Advocacy – 101

What is advocacy?

By definition, advocacy is a method used by groups to influence Government policies and practise, and shift public opinion in hopes of advancing a particular cause. One of the most influential forms of advocacy is lobbying.

Lobbying most generally involves getting in front of Members of Parliament (Legislature), the Executive (Ministers) and Officials (Public Servants) to advocate for support on a kaupapa (issue) or matter.

Despite being highly effective, lobbying is not the only form of advocacy. Effective advocacy also involves building a public image, educating officials on the issues facing the industry, leveraging the media, and building relationships with a range of stakeholders in the private sector.

What does the Association aim to achieve through its advocacy?

  • influence policy decisions and be part of policy discussions
  • position ourselves as sector leaders
  • be top of mind when decision-makers offer funding opportunities
  • have a say on proposed regulatory changes
  • provide feedback and educate officials on current challenges faced by the industry

RA responds to proposed regulatory changes by lobbying Government to:

  • stop a proposed law change
  • minimise the impact of proposed regulatory change
  • improve the implementation of the proposed change
  • strengthen the proposed regulatory change
  • widen the scope of those captured by the proposed change

What kinds of issues has the Association advocated on?

The Association advocates on anything and everything that may impact the hospitality sector. From Covid-19 subsidies, to how much you get charged per credit card transaction, or even immigration policies – we’ve advocated on your behalf on it all.

Dispelling Common Misconceptions

Lobbying government will guarantee our end goal is achieved

Ultimately, Government is pressed in different directions by hundreds of different groups and interests at any given time. This means all advocates know you win some, you lose some – or you may land somewhere in between. The Association’s goal is to keep our seat at the table where decisions that impact the hospitality sector are being made.

Lobbying is about pressuring Government

Although at times pressing Government on vital issues is required, effective advocacy is about long term relationship building and increasing our credibility as an industry leader. Taking an overly critical or adversarial approach tends to burn bridges and will likely make officials not want to engage with our kaupapa. It’s important we remain fair and constructive to ensure the needs of the hospitality sector continue to be recognised by the Government.

Advocacy is all about politics

Effective advocacy is more than just engaging with politicians. We recognise the importance of building networks of support for the hospitality sector across various ambients of society. This means building relationships with other sectors, increasing our media presence, and engaging with the public to garner support for the hardships our industry faces.

Advocacy is a waste of time

A productive government depends on lobbying. Without it, governments would struggle to sort out the various competing interests society faces. Although lobbying may not always lead to the desired end goal, it is a powerful tool in ensuring all views on an issue are considered by the government, not just those with disproportionate power and influence.

Why are associations like RA important?

Not everyone has equal access to Government due to limited time and resources, least not business owners! Therefore, lobbying by industry associations like RA allows a collective business voice to be heard by government officials, which can sometimes be difficult to accomplish on an individual basis.