How to email your local MP about the Ram Raids Bill

The new government has not decided yet whether they will reintroduce the Ram Raids Bill, originally introduced to parliament by the previous Labour government. We are calling on everyone to email their local MP, asking them to withdraw their support for the Ram Raids Bill. This guide will help you to write an email, and you can see an example email at the bottom.

Step 1: 

Find your local MP and their contact details here:

If you aren’t sure what electorate you are in, you can check here: 

Step 2:

Write your introduction. Be sure to say that you are writing to them as your local member of parliament, so that they don’t simply pass your email on to another minister.

Step 3:

Explain your reasons for opposing this Bill. It is best if these are personal, and if you have children or work with young people yourself you might like to reflect in your email about what approach you would like to see taken with them if they caused this sort of harm. Some other suggestions that you might like to include in your email are:

  • It could see children as young as 12 enter the justice system;
  • Children as young as 12 could receive sentences of up to 10 years;
  • The young people carrying out ram raids are often highly marginalised and vulnerable. Many have experienced trauma, suffered abuse, been living in poverty, experiencing homelessness, housing insecurity, mental illness, addiction, who may have a disability, and whose whānau are dealing with the impact of social exclusion and generational trauma;
  • Our youth justice system has a lack of rehabilitative options, a lack of mental health and disability services coupled with a high proportion of young people with unaddressed mental health needs, and our youth justice residences make frequent use of harmful isolation practices and have a high frequency of assaults;
  • This Bill fails to address the underlying drivers of offending and the social environments that prompting young people to engage in these behaviours;
  • This Bill is at odds with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • Neuroscience shows that young people impacted by this Bill are still developing and that experiences at this age are highly formative. The approach taken by this Bill risks putting them on a trajectory for further offending into adulthood.
  • Neuroscience shows that young people impacted by this Bill are still developing their cognitive abilities, including reasoning and cause and effect. This raises ethical issues around their criminal culpability.
  • Neuroscience shows that the young people impacted by this Bill are highly motivated to pursue reward-seeking, risk-taking behaviours. They do not make rational decisions in light of the potential consequences of their actions, so they will not be deterred by the threat of harsher punishments.
  • Many jurisdictions around the world are seeking to raise the age of criminal responsibility. Australian Central Territories and Tasmania are two examples.

Step 4:

Write your closing paragraph. If your local MP is a member of National or ACT, ask them to raise your concerns with their colleagues and encourage them withdraw this Bill.

If your local MP is a member of Labour, the Greens or Te Pāti Māori, ask them to vote against the Bill if it is reintroduced to parliament.

Regardless of their party, you might want to ask your MP to reach across the aisle and work towards a consensus on evidence-based alternatives to this Bill.

Finally, you might want to ask them for a specific commitment or response. This could be something like asking them where they stand on the Bill, or how they plan to vote if the Bill re-enters Parliament. If you are confident, you could ask them for a meeting to discuss your concerns further.

Step 5:

Write your subject line. This might be something like “Concerns about Ram Raids Bill re-entering Parliament”.

You are now ready to send your email!

Example email:

Tēnā koe Mr Mitchell,

My name is [name] and I am writing to you as my local Member of Parliament for Whangaparāoa, about the Ram Raid Bill introduced to parliament by the previous Labour government.

I am deeply concerned about the approach that this Bill takes, and particularly the fact that it could see children as young as 12 enter the criminal justice system. I know that many of these children are marginalised and vulnerable, and in order to change their behaviour they need support and guidance to understand the harm that they are causing.

I have two children of my own, and I would not want to see them potentially facing 10 years imprisonment for mistakes made as a teenager. I believe that everyone has the ability to change, young people especially. If my children caused harm like this I hope that they would be treated with compassion and given the tools needed to make those changes.

I am writing to ask you to raise my concerns with your colleagues in the National Party, and encourage them to withdraw this Bill. If we want the best outcomes we need to be using evidence and working with experts to find the best ways to help. I hope that everyone in parliament can put aside party politics and act in the best interests of our young people on this.

I would also appreciate it if you could take the time to respond to this email, explaining your position on this Bill and the concerns I have raised here. As my local MP I hope that you can represent me on this issue.

Thank you for your time.

Ngā mihi,