Frontline housing worker to give 2018 Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture

Frontline social housing worker Bernie Smith will examine how to restore secure housing for all New Zealanders in this year’s Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture on October 23.

You can register here

Smith, the chief executive of Māngere-based Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, will argue that the Labour-led government is not doing enough to meet the housing needs of low-income families, and seems to be putting all its efforts into KiwiBuild houses that will cost up to $650,000 each.

“Why does the government believe it can solve the housing crisis by itself using the KiwiBuild programme, instead of proactively and creatively working with community housing providers to reduce the increasing gap between homelessness and home ownership?” Smith will ask.

“The government position is creating further poverty and a greater sense of hopelessness among New Zealand families, who only seek a warm, dry, affordable, long-term, sustainable rental home in which to raise their children.”

​​In an address titled “Housing crisis: A smoking gun with no silver bullet”, Smith will say that New Zealanders were initially excited by the new Labour-led government’s plans to tackle the crisis.

“But all we’ve ended up with is KiwiBuild,” he says.

“There is no silver bullet to solve the housing crisis, but this talk considers how together we might build strong healthy and safe communities and provide creative housing solutions for our people.

“Every man, women and child, once housed in a secure, warm, safe, affordable and sustainable home, can then stand tall in their culture, faith and gender, and only at that point can their dreams and aspirations begin to transpire and they become self-sufficient.”

With over 40 years in social services in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia, Smith has extensive experience of child protection and foster care, disabilities, seniors and now homelessness and poverty.

On returning to New Zealand in 2016, he was shocked to find that in South Auckland there were 100,000 people living in overcrowded and substandard housing, and appalled to see his own people living in garages, parks, cars and lodges.

He will deliver the 2018 Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture in the Old Government House Lecture Theatre (102-G36) at the University of Auckland at 6pm on Tuesday 23 October.

About Monte Cecilia Housing Trust

Monte Cecilia Housing Trust was one of the first charities established to respond to the new phenomenon of homelessness in New Zealand in the 1980s. It was established by four other Catholic charities in 1982 and initially provided emergency housing in what is now called the Pah Homestead in Hillsborough Rd. The Church sold the Hillsborough site and moved the housing service to Māngere in 1982.

The trust now provides emergency housing for 40 families in South Auckland, 80 plus social housing in South & West Auckland, and provides social work support to homeless families in the Western Park motor camp at Rānui.

Wraparound services provided by Monte to support homeless families include: financial literacy, parenting programmes, household management, cooking classes, family goal setting and job seeking.

www.montececilia.org.nz

About the Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture

The annual Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture was established by the Bruce Jesson Foundation in 2000 to honour the journalist and politician Bruce Jesson, who died in 1999.

Jesson wrote and edited some of the most original, important and challenging journalism in New Zealand in The Republican, which he published on a hand-to-mouth basis from 1974 to 1995, as a columnist for Metro magazine, and in a series of books including The Fletcher Challenge: Wealth and Power in New Zealand (1980), Behind the Mirror Glass: The Growth of Wealth and Power in New Zealand in the Eighties (1987) andOnly Their Purpose is Mad: The Money Men Take Over New Zealand (1999).

He was elected to the Auckland Regional Council as an Alliance candidate in 1991 and chaired the Auckland Regional Services Trust from 1992 to 1995, keeping key assets such as the Auckland port in public ownership in the face of massive pressure by the National Government of the time to privatise them. He was also a research fellow in the Political Science Department at the University of Auckland, which co-sponsors the Jesson Lecture.

Past Bruce Jesson Lectures have been delivered by: David Lange (2000), Brian Easton (2001), Chris Trotter (2002), Jane Kelsey (2003), Ani Mikaere (2004), Colin James (2005), Gordon Campbell (2006), Laila Harre (2007), Mike Lee (2008), Robert Wade (2009), Annette Sykes (2010), Paul Dalziel (2011), Nicky Hager (2012), Ted Thomas (2013), Mike Joy (2014), Rod Oram (2015), Lisa Marriott (2016) and Tāmati Kruger (2017).

www.brucejesson.com

Trust offers $4000 for critical journalism

The Bruce Jesson Foundation is offering up to $4000 this year to fund a piece of critical journalism that will contribute to serious public debate in an era of “fake news”.

