Like other recent calls for citizen initiated referendums, the referendum on asset sales was deemed to need more signatures after the initial submission. The eight week window to gather more signatures is now over, and the new signatures will be presented to Parliament today. Lots of them:
Asset petition gathers 45,000 more names
Opponents of the Government’s asset sales programme say they have gathered more than 45,000 new signatures to bump the petition over the threshold for a referendum.
After coming up about 16,500 valid signatures short two months ago, the Keep Our Assets coalition, which includes Labour, the Greens and other opposition parties, along with Grey Power, will present the newly gathered signatures to the Clerk of the House of Representatives tomorrow.
16,500 needed, 45,000 submitted, hopefully after inspection it will be enough to do the trick.
Coalition spokesman Andrew Campbell says that despite the Government already selling 49 percent of Mighty River Power, there was still public enthusiasm to stop further sales of power companies. “You might have thought there would be some weakening of resolve, but we found people were still as committed to getting this referendum,” he told NZ Newswire.
Stupid ideas are always worth opposing, whether the government of the day is half way through implementing them or not. The referendum isn’t binding of course, but other factors may yet derail the remaining sales:
Mr Campbell said the Government’s plan to sell up to 49 percent of power companies was in trouble. The Government would struggle to sell more power company shares as MRP shares were not snapped up by “mum and dad” investors the share price had dropped since the sale, Mr Campbell said.
MRP shares initially went on sale at $2.50 each but are now worth $2.29. On the Australian stock exchange they have dropped from $A2.16 to $A1.97.
You’d have to be a mug to invest in the Nats’ next planned Meridian sale – and they know it, having resorted to desperate tactics to try and drum up