Tick for Kids Toolkit

Tick for Kids is a campaign designed to make children’s rights and interests a central focus of the 2017 election campaign and following parliamentary term. The campaign is driven through local community based action and activities.

We want political parties to prioritise children’s access to quality health, housing, education and welfare to ensure every child has what they need to live a safe, happy and fulfilled life. The campaign is supported by organisations involved in improving life for New Zealand children. We have come together to illustrate the depth and breadth of support for improving the lives of children.

Please join us in this effort to get action and equity for children.

You can help by:  

  • Joining us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @tick4kids
  • Holding, or participating in, a local Tick for Kids event (see suggestions below for how to do this). On the events page of this website is a list of events.
  • Writing to your local candidates and Members of Parliament using our template letter as a guide.
  • Meeting with candidates and MPs to ask them about their commitment to children.
  • Asking questions of candidates in public and online forums.
  • Writing a letter to your local paper using our template letter as a guide.
  • Voting in the General Election – vote for the party you think will put children and families first.
  • Promoting Tick for Kids within your organisation and profession by talking about it, including an item in a newsletter or making a presentation.

What change do we want to see?

Improving child wellbeing requires action across many areas, therefore Tick for Kids supports a range of different campaigns seeking to improve child wellbeing. You can click on the links below to learn more about each campaign, and why change is important. Each campaign has a set of key policy asks, these asks can help you form your own questions for candidates.

Every Child is Worth it - NZEI is asking the Government to commit to funding for quality, teacher-led ECE as a right for every child. Go to: http://everychild.org.nz/

Every Child Counts is calling for a healthy home for every child. Go to: http://everychildcounts.org.nz/resources%2BIndex/Advocacy+toolkit

The Living Wage Movement is asking parties to take the lead on the Living Wage by setting an example and adopting the Living Wage for the core public service and workers who are employed by contractors in the public service. Go to: http://www.livingwage.org.nz/

Shout out for Health is the NZ Nurses Organisation campaign for a fully funded public health system. Go to: http://www.nzno.org.nz/shoutoutforhealth

Yes We Care is a new health funding coalition that would like to see everyone gets the care they need, when they need, with people working in health valued, safe and paid enough to thrive. Go to: https://www.yeswecare.nz/

Take action

Organise an election forum

The objectives of these events are to:

  • Demonstrate public interest in political commitment to improving life for children.
  • Engage political candidates in the debate and provide an opportunity to ask them how they are going to promote and protect children’s human rights.
  • Achieve media coverage in your community. 

  • Discuss the issues for children and families in your community – and the solutions needed from central government and from your community.

Things to keep in mind when organising an event:

Timing: Choose a date and time that will achieve maximum participation and provides enough time for candidates to confirm their participation.

Venue: Choose a venue that is affordable, comfortable, and has good acoustics so speakers can be heard.

Programme: Identify the format for your event. Have someone to MC and manage proceedings, time for speakers, and questions.

Publicity: publicise your event through:

  • The Tick for Kids Facebook page and website (see the calendar on the events page).
  • Organisations involved with the campaign. 

  • Email networks: e.g. local churches; schools; early childhood centres; the Chamber of Commerce; Rotary; Lions; Zonta; unions; local news media; Grey Power; Age Concern; iwi, health and social service organisations.
  • Issue a media statement before and after the event, commenting on expectations of political candidates and the need to tick for kids. Here’s a template you can work from:

Media release template

Local Tick for Kids supporters call for political action for children

Public concern about Kiwi kids living in poverty and inequality is rising and the election is an opportunity to focus on the rights and interests of children.

Local supporters of the Tick for Kids movement are hosting an event for political candidates and members of the public (date, time, venue) to focus on what’s needed from the General Election and beyond.

“It takes a child to raise a country and we really have one chance to make sure all children get the best start in life to reach their potential.

“For thirty years now, it seems political parties have failed to implement policies that ensure an adequate standard of living for children and families.

We want to see all political candidates demonstrating a commitment to action for children and working within their parties to ensure children are a priority,” said (your name).

“Tick for Kids events are taking place around the country because the situation for children has reached a point where many members of the public are demanding political action. When we vote in this election, we all have a chance to vote for the political party we think will do the best for children.

“If voters express their expectation that the parties will prioritise children, and use their vote to support the candidates and parties committed to action for children, we have the possibility of progress for kids in the next parliament,” said (your name).

Contact: (Insert your name and contact details here so media can ring you if they have any questions)

Ask a question at a forum

Guidelines

  • Only one question. Keep it short and don’t make long statements or you will get shut down.
  • Remember that your audience is not always the candidate. It could be the other members of the audience or the panel.
  • Feel comfortable with the question.
  • Feel confident. Remember that all over the country similar questions are being asked by other members of the public, journalists, agencies, candidates.

Write to an MP / candidate

MPs /candidates do listen to public opinion. So it is important that they hear from you. A courteous letter setting out your views can be very influential.

