A guest post from Aaron Packard, co-coordinator of 350 Aotearoa about delivering photos from October 24th to New Zealand’s climate change minister.  Not yet signed up to deliver your action photos to local or national politicians? Sign up here and we’ll get you started with everything you need.

Here in New Zealand we have relatively good access to our politicians – because we’re a pretty small place.

We had already booked in our appointment with our Minister for Climate Change before October 24th, as we had involved him in a couple of events previously and also attended an October 24th event. The current Government is a conservative one, and have made a 2020 target of reducing emissions by 10-20% on 2020 levels. From our previous experience with the Minister, they are very set on these targets and not interested in 350 as a target. We had 20 minutes allocated to meet with the Minister.

The first five minutes he spent arguing for and defending the recent amendments to the emissions trading scheme. While we are opposed to all of the amendments, we recognised that this was not the right time to get into an argument — we were here to start a constructive conversation and to show the extent and breadth of our movement. So we just didn’t try to argue with him, and after a while he stopped, and noticeably relaxed into our meeting. From that point on, it felt like the Minister was much more willing to listen to hear what we say – and our meeting lasted for an hour – not just 20 minutes. We also found some initiatives that the Minister would like to work with us on. So overall, we felt like the meeting was successful, because he received the photos positively and he wants to meet with us again.

Some tips for anyone else doing photo deliveries:
– Make sure that you have a good idea of the politics going on (both within the party and between parties)

– Learn as much as you can about the politician you’re going to visit (Wikipedia can often be an interesting start!)

– In our situation, we knew that the Minister was unlikely to change his target to 350 just based upon our meeting. So this then meant that we went into the meeting with the intention of building a longer term relationship.

– Let the politician do their thing at the start – which probably means they’ll ramble on about everything that they are doing on climate change, or be defensive about it.  Either way our approach was to simply affirm what ever they say, because once they’ve said what they want to say, they will be more willing to listen to you!

– Know that you’ve got a mandate to be there – the thousands of people in your own country and around the world who took part in Oct 24th.

– Go into the meeting knowing what outcome you want, and imagine it all going really well.

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