In 2020 a group of advocates brought together multiple environmental and social change groups in Auckland to form a coalition and associated campaign seeking the decarbonisation of road transport in Auckland by 2030. Precipitated by a sold-out event, interest and enthusiasm for the proposal quickly propelled it into reality. The coalition was firstly named as ‘All Aboard Auckland’. In its first two years, the group focused on decarbonising transport in the Auckland metropolitan region. In early 2021 the campaign name was changed to ‘All Aboard Aotearoa’.
All Aboard Aotearoa operates as an Incorporated Association primarily for the purpose of facilitating litigation, as well as acting as an umbrella organisation for 17 groups associated with the campaign. A number of All Aboard Aotearoa coalition groups ran ‘sub-campaigns’: an analysis of the goals, tactics and outcomes of these sub-campaigns is also considered in this case study below.
- Campaign primary issue: Climate change
- Campaign sub-issue: Transport
- Overall campaign goal: Decarbonising transport in Auckland (now NZ) by 2030
- Primary group: All Aboard Aotearoa
- Associated groups: Generation Zero, Lawyers for Climate Action, Bike Auckland, 1point5 Project, Women in Urbanism, Greater Auckland, Big Street Bikers, Students of Urban Planning & Architecture, School Strike 4 Climate, Forest & Bird, Grey Lynn 2030, Citizens’ Climate Lobby New Zealand, Inspiring Stories, RTEA Environment Association, Oxfam New Zealand, Movement Safe Journeys for Everybody, Repair Café Aotearoa New Zealand,
- Location: Auckland, Aotearoa
- Time period: 2020-2022
- Sub-campaigns and/or larger tactics such as legal cases: 1point5 Project, Mill Road Judicial Review, AKL Council and Transport Judicial Review, Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway (TERP), Kids, Cars and Climate, Working Together for the Climate, Bike Burbs Direct Connection, Accountability with XR, Socialising Transport for Greenpeace, Film night with Gen Zero
While many groups in Aotearoa New Zealand have been advocating for emissions reduction across all sectors for many years, analysis in 2018 suggested that decarbonisation of transport would be one sector where climate emissions reduction were both necessary and obtainable. This analysis formed the basis of the 1point5 project (www.1point5.org.nz).
Formed in 2019, this project produced extensive analysis indicating that transport decarbonisation would be the most feasible pathway for reducing Aotearoa’s climate emissions. This analysis was supplemented with a depository of information and resources freely available on the 1point5 project website. The goal of the project was to raise awareness of the scale and rate of change needed until such time as the New Zealand government passed legislation driving the required actions.
By 2020 the work of the 1point5 Project, alongside legal analysis from Lawyers for Climate Action and the networks of Bike Auckland, Gen Zero and Greater Auckland, led to the formation of All Aboard Auckland. This network was formed through the efforts of a small group of people interested in advocating for transport decarbonisation in Auckland, and by extension, across the country.
To advance this work, All Aboard Aotearoa was formed, acting as an umbrella organisation for a coalition of climate and transport advocacy groups. By 2022, this coalition consisted of 17 groups, including Generation Zero, Bike Auckland, Movement, Women in Urbanism, Greenpeace Aotearoa and Lawyers for Climate Action NZ.
All Aboard Aotearoa argued that the high degree of public support for action on climate change in Auckland supported their demand for decarbonising the city’s transports systems. Indeed, Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland Council) had previously demonstrated commitment to climate action through the adoption of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan in December 2020, which called for a 64% reduction in transport emissions by the end of the decade. However, a subsequent investment plan would have resulted in increases, rather than decreases of transport emissions.
As a result, All Aboard Aotearoa increased its advocacy, engaging in a range of tactics including lobbying, taking legal action, and mobilising supporters to demand that politicians legislate and implement immediate action on transport decarbonisation.
Primary campaign goals
All Aboard Aotearoa coalition has one primary campaign goal: To achieve a zero-carbon transport system by 2030.
