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Guest post: Eva Hartshorn-Sanders for Senior Vice President

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, August 3rd, 2016 - 67 comments
Categories: democratic participation, labour - Tags: ,

The Standard’s authors have offered candidates for the upcoming Labour Party internal elections the chance to guest post about why they’re running. Eva Hartshorn-Sanders has been nominated for the position of Senior Vice President.

lprent: Note that, like all campaign for party position posts, this post will be fully moderated to prevent excessive trolling. So expect delays before your comments appear.

Every morning when I check the news I see another reason why we need a Labour-led Government; why we need to win in 2017.  There is serious underfunding in education, health and the public services we rely on.  Teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers and others working in the public service are undervalued, over-worked and under-paid.  Schools need a serious boost in their operations’ budgets and kids need smaller class sizes.  Patients aren’t getting the operations that they need and too many are being fobbed off from even getting onto a waiting list, let alone seeing a specialist.  Workers are increasingly vulnerable and the Government is doing nothing to solve the holiday back-pay debacle.

I’m part of a generation facing the sharp end of National’s poor government. They’ve let young people down by not keeping house prices affordable, by introducing youth rates and the 90 day fire at will trials, and by limiting access to higher education and apprenticeships.  I finally finished paying my student loan off a couple of years ago in my early 30s.  I want the next generation to be able to follow their passions and start their careers without the albatross of debt around their neck.

But first we have to win!  And to do this, we have to work as part of a broader movement.  Labour is the leading opposition party in Parliament and our MPs and staff work incredibly hard to make a difference there.  As a Party, we also need to make sure that we hear the voices of those outside of Wellington.  We need a Party that is well-connected to its members and the wider public.  We all have networks and connections that we can tap into, and we need to start having those conversations now; listening to what people care about and understanding what needs to happen.

This is how we build a 2017 strategy that motivates our grassroots on core issues and inspires the next generation of voters who are looking towards a future with greater opportunity and security. Next generation politics for Labour requires courage and a collective agenda to achieve prosperity!

eva uk protestThe more we reach out, the more power we can build as a movement and the more change, good change, we can make together.  Building these bridges, bringing Labour Party members, supporters, and other progressive New Zealanders together, that’s crucial to winning.  Not just winning for its own sake but winning meaningfully, with a real mandate to make progressive change for all Kiwis; whether it’s building state houses or 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, or three years’ free tertiary study and a boost to apprenticeships for young people, supported by a real investment in careers advice at school.

I decided to stand for Senior Vice President because I want to step up what I’m already doing to help Labour through the election and after we win.  It’s not a glamorous role. It’s about good governance, focused on strategy, policy, campaigning, understanding electoral regulations and identifying risk.  The SVP needs to have a national focus, identify and solve problems before they become an issue, and have strong relationships with all parts of the Party to make sure we’re on the same page.  It means working effectively as part of a team, campaigning and fundraising leading into the election – supported by the Fraser House team, who are the experts in this area.  And it means building our network of supporters outside the Party so that we have the momentum to win.

I grew up in Hawke’s Bay and went to a low-decile high school with a big Māori and Pasifika population.  Those formative years helped to cement my strong sense of social justice, the need to address inequality, the need for a partnership approach and inclusiveness – not just because it’s the right and fair thing to do but because, in a post-settlement New Zealand, Māori will play a major role in shaping our future and Labour must be partners in that.

Workers’ rights are important to me. Throughout University, I volunteered at the Workers’ Rights Service – a not-for-profit organisation that provides free employment advice and advocacy for workers who don’t have access to a union; and I continue to train new advocates of this service.

I also remember how vulnerable I was in my first few jobs as a young person, when I found out that I was being paid under the minimum wage or less than guys doing the same job, or when I had split shifts and was told to come back a few hours later when they would be busy again.  I now work for a trade union and I’m a member of E tū, Labour’s largest affiliate.  I’m a member of the National Affiliates Council (the governing body for the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions) and Co-Convenor for the CTU Women’s Council.

eva tim electionI have worked in law, policy, campaigning and organising.  This includes nine years working in Government in NZ, two years as a senior legal and political adviser for the (Labour) Leader of the Opposition in the UK House of Lords, private practice and now at the PPTA as a public and employment lawyer.  As part of my job, I travel the country speaking to union members about the issues that are important to them, in their schools and communities.  I have strong links with women throughout the country through my pro bono work for the National Council of Women and the New Horizons for Women Trust.  I have governance experience as a Board member of New Horizons, focussed on governance, policy, sponsors and donors, audit and risk, and for the State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme, where I helped to ensure that members were able to access their whole pension for the purposes of their first home loan.

