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2023 General Election Guide
How to vote for climate action in this year's New Zealand general election
Worried about climate change? You’re not alone. The majority of New Zealanders are worried and want stronger climate action from elected officials. With election season in full swing, these next few weeks are our opportunity to create the change we need.
The IPCC has been very clear that we are in the final window of opportunity to keep global warming to 1.5C. What each of us do now will determine whether NZ will grasp this opportunity for a better future while doing its bit to ensure a safe climate future for everyone, or whether we continue on our current trajectory.
Here’s a guide to help you:
📣 Amplify your impact ← this bit’s super important!
Let’s make this election a Climate Election! 💪
🧐 Decide who to vote for
As always, there are many tools, scorecards, and quizzes to make it easier for you to evaluate party policies. Some are intentionally simple so you can quickly see where each party stands on a particular topics like like climate change or fairer taxes, while others give you the option to dig into all the detail yourself.
🐝 5 minutes: Check a chart
Super simple: Vote for Climate
Climate Club has been heavily involved in this non-partisan campaign, which aims to make it as easy as possible to know at-a-glance which parties are the best for climate.
Simple + optional detail: ElectionScorecards.org.nz
This website contains a whole lotta research, communicated simply. What’s more, the coalition behind it consists of heavy-hitting impact organisations like ActionStation, 350 Aotearoa, and Renters United. The focus is broader than just climate, including fairer taxes, workers’ rights, housing, and Te Tiriti. You can also find their scorecards on Instagram and Twitter.
Climate & health: Ora Taiao NZ Climate & Health Council
From a group representing 1000+ doctors and health professionals, tying together climate change and its impacts on the wider health system.
Gender equity & women’s issues: National Council of Women NZ
They posed questions to parties and evaluated the answers. tl:dr; Greens, Labour, and TOP come out on top. Relevant because climate change impacts women more than men (which is why climate solutions need to be intersectional).
Renters’ rights: 2023 Renters United scorecards
However badly landlords got hit with the floods this year, renters had it much, much worse. Part of a better climate future includes affordable, denser housing for all, which has co-benefits of increasing housing supply while reducing emissions & protecting arable land from urban sprawl.
🐇 15 minutes: Do a quiz
Quick quiz: Vote Compass
Developed by political scientists, this quick quiz will show you which parties you most align with. It doesn’t help if you’re not sure on some of the questions though, but gives you a good starting point to know which parties to look into.
Less quick quiz: ISideWith
The design is straight out of the early 2010s with a kinda confusing interface, but interesting nonetheless. You’d need to know your stance on policies pretty well to get value from it, but I liked that you can pick “show more answers” to see more nuanced views, and the “debate” feature which lets you discuss & read opinions on specific policies from other people.
🧐 30+ minutes: Dive into the policy
These are great for seeing all of a party’s policies for a particular area of interest in one place. The downside is that while a party’s policy might sound good, there’s no extra info on whether it lines up with the science - so you’ll have to do that digging on your own.
Quick overview + optional detail, climate focus: Stuff climate election survey
A great resource for all the climate policies spanning transport, housing, oil & gas, agriculture, and targets. Each dropdown gives an at-a-glance overview on each party’s position, with a link to more detail on what the party said. However, since it’s just directly reporting what the parties are saying, there’s no evaluation made on whether the policies are good for the climate or not.
Overview + optional detail, all policies: RNZ’s guide to party policy
Similar to the above but a bit more verbose, and about all policies.
Easily compare policies without bias: Policy.nz
Compare parties policies across topics of interest (e.g. environment, housing, transport) without bias by hiding the party proposing each policy (click the 👁️ icon), and get an overview of your electorate’s candidates. Small caveat though: . they’ve put climate change as sub-categories under “Environment”, but real climate action impacts everything from housing to transport & infrastructure to taxes. As a result, it’s hard to compare the full climate impact of each party’s policies.
You can of course go to each party’s website and read their policies first-hand! But remember that it’s going to be written in a way that makes them sound really good regardless of whether they’re science-backed, will actually reduce emissions, or makes any real-world sense at all Hence why climate groups do those policy evaluations (in the 5-min section) to help!
✏️ How to vote
Voting is generally super quick - it’s just 10 mins out of your day, any day you choose during the voting period of 2-14 October.
