The RDC Climate Action Group suggests organising Town Hall Meetings before the Elections and engage with the candidates regarding their commitment towards Climate Action.
Here are some tips for the preparation:
Be careful to match attendance and engagement expectations with what you can deliver. It is important that you let candidates know what size and type of audience they are likely to encounter, and it is important for those coming to listen and ask questions that they meet the candidates they expect to see, and that they understand the meeting format.
A venue and date:
A church hall (or equivalent) is good because it is inexpensive/free and it makes a statement, especially if the local church leader introduces the speakers.
The moderator for a public meeting is ideally someone who is both encouraging and affirmative to allow people to have their say and put their question, but also someone who can firmly and politely bring a topic to a close when it is necessary to move to the next topic. The moderator also needs to be very clear about the format for questions and answers at the beginning of the meeting, so people know what to expect and are willing to be stopped if they step outside the expected rules.
Decide whether (or not) candidates will get an opportunity to give a prepared talk present their case – and how many minutes they can speak for.
Decide whether (or not) there will be an opportunity to ask questions from the floor of individual candidates after each of their talks – and how long to allocate for this.
Decide whether (or not) to circulate pre-prepared questions – either your own, as organiser, or elicited from attendees in advance or at the meeting.
Decide whether there will be tea/coffee and a chance to mingle and chat with candidates. Suitable questions (e.g. on the climate/ecological/biodiversity crisis) for the candidates in your electorate [you could go more broadly, but it brings in more candidates and is harder to organise and manage].
Some written questions that are sent to the candidates in advance, hoping for some in-depth responses rather than restatements of party policy [This is not essential but helpful] .
Security arrangements: (which could be as simple as 2 fierce-looking people at the door!); the conspiracy theorists and fringe people are out and about Support from others!
Candidates are already setting up their own meetings around the country, so you will need to establish their availability asap.
Candidates are usually happy to find a public platform. Local faith leaders should be equally happy to have a political meeting on their territory. It’s a win-win.
Here are 2 questions that were put to some candidates at a meeting in Christchurch. More specific questions would be more helpful.
Social justice: Since the 1980s, there has been an increasing disparity in New Zealand between the small number of people who hold most of the wealth and very many who are poor. How does your party plan to respond to this inequitable situation?
The environment: Our former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared that climate change is a ‘nuclear moment’ for New Zealand. The government has passed the Zero Carbon Act and set up the Climate Change Commission. However, NZ emissions of carbon dioxide and methane have continued to climb. How does your party plan to change this situation? Where would you focus?