Over the past four years I’ve been doing my bit for Labour by providing constitutional and legal policy advice to NZ Council and Fraser House.  This includes writing the Labour leadership election rules and helping to run that process twice as the Deputy Returning Officer, providing advice to the Party, candidates and campaign managers through the General Election period, helping to run the selection process and campaign for the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election, and co-authoring the plain-English rewrite and recent amendments to the Labour Party’s Constitution.  I’ve also had my fair share working at the grassroots level, knocking on doors, phoning voters, putting up signs, donating prizes and attending fundraisers.

Unity is more than just an accommodation. It’s about being properly and actively inclusive of all of Labour’s people. We are the Party that has always fought for the rights of all New Zealanders and I believe we are the Party that represents everything that is good about New Zealand and its progressive beliefs.

That’s why, when I decided to stand for SVP, I met with as many parts of Labour as I could and asked what they wanted from the SVP and if they would support me. And it’s why I have nominations from around the country including Hauraki-Waikato, Christchurch East, the Rongotai Women’s Branch in Wellington, and Botany LEC in Auckland. The most important thing we can do as a movement is to look after each other and listen to each other. That’s how we make things better, and that’s why I’m standing for SVP.

The vote for SVP takes place at this year’s Annual Conference in Auckland in November.  If you or your LEC would like to talk to me about this before then, then flick me an email at Labouroflove2016@gmail.com.  I really appreciate all the support you can give and am always here for a chat if you have any questions.

67 comments on “Guest post: Eva Hartshorn-Sanders for Senior Vice President ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Thanks for this Eva.

    And well done on your work on the party’s constitution. I was a very keen observer and I thought the work done was top notch.

    A question for you. How do we make the party more attractive to young people? When I look overseas at the types of movements and the number of young people rallying behind Corbyn in the UK and Sanders in the US I keep thinking that in Aotearoa we need to be doing a bit better. Any thoughts?

  2. Eva 2

    Hi Micky.

    I think that young people are really passionate about different issues and are looking to become more active politically in a meaningful way. Democracy is critical. Young people want to be able to have a say in important decisions. To feel like their membership is important and that they are contributing towards a bigger goal.

    It’s one of the reasons that the Labour Leadership election changes were so popular. I travelled around the country going to different hustings while I was helping to run these and there was such a buzz. Hearing what different candidates valued, what the important issues were, and what changes they wanted to make. We saw a massive jump in membership through this period and we need to continue to look for more ways of making politics fun and engaging.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Thanks. Good answer! I agree that the leadership hustings were very important and empowering. Participatory democracy is very important.

      BTW is Bernie a relative?

  3. Ad 3

    Sounds like an excellent addition.

    I mean knock yourself out, but what a tough path for a talented and experienced operative.

    Wouldn’t you be better as an MP rather than in all this thankless back room drudgery?

    • Eva 3.1

      I like the governance work that’s involved in this role – looking at strategy, assessing risk, legal policy / constitutional work – that’s where I feel like I can add value to the work of the Party – being part of that team. (And I love my current job).

      • Ad 3.1.1

        No problem.

        Commitment to a union and to Labour is nothing but honorable in this shrinking civic realm. So all power to you.

        But if you ever get bored, fed up, burnt, or want to stretch your legs, leftie governance types are freaking rare here in Auckland. And there’s great projects to work on.

  4. lprent 4

    I‘ve also had my fair share working at the grassroots level…

    So I’m surprised that I don’t see a mention in your post of the two really big issues that I see for both the president and vice-presidential roles.

    Strategies for raising money and increasing membership.

    The parliamentarians are meant to be focusing on their paid role as a parliamentary services employee. ie focusing on their constituencies and their representational duties.

