So you’ve signed up to speak to the Select Committee – nice one!

When speaking to a Select Committee, you have five minutes to convince a small group of politicians why what they are doing is good/bad/harmful/useful etc. In the case of the Fast Track Approvals Bill, you have five minutes to convince them that it is the WORST IDEA EVER! And that they need to recommend the proposed legislation be axed. We also need lots of oral submissions, combined with media content and written submissions, to set a clear mandate for a future government to revoke the consents.

🧐What to expect on the day

The Environment Select Committee is running the hearings on the Fast Track Approvals Bill and it is made up of around 8-9 members. The Committee has broken into two subgroups – so it is likely that only around 4  Select Committee members will be present to hear your submission.

You are allocated five minutes to speak, but that also includes time for questions. If you’d like to take questions from the Select Committee members then plan for around three minutes of speaking time. If not, use up the whole five minutes yourself!

You can present in person or on zoom! They will ask you how you’d like to speak to the committee when they ring you to organise the date and time of your submission.

Your written submission will be published on the website and your oral submission will be broadcast live & recorded on the Select Committee website. Your oral submission might have really good one-liners that can be used for spreading the message – consider sharing the recording with friends and family, or even wider on social media.

😰But what if I’m nervous?

Yup, let’s face it. Public speaking, especially when streamed live online and in front of a panel of MPs, can be scary. But they really are just people. And I’m guessing that some might not even know as much about climate change as you do. Or at least care as much. And they definitely don’t know your story!

It is ok to have nerves – this is totally normal! Take a deep breath and ground yourself in the values of the kaupapa you are there to speak for. Remind yourself that you are there to speak to issues that really impact you and that you deserve the right to be heard. Politicians are meant to work for the people of Aotearoa, not the other way around. The best advice I ever got is that the issue is bigger than you or your nerves so just lean into the uncomfortableness and do it anyway!

If you are nervous about answering their questions, remember to speak for the full five minutes so you don’t have to take any! And if you get a question you don’t know the answer to, just say so… it’s okay not to know the answer.Meme of person looking confused trying to work out something and sweat pearls on forehead ; caption reads When the Environment Select Committee calls you to inform you that your oral submission for the Fast-track Approvals Bill is in less than 48 hours...

✍️Writing your submission

You might have heaps of things you want to say but it’s best not to squish it all into five minutes. You don’t need to repeat anything in your submission as they will have it in front of them and they are meant to have read it.

Pick one or two key points that you really want to get across in the 3-5 minutes you have. Sometimes it helps to write down everything you want to say when you are drafting your submission – then read it back yourself to pick the parts that you think are the most important. Pick the most problematic part of the Bill and relate that to a real-life example.

Ask yourself – if the politicians could do one thing that you think would make a difference in the bill process what would it be?

Be really clear that you want the Bill dropped altogether – not just amended!

And finish with one strong point to summarise your submission. 

🗻Include your own story

Telling your own story could be the most important part of the submission. 

The MPs are far more likely to remember your story rather than a bunch of policy points you make. It is that personal connection that can make your story stand out in their minds from the hundreds of others they hear during the process.

To create your story, ask yourself questions like:

      What makes my story different from other people?

      What view point can I add that they might not have heard yet?

      What do I value and how might it be harmed by these changes?

      What made me decide to do a submission, and especially the oral submission?

      Why do I care so much about these issues?

      How could the Fast Track Approvals Bill impact you or your community?

      Why do you think that urgent action is needed?

Show up there and speak loud for the people who can’t (just remember not to claim to speak on their behalf, you don’t know their life, speak to your own experiences).

Make the most of your time there. It doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect, or say exactly the right thing. But you need to show up. You need to use your privilege to speak up and demand action.

🎉Celebrate afterwards

You have secured a platform in front of people who can change the outcome of the proposed law for the better. And you’ve used that platform for good.

Celebrate the fact that you have taken part in democracy, something that a lot of people are excluded from doing, and many more people choose to avoid.

So many people around the world are affected by similar issues but they don’t have the opportunity to change it. You’ve taken up the opportunity to be part of the change. That’s something to be proud of.