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Talking to politicians

13/6/14 · Posted in advocacy tips, Leadership, politicians

An election is coming up and politicians like to hear from their local community. Talking to your local politicians can be a very effective way of advocating for change.


Do you have a burning issue or a way to make the community better at including people? Let your local politician know.

It is no good waving your fist at the TV or telling your cat all about it.

If you want change, prove it!

Pick up your phone, boot up your computer or just get out pen and paper.

Anyone can talk to a politician. Here are some handy tips from me:

  • The difference between effective advocacy and just ranting is having goals. You need to know why you are contacting a politician. Ask yourself, what are you hoping to achieve?
  • Do not accept the status quo, but be realistic. Politicians will not want to hear your plan to put a New Zealander on Mars by 2015.

New Zealand Mars Programme

  • Politicians are very busy. To cut through the clutter, you need to have clear messages.
  • Politicians are people first. Treat them with respect, even if they are massive wallies sometimes. Do not be afraid to disagree, but be reasonable and balanced.
  • Relax, politicians are just people, do not worry too much about impressing them. Just be yourself and be honest. As Bill Murray says: “The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything.”
  • Political parties have different priorities and views on issues. Understanding the differences between parties can help you advocate.
  • Sometimes the situation people are least prepared for is success. Think about the consequences of being successful. Changes to policies and laws affect people’s lives, sometimes in unexpected ways.
  • Generally the more influence a politician has, the harder it is to talk to them. This is because other people are also trying to talk to them. Trying to talk to the Prime Minister will be difficult!

You will run into many obstacles advocating for change. It is important not to give up. You only fail if you stop.

never give up

Sam Murray

Policy and Advocacy

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