    The general secretary is paid to run the mechanics of the party like getting current members to stay members, and using funds wisely.

    Both can be used for helping to get the wherewithal to run a political party. But only the presidential roles have the responsibility to maintain the party into the future. Part of that are the constitutional duties. But a large part is figuring out how to make sure the party itself survives.

    Perhaps you’d care to expound on where you see yourself in those set of duties?

    • Eva 4.1

      Hi IPrent

      I think everyone has a part to play in building those networks and having conversations about Labour values and policies – think it would be a bit rough to leave it all to the MPs – so having a strong network on a national level is important for this role and being able to get out and around the country is also important so that we stay connected as a Party.

      Re the constitutional duties – I was one of the co-authors of the plain English rewrite of the constitution and continue to provide support in this area as the Party makes changes and NZ Council needs advice.

      Building membership is an important part of our future. I think we need to continue to modernise the Party and its structures, to make sure that we all have a place within in it to be active and to have a voice.

      Re the fundraising aspect – I would be one in a team that will be implementing the fundraising strategy from Fraser House, taking expert advice from professional staff. But I have some experience in this area running events for PPTA, NCW and the New Horizons for Women Trust, including working with sponsors and donors portfolio

  5. Colonial Viper 6

    Hi Eva. Could you please explain your perspective on the Corbyn leadership phenomenon in the UK Labour Party and why he has attracted so many new members to the party.

    • Eva 6.1

      I think he has really made politics relevant to people again. He’s very human as a person and his values shine through – what he stands for, how he votes. He’s rejected the Blairite model and has engaged with people that felt let down by the system. The policies he’s promoting are ones that people want – not just for the 1%.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Thanks a lot for your comprehensive reply.

      • Wayne 6.1.2

        I was at a NZIAA meeting last week where Andrew Little was giving a keynote address on Labours foreign policy. Actually it was a pretty good speech. In reply to a question from the floor from someone who obviously liked Corbyn, Andrew Little said Jeremy Corbyn had failed as a Leader and that he should go. I presumed he meant that Corbyn should resign.

        • te reo putake 6.1.2.1

          Seems unlikely, Wayne. I suspect you may have missed the words “Some people say …”.

          • Wayne 6.1.2.1.1

            I was there. I heard Andrew Little say it as his opinion. I must say I was surprised, because I would have expected him to use something like you have suggested. But he didn’t.
            Audrey Young reported it.

            • te reo putake 6.1.2.1.1.1

              Where did she report it, Wayne? I’ve just checked her Herald articles and twitter feed. Can’t see anything so far.

              Edit, found it.

              “Asked by a member of the audience about British Labour, Little said the party needed a unifying leader “and it’s pretty clear to me that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t that.”

              Not quite your recollection, but in the same ballpark, I guess.

        • Eva 6.1.2.2

          I think we have a great foreign policy in the Labour Party. I walked in the march opposing the Iraq War and I’m really glad that Helen decided not to be involved and that Andrew came out so strongly saying that it was time for our troops to come home. Would be interested to read his speech. Is there a link to it you can share?

          The UK Labour party is going through its own leadership election cycle now, so it will be up to all three constituent parts: Party members, MPs and union members to decide who they have confidence in as their Party leader. The power of democracy. 🙂

  6. Hi Eva,

    It’s great to see someone with your passion and level of experience going for this SVP role. I agree that we need to find a way to get more young people involved. I thought that perhaps having youth ‘ambassadors’ strategically working on social media might be one way, but how do we reach out to youth who are really disenfranchised?

    • Eva 7.1

      Young people need to feel taken seriously like all voters. They don’t want to be talked down to by older generations so we need to foster young leaders and activists and genuinely share power with them if we want them to engage.

  7. Patrick Leyland 8

    Hi Eva

    Thanks for your post.

    One thing you didn’t mention is what you would actually do if elected. Can you please elaborate?

    • Eva 8.1

      Hi Patrick.

      Thanks for your message. The Senior Vice President position sits on NZ Council and is part of the governance team. From working with NZ Council over the past four years, there is a lot of policy, legal and strategic decisions that they will be making going forward – and I would be able to bring my skills to help as part of this core work. Important decisions going forward relate to the selection of candidates and the list selection work as part of the Moderating Committee – I understand this process from helping to run the Ikaroa-Rawhiti bi-election selection process and working on the drafting with Roger Palairet for the recent constitutional amendments.