🙌 Check it you’re eligible. Citizens, permanent residents, and anyone with a visa who is not required to leave within a specific time* are eligible to vote.
*This includes 2021 Resident visa holders.
Check the link above for the full criteria.
👋 Enrol to vote here (or just rock up on the day)
Forgot to enrol? No worries - did you know that you can just rock up to any voting place, even on election day (14 October) and enrol & vote at the same time? (see “What happens when you get to a voting place” section here). Never let that stop you or any friend from voting ever again!
It is quicker if you enrol beforehand though.
If you’re already enrolled to vote (did it before Sunday 10 September), you’ll receive an EasyVote pack in the mail which cuts out some waiting time on the day.
If you enrol after 10 Sep, it’ll just take a bit longer as they look up your name and address to find you on the electoral roll.
If you are Māori, you can choose to enrol on either the general roll, or the Māori roll. More info on that here.
🗓️ You can vote any time from 2-14 Oct
In New Zealand, we’re lucky to have almost 2 weeks during which we can vote! Thousands of voting places all over the country will be open from Monday 2 October to 7pm Saturday 14 October (“election day”) - find the closest one to home or work here! This makes it as accessible as possible for everyone to find time to vote.
✌️ You have 2 votes
You have 2 votes to make - the party vote, and the electorate vote. Here’s a fun lil explainer on the two.
When it comes to voting for climate, it’s your party vote that matters. We encourage you to give your party vote to a party with strong climate policies. In NZ, there is no such thing as a wasted party vote thanks to our MMP system.
Your electorate vote might depend on where you live and the candidates in the area. See a full list here, and click on your electorate to see the history of how they’ve voted in the past including the last election (Auckland Central example here).
🌏 Overseas kiwis (or if you’re travelling from 27 Sep - 14 Oct)
Check out our guide here!
If you live overseas, or will be out of the country during the voting period, you can still vote (just check your eligibility here).
Just enrol online before midnight Friday 13 October (the day before Election Day on the 14th).
You can do it all digitally (no mailing or printing required)! Between Wednesday 27 September - 7pm 14 October, download your voting papers from vote.nz/overseas, cast your votes ☑️☑️, sign the declaration (you can draw your real signature digitally using a mouse/trackpad/tablet) and get a witness to as well (see the FAQs here for list of who can be a witness), and upload!
Alternatively, you can just visit an overseas voting place and do it all there. You’ll be surprised how cities and countries are covered!
📣 Amplify your impact
All sussed on who you want to vote for? Nice! *high fives*
Next step: encourage all your friends and whānau to vote for climate action too 🏽🏼 See below for ideas like:
🐝 If you have 5 minutes:
💌 Write a letter to the editor
🙃 Share memes
🐇 If you have 15 minutes:
📈 Triple the Vote
💬 Learn tips for better conversations about politics
💃🏻 If you have 30+ minutes:
🪧 Get involved in a campaign
✋🏽 Ask politicians about climate policy in public (bird-dogging)
🐇 15 min action: Sign up to ActionStation’s vote tripling initiative to boost voter turnout for a better election outcome!
“Vote tripling” is an incredibly effective method to increase voter turnout, especially among people who are on the fence or are unlikely to vote. In the US, it was used to oust Trump in 2020, and Bolsonaro in Brazil.
In NZ, 20% of voters are still undecided about who to vote for (as of 11 Sep), and last election almost a quarter of voters under 40 didn’t vote. And yet, these are the people who will decide our future.
ActionStation have launched this epic campaign to help each one of us to find 3 people who care about the world, but for whatever reason are unlikely to vote or aren’t sure how they can vote for a safer climate.
🪧 Get involved in a campaign
💃🏻 30+ min action: Visit the websites of the campaigns below for ideas on how to get involved. There are lots of climate-related election campaigns happening and everyone needs more hands.
👉 Volunteer for an election campaign of a party that has strong climate policies: This is probably the most direct way to contribute to a climate-friendly government this election. Write postcards, put up signs, phone calling (which can be done remotely online), door knocking - there’ll be something for everyone, just search online on the party websites or socials!
Vote for Climate: put a sign on your fence, run a stall at a local market, wave signs by busy roads, put up posters around your neighbourhood, help with social media.
