Let's level the playing field

Bringing balance and accountability into public policy-making


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NZ parliament (beehive) on a dark football field

In a healthy democracy, policy decisions are informed by a wide range of voices – that’s what ensures they reflect the common good. But too often some people have more influence than others, swaying decisions towards private and commercial interests.

People and companies exert this undue influence by intensively lobbying decision-makers, moving continually through the “revolving door” between government and lobbying firms, and keeping their activities hidden. New Zealand needs to strengthen its defences against this undue influence and ensure the playing field is level for all of us.

To create a level playing field for public policy-making we need to ensure that the decisions that affect us all – protecting public health, the environment, and human rights, for example – benefit the public, not just the private interests of the powerful.

Other OECD countries have much stronger systems to protect the public good from undue vested influence. We should draw on the best of these examples and adapt them for our own local context. We must act now to regulate lobbying, introduce a cooling off period to slow the revolving door between government and lobbying firms, better manage conflicts of interest and strengthen transparency legislation.

Our Action Plan

Health Coalition Aotearoa has developed a comprehensive action plan to level the playing field to bring balance and accountability into public policy-making

Health Coalition Aotearoa’s work on integrity of public policymaking

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) is a Te Tiriti-led coalition of health NGOs, professionals and academics with an unwavering commitment to reduce harm from tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy food and advance public health equity. The influence of alcohol and ultra-processed food industries on public policy through lobbying is an issue of great concern to HCA because of the harms these industries cause. We want to ensure that those with less economic power or social privilege are not left with inequitable and unequal access to shaping public policy.

Regulating lobbying activities would not get in the way of legitimate advocacy or improperly limit the right to freedom of expression, but would rebalance the excessive access and influence that those with the means to use lobbyists have compared to those with less social, political and economic power.

Any proposed integrity legislation must uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi (especially protecting the Crown-Iwi relationships) and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (especially protecting the freedom of association and freedom of expression).


Find out more about the campaign to Level the Playing Field

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