Writing submissions

Submissions are a way to contribute to the decision-making processes of government, councils, Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand, government departments and other agencies.

Submissions take time, energy and good information-gathering skills.

In a submission you can provide information, make comments or raise an issue. Your submission can support or oppose what is proposed or may provide information you want considered.

You can also support people with intellectual disabilities to write their own submissions or to contribute to your submission.

Writing a submission

Identify the issues

  • What is being proposed?
  • Think about what you agree with, as well as the parts you don’t
  • Discuss with others who may also be concerned
  • Support people with intellectual disabilities to be involved in discussions

Work out your response

  • Work out exactly what you want and how it differs from the proposal. Identify the elements of the proposal you feel most strongly about
  • Look for credible evidence that supports your response
  • Work out your reasons and alternatives
  • Make suggestions about what would be better than the proposals. Show how and why your ideas would be better

Write a draft

  1. Thank the organisation for the opportunity to present a submission
  2. Write a paragraph about who you are and your connection to the issue
  3. Summarise your submission
  4. Briefly outline the parts of the proposal you agree with
  5. List your concerns by number and in detail
  6. Include links to any credible evidence you have found
  7. Using the same layout, address those concerns with some of your own solutions
  8. Sign-off with names and titles. If this is a group submission, or if it goes out under someone else’s signature, you may wish to add a contact name as well
  9. Print the first page on letterhead if you have one
  10. Formally request to present your submission orally or to speak in support of it at a meeting. State the names and titles of the people in your group who will attend

Last important details

  • Have the draft checked carefully by everyone who will be a signatory
  • Check the accuracy of any evidence you may have referred to
  • Check grammar, spelling and formatting
  • Submissions to Parliamentary Select Committees are made online
  • Make sure your submission will get in on time
  • If hard copies are required, write a letter to accompany your submission

Oral submissions

  • Advise the names and positions of the people who will present the submission
  • Support self-advocates to present
  • Allow time beforehand to practice your presentations and to be familiar with the setting and the process

Social media

  • Be genuine and stay focused: ensure you are always polite, reasoned and trustworthy
  • Be reliable: share quality content, post regularly, be a credible spokesperson
  • Get social: social media is about a conversation


  • Keep posts short and conversational
  • Include an image if possible
  • Include links to the source of what you are discussing
  • If you are developing your own page, post regularly and ask people to share your content
  • Friend, like and follow people of influence and potential allies
  • Spelling and grammar matter to many people
  • You may achieve wider coverage if you raise your concerns via an established page, eg facebook.com/ihcnewzealand


  • Share links and images and other information in less than 280 characters
  • Tweet directly to members of the media, bloggers and potential allies encouraging them to cover your efforts

If you have any questions call our Community Connect phone line 9am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday on 0800 442 311

How we can help