      Some of this has been answered above – networking is important for campaigning, fundraising, and membership growth. I also think the SVP has an important role for staying in touch with members and working with caucus. The links and connections are important.

      Hope that helps clarify? Hope you’re enjoying Australia and keep up the good fight.

      Best wishes
      Eva

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2

      The duties of a senior vice president would be a good guess, I expect.

      What would you do if elected?

      • Eva 8.2.1

        Hi One Anonymous Bloke.

        I would do the whole job if elected. Because it’s general election year it will be a two year appointment under the Constitution, so it is important to be nimble and respond to the needs of fundraising,strategy and campaigning through election year with time for longer term objectives afterwards. There are important legal / constitutional issues throughout this 2 year period.

    • Eva 9.1

      Thanks Deborah! Am going to take that as a super high compliment as it’s come from from you! x

  8. adam 10

    HI Eva thanks for the post I’m going to ask six questions – three nice,

    1. Do you see yourself bringing gender and/or age balance to the upper reaches of the party?

    2. If you could get one piece of legislation through the house what would it be?

    3. Are you looking forward to the role?

    and three not so nice,

    4. Can you work with the Greens, or are they all icky?

    5. You seem to be a careerist political type, do you think you have enough experience outside of politics to bring to the role?

    6. What is more important, power or doing the right thing?

    I have no problem with yes no answers, and best of luck in the vote.

    • Eva 10.1

      Hi Adam

      Thanks for your post. 😉

      1 – Yes. I think it’s important to have diversity of views / backgrounds of people in governance roles. All of the leading evidence shows that Boards do better when this is the case – they can better assess risk and make informed decisions. We should be able to have a good debate internally to reach a good decision.

      2 – Only one piece! Man, that’s hard… I would like to see major changes to employment law. I think that jobs are one of the areas that many kiwis care about and are connected with in some way and there needs to be a rebalancing of the rights of workers – more paid parental leave, no dodgy probation periods, a living wage so that people can live in dignity, and secure work. I also think we should get rid of charter schools and invest that money back into the public system rather than profit for businesses.

      3 – Yes. Both nervous and excited about the chance to do this role.

      4 – Yes. I can definitely work with the Greens. They have some great people involved. I really love the work that Jan Logie is doing, trying to push for paid leave for the purposes of dealing with the effects of domestic violence. This is such an important intervention that can help and I wish the Government would pick her member’s bill up as a policy and run with it – make a positive difference. Also – working with the Greens – that’s the reality of a MMP Government, which we know Kiwis wanted and voted to keep.

      5 – A careerist political type? That’s interesting. Lots of experience. I had my first job at the age of 11 delivering pamphlets – that has to be useful for this role, right? I have worked in all sorts of jobs through my life – if that’s the sort of thing you were asking about? Burger King “maintenance man” in 2000, cafe assistant, retail work, working at a creche, multiple babysitting jobs, Judo coach at Camp America (CCUSA), government, politics, union. And I do NGO work for fun – not really that political – unless you want it to be.

      6 – Doing the right thing – clearly. But it’s also important to get into power to do that. Communication about why you doing the right thing, and bringing people with you, is key to this.

      Did I pass?

      • adam 10.1.1

        You mentioned the hard working, but mostly forgotten MP Jan Logie. Which means I hope you win.

        And good to see you are think about interconnectedness of issues. We need more of that.

        My only criticism, you are another moderate. But I’ll take a leaf out of Ad’s book, and be happy with some progress.

        Again, best of luck.

  9. Jenny Kirk 11

    Hullo Eva
    Good to see you taking advantage of The Standard’s offer to make yourself known to us, and good to see you taking up the challenge to become Senior Vice-President.
    Good luck,
    Jenny

  10. I wish you all the best with your endeavours, thanks for posting.

  11. weston 13

    hi Eva
    to what extent do you think dirty politics is still practiced by the present government

  12. Honey Heemi 14

    Kia ora, Eva

    I have enjoyed the bedside read😀

  13. Chris 15

    Hi Eva, was that photo on the clifftop taken on the East Coast? Looks like the Mahia Peninsula?

