Two Big Questions this Election

Page - August 21, 2017
This election year, we’re encouraging voters to put two critical environmental issues on the political agenda. Here you’ll find advice on how exactly to do this - through attending candidate meetings and asking key questions of politicians. There are tips on what to ask, how to ask it, and how to locate events in your area. Click the image below to join the Facebook Group, or email us: .

Two Big Questions

It’s election season, and politicians are hitting the streets to reach out to their constituents.

This is the moment to bring the issues you care about to their attention. They want your vote, and right now you have the power to influence their policies.

Now is the time to put the issues that matter on the agenda.

So many of the issues you and I care about - from protecting our precious rivers to preventing the worst effects of climate change - are in desperate need of political leadership.

It’s really important we work together to get critical environmental issues on the map when our representatives are at their most accessible. Issues like protecting our rivers from dirty dairying and saving our climate from dangerous fossil fuels.

Politicians love to use fancy rhetoric to make their position look good no matter what it is. New Zealand politicians are particularly adept at doing this when it comes to the issues that are most concerning for our environment.

Oil

So how do we get past the superficial slogans and force politicians to address the real issues?

The best way is to show up and get in front of your candidate at a public meeting and ask a pointed yes/no question. Yes/no questions force candidates to divert from their script and state a clear position, on record, in response to your issue.

Repetition is important. The more your message is heard, the more likely it is to be remembered should your aspiring candidate be elected into Parliament. And with hundreds of people asking the same questions of candidates across the country, our message is highly likely to make its way back to Party HQ, where the policies are made.

Too Many Cows
 

Let’s get beyond the slogans this election. With your help we can force our aspiring political representatives to consider the most important environmental issues of our time and carry a strong sense of public momentum with them into Parliament.

Whether at a public meeting or on your doorstep - these are the questions critical to New Zealand’s future:

1.) Scientists tell us most of the world’s fossil fuels need to stay in the ground if we are going to avoid catastrophic climate change. Do you agree we need to stop looking for new oil immediately?

2.) The National Government has just agreed to $480 million to fund big irrigation schemes. More irrigation means more cows and more cows mean more polluted rivers. Will your party stop subsidising big irrigation?

Where to start?

  • Sign up to our ‘Two Big Questions’ Facebook group here and introduce yourself. This way you can connect with others in your area too and attend meetings together if you wish.
  • Invite family and friends to join the page.
  • Research local candidate events in your area where you can ask questions. There are several ways to do this: Check political party web pages for events,  talk to your local council about events & check the Facebook pages of individual candidates for events.
  • Once you’ve tracked a local event down - share it on the Facebook group so others can come along too.
  • If you have time - check out the relevant Party’s policy on the issues, there’s a summary at the bottom of this page. You don’t need to be an expert, but it can help you feel more confident if you’ve read up a little beforehand.

At the event

  • If you’re meeting with others, it’s a good idea to organise a place to meet beforehand so you can get an idea of who’s asking what.
  • Consider bringing along a camera or recording device - so you can get video of the candidate’s response if you wish.
  • Go prepared, be fair, and listen to their reasons for agreeing or not agreeing with you immediately.
  • When you have the chance ask your question, try the two listed above first. If there’s time to ask more questions, make sure you ask a question they can only answer yes or no to. Politicians are used to sidelining questions; forcing them to say yes or no is the most surefire way to get a straight answer on the issue.
  • Don't beat around the bush. Briefly state your argument and then ask them your yes/no question. If they don’t answer it directly, ask them again.
  • Stay calm. Raising your voice or getting angry at the candidate(s) is not a good idea. You will be more persuasive (to both the candidate(s) and the audience) by coming across as knowledgeable, reasonable, and passionate.

We’re here for support. If you want more advice or information, want to share footage of your candidate’s answer or get further involved, just drop us an email at or comment in the Facebook group.

Join our Facebook group

Election 2017: Party Policies

So what does each political party say on the two key issues? Many of their election 2017 policies have not been released yet, but we've put together some info that might illustrate what's been said so far.

