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  • Writer's pictureHolly Bennett

Knowing who to lobby is just as important as knowing how!

If lobbying were easy, everyone would do it, right? Well, it actually is if you know what to do - and that's where we come in!

While the term ‘lobbyist’ often attracts suspicion, the act of lobbying (or government relations) is critical to democracy as it ensures a diverse range of voices can be heard.

If you’re a passionate advocate or simply curious about how the gears turn in politics, diving into the political ecosystem can feel both exhilarating and daunting.

When you start out lobbying it could be tempting to know every politician by name. While that can be helpful, a simpler approach is knowing the three key groups with which you will be engaging. These are:

  • The Legislature

  • The Executive

  • The Public Service.

The first group: Parliament, or the legislature.

The Legislature is made up of all Members of Parliament - with the Governor General also playing an important role, both ceremonially and in enacting legislation.

The second group: the Executive.

The Executive is made up of all Government Ministers, who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the country. Ministers are appointed by the Governor General (on the recommendation of the Prime Minister), and are given what's called a Ministerial Warrant - giving them the powers required to do their jobs.

The final group: Officials.

These are public servants who bring life to Government policy. In the course of their jobs, Officials are politically neutral - so unlike politicians, while they can hold personal political views, those views aren't supposed to get in the way of doing their jobs.

Officials are also permanent employees - providing continuity, particularly when it comes to a change of Government or a Cabinet reshuffle: the Minister may change but the Officials stay the same.

So how do you talk to these groups?

We've developed a bunch of free resources to help you in your engagement journey. We're constantly updating these resources, and you can check them out here.

And if you want to take your engagement to the next level a step further, check out the courses we have on offer to unleash your inner advocate.

Holly Bennett (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao) is the Founder and an Approved Facilitator of Engage.


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