Meet your local Member of Parliament or Local Councillor
- Be clear about your purpose for meeting with them and what it is you would like them to do.
- Check if others have met with the MP, or whether others are meeting other MPs on this issue or similar. Co-ordinate where appropriate. Share your experience on our Facebook community group.
- Do some investigation before you go – do they have a view/opinion on the issue? Has their party expressed a view on the issue? Have they had any previous experience of relevance, etc?
- Make an appointment – MPs usually have some days each week when they are based in their local constituency office. You can contact the office and establish a connection with their assistant.
- Be prepared – It is likely that you will only have a short time with them so plan to make the most of it - write down your key points making sure they are clear and simple, double check all your facts, have some real-life examples to share and/or take someone along with you to share their experience, think about possible questions they might have and practice some answers, have something to leave with them.
- Be on time.
- Be personable and let your passion for the issue show.
- During the meeting – stick to the facts and issues. Be solution focused. Avoid confrontation and argument. Avoid criticising others. Seek their views and ideas – what can they/Parliament do about this issue? Offer to be available for further information.
- If you don’t know the answer to any questions offer to find out, and make sure you follow-up with the answer.
- Thank them for their time and attention.
Develop a petition
A petition can be an effective way to achieve action or at least draw attention to the need for action on a particular issue. If done well it can also demonstrate support for change.
- Be clear about who will receive the petition. If you want to generate political momentum then an MP will be a possible recipient. Choose carefully.
- Ensure the wording is clear, concise and specifies what you want done.
Parliamentary rules for petitions can be found here.
You can create an online petition at https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petition/new. You can then circulate this electronically for others to sign.
Think strategically about what your petition is asking for. Sometimes asking for the first step towards change – something that seems more doable – is more effective that asking for the ultimate.
Write and present submissions
When issues are being considered by the Government (or local government) there is usually an opportunity for members of the public to provide their input and feedback. This is part of our democratic process. Public consultation can be called at different stages in a legislative process.
It is important to have your say on local or national policy and planning processes for alcohol. Keep a look out for opportunities for your input.
Submissions may be called for on:
- discussion documents
- draft plans or strategies
- policies (e.g. Local Alcohol Policies, alcohol bylaws)
- Parliamentary Bills (draft legislation)
Share your submission or create a template. This can be circulated amongst your connections to support them to make a submission as well. You could share your submission thoughts and ideas with others on our Action Point facebook page.
Types of submissions
- Local Council : Every Council must seek feedback on their local plans and bylaws. They go through a process called a Special Consultative Procedure, which usually means you have at least one month to give your feedback.
- A Government Ministry: The Ministrty of Health, Police, Justice, etc calls for submissions when considering a new law, a change to an old law, or asks for feedback on a draft strategy or action plan. Often at this stage, the Minister is seeking information and evidence about the proposal; as well as public views if they support or oppose the proposal.
- The Parliamentary Select Committee: There are a number of Select Committees in New Zealand (e.g. Justice, Health, Maori Affairs). They call for submissions when a bill (draft legislation) is referred to them after the first reading. The Select Committee can also launch an inquiry on an issue. At this stage, committee members are seeking views from the public on the specific details of a bill.
Here is a quick video guide on making a submission to Select Committee (Source: New Zealand Parliament 26 June 2018)