A super quick guide to writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper

A letter to the editor is a short opinion piece submitted to a newspaper. The opinion page is one of the most widely read pages in the newspaper. This means it’s a great way to get your message out to the public.

What you can write about

The first thing you need to know is that you can only write a letter to the editor in response to article which their outlet published. Alternatively, if you’ve read a letter to the editor in their paper, you can write in response to that.

Getting published

it’s usually best to send your letter to the editor by email, on the same day as the item you’re responding to. This means your letter can be published in the next day’s paper. Include the subject line ‘letter to the editor.’

Make your letter under 200 words long. Ideally use fewer than 25 words per sentence, one to three sentences per paragraph, and three to five paragraphs maximum. So stick to just a couple of points, and explain them succinctly.

Your letter needs to make sense on it’s own, because the original article will have been published on a different day. Be concise, educational, and compelling. Get straight to the point, and set your argument out logically. In other words, a well written letter is much more likely to get published. Use facts and statistics if you can.

If you want a particular MP to read your message, mention them. They care about how the public thinks about them, and whether their stance on an issue is appreciated or not.

Your letter is most likely to be published if it offers a different perspective, however, the message is more important than the messenger. Avoid saying things like “as a transgender person”.

Lastly, include a call to action. Let people know an action they can take or how they can contact you. You must write your name and full address, though your exact address/street will will not be published.

Contacts for editors of major newspapers:

  • Whangarei – Northern Advocate editor@northernadvocate.co.nz
  • Auckland – New Zealand Herald letters@nzherald.co.nz
  • Hamilton – Waikato Times editor@waikatotimes.co.nz
  • Tauranga – Bay of Plenty Times editor@bopp.co.nz
  • Rotorua – Rotorua Daily Post editor@dailypost.co.nz
  • Gisborne – Gisborne Herald editorial@gisborneherald.co.nz
  • Hawkes Bay – Hawkes Bay Today editor@hbtoday.co.nz
  • Wanganui – Wanganui Chronicle letters@wanganuichronicle.co.nz
  • New Plymouth – Taranaki Daily News editor@tnl.co.nz
  • Palmerston North – Manawatu Standard editor@msl.co.nz
  • Wairarapa – Wairarapa Times Age editorial@times-age.co.nz
  • Wellington – Dominion Post letters@dompost.co.nz
  • Marlborough – Marlborough Express mailbox@marlexpress.co.nz
  • Nelson – Nelson Mail editor@nelsonmail.co.nz
  • Westport – Westport News editorial@westportnews.co.nz
  • Greymouth – Greymouth Evening Star editor@greystar.co.nz
  • Christchurch – The Press letters@press.co.nz
  • Ashburton – The Ashburton Guardian enquiries@theguardian.co.nz
  • Timaru – Timaru Herald editor@timaruherald.co.nz
  • Oamaru – Oamaru Mail news@oamarumail.co.nz
  • Dunedin – Otago Daily Times odt.editorial@alliedpress.co.nz
  • Invercargill – Southland Times letters@stl.co.nz