

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Oxfam Trailwalker brings Edgecumbe community together for charity

Source: Oxfam New Zealand

The community of Edgecumbe is banding together for a good cause to support the fourteenth annual Oxfam Trailwalker this weekend.

The town was devastated in 2017 when a breach in the Rangitāiki river stop bank unleashed a wall of water on the small community. Around 1600 people were evacuated and almost 300 homes damaged or destroyed by the floods. 

It is the first time an event of this size will be held in the town since the disaster.

Oxfam visited the community following the floods and has now chosen it to host the start line of its flagship fundraising event, Oxfam Trailwalker. 

The event is being held for the fourth time in the Bay of Plenty region, with 100 kilometres of trail through Whakatāne, Ōhope and now Edgecumbe on a track that sees participants walking along coastal tracks, sandy beaches, farmland and native bush.

This year, more than 250 teams – over 1000 people – will be on the start line. Participants walk in teams of four and have been training hard to finish the 50 kilometre course in under 18 hours and the 100 kilometre course in under 36 hours – which often requires walking through the night.

As well as challenging themselves to the ultimate physical and mental challenge of walking 50 or 100 km, teams must also fundraise towards Oxfam’s programmes fighting poverty in the Pacific. 

The top fundraising team so far in 2019 is team ‘N X NW’ who have raised over $13,000 so far. In second place is team ‘1 in 4 on the Horizon’ who have raised an impressive $9,500. In total teams have raised more than $900,000 towards Oxfam’s work to support communities to lift themselves out of poverty.

Oxfam New Zealand’s Engagement Director Daniel Barthow says he is delighted to start the event in Edgecumbe this weekend.

“Edgecumbe has an incredible community spirit and we are thrilled by the wonderful support from iwi, local volunteers, community groups and landowners who have generously opened up their hearts and their town to our event, as well as the wider community from Whakatane and Ohope who are welcoming us once again. 

“We want to wish all the walkers out there the best of luck in challenging themselves and challenging poverty this weekend. Every step you’re taking and every dollar you’ve raised is showing the best of Kiwis and humanity by doing your bit to build a better world. We’ll see you out there!”

Oxfam Trailwalker is being held this weekend – March 22-24, 2019 – in the scenic Bay of Plenty region. Teams of four walk 50 kilometres in 18 hours or 100 kilometres in 36 hours to raise money for Oxfam’s work fighting poverty in the Pacific and all over the world. Oxfam Trailwalker is not a relay – the teams of four start and finish together. You can contribute to this incredible challenge by supporting and donating to your favourite team at www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz

Notes to editors:

  • Oxfam Trailwalker is the ultimate team endurance challenge – each team of four tackles either 100 kilometres in 36 hours or 50 kilometres in 18 hours to raise money for Oxfam’s fight against poverty.It is not a relay – the teams of four start and finish together.
  • Oxfam Trailwalker is part of an international series of 17 events held worldwide in 10 countries. Over the years, the event has raised hundreds of millions of dollars internationally for Oxfam’s life-saving work.
  • The event debuted in New Zealand in 2006 and was held in Taupō for 10 years. The event was moved to Whakatāne in 2016 – the same year a 50 kilometre trail was introduced as an alternative to the traditional 100 kilometre trail.
  • The fastest time in the New Zealand 100 kilometre event is currently 11 hours and 13 minutes – set by team ‘Plucky Sods’ in Taupō in 2011. The fastest 100 kilometre team on the Whakatāne trail is team ‘Buff Wait There’s More’ with a time of 12 hours 51 minutes set in 2018.
  • Someone becomes an ‘Oxfam Trailwalker Legend’ upon starting their fifth Oxfam Trailwalker.
  • Set up by the legendary elite Queen’s Gurkha Signals Regiment in 1981 as a military exercise to test teamwork, endurance and determination, Oxfam Trailwalker is the ultimate physical and mental challenge. It began in 2006 in New Zealand. Since then over 13,000 participants have lined up at the start line and raised more than $11 million.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Sarah Heeringa or | Sarah.Heeringa@oxfam.org.nz| 021 939 450

Kelsey-Rae Taylor | Kelsey-Rae.Taylor@oxfam.org.nz | 021 298 5894

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Cyclone Idai leaves trail destruction in southern Africa

Source: Oxfam New Zealand

Oxfam will be responding with water, sanitation services, food and other non-food items to people affected by Cyclone Idai that hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe on March 14-15. Scores of people have been killed, several hundred more are still missing and almost a million have been left destitute and in need of aid and basic services.