Vote Climate @ Extinction Rebellion Tamaki: run a stall, put up posters, drop leaflets around your neighbourhood.
💌 Write a letter to the editor
🐝 5 min action: Letters to the editor are a quick and effective way to get your message to a broad, diverse audience that goes far beyond your bubble (for example, in 2022, the NZ Herald reached 598,000 people!). They’re short enough that you could write one on your phone, and a great way to generate discussion around an important issue.
✋🏽 Ask politicians about climate policy in public (“bird-dogging”)
💃🏻 30+ min action: Pick an upcoming public meeting to attend, and check out the guides below on how to effectively advocate for climate policy during question time.
Until the election, MPs and candidates will be holding lots of in-person candidate meeting. This is a great opportunity to ask them about their climate policies, to show them that we care about climate action, and to get the audience also thinking about climate change. It can also pressure politicians to make commitments on record!
Climate Club’s guide (climate focus)
Renters United’s guide (rent & housing focus)
PSA’s Stand Together guide (broad range e.g. tax, equality, infrastructure)
Better Taxes guide (tax, profits, cost of living; see question on “Environment and Climate change”)
💬 Learn tips for better conversations about politics
🐇 15 min action: Read up on ways to de-escalate flammable political discussions and to redirect it into constructive conversations that change hearts and minds.
In a world that feels increasingly polarised, it’s helpful to remember that we’re all humans with relatable core values. Politics can feel like a controversial topic, but it’s really just about how we shape the society in which we live our lives. We actually have political conversations all the time, whether we know it or not.
But most of us are never taught how to connect to others and to find common ground when we disagree with another. Fortunately, there are many organisations are developing evidence-based strategies and workshops to teach these important skills.
💃🏻 30 min+ action: Tauiwi Tautoko is an award-winning organisation that teaches people how to have conversations that change hearts and minds both online and in person, based on listening and values-based messaging. They have free online courses you can try, full workshops, and have even run one-off climate-specific workshops in the past.
🐇 15 min action: The Workshop’s short guide on How To Talk About Climate Change is a resource that we always refer back to here at Climate Club. It has great tips on how to frame climate action in a way that includes people who are unfamiliar or on the fence about it.
💃🏻 30 min+ action: Parents for Climate Aotearoa run #LetsTalkClimate workshops for building genuine relationships and having more constructive conversations in Wellington.
🙃 Share memes
🐝 5 min action: Enjoy these banger meme accounts doing the most for elections at the moment for you, and share them with friends.
If you do nothing else, just mentioning the fact that there’s an election and/or a climate crisis going on will help get climate change on voters’ minds. And for better or for worse, memes are an incredibly pervasive way to change hearts and minds. I guess they’re a new form of political satire, like cartoons, which use humour to effectively communicate gnarly issues to people.
Yee Haw The Boys: chef’s kiss high-quality election art (the creatoralso has a Substack!)
Cindy With Sign: I fully thought this was a front for Labour at first but now I think it really is just a random person who’s mostly Labour-leaning because they definitely don’t stay “on message” very much 😂 but the humour is A+.
Humans of Remuera: Look, Climate Club is non-partisan and all that, but we’re gonna be straight up about parties that are putting forward policies that would actively send us straight into tipping-point-permafrost-melt-rich-people-in-bunkers-apocalypse-hell. So when one of my fave meme pages takes the leap from humbly prodding the filthy rich on Facebook to full on election memes, I’m gonna include it here.
Most of the parties with better climate policies also tend to have better memes on their socials, imho… coincidence??
Yellow Dot Studios: a non-profit founded by the director of the film Don’t Look Up focussed on communicating the climate crisis one meme at a time. A mix of basic text-based memes and some really high production value videos like this hilarious parody ad for Chevron.
The Juice Media: some say their “Honest Government Ad” satire videos eviscerating ScoMo’s government had a hand his crushing defeat at lat year’s Australian election 🙊 I especially enjoyed their recent one about Australia’s bid to host COP31.
Upstream podcast: anti-capitalist memes/tweets, tells it like it is 🤷🏻♀️
We hope this has helped you vote for a government that will take bold climate action in the crucial years ahead. Please consider sharing it - every vote counts 💞
If you’ve found any other helpful resources, let us know in the comments 👇