Here are some tips:

  • Always be courteous: Remember you are trying to influence the MP’s/candidate’s thinking, not alienate them. So use courteous language. Don’t be sarcastic, judgmental, or question their motives.
  • Don’t get emotive: You feel strongly enough to write to them. That carries weight, but it will also make it important to understate rather than overstate. Don’t use exclamation marks, heavy underlining, italics, or bold font. And don’t write words in capitals to make your point (GET IT!)
  • Keep to the point: Like all the rest of us, MPs/candidates are very busy people. They do want to know what you think on an issue but they don’t want to hear about several issues at the same time. Keep to the point.
  • Keep it short: This is related to point three above. Much research has been done on children’s issues and many books have been written on most subjects relating to children. Don’t try and convey all that information in your letter. Your MP / the candidate is most interested to hear what you, a member of the voting public, think should be done.
  • State the purpose of the letter at the beginning: It is useful also to give your letter a heading that sets out what the subject of the letter is.

Below is a template you can use - this is a guide only, please feel free to use and amend.

Tick for Kids - it takes a child to raise a country!

As we head towards General Election and a new parliament, I urge you to make policies for children and families a priority. It takes a child to raise a country, and for that reason I am supporting Tick for Kids. I will be voting for the candidate and party I consider will do the best for children and families.

Central government has a vital role to play in supporting families and communities to provide what children need. Through law and policies that focus on children, New Zealand can address the urgent issues facing them, and achieve measurable improvements in child health and wellbeing. Upholding children’s rights to health, education, protection and participation is central to this. Please play your part.

To assist me with my decision about who to vote for, I would appreciate receiving information from you about three key issues:

[Add key issues / policy asks e.g. will you support a comprehensive plan to address child poverty, including targets and measures? 


I look forward to receiving information about your commitment to action for children and the issues identified above. I also encourage you to work within your political party to advance the human rights and interests of children at every opportunity.

Yours sincerely (Your name)

Letter to the editor

Template letter to the Editor

This is a guide only, please feel free to use and amend.

I recently became aware of the Tick for Kids movement – an effort to make children and families a priority as we head towards the general election and a new parliament. Community events are taking place around the country and ordinary people like me are writing to candidates to seek information about their commitment to action for children.

Tick for Kids urges voters to keep the interests of children in mind when they vote. This is because central government has a vital role to play in supporting families and communities to provide what children need.

Through law and policies that focus on children and address the urgent issues facing them, we can achieve measurable improvements in child health. It would be good to see our nation sitting at the top of international rankings on child wellbeing, instead of at the bottom! Upholding children’s human rights to health, education, protection and participation is central to this.

With this in mind, I am encouraging political candidates to tell the public what they will do to ensure all babies get a good start in life, whether they will support a comprehensive plan to address child poverty, and if they will improve access to good quality housing.

I hope others will use their votes to Tick for Kids, too. Yours sincerely (Your name)

Write to your local newspaper

Most New Zealand newspaper has websites which provide information on where to send letters to the editor for publication. Most accept letters by email.

Tips on writing to your local newspaper

  • Always be courteous: Remember you are trying to influence the readers’ thinking, not alienate them. So use courteous language. Don’t be sarcastic or judgmental.
  • Don’t get emotive: You feel strongly enough to write. That carries weight, but it will also make it important to understate rather than overstate. Don’t use exclamation marks, heavy underlining, italics, or bold font. And don’t write words in capitals to make your point (GET IT!)
  • Keep to the point and keep it short: Newspapers normally limit letters to 200 words so have one point to make in your letter and keep to it.
  • State the purpose of the letter at the beginning: It is useful also to give your letter a heading that sets out what the subject of the letter is.

Call your local talkback radio

Love it or hate it, talkback radio is here to stay. If you want to get your point of view heard it is as good as a letter to the editor. There’s at least one near you so why not use it. It is the fastest way to respond to news and events. And remember, politicians listen as a means of keeping abreast of what people are thinking or are concerned about.

When you ring you will not go straight on air. Instead you will be spoken to by a producer who will want to know your name and what you want to say. If you want to stay anonymous then explain that to the producer and your reasons for wishing not to have your name given on air.

Tips on calling your local talkback radio

  • Prepare yourself before making the call. Have a main point that you are very clear on. Stick to that point and don’t ramble around the subject. It helps to write down that main point as part of your preparation. It is useful also to have a few facts at your fingertips
  • Speak as you would to a friend on the phone. Keep it conversational, one-to-one. Be friendly. Don’t shout or make a public speech
  • If you can, support your argument with facts or expert opinion
  • Be positive and constructive. Offer an alternative way rather than be critical
  • Keep it personal – use stories and experiences if you can
  • Be good-natured and relaxed. Use humour if the opportunity is there
  • If you get asked an unexpected or awkward question, don’t go silent. Just say something like “I would have to think about that …”
  • You can also send you point of view to talkback hosts by fax or email.
 
 
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