The first stage of achieving this goal was the development and adoption of policy to decarbonise transport. This policy was Auckland Council’s Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway (TERP) for Auckland, the most developed decarbonisation planning in New Zealand. All Aboard Aotearoa can take significant credit for its development and adoption. Their involvement was threefold:
First, the criticism of Auckland Transport’s process for developing the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP), and of Auckland Council’s intention to endorse the plan, led (with the real threat of legal action in the background) to a Council decision to establish the TERP as an alternative piece of work to achieve what the RLTP had not achieved in terms of decarbonisation.
Secondly, AAA submitted analysis, evidence, and a rationale for bold approaches to system transformation to the Council transport strategy team for their consideration during the development of the TERP.
Thirdly, AAA ran a sub-campaign, prior to the 2022 Auckland Council elections, to ensure Councillors support the adoption and implementation of a Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway (TERP) for Auckland. This sub-campaign engaged a campaign manager on an almost full-time basis for four months, supported by two advisors from the All Aboard coalition. This ‘Support the TERP’ campaign had two goals:
- Have at least 13 (of 23) Tāmaki Makaurau (City of Auckland) Councillors vote to adopt the TERP
- Have councillors actively support the transport transformation project (and Transport-Centric Climate Action (TCCA) more generally) as specified in the TERP through and after local Auckland elections in September – October 2022.
Other campaign goals
A range of other goals related to the overarching primary goal of the combined campaigns and sub-campaigns were stated on different alliance group websites, flyers and campaign materials. Many of these other goals were related to the achievement of the primary and secondary goals, however they also included awareness raising, analysis and research and public behaviour change. On many of these communication materials it was not clear which group created the goal, nor how it fit into the overarching goal of decarbonising transport by 2030.
Different goals identified through the analysis of All Aboard Aotearoa communication materials include:
- Provide evidence-based information,
- Support climate leadership, and
- Hold decision makers to account.
- Focus and amplify the voices of those targeting a 1.5ºC world
- Become a public place for related research and resources for focusing the efforts of change agents on actions that would make a difference
- Increase understanding about New Zealanders’ sentiment around climate change.
TERP goals for decarbonising Transport in Auckland by 2030
- Use evidence-backed social science to develop a powerful narrative that empowers active citizens and gives confidence to elected officials, enabling them to say and do the right thing
- Leverage a full-time operations manager to coordinate between dozens of advocacy groups, climate action supporters, media and decision makers to ensure alignment with common goals.
- Implement a targeted creative campaign to shift the conversation around climate change and create an environment which supports bold climate action.
TERP goals specifically related to mobilisation of allies and supporters:
- Allies: Reproduce messaging to their audience
- Active Citizens: Contact candidates via whichever means appropriate and let them know they expect Transport-Centric Climate Action.
In addition to these campaign goals, a set of measures of success were proposed for an adjacent goal of reducing petrol and diesel sales by 5-10% a year until 2030.
The campaign sought to directly target decision makers to influence change. This is based on a theory of change where largely behind-the-scenes lobbying is anticipated to influence power holders, who will then adopt and implement Transport-Centric Climate Action (TCCA), such as through the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway.
In addition to specific power holders, campaign documents also mention other targets, such as the media, allies and active citizens. A list of targets was identified in the presentation titled ‘The 1point5 Project Copy for Robyn’, One other campaign document (‘Understand and do’) listed two other targets. These targets were identified as audiences that the campaign wished to mobilise on behalf of their cause. The range of targets identified in communications material include:
Policy change targets: to influence their decision making on instituting transport decarbonisation and the TERP
- Auckland transport CEOs (and AT Board members)
- Waka Kotahi NZ Transport agency
- Auckland Council Councillors
- Minister of Transport
- Ministry of Transport CEO
Awareness raising targets (media): to share information about transport decarbonisation and TERP
- NZ Herald
Mobilisation targets (the general public): to lobby politicians to support TERP
- Active Citizens
Similar to the ‘other campaign goals’ data, it was not always apparent to the outside observer which coalition group was engaging with a particular target. Nor was it clear the extent to which coalition members were aware of what groups were engaging with which targets to achieve particular campaign goals.