Winds of up to 140 km/h destroyed farmlands and damaged houses, some beyond repair. Damage is likely to run into millions of dollars. The Presidents of Zimbabwe and Mozambique have both declared a national disaster. 

Oxfam teams are assessing the needs of people worst affected in all three countries. They are reporting extensive damage to homes, crops, roads and bridges, and communications. Some areas have been rendered impassable with roads and bridges and phone lines having been washed away. 

“We are still gathering data from the field. It’s clear that three provinces of Zambezia, Sofala and Tete have been hit particularly hard. Information is still trickling in. It is likely that Oxfam will respond in Zambezia and Beira at least,” said Lyn Chinembiri, Oxfam Zimbabwe’s Humanitarian Manager in Mozambique. 

Oxfam has activated its new “Emergency Response Team” of water and sanitation, food and livelihood experts to assess the chaos. They too have been hampered by broken roads, communications and continuing bad weather.

In Malawi, the United Nations estimates that 739,000 people have been affected, exacerbated by floods that hit the country two weeks ago. Oxfam teams are assessing people’s needs in Phalombe and Mulanje districts, which were hit hard by floods.

Oxfam with support from the UNICEF in Mozambique and utilising its emergency funding in Malawi, is initially planning a three month-long response in water, sanitation and hygiene work, including the provision of purifying tablets, buckets and hygiene kits as well food aid to vulnerable households.

In Mozambique, Oxfam is part of the COCASA consortium (with CARE, SCF and Concern) that is being led by the General Director of the National Institute of Disaster Management. COCASA is focusing on emergency shelter, water and sanitation services and other provisions and public service support.

Oxfam’s Southern Africa Regional Director, Nellie Nyangwa, said: “We regret the loss of life, and the first few days were difficult days as official agencies focused on saving lives and trying to assess the impact of the floods in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. We expect that there will be over a million people affected in the region. We are already beginning to focus on work that will help recover people’s livelihoods, prevent water borne diseases, and protect displaced people, with a key focus on women and children.”

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Oxfam confederation condemns NZ terror attack and sends message of solidarity

Source: Oxfam New Zealand

The leaders of Oxfam’s agencies worldwide are meeting in Kenya this week and we send a message of strength and solidarity to the people of New Zealand as they respond to the appalling act of extremism against the Kiwi Muslim community, where at least 50 people were shot dead by a white supremacist terrorist, in Christchurch, on Friday March 15, 2019.

This was a shocking terrorist atrocity in New Zealand. Oxfam strongly condemns Islamophobia and all acts of extremism.

Our thoughts are with the many Muslim New Zealand families grieving the loss of their loved ones and to people of the Islamic faith – and all faiths – over the world who have been traumatized by this act of mass murder.

To the over-whelming majority of New Zealanders who are refusing to bow down to extremists’ attempts to terrorize and divide humanity, we stand alongside you in your compassion and your commitment to building a diverse nation, where everyone is valued as equal and hatred of any kind is completely rejected.

Oxfam resolves to fight all forms of discrimination and to deepen our work with communities and people around the world, to reject narratives of hatred, blame and division being perpetrated including by a new wave of nationalistic leaders, and some influential media, instead for one of love, equality and justice. 

– Rachael Le Mesurier, Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director, on behalf of the global Oxfam Executive Board.

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Oxfam confederation condemns New Zealand terror attack and sends message of support and solidarity

Source: Oxfam New Zealand

The leaders of Oxfam’s agencies worldwide are meeting in Kenya this week and we send a message of strength and solidarity to the people of New Zealand as they respond to the appalling act of extremism against the Kiwi Muslim community, where at least 50 people were shot dead by a white supremacist terrorist, in Christchurch, on Friday March 15, 2019. This was a shocking terrorist atrocity in New Zealand. Oxfam strongly condemns Islamophobia and all acts of extremism.

Our thoughts are with the many Muslim New Zealand families grieving the loss of their loved ones and to people of the Islamic faith – and all faiths – over the world who have been traumatized by this act of mass murder. To the over-whelming majority of New Zealanders who are refusing to bow down to extremists’ attempts to terrorize and divide humanity, we stand alongside you in your compassion and your commitment to building a diverse nation, where everyone is valued as equal and hatred of any kind is completely rejected. Oxfam resolves to fight all forms of discrimination and to deepen our work with communities and people around the world, to reject narratives of hatred, blame and division being perpetrated including by a new wave of nationalistic leaders, and some influential media, instead for one of love, equality and justice. 

– Rachael Le Mesurier, Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director, on behalf of the global Oxfam Executive Board.

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