    • Eva 15.1

      Hi Chris. It’s actually from Dover in the UK from when I was working for the Labour Party over there. A rugged piece of coastline like we have here at home. Growing up in HB, I love being close to the sea. 🙂

  14. Stuart Munro 16

    Lots of luck Eva – but you’ve got your work cut out.

    Real joblessness in NZ is approaching 40% of the working age population – pretty much the same as Australia.

    It’s going to take a lot of creative policy and sustained effort to improve those numbers.

    I hope too that you’ll give some thought to procedures for jailing the corrupt members of the current government. Long overdue.

  15. Chris 17

    Hi Eva.

    Labour supported the government’s last legislative attack on the poor in the Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Act 2014 and is set to support the government again in the Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill which does a whole bunch of nasty things like throw entitlement into regulations so that if people don’t fit the tightly prescribed criteria there’s nothing the law can do regardless of need – a change that’s consistent with how ACC currently works but which is a silly change when you realise that welfare requires flexibility to ensure a safety net is maintained.

    Do you agree with Labour’s approach to benefits over recent years? Has, in your view, Labour changed in any way in its approach to social welfare benefits? Do you think Labour’s in any way apologetic about what it’s done and has somehow seen the light?

    Labour axed the special benefit in 2004 and did other horrible things in it’s 2007 amendment Act. Is Labour sorry for this, too? Or do you think we should expect more of the same if Labour becomes the government?

  16. Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 18

    Congratulations, Eva – you managed to not mention the dreaded ‘socialism’ word at all in your address. Nat-lite?

    • Doogs 18.1

      Oh for god’s sake, go chase your own bum, and when you have finished doing that go read the article again with your eyes open!

      • Leftie 18.1.1

        +1 Doogs.

      • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 18.1.2

        I did read her address carefully. Social justice is not the same as socialism.

        In fact, I agree with everything she said – but would still like the Labour Party to unashamedly avow itself a party of the socialist left.

        IMO, the time for trying to be a centrist party and appeal to the middle class is nearly over. What this country needs is a Jeremy Corbyn – and the party structure to back him or her up.

  17. Doogs 19

    Excellent post Eva. It says all the things I believe in. I really enjoyed reading, and I’m going to read it again to get even more out of it.

    All the things you espouse are vital for the real progress of our little nation. We don’t need this top-down rubbish being handed out daily by this do-nothing government. They lie, brow-beat, deny, obfuscate, etc, etc . . . which brings me to my point –

    These awful people will, and have already, stoop/stooped to such low low levels of attack that it is clear they are prepared to hold on to power at any price. I am really concerned that we don’t have the firepower to beat them. I keep reading posts like yours and speeches by Andrew and they are all on message. They make sense, they are about people, they show a way forward which is inclusive and they have real answers to problems which are long overdue for fixing. And what do we get from the other side? Half answers, no answers, distractions, shit logic and a host of other stuff which has the non-thinkers nodding their heads and saying “I’ll vote for that”.

    What do we have against the evil, serpentine machinations of a nasty and abusive government which cares nothing for the average man, which actively wrenches rights away from those in need? And then says – Labour did it too.

    I worry hugely about how we counter the scheming right. They have the supporters, they have the money, they have the resources that Labour struggles to achieve. We need a few king hits to send them reeling, but I don’t see it happening.

    I am hugely embarrassed by the actions of this government and I am ashamed to say I am a NZer. Don’t get me started on Trump, but he espouses many of the same ideas as our Natzi lot. The only difference is he is a lot more overt about it.

    Please tell me Eva that Labour has a plan to counter the antics of National. They need to be shamed and blamed on a lot of fronts, and I’m sorry, but I don’t see it happening.

    • Garibaldi 19.1

      Doogs — very good comments. I would just like to add to them by bringing up the role of the media in maintaining the popularity of these lying bastards in power now.

      • Leftie 19.1.1

        Very true Garibaldi.

      • Doogs 19.1.2

        Totally. MSM has a lot to answer for. Where is the probing, the fact checking, the analysing. Are so many of them just lazy, or (shock horror) are they bought in some way? Oh, then of course, there’s the “You say that again and I’ll . . . .”

