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2,100 people send message about dirty politics

Tuesday 16 September

MEDIA RELEASE
For immediate release

2,100 people send message about dirty politics

2,100 people have signed their name to a full-page open letter featuring in the New Zealand Herald this Wednesday. The letter is designed to send a message to politicians that dirty politics is an important election issue.

Lead by members of ActionStation - a progressive, member-lead campaigning organisation - the letter is in the form of a full-page advert, the cost of which was crowd-funded and raised over eight thousand dollars.

“What the success of this campaign showed me was just how strongly Kiwis feel about dirty politics and how concerned we are about the state of our democracy. This was a chance to send a message to the people who want our votes that we do care and we’ll be voting accordingly.” says ActionStation National Director Marianne Elliott.

Melinda Gamlen, a mother of two from Wellington, says this open letter is good example of taking back people power.

"This is an issue that has affected me and many people I know very deeply. I'm worried about the direction this country is headed in and my kids' futures in it. So worried in fact, that despite no experience in such things I recently organised a 'Kiwis for Clean Politics' demonstration outside Parliament. Unless people stand up and take action there's a real risk that we'll sleepwalk into authoritarianism."
“As an ordinary New Zealander, it’s easy to feel powerless to change things you care about and the truth is, it is very difficult for one person to create change. So ActionStation is designed to help pool our resources - our voices, our networks of influence, our time or our money - and together, have the kind of impact we could never have alone.” says Elliott.

Because ActionStation members have come out so strongly in support of the open letter, further steps are being planned. These include a report card on Parties’ answers to questions in the letter and a campaign calling specifically for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the revelations in Dirty Politics after the election.

ENDS


Further information

Our advert is attached. Please note the numbers in the image are not final.

Open letter text:

Dear Politicians,

We, the undersigned 2,131 New Zealanders, are concerned about the state of our democracy.

We’ve recently learned that some of our politicians have taken dirty politics to new depths and have seen how democratic checks and balances have been eroded in New Zealand.

Some people say we don’t care. Some say dirty politics will discourage us from voting.

But we do care. Very much, and we will step up and vote for democracy this election.

Here are five urgent steps that need to be taken by our political leaders*:

1. Establish a high calibre, non-partisan Royal Commission to investigate the workings of government.
2. Restore democracy to Christchurch by handing back leadership to elected local representatives.
3. Ensure our academics and community leaders can speak out freely on matters of public importance.
4. Increase and secure funding for high quality public interest news broadcasting.
5. Increase protection for freedom of information.

Can you, our political leaders, do it?

We will be voting and we'll be getting others along too. We are asking you to show some real leadership and start doing what it takes to restore our democracy.

That's what we'll be deciding on -- you can bet your vote on it.

Sincerely,
2,131 members of ActionStation

*To find out what each political party says they will do about these and other urgent actions, visit www.actionstation.org.nz/reportcard and we’ll update you as their responses come in.

What next? Voting is only the beginning of what we can do together. If you're someone who cares and want to hold our politicians to account, join our community at www.actionstation.org.nz

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