All Aboard Aotearoa acts as an umbrella organisation for the campaign.
Images: All Aboard Aotearoa website https://allaboard.nz/our-work 12 December 2022
A total of 17 partner organisations are listed on the All Aboard Aotearoa website. Four groups play a core role in the All Aboard Aotearoa coalition: Greater Auckland, Bike Auckland, Lawyers for Climate Action, 1point5Project. Seven sub-campaigns were facilitated under the umbrella of the All Aboard Aotearoa Coalition, while each of the 17 groups contribute to the broader transportation decarbonisation goal.
Icons from networks groups as shown on All Aboard Aotearoa website https://allaboard.nz/about-us Photograph: 17 October 2022
The organisation of groups and their campaigns within the All Aboard Aotearoa coalition is difficult to ascertain. Campaign documentation indicated that a number of groups ran their own campaigns under the All Aboard Aotearoa Coalition overarching goal of achieving transport decarbonisation by 2030. The activity seeking to obtain Councillor support for the TERP was one of these sub-campaigns, under which six coalition members ran associated sub-campaigns:
TERP: A four-month sub-campaign seeking to obtain Councillor support for the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway (TERP)
- Kids, cars and climate: Communications material to be hosted by Women in Urbanism
- Working together for climate: Communications material to be share by Unions
- Bike Burbs Direct Connection: Bike Burbs members message and contact Council candidates
- Accountability with XR: XR to communicate promotional materials
- Socialising transport with Greenpeace: Greenpeace members to contact candidates, Greenpeace to share media content and launch petition
- Film night with Gen Zero: Gen Zero and Bike Auckland to run a film night
Allies and supporters
A number of potential allies and supporters were named in the presentation outlining 1Point5 Project’s theory of change. These included:
- Technical experts (e.g., Lawyers for Climate Action, MRCagney, Bike Auckland)
- Influential climate voices (e.g., General Zero, Oxfam, SS4C)
- Influential non-experts in climate (e.g., ACE and Lucy Lawless)
- The ‘climate alarmed’ segment of the New Zealand population (~250,000 people)
- Other ‘persuadables’ (individuals who will mobilise to make it clear to decision makers that they support action on transport decarbonisation)
Funders of the 1point5 Project listed on the website are:
- The Tindall Foundation
- Phillip Mills
Tactics / Methods / Tools used
The All Aboard Aotearoa website states four tactics that supporters can participate in to further the aims of the campaign. These are all focused on the method of mobilising supporters:
|‘Behind the scenes’ engagement tactics|
|Direct engagement with targets||1:1 discussions with targets, such as via board meetings and conversations with decision makers (Council, Ministers, Auckland Transport)|
|Lobbying||Completing a large range of submissions including:
|Engaging directly on iterations of the TERP document and analysis by email as an informal ‘section’ of the council team.|
|Legal processes tactics|
|Taking legal action||Waka Kotahi/New Zealand Transport Agency to challenge Waka Kotahi’s decision to fund and build the 21.5 km Mill Road in southeast Auckland.|
|Legal action against local government for the approval of the Regional Land Transport Plan in 2021|
|Information sharing tactics|
|Undertaking and disseminating research||The Six New Zealands survey, which is a key piece of research aiming to build understanding of public sentiment on climate change|
|Transport 2030 online tool|
|Overall analysis identifying transport decarbonisation as key focus for campaign|
|Mobilisation of supporters tactics|
|Maintaining an open letter||Available on the All Aboard Aotearoa website. This letter was addressed to a variety of Ministers, CEOs, Board Directors and Councillors, and called for the urgent transformation of the transport system|
|Providing volunteering opportunities||As well as a general called for volunteers, in October 2022 they were seeking a volunteer skilled communications and engagement officer, as well as local community champions|