    • Leftie 19.2

      I second that Doogs. Great post.

  18. Im right 20

    it seems everyone in labour (uk and nz) or basically the left in general (bernie in usa) are appealling to the youth, and yet the labour front bench have mp’s there that were there when you were in nappies or not long out of them. Do you think labour needs a good clean out of the ‘oldies’ and fresh young talent brought in? (ohh and im not expecting the ‘but they all have so much experience and wisdom to give…they have been there for 3 election defeats now and probably #4 next year)

  19. Philj 21

    I would like to support Labour, but like many others, I suspect, have lost trust in our democracy. Fooled one too many times.The youth possibly don’t realise that it was Labour, via Douglas, that fast tracked neo liberal policies for NZ. We haven’t recovered from that. Sure the western world was taken over by this ideology. Labour in NZ, lead the way. Betrayal comes to mind.

  20. Rob 22

    Good luck
    It is great to see youth getting involved in our future
    I remember being at a meeting that Ron Trotter told us in1990 that we could no longer
    Afford free university education
    Both he and I and probably many others there had got one. Speaks volumes!
    I always recall the message that history repeats and we need to learn from it and not repeat its mistakes.
    We are a society of many generations and need to embrace them all as they all can teach us lessons
    As such the most important lesson is to equip the next generation to be better than the last, education must be the prime feature to ensures our future as a robust society
    I hope you bring that vitality to your next role

    • Leftie 22.1

      +1 r0b.

    • Eva 22.2

      Thanks Rob. I hope so too!

      I feel equally committed to education and what that can do to transform a person’s / family’s life. It’s why I work for PPTA and am a trustee for New Horizons.

      • Doogs 22.2.1

        Yep, good comment. However I have a few things that the Labour Party needs to do when it gets into power. In fact, not needs, absolutely bloody well has to do to salvage some credibility in the education arena.

        Here’s my list, and it is by no means exhaustive –

        1. Abolish charter schools and put that money where it will do more good – in the state school system, where we still lead the world in innovation and skill development.

        2. In crease bulk grants to schools where they are actually able to fund the programmes that are important for THEIR children.

        3. Completely rid the idea of bulk funding teacher salaries from the agenda.

        4. Fund special needs education full to allow for the very specific needs of a growing number of children, and idea the criteria for inclusion in these programmes.

        5. Pay teacher aides and support workers in schools a lot more to reflect the level of input they have into special needs programmes.

        6. Get rid of the rigid criteria that the MOE is currently using to und schools’ building programmes e.g. insisting on new buildings being MLEs (Modern Learning Environments – so called).

        7. Getting rid of CoL (Communities of Learning), which is really the IES in drag. Allow schools to develop their own groupings as and when needs arise.

        8. Pay teachers more. If I was in a classroom today I would earn about $58,000 annually, another $3500 if I was a senior teacher in charge of a team, about $70,000 if I was a DP or AP and around $100,000 as a principal (all average figures).

        Comment: I spoke recently with a medical doctor who runs a practice, and he said that a doctor starting with him would begin on $200,000.

  21. Leftie 23

    All the best Eva Hartshorn-Sanders, I’m very impressed. You’re an asset to the Labour party and have no doubts that you will do an awesome job. Hope you win it.

  22. Paul Facoory 24

    I assume a unifying leader of the British Labour Party is one who will revert back to the failed Labour policies of the past? From my extensive reading on the subject Jeremy Corbyn has been undermined in every quarter by the “Blair” faction which is still very strong in the Labour Party. This is the dishonest, “intellectual” side of the Party which is just another part of the “establishment” – a gentler form of the Conservative Party. The British Labour Party does not need a unifying leader. They need to unify around the leader and this may be impossible no matter who the leader is.

    Corbyn comes from a completely different philosophical base than the Blairits. In my view he is more compatible to Labours true roots. Labour movements all over the world (including NZ) have an identity crises, They seem to have lost their heart to be radical and different from the mainstream and can only seem to embrace policies that will not deliver anything else but mediocrity and middle of the road. That may have been good enough in the past 20 years but in the coming years of financial and social turmoil it won’t cut it!

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