Our local Member of Parliament (MP) and local councillors represent us, and act in our name. Here are a few tips on how to contact, meet and lobby your local representative for your council or Parliament to urge them to make the best decisions for the health of the environment, for the health and wellbeing of us all. 

Why meet my elected rep? 

There are lots of different priorities that influence the decisions our representatives make on council or in Parliament. There are lots of people behind the scenes who are unelected such as policy makers, advisors and lobby groups. The media stories of the day can influence how they think their decisions will be seen. 

But these elected representatives are people who also want to do (or be seen to be doing) the right thing. They often took on their role wanting to make some kind of positive difference. They and their office staff are looking for feedback and public input, which they can then use to justify their decisions. 

Not only can they be convinced with the power of lived experiences, they are also influenced by public pressure, and want to be re-elected.

An elected representative has a responsibility to represent us and our views. As citizens we also have a responsibility to engage, and together, keep them accountable to the community. 

Meeting a politician isn’t a replacement for activism. It’s a way to use existing levers in our democratic processes. We need to try every avenue, and a meeting could simply find out where barriers lie, that then needs other tactics to shift. 

By meeting your rep you can:

Committed engagement from voters and community members can be effective, Personal messages have integrity. Hearing the same concern and messages from many different sources, not just policy makers, advocates, or specialists can show decision makers the depth of feeling in their electorate.  

You may be part of a local community group; or campaigning with friends for better public transport; or you may be supporting a Greenpeace campaign, or another group. You may wish for better decision making for everything to do with city planning and infrastructure that looks after the health of the soil, water and wildlife! 

Tips on meeting an elected representative 

Before the meeting 

During the meeting

After the meeting


In Aotearoa we have city, district and regional councils. We also have ‘unitary councils’, such as Auckland Council. Some ways to lobby your council could be: 

Case study

Over five months, the community groups Save our Sands and Friends of Pakiri attracted public support to try to stop new consents for sand extraction from the Pakiri and Mangawhai coast, which is eroding the beaches.

When presenting their petition to Auckland Council they were able to speak directly to the mayor and councillors online. They then met supportive councillors outside the Council offices to deliver the physical petition in person. In doing this they were able to put the issue on the council agenda and gain a media story. They demonstrated the public support behind them of thousands of people who don’t want sand taken from this special area. This action gave public visibility to their legal case to the Environment court, and grew a supporter email list to be able to take action again in the future.   


In New Zealand’s MMP voting system we vote for a political party and a local candidate. The winning candidate represents our region in Parliament and we can ask them to represent our views there. 

By presenting a petition you can have an issue considered by the Petitions Select Committee. They may consider it themselves, or recommend it to another relevant select committee, or ask for a response from the Minister.

The Environment Select Committee looks at Parliamentary topics related to conservation, environment, and climate change. You can sign up for alerts for the latest news on what they are working on, and follow their live meetings streamed on their Facebook page here

Check out: tips on making a submission

Have a question? Email the Greenpeace crew at [email protected]