The Foundation’s annual grants aim to fund “critical, informed, analytical and creative journalism or writing which will contribute to public debate in New Zealand on an important issue or issues”.

Acting chair Simon Collins said applications for this year’s grant are now open, and close on Friday 14 September.

“Unlike other journalism awards, ours aim to pay upfront for journalism that would not be done otherwise,” he said.

“We are willing to pay for travel and other research costs, and for the time someone will need to produce a piece of serious journalism which is not ‘fake news’.

“Social media and the internet have made it possible for anyone in the world to produce journalism that contributes to public debate, but most people need to earn a living and don’t have the time to produce journalism that will uncover new facts or to do the research necessary to present a new, in-depth perspective on an important issue.

“We are not looking just for paid, professional journalists, because they are already paid to produce well-researched journalism.

“Rather, we are looking especially for people like Bruce Jesson, who produced critical books and articles analysing NZ society from the margins, driven by his passion to understand the world and to change it.”

Previous grants have part-funded books on inequality, on New Zealand’s role in the US “war on terror”, and on the abdication of corporate and political responsibility that led to the deaths of 29 miners at Pike River.

They have helped to finance Jon Stephenson’s award-winning reporting from Iraq, a documentary on New Zealand’s climate change policies, investigative articles on rest homes, and a report on how the welfare system treats beneficiaries in domestic relationships.

The latest grants in 2015 supported a new documentary on New Zealand’s role in the US-led global surveillance network, and a report on the feasibility of the Auckland Council adopting the Living Wage.

No grants were awarded in 2016 or 2017, but the foundation is keen to find projects worth supporting this year. Applicants should submit an outline of their proposed project and explain how it meets the criteria set out on the Foundation website.

The foundation is also calling for nominations from tutors in NZ journalism courses for the $1000 Emerging Journalism Prize for “outstanding recent work by New Zealand print journalism students.”

Stories must have been published, in any form, between the closing date for last year’s awards, 29 September 2017, and this year’s closing date, 14 September 2018.

Last year’s award was won by a student at Massey University’s journalism course in Wellington, Baz Macdonald, for a story on how the benefit system’s rules have failed to keep up with the growing numbers of New Zealanders living in less formalised and more insecure relationships.

Applications and nominations can be submitted online through the Foundation website or to the Secretary, Bruce Jesson Foundation, c/- Politics & International Relations, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142.

Baz Macdonald wins the Bruce Jesson Emerging Journalism Award for investigative journalism for 2017

Baz won the Award for his story on how, with more New Zealanders entering into de facto relationships, the benefit system’s rules are struggling to keep up. This means some people may end being investigated for fraud.

The judges told Baz his article “was exactly the kind of critical, informed, analytical and creative writing – which will contribute to public debate in New Zealand on an important issue – we want to foster.

“We hope this award may help in a small way to encourage you to keep on pursuing important public issues in your career in journalism.”

See here for more on the Award.

Tūhoe leader Tāmati Kruger to give 2017 Bruce Jesson Lecture

A leader of the Tūhoe people’s drive for self-determination, Tamati Kruger, will give the 2017 Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture on 31 October. Entitled ‘koia mārika – so it is’, the lecture will cover the following topics:

  • Being Tūhoe
  • The Tūhoe Settlement and Te Urewera Act.
  • Te Mana Motuhake o Tūhoe and NZ Culture and Identity

The lecture, at the University of Auckland, will be a historic opportunity for Tūhoe to explain their philosophy of Mana Motuhake/Self-Determination to a national audience, and to report on how the approach is working out in practice since the iwi signed a settlement with the Crown in 2013.

The settlement transferred management of the Tūhoe homeland in the former Urewera National Park to a new entity Te Urewera, which Kruger chairs, run jointly by the Crown and Tūhoe.

