If you want to solve a problem or promote a policy, Parliament, government or the Judiciary may be the place to go for help. Find the ways that work for your interest group or individual need. Understand your perspective. Migrants, indigenous women, people with disabilities, people planning for retirement may have interests in common and interests that differ.
Define your objective
What is the problem? What is wrong with the solutions you have tried? Are you seeking a solution to a personal grievance against an administrative decision, or do you want a policy change?
Develop a strategy
Design a plan of research. Get help from someone who ‘understands the system’.
Identify key players
Who finally makes the decision, who advises the relevant decision-maker, who might actively oppose, might be harmed, or might support your views?
Assess the channel of influence to use
Political, administrative, court, pressure group, or media channel? National Parliament or local council? Your MP or ward councillor? Parliamentary select committee or draft local government plan hearing? An Officer of Parliament? Which ministry or department? Which court, tribunal or appeal authority? Which political party? Which pressure group? Which media? Which UN or Commonwealth agency? Do you expect to use negotiation, arbitration, mediation or litigation?
Design a plan of action, its timetable, methods, costs and benefits.
Collect the relevant information
This may be gained from your experience, others’ experience or
official sources. It may be gained from a website, a librarian or another
Write about your case and recommend-ations to the MP, the relevant Minister, opposition party spokesperson, official, Ombudsman, Commissioner for Children, Race Relations Conciliator, Broadcasting Complaints Authority, Press Council, Advertising Standards Authority, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Police Complaints Authority, Refugee Appeal Authority, Auditor General.
Write and release a statement to the newspaper, radio or television media. Email relevant authorities.
Telephone your MP’s electorate office, the relevant official or other potentially helpful person to make an appointment to discuss your case.
Join a political party or pressure group, present your policy ideas and promote the policies you share.
Make a submission to a select committee of Parliament when it has relevant hearings.
Collect signatures and present a petition to Parliament.
Pursue a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum (CIR) Get the Office of the Clerk of Parliament to help you conform to the rules for CIRs.
Seek help from the law Ask the police, lawyers, citizen’s advice bureaux, seek legal aid, take your case to a specialised tribunal, e.g. small claims, Waitangi. Take your case to a professional society – law, accountants or financial planners. Take your case to an alternative disputes resolution mechanism. Take your case to court, e.g. district court – or the Privy Council and whatever may succeed it.
Be persistent, be fair, be conscious of your rights and obligations.
about who else is affected. Perhaps they will support your cause.