|Requesting donations||A request for donations to member organisations is stated on the All Aboard Aotearoa website.|
|Recruiting ‘community champions’||These are individuals who are energised to activate their local community to take genuine climate action, particularly around local elections, transportation issues or empowering their local community in a way that works for them (from All Aboard Aotearoa website)|
|Recruiting 2x Active Citizens per ward||Inviting people to contact candidates and inform them of their expectations for Transport-Centric Climate Action.|
|Encouraging emailing||Encouraging supporters to email selected candidates, and responses from candidates were recorded.|
|Information sharing tactics|
|Directing supporters to information sites.||Running various media and campaigns supporting voting and driving traffic to three sites (https://policy.nz/2022, https://localelections.nz/ and https://www.voteclimate.org.nz/|
|Narrative development and distribution||Identification of target groups (e.g., sport, education, worship groups) and development of narrative to resonate with those specific groups.|
|Generate tools to empower climate-conscious groups to understand necessary change.|
|Online media engagement||Creation of election ads, social media campaigns, communications materials, social media tiles, splash graphics and social media marketing|
|Capture media attention||Extensive engagement with media|
- Taxpayers’ union – campaigning against war on cars
- Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance
The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance used their platform to attack Auckland Council on what they argued to be excessive funding for cycleways and raise fears of Auckland Transport ‘running out of money’. Similarly, the Taxpayers Union attacked cycle path funding and labelled the TERP as ‘anti-car’. Despite these efforts, however, it is unclear whether any specific opponent responses were sufficiently powerful enough to derail any aspect of the campaign.
Image: snip of NZ Taxpayers’ Union Facebook page 18th August 2022 https://www.facebook.com/TaxpayersUnion/photos/a.448026671968025/5036712123099434/
|2019 July – Sept
|Meeting with Auckland Mayor and team to establish challenges|
|Lobbying, meetings and workshops with powerholders, with Mayor adopting 1point5 Project suggestions|
|2020 Feb – July||Auckland GHG modelling shared via meetings, workshops, AT Board presentations, media|
|2020 August||All Aboard launch meeting
Release of Open Letter
|2020 Sept – 2021 Feb||Lobbying, meetings, presentations, media coverage|
|2021 March||All Aboard Aotearoa Incorporated
Mill Road Legal Statement of Claim Filed
|2021 April||Presentation of open letter to Minister Wood|
|2021 May – July||Meeting with Minister Wood
Mill Road Statement of Defence Filed
Multiple submissions, meetings, letters and media coverage
|2021 August||RLTP Statement of Claim served|
|2021 Sept – 2022 Jan||Meetings, workshops, and submissions|
|2022 Feb||TERP stakeholder engagement|
|2022 April||All Aboard Aotearoa website launched
RLTP2021 JR Hearing
|2022 July||Judgement on Mill Road Legal case published
TERP stakeholder engagement
|2022 August||Mill Road Legal case appeal lodged
Narratives for Change communication principles released
TERP passed by Auckland Council Environment and Climate Change Committee
Meetings, submissions and media coverage.
|2022 October||Council election followed by campaign evaluation.|
Flowchart for 1point5 Project pitch deck on key milestones in the TERP development process. From ‘Pitch Deck The 1point5 Project 300522’. Reproduction with permission of AAA.
Campaign overview flowchart and outcomes
The following diagram attempts to provide an overview of the primary campaigns, sub-campaigns, tactics and goals of the All Aboard Aotearoa coalition campaign. Given the complexity of the campaign, some of the information is very small (as separate attachment has also been provided to enable easier reading). The flowchart indicates a sophisticated, multi-goal campaign that has built on a solid foundation of robust research and engaging in lobbying, awareness raising and legal cases.
