Communication to Parliament

 

Protocols for Communicating with Members of Parliament



Members of Parliament are your representatives in Parliament. You can contact them at their offices in the parliamentary complex or at their out-of-Parliament or electorate offices.

Full parliamentary and electorate contact details are listed for each member within this directory.
 


Writing a Letter


Guidelines on Writing to a Member of Parliament
 
  • Write to the appropriate MP and not all of them
  • Address your letter using the MP’s correct name and title
 
Letters to Members of the House of Representatives in Wellington should be addressed to:

The Honourable (full formal name) OR Mr, Ms, Dr (full formal name)
House of Representatives
Parliament Buildings
WELLINGTON 6160
 

No postage stamp is needed when you are writing as an individual to a Member of Parliament or a Minister. Postage is required if you are writing on behalf of an organisation.
 

Note – please see below for appropriate protocol and forms of address
 
  • Introduce yourself as a concerned member of the public
  • Clearly state the purpose of your letter. For example: ‘I am writing to urge your support for/opposition to…’ OR ‘I am writing to ask you to support/ oppose…’
  • Focus on one issue only. Explain your concerns and how they impact the wider community and you as a voter. Support your personal views and experiences with facts. Don’t allow your letter to become long winded. Stay focused and stick to your main points.
  • Sample letters, postcard campaigns and emails are usually considered to be less effective than a handwritten or printed and signed letter.
  • Ask for a response to your letter.
  • Let the MP know if you have met, voted for or assisted with their election campaign.
  • Never be rude, condescending or confrontational. Always be polite and courteous.
  • Don’t forget to include your name, address, contact telephone number and email address.
  • Encourage others who feel strongly about your issue/s to write to their local MP as well.
  • Encourage local MPs who support your position with thank you letters.
 

Protocol and forms of address

Here are some examples of the correct form of address for members of Parliament.
 
 
 

Form of address

Salutation

Conversation

Speaker:

Dr The Rt Hon David Carter, Speaker of the House of Representatives   

Dear Mr Speaker

Mr Speaker

Prime Minister:

Rt Hon Bill English, Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister

Prime Minister

Ministers:

Hon Steven Joyce, Minister of …

Dear Minister

Minister

Members of Parliament:     

Hon Nikki Kaye MP or
Ms Nikki Kaye MP

Dear Mr / Ms / Dr XX

Mr / Ms / Dr XX

 
 
 

Making a Submission to a Select Committee

 

If you have something to say about a bill or other item before a select committee, you may be able to make a submission about it. Select committees ask for your opinion by ‘calling for submissions’.

 

What is a submission?

 

A submission is your chance to present your opinions, observations, and recommendations on a matter before a select committee. Submissions are written, but you may also ask to talk to the committee in person. This way, committee members can ask you more detailed questions about your recommendations.

 

When to make a submission?

 

It is normal for committees to ask for submissions, but it is not compulsory. Select committees often ask for public input by advertising in newspapers. The advertisement states the name of the bill or other item under consideration; the name and contact details for the select committee; and the timeframe for sending your submission.

 
 
For further information on making a select committee submission please click here.
 
 

Transparency in the Public Sector

 

Two notable cases have highlighted the transparency of public sector organisations recently, something you need to be aware of if you communicate with them.

 

In June, internal emails between managers and staff of Capital & Coast District Health Board relating to a man with autism who was locked in seclusion were made public. More recently in Hastings and Havelock North, the impact of water contamination is likely to be felt for a long time, and those likely interacted parties will use the OIA to obtain copies of internal communications.

 

Every organisation should be familiar with the OIA and LGOIMA, two Acts specific to public sector transparency. Information below highlights how any communications sent to a public sector organisation can be made public, it also enables you to potentially access information that is important to you or other publics.

 

Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA)

 

What is the LGOIMA?

The LGOIMA allows people to request official information held by local government agencies. This Act contains rules for how such requests should be handled, and provides a right to complain to the Ombudsman in certain situations. Click here to see the Ombudsman’s guide.

