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How to use the media

Write Letters to the Editor to make your point
We can’t change the law but we can try to change public opinion. One way to achieve this is writing to newspapers, which usually have a section dedicated to this purpose:
 
Letters to the Editor
 
They are very powerful advocacy tools.

If you feel strongly about the injustice of the Direct Deduction Policy (DDP) or Spousal Provision (SP), put it in words and send it to your local newspaper.
 
It helps to get your letter published if you refer to a specific news item, editorial or feature recently published on this topic. For example:
 
Was there an article about
  • how generous New Zealand Super is?
  • how nice it is that portability of New Zealand Super has been improved so people can more easily move elsewhere and receive their New Zealand pension overseas?
  • how “career” beneficiaries have been working the system for years or even decades, only to be rewarded by receiving full New Zealand Superannuation once they “retire” at age 65 without having contributed a cent in taxes?
These are excellent occasions to make your point. It doesn’t matter whether you are personally affected or just feel there is a glaring injustice.
 

 
How to write a Letter to the Editor
 
Editorial space is limited. To increase your chances of your letter getting published, you should follow some simple guidelines. We have put together “10 points to get printed” for you.
 
  1. Put “Letter to the Editor” in the subject line.
  2. All newspapers require your name, street address and daytime telephone number; some verify this by calling the sender before publishing a letter. Anonymous letters are automatically discarded. Usually, only your name and city will be published.
  3. If you send a letter by email, don’t send it as an attachment. Write or paste it directly into the email window. Editors prefer email to paper letters because they don’t have to re-type the entire copy.
  4. When referring to an article, reference the title and date in your letter and send your letter as soon as possible after an article has been published in the newspaper.
  5. Check for, and stick to, your newspaper’s required word count. It is usually between 150 and 250 words. Longer letters may be published but could be edited in a way you do not agree with. They are usually cut from the bottom.
  6. The brevity of letters means you can only make one or two points. Make sure your arguments are set out in a logical way. Open with a strong statement and place your most important information at the beginning.
  7. If you are personally affected by the DDP and/or SP, state so clearly and use your personal story in plain language.
  8. Send your letter or opinion piece to weekly and community newspapers as well. The smaller the newspaper’s circulation, the more likely your letter will be published.
  9. Get someone unfamiliar with the issue to read the letter. Does it make sense to that person? If no, re-word it.
  10. Proofread you letter carefully for grammar, spelling and punctuation before submitting it.
Finally: some newspapers state that they do not print letters you have also sent to other publications. (They are less picky with their articles that are printed word by word in different newspapers...) So if you discover the same article in different papers, and want to make your point in more than one, re-word your letter.

If you read newspapers or magazines from your home countries, consider writing letters to them as well.
 We have compiled a list of the major New Zealand newspapers and their emails for Letters to the Editor. Please contact us if any of these email addresses don’t work any longer so we can update them.

 

 
Contact list for Letters to the Editor

Upper North Island

Whangarei - Northern Advocate
Email: editor@northernadvocate.co.nz
 
Kaitaia - Northland Age
 
Auckland - New Zealand Herald
Email: letters@nzherald.co.nz
 
Auckland - Herald on Sunday
 
Hamilton - Waikato Times
Email: editor@waikatotimes.co.nz
 
Central North Island
 
Tauranga - Bay of Plenty Times
Email: editor@bopp.co.nz
 
Rotorua - Rotorua Daily Post
Email: editor@dailypost.co.nz

Gisborne - Gisborne Herald
Email: editorial@gisborneherald.co.nz
 
Hastings/Hawke’s Bay - Hawkes Bay Today
Email: editor@hbtoday.co.nz
 
Wanganui - Wanganui Chronicle
Email: letters@wanganuichronicle.co.nz
 
New Plymouth - Taranaki Daily News
Email: editor@tnl.co.nz
 
Lower North Island

Palmerston North - Manawatu Standard
Email: editor@msl.co.nz
 
Masterton/Wairarapa - Wairarapa Times-Age
Email: editor@age.co.nz
 
Wellington - Dominion Post
Email: letters@dompost.co.nz
 
Upper South Island

Blenheim/Marlborough - Marlborough Express
Email: mailbox@marlexpress.co.nz
 
Nelson - Nelson Evening Mail
Email: editor@nelsonmail.co.nz
 
Westport/Buller - Westport News
Email: editorial@westportnews.co.nz
 
Greymouth - Greymouth Evening Star
Email: editor@greystar.co.nz
 
Central and Lower South Island
 
Christchurch - The Press
Email: letters@press.co.nz

Christchurch - The Star Canterbury
 
Ashburton - The Ashburton Guardian
Email: enquiries@theguardian.co.nz
 
Timaru - Timaru Herald
Email: editor@timaruherald.co.nz

Oamaru - Oamaru Mail
Email: news@oamarumail.co.nz
 
Dunedin - Otago Daily Times
Email: odt.editorial@alliedpress.co.nz
 
Invercargill - Southland Times
Email: letters@stl.co.nz
 

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