The All Aboard Aotearoa coalition has managed to grow quickly and achieve considerable results within an extremely short period of time. Significant wins have been achieved, including:
- Development of a solid grounding of evidence-based, publicly accessible, research that underpins and supports key campaign goals
- Development of a coalition with 17 organisational members
- Development and coordination of multiple sub-campaigns
- Acquisition of substantial funding
- Persistent lobbying of power-holders and decision makers
- Extensive media coverage.
- Local government’s development and adoption of evidence-based official policy outlining how to achieve the Council’s official emissions reductions target for transport, of 64% by 2030.
Many groups and campaigns struggle to achieve even a fraction of these outputs over similar time periods. These campaign achievements remain impressive, despite unfortunate results in the 2022 Council election. Theories of change utilising tactics such as behind-the-scenes lobbying alongside awareness raising (in comparison with mobilisation or public protest) will always face this challenge: voters ultimately hold the power to stymie the hard work of advocates in each election cycle. The primary question for the All Aboard Aotearoa coalition in the future is whether to continue with this behind-the-scenes approach or move more into the mobilisation space.
Despite the election setback, there is yet time to achieve the overarching goal of transport decarbonisation by 2030. The coalition is in a strong position to continue driving action on transport due to its financial resources, connections to power holders, and established network of interested and active environmental groups. Furthermore, extensive media coverage and the provision of a research and information depository has raised the profile of decarbonisation and demonstrated to funders and future coalition members that a range of successes have already been achieved. The post-election period provides a useful period in which campaign participants can reflect on the achievements and failures of the past three years. Critical questions which could be considered as part of this reflection are:
- whether the previous theory of change is fit for purpose for the next stage of the decarbonisation campaign
- what campaign activities are best suited to achieve the seven decarbonisation steps, and
- the role of individuals and coalition members under the All Aboard Aotearoa umbrella in the next campaign phase.
Reflections on outcomes and lessons learned
This section provides comments on various components of the campaign, the extent to which they appear to have achieved their goals, and considerations for campaign design in the future. These comments are split into three categories: public facing information, the campaign coalition building processes, and the overarching campaign’s theory of change.
For the public: Enhancing the public facing communication platform about the campaign
The All Aboard Aotearoa website presents key campaign information (https://allaboard.nz/why-transport), itemises the seven steps for decarbonisation, and provides an overview of the coalition itself (https://allaboard.nz/about-us). It offers opportunities to people to get involved by asking them to sign an open letter, donate, or volunteer. However, for a reader with no background on the campaign it may be difficult to understand what the All Aboard Aotearoa website wants the website visitor to do next. When designing the content of campaign websites it can be helpful to identify what key information campaign designers want to convey, and how it plans to engage visitors in whatever next steps are desired. In particular, websites could tell visitors, in clear, concise and plain language:
- What kind of actions or engagement the campaign seeks to obtain from them; e.g., what should they do next?
- If there is a request for volunteering, then does the website provide any information on what volunteering involves, what skills are required, what roles/hours are available and what other volunteers might be like (e.g., consider including some volunteer stories to build a connection)
- How visitors could contribute to any of the steps needed to achieve the desired campaign outcome
- What coalition members are doing and how these activities contribute to the broader campaign goal
- What successes the campaign has achieved so far, and what is hoped to be achieved next.
Of course, many groups struggle to update and maintain a website that provides a clear pathway for engagement by supporters. This is understandable as website designers often want to fill their sites with information and arguments first to present their case, which can often lead to dense text filled with jargon and complex details. This is necessary information for the campaigners themselves, but is not necessarily required for website visitors and may, in fact, reduce engagement with the campaign itself. Reducing complexity and making pathways of action clear for new supporters could be a goal for future communications design of this campaign.
For coalition members: Clarify the structure & responsibilities of the coalition and decision making within it
The development of sub-campaigns by coalition members was a considerable achievement. While most of these sub-campaigns focused on awareness raising, this can be an important step for coalition group members to increase understanding of the issue amongst their own supporters.