 

Official Information Act 1992 (OIA)

 

What is the OIA?

The OIA is designed to make government activities more open and transparent to the public. Anybody can request information held by Ministers and central government agencies such as the Police, universities, boards of trustees of state schools and district health boards.

 

Information that can be requested includes: documents (draft and final); reports; letters and emails; meeting minutes and agendas; video tapes or recordings.

 

The requested information must be supplied within 20 working days. If an organisation declines, it must provide a reason and advise the Ombudsman, who investigates whether this is justified under the Act.

 

Click here to see an example.

 

How are the OIA and LGOIMA relevant to you or organisations you work with?

 

  • Information on a wide range of subjects and across any platform, not necessarily details within a particular document, can be requested.
  • Any communication an organisation has with government organisations and local bodies could be requested and accessed by the public and media.
  • The organisation that makes the request could be liable to pay for any costs occurred to obtain and supply the information, although this is seldom enforced.
  • Expenses, sponsorship and funding paid between an organisation and local bodies, government organisations, agencies or officials can be requested. 

Live Feed

  • 25 November 2017, 4:54 pm
    Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, the Rt Hon Winston Peters, has condemned the terrorist attack in Egypt’s North Sinai which has killed more than 230 people and injured over 100 more, making it the deadliest attack in Egyptian history.   The attack took place today during Friday prayers (Egypt time) when gunmen opened fire on worshippers in the mosque, as well as detonating bombs.   “New Zealand strongly condemns this cowardly attack on innocent people at prayer and conveys its condolences to the Government of Egypt and the families and loved ones of those affected.” Mr Peters says.   The area where the attack took place is one of two areas in Egypt which New Zealand’s travel advisory classifies as an extreme risk due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and the presence of armed groups.    “Our embassy in Cairo is monitoring the situation closely and there is no indication of any New Zealand casualties," Mr Peters says.   The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade advice to New Zealanders travelling to Egypt is available on www.safetravel.govt.nz.         Contact:  Stephen Parker 021 195 3528    
  • 25 November 2017, 11:01 am
    Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford has commissioned three of New Zealand’s leading experts to provide an independent stocktake of the housing crisis. “For too long, the previous Government refused to accept the housing crisis and establish the scale of the problem we face,” says Minister Twyford.  “For instance, it was only once the Labour-led Government came to office that we learned MBIE’s official figures show a nationwide shortfall of 71,000 houses and that projections show house building would fall if not for KiwiBuild. “The previous government never acknowledged or accepted the official numbers, and also refused to accept its own official definition of homelessness. “Shamubeel Eaqub, Philippa Howden-Chapman, and Alan Johnson are among New Zealand’s foremost experts on housing. Their insight will be invaluable. “This report will provide an authoritative picture of the state of housing in New Zealand today, drawing on the best data available. It will put firm figures on homelessness, the state of the rental market, the decline of homeownership, and other factors in the housing crisis. “The Labour-led Government is already pushing ahead quickly with initiatives to make housing more affordable and healthy, including banning overseas speculators, passing the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, cancelling the state house selloff, and setting up KiwiBuild. This report will help the Government refine and focus that work where it is most needed. “I have instructed officials to provide the experts with any and all information they request. The years of spin and denial are over,” says Phil Twyford. The report will be due before Christmas.   Note: Shamubeel Eaqub is a respected independent economist and commentator, and author of Generation Rent. Philippa Howden-Chapman is Professor of Public Health at Otago University. She has led groundbreaking research on the health impacts of cold, damp housing. Alan Johnson is Senior Policy Analyst for the Salvation Army and author of The Salvation Army's State of the Nation report, which highlights effects of the housing crisis.
  • 24 November 2017, 2:23 pm
