Writing to politicians

Page - December 19, 2006
Writing is a very effective way to pressure your representative about an issue. One letter can represent 100 votes to a politician.

Hand written letters are a powerful way to communicate with politicians.

Letter writing is a great way to have your say. It shows a politician that you are serious about an issue and allows you to outline your key ideas without pressure.

Writing a letter often guarantees a response (even if it's not the answer you wanted!).

 

Politicians you may want to write to include:

  • Your local Member of Parliament (MP)
  • The minister responsible for the issue (for example, Minister for the Environment)
  • Your local council representatives (at city, regional or district councils)

What to include in the letter

  • Provide evidence of local support for your issue (like a signed petition)
  • Include relevant newspaper clippings or a briefing paper on the issue
  • Ask your representative to take action or request a meeting with them
  • Ask for a response to your letter

Tips for effective letter writing

  • Present a clear and reasonable argument
  • Put the date and address of the person you're writing to on the top left hand side of the page
  • Keep to one issue per letter
  • Do your homework on the issue - you don't want to be caught out with the wrong information
  • Keep it short and simple (maximum 400 words)
  • Use short sentences - bullet points can make your views easier to summarise
  • Define the problem and offer solutions
  • Call for action
  • Ask questions that require specific answers
  • Check your spelling and grammar before posting the letter
  • Always sign the letter and print your name and address below your signature
  • Keep all your letters and responses for reference
  • If you do not receive a response, follow up with a phone call
  • If their response does not address the issue or answer your question, write again and ask them to clarify their response - don't let them ignore the problem!