This information is by no means exhaustive - it is meant as a summary only. Please click through to the links to read further.

National

Oil

The most recent information is that National will not ban deep sea oil exploration. The NZ Government’s current energy strategy, developed with National at the helm, actually suggests the opposite, with the Government wanting New Zealand to be a “highly attractive global destination for petroleum exploration.” You can read more on this here.

Agriculture

The most recent information is that National won’t scrap public subsidies for irrigation. The Party’s Helping Rural Communities Policy states the opposite, that they want to boost irrigation and that they’re investing $400 million over time to support regional irrigation projects. 

Labour

Oil

The most recent information says the Party won’t ban deep sea oil but will focus on better safety measures. In 2014, then deputy Labour leader David Parker said the Party would continue to support deep sea oil drilling, but that they would develop a rapid response capability for if an incident occurs. He added the Labour Party would stop undertaking publicly funded geological survey work that aimed to locate new areas of oil and gas.

Agriculture

This August, Labour announced they would scrap public subsidies for irrigation. They will also charge for the commercial use of water and recycle the revenues back to regional councils.

Ask more questions

Green Party

Oil

The most up to date information says the Green party is committed to banning deep sea oil. They would also introduce a moratorium on fracking. View their Energy policy here.

Agriculture

The most up-to-date information says they will scrap public subsidies for irrigation. According to a 2016 press release: “The Green Party will put a moratorium on dairy conversions, stop government subsidies for irrigation, support tangata whenua participation and leadership in resolving water issues, and prevent wastewater and stormwater pollution through a range of measures.”

NZ First

Oil

The most up-to-date information suggests they won’t ban deep sea oil.

Agriculture

The most up-to-date information says they won’t scrap public subsidies for irrigation. NZ First’s Primary Industries policy is to: “Assist the farming sector to continue enhancing environmental sustainability, and support on-going development of sustainably managed irrigation schemes.”

Māori Party

Oil

The most up-to-date information suggests they will not introduce an outright ban on deep sea oil. Māori party policy is to leave the decision about whether to allow oil drilling and mining up to iwi and hapu. The Māori party would “promote robust consultation with mana whenua for all oil and mineral exploration permits.”

Agriculture

The most up-to-date information suggests they could be persuaded to scrap public subsidies for irrigation.

Marama Fox has been outspoken against the Government’s weak water quality standards in the past. 2017 policies still to be announced. Latest policy from 2014 is “The Māori Party established Te Mana o Te Wai - the health and well-being of our water - as a driving policy for freshwater management.”

Voting

ACT

Oil

Most up-to-date info says they won’t ban deep sea oil.

Agriculture

Most up-to-date info says they won’t scrap public subsidies for irrigation.

However, David Seymour has spoken out against compulsory land acquisition for the Hurunui Water Project irrigation scheme.

United Future

Oil

The most up-to-date information suggests they won’t ban deep sea oil, choosing instead to focus on safety measures.

Agriculture

Position unclear. Their policy does not include specific mention of irrigation. According to their Freshwater policy, “We would introduce a coherent royalties regime put in place that would attach a price to water when it is taken (like there is for oil and gas).”

Opportunities Party

Oil

The most up-to-date information suggests they won’t introduce an outright ban on deep sea oil. However, their policy could indirectly limit further oil development. Their climate change policy includes a target of weaning the country off fossil fuels by 2050 and “[e]nsur [ing] all large new investments take into account our low carbon future.” Climate Change Policy is here.

Agriculture

The most up-to-date information says they will scrap public subsidies for irrigation. The main crux of their policy is: Impose a resource rental on all commercial uses of water Polluters should pay for their pollution Resolving Treaty rights claims over water. View their Clearwater Action Plan.

We’re here for support. If you want more advice or information, want to share footage of your candidate’s answer or get further involved - just drop us an email at or join the Facebook group using the link above.