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker has confirmed that United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox will visit New Zealand between 25 and 28 November.   “New Zealand and the United Kingdom enjoy a uniquely close and important friendship,” Mr Parker says.     “We have long-standing and deep family connections. Our countries promote shared values and respect for international norms. We share extensive defence and security links, as well as significant business and investment ties.   “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are both strong advocates for progressive and inclusive trade. We are important trading partners and have committed to laying the foundations for a UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement once the UK leaves the EU.   “We welcome Secretary Fox’s visit as an opportunity to strengthen our close relationship at a time when the United Kingdom is seeking to reshape its relationships around the world following its decision to leave the European Union,” Mr Parker says.   While in New Zealand, Secretary Fox will visit Auckland and Wellington, meeting with senior ministers and engaging with the business community.
  • 23 November 2017, 12:21 pm
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. “Our 100 Day Plan includes the establishment of a Tax Working Group. The Working Group will consider changes that would improve the structure, fairness and balance of the tax system,” says Grant Robertson. “This Government is committed to a fair and progressive tax system. It is important that New Zealanders have confidence in their tax system and know that everyone is paying their fair share.” “At the moment the tax system appears unfair – for example, it doesn’t treat income from speculation in housing as it does income from work. We want to consider how we can create a better balanced system and can encourage a shift to investment in the productive economy. “Individual wage-earners, businesses, asset owners and speculators should pay their fair share of tax. Right now we don’t think that is happening. This working group is not about increasing income tax or the rate of GST, but rather introducing more fairness across all taxpayers. “The Working Group will also consider how the tax system can contribute to positive environmental outcomes and the impact of likely changes to the economic environment, demographics, technology and employment practices over the next decade. “As former Minister of Finance from 1999 to 2008, Sir Michael’s credentials are impeccable and he will be a huge asset to the Working Group.” “The other members of the Working Group will be announced before Christmas. They will include a diverse range of tax and finance experts and representatives of the business and wider community. The Working Group will be supported by a secretariat of officials from Treasury and Inland Revenue and have an independent advisor to analyse the various sources of advice received,” says Stuart Nash. “Final recommendations to Ministers are expected by February 2019. As promised before the election, any significant changes legislated for from the Group’s final report will not come into force until the 2021 tax year. “It is important to ensure that all sectors of the New Zealand economy can feed into the Working Group’s processes and that all relevant perspectives are considered.” “As we promised during the election campaign, certain areas will be outside the scope of the review, including increasing any income tax rate, the rate of GST, inheritance tax and changes that would apply to the family home or land beneath it,” Grant Robertson says. “We also want to thank our government partners, the New Zealand First and Green parties, for their input and support of the Terms of Reference for this important piece of work on the future of our tax system. "This review is a core part of the government’s programme and I’m confident it will deliver recommendations that will enable us to put in place a tax system that is fair for all New Zealanders,” says Grant Robertson.
  • 23 November 2017, 10:28 am
    The New Zealand government is dismayed by the recent decision of Cambodian authorities to dissolve the country’s main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand is a long-standing partner of Cambodia, and this latest blow to Cambodia’s democracy is deeply concerning.   “There is now a serious question over the legitimacy of Cambodia’s general election next year, in which Prime Minister Hun Sen will stand largely unchallenged,” Mr Peters says.   “New Zealand calls on Prime Minister Hun Sen to urgently restore freedom of expression and political choice for the people of Cambodia.”   The dissolution of the Cambodian National Rescue Party is the latest in a series of concerning actions in the country, including the ongoing detention of the Cambodian National Rescue Party’s leader, Kem Sokha.     Contact:  Stephen Parker 021 195 3528  
  • 22 November 2017, 2:39 pm
    Health Minister Hon Dr David Clark says today’s official opening of a new medical centre in Auckland emphasises the vital role of Primary Care in the New Zealand health system.  Dr Clark says the new Beachlands Medical Centre demonstrates the value of keeping healthcare close to the people who use it.  Dr Clark grew up in the area, and he and his family were patients of the Beachlands practice.  “As a former patient in this practice, I benefitted from the care and expertise of the healthcare professionals who worked there. Now as Minister of Heath, it’s been my privilege to return to open a new facility which will benefit thousands of residents.”  Beachlands is a fast growing area of Auckland and the practice currently has an enrolled population of 5900 patients.  “The practice has been proactive in anticipating future demand in the area. I want to praise the initiative of the current leaders of this practice for their foresight in taking out a new lease, and then to design and fit out premises around it.  “As a result of this forward thinking, today we see a state-of-the-art medical centre, pharmacy, physio practice, lab testing, specialist rooms, podiatrist, psychologist and soon a dentist, all in one place.  “It’s making it really easy for people to get to see the range of services they need to.”  Dr Clark also praised the role of Beachlands in being a pilot practice for several mental health initiatives with the Counties Manukau District Health Board.  It holds a monthly clinical meeting with a DHB psychiatrist and team, along with its own GPs and nurses. The DHB psychiatrist can also consult patients in practice rooms.  Additionally, Beachlands is part of a new CMDHB initiative with both Te Rawhiti (adult) and Whirinaki (child and adolescent) mental health nurses being in the practice to consult, advise and integrate care better alternate fortnights.  “Beachlands Medical Centre demonstrates the key role primary care plays in both physical and mental health,” says Dr Clark.   BACKGROUND The Beachlands Medical Centre facility opened for business in August and represents the merger of two previous practices, Maraetai and Beachlands.  It is one of nine pilot practices working in a collaborative model with CMDHB and its four PHOs to redesign the way general practice delivers its services. The practice is a member of East Health Trust Primary Health Organisation and has eight GPs, eight practice nurses, four receptionists and a practice manager.
  • 22 November 2017, 11:26 am
    Rt Hon Winston Peters Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs     22 November 2017     NZ welcomes Mugabe’s resignation   Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister the Rt Hon Winston Peters has welcomed the resignation of Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, who voluntarily stepped down today after 37 years.   “This moment will be seen as a critical point in the history of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean people have voiced their support for change in a peaceful way.”   “New Zealand has made its position on the Mugabe regime clear over the years. Zimbabwe has suffered enormously under Robert Mugabe’s presidency through economic oppression, corruption and a blatant disregard for democracy and human rights,” Mr Peters says.   New Zealand has travel bans in place for Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace due to the destructive conduct of Mugabe’s government.   “The Zimbabwean people have an opportunity to hold free and fair elections as soon as possible to determine the future direction of their country.   “New Zealand supports the efforts of the Zimbabwean people to uphold democracy and to return to a prosperous and vibrant country free of oppression,” Mr Peters says.   Ends       Contact: Stephen Parker 021 195 3528
  • 22 November 2017, 10:07 am
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed the results of an international study showing New Zealand students are among the best in the world at collaborative problem solving.   The 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study assessed the skills of 15 year olds in 52 countries in collaborative problem solving.   New Zealand students ranked in the top nine countries for ability in collaborative problem solving and New Zealand ranked second, just behind Singapore, as having one of the largest proportions of students who scored at the highest level of collaborative problem solving proficiency.   “New Zealand’s high ranking is testament to our forward-thinking teachers and school leaders, who deliver a future-focused curriculum, equipping their students with the skills and knowledge to be globally competitive,” Mr Hipkins says.   “Historically considered soft skills, collaborative problem solving skills are increasingly seen as essential by employers who are competing in a globally connected and technology savvy world. Increasingly, employers say they require employees to be able to collaborate not only with the person seated beside them but also with others around the world,” he says.   “One of my priorities as Education Minister is to lead an evolution of our education system to ensure our students develop these and other transferable skills and attitudes such as resilience, creativity, adaptability and interpersonal skills.”   This is the first time that an international assessment has attempted to measure students’ ability to solve problems by requiring students to develop a shared understanding of a problem and come to a solution. The research focused on competence in and attitude towards communications, managing conflict, organising teams, building consensus and managing progress.    “We will be looking closely at the findings to see how we can continue to build our performance in this area and how it might better support all students to reach their full potential, particularly the lower socio-economic groups who performed less well,” says Mr Hipkins.   Link to NZ country report on PISA: https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2543/pisa-2015/pisa-2015-collaborative-problem-solving