Continuing collaboration with other groups and aligning campaign goals with the goals of other organisations will help build collective power to decarbonise transport in NZ in the future.
One key component of alliance building is having clear decision making processes. These shared and agreed upon processes can help build the capacity of groups to run associated sub-campaigns, foster a greater sense of shared interest in the campaign, and better match resources and skills with particular campaign components.
Given the strong foundation that the All Aboard Aotearoa coalition has built,maintaining and strengthening the coalition could be a primary goal of the campaign’s next steps. To help foster strong collaborative decision making processes, campaign designers could consider the following questions:
- Who has decision making power within the coalition and what are the steps involved in making decisions?
- What actions require a decision/approval from the coalition and which do not?
- What opportunities do coalition members have to provide feedback on the overarching campaign activities and goals?
- To what extent are coalition members able to decide, lead and take ownership of their own campaigns under the coalition umbrella?
- Do coalition members have autonomy to decide on their own decarbonisation sub-campaigns while remaining in the coalition?
- What coalition processes have worked well in the past, and what could be improved?
For campaign designers: Evaluate the relevance of current theory of change for the next campaign stage
The All Aboard Aotearoa campaign focused heavily on awareness raising tactics. This is a very common approach to advocacy amongst groups which utilise a ‘behind-the-scenes’ theory of change. There is a common perception that raising awareness (whether through media coverage, provision of facts and data, or organising events such as workshops or forums) will prompt individuals to take action on that new information. However, evidence demonstrates that increased knowledge about an issue (such as climate change or transport decarbonisation) does not change behaviour in and of itself. That is, telling a voter or politician that there is a need to decarbonise transport will not necessarily change who a person votes for, or what policy a politician supports.
However, this is not to say that awareness raising is a futile tactic of course: people must be aware of a problem before they can begin the steps towards taking action. Instead, research tells us that there are many psychological stages that people may go through before they connect information to action. In particular, people are more likely to act on their knowledge if they feel:
- an emotional connection to the issue (most commonly a grievance or sense of anger about it),
- a sense that their action might actually help solve the problem (efficacy),
- that they have a moral connection to the problem, and
- that they identify in some way as the type of person who takes these sorts of actions on the issue.
The challenge for all campaigns is whether they have the resources to translate awareness raising tactics into mobilisation tactics which instead seek to provide the structures in which people can take action. This theory of change is based around mobilisation, which would require a new set of skills and resources to be managed by the campaign, as well as a new organising model for the All Aboard Campaign.
Mobilising others involves dedicating time to running events that will recruit and retain supporters, creating activities and tasks that engage them in the campaign, and managing relationships between staff/core volunteers and those who participate in the campaign activities. Effectively mobilising others can be very resource intensive but also generate significant wins. Given these considerations, it is up to the campaign team to establish whether to continue with the existing theory of change or adapt into a new approach in the next campaign phase.
Have information you can add to this campaign study? We’d love to hear from you. Email us with the information you would like us to add or if you have any questions.
- All Aboard Aotearoa
- 1point5 Project
- ‘How to talk about transport and climate action: Communications that work to build support for changes that make the biggest difference’
This booklet has communication advice and examples to help generate narratives and stories specific to climate and transport action. The advice is based on narratives for change theory and research by The Workshop and other framing organisations internationally.
- ‘Kids, Cars & Climate: opening the World to our children’
This booklet is designed to be read to children by parents, caregivers and educators. It was created by Women in Urbanism as part of the All Aboard Aotearoa campaign seeking to decarbonise transport in Aotearoa New Zealand by 2030. The booklet is a short explanatory guide written in clear and engaging language, describing the things we can do that will have the biggest impact on maintaining a safe and healthy environment for children.
- Case studies in the Commons Library
- Movements_Campaigns - Climate action and justice
- Movements_Campaigns - Climate action and justice - Aotearoa/New Zealand
- Movements_Campaigns - Transport
- Movements_Campaigns - Transport - Aotearoa/New Zealand