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Online campaign group launched

StandUp media release

Online campaign group launched

StandUp, an independent, citizen-led platform for online activism, will begin campaigning in New Zealand next month.

Modelled on organisations such as Avaaz, which mobilises people to address global issues through petitions, emails and other actions, StandUp aims to become a rallying point for New Zealanders concerned about local issues relating to politics, business, society and the environment.

The first campaigns will potentially target asset sales, paid parental leave, coal mining in conservation areas and a sustainable rebuild in Christchurch. However direct member input will decide which areas become the focus of this organisation.

‘We will enable tens of thousands of Kiwis to have their say,’ said acting director Joe Cederwall, a Wellington barrister. ‘New Zealanders believe in a fair go, yet there’s a glaring disconnect between the values of the majority and the actions of government and business. StandUp will collaborate with the growing progressive movement, to bring participation back into politics.’

The project takes advantage of the global revolution in online activism, which has played a role in the Arab Spring and Occupy movements, and influenced the 2008 election of President Barack Obama.

Using technology and issues-based campaigns, internet-based activism groups aggregate citizens who are already politically engaged and turn them into a new source of political power.

Because members can join easily and only need to make a minimal time commitment, these organisations can regularly engage a large section of the population when issues are hot.

‘We will be providing honest information and strategic leadership on issues of critical importance,’ said Cederwall. ‘By winning small victories on issues, progressive online campaigners can begin to shift attitudes and behaviours, and widen the pool of engaged citizens.’

Using volunteers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, the organisation has engaged an advisory board with representatives from GetUp in Australia and the US group Citizen Engagement Lab.

Advisers include Ced Simpson, a former director of Amnesty New Zealand and Ben Brandzel, formerly of MoveOn in the US. Business partners include IT company Enspiral, and Social Innovation, an award winning community engagement agency who co-ordinated a massive community led post-quake response in Christchurch in 2011.

StandUp is currently seeking $20,000 seed funding to appoint, Megan Salole to commence work as our executive director in May. We are currently asking people interested in supporting StandUp to pledge a donation now on our page on the crowd fundraising site Pledge Me (pledgeme.co.nz/Crowd/Details/167). We need to raise $10,000 on the site by 5pm on Monday to be in a position to appoint Megan.

© Scoop Media

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