It also agreed in principle that Tūhoe should run its own social services, including healthcare and education, for its own people.

So far Tūhoe has opened a health clinic at Taneatua and plans two more, it runs youth and counselling services, offers educational scholarships, and is becoming involved in wider educational and social services.

Tāmati Kruger was educated at Victoria University in Wellington, where he also tutored in te reo Māori and was involved in the early days if the Te Reo Māori Society in the 1970s.

He was the chief Tūhoe negotiator in the settlement process and also chairs the tribal body Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua.

The lecture will be held at the University of Auckland. Details and a registration link will be provided closer to the event.

Emerging Journalism Award for 2016 awarded for story on lack of home support for military

A student investigation exposing a lack of psychological support for Kiwi soldiers returning from war zones has won this year’s Bruce Jesson Emerging Journalism Award.

The investigation, published in the Dominion Post, was written by an American student at the Massey University journalism school in Wellington, Audrey Seaman.

She found that the NZ Defence Force offered only “one size fits all” support for returning military personnel, and failed to provide the extra support required by some who served in active war zones such as Iraq.

One returning soldier, Major Terry Johanson, now a lecturer in Massey University’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies, said he was an “animal” when he returned from a dangerous deployment in Afghanistan.

“It wasn’t until his wife told him six months later that he still hadn’t really come home that he answered a follow-up psychological screening honestly and got help,” Seaman wrote.

The Bruce Jesson Foundation’s journalism awards subcommittee unanimously ranked Seaman’s story as the best entry for this year’s Emerging Journalism Award, worth $1000.

“She has uncovered an issue that has been generally ignored in the NZ media; she has found case studies that make a convincing case that current psychological support for people returning from war zones is inadequate; and she has balanced those cases with others suggesting that current support is sufficient,” the subcommittee said.

“The story engages the reader from the opening line quoting a soldier who returned from Afghanistan as an ‘animal’, and fully examines all the questions that line raises in the treader’s mind. “It is a valuable contribution to public debate and we hope it may encourage the Defence Force to improve support for returning military personnel in the future.”

The Bruce Jesson Foundation was formed to remember Auckland journalist and politician Bruce Jesson, who died in 1999.

The Emerging Journalism Award is granted annually to a journalism student. Entries must be submitted by late September each year through the head of a recognised NZ journalism school.

Audrey Seaman’s article is online here.

The press release can be downloaded here.

Waka Paddle to Gas Pedal: The First Century of Auckland Transport

From Waka Paddle to Gas Pedal
From Waka Paddle to Gas Pedal

Just published is Waka Paddle to Gas Pedal – The First Century of Auckland Transport by Keith Mexsom. The book’s inception was in a 2008 Bruce Jesson Award and it is now part one of a larger project.

Waka Paddle to Gas Pedal describes the evolution of Auckland’s transport systems in terms of the aspirations and activities of various businessmen, planners, engineers, and politicians and the ensuing success and failure of their enterprises between 1840 and 1940. The story tells of how national and local parochialism and the propensity for many Aucklanders to reap a harvest of capital gains by speculating in land have been responsible for the delay and failure of many transport initiatives.

Throughout history, the progress of nations has been driven by visionaries and their ambitions. But only those ambitions realised are remembered. The misses, even the near misses, are soon archived and forgotten.During the development of their various transport systems, there has been no lack of ambition expressed by Aucklanders struggling with the challenges of travelling and trading across their isthmus and beyond. Unfortunately for the present-day commuter and trader, and for reasons as diverse as the thousands of vehicles that now choke the City’s roads, precious few ambitions were realised. This is the story of those that succeeded, but mostly of those that failed, and how.

The study is intended to provide some explanation to those thousands of motorists who now crawl, seemingly forever, along Auckland’s roads; those with plenty of time to ask not only, ‘Why have I been here for so long?’ but also, ‘How did I get here?’

The book can be obtained from Amazon or Kobo. Further information is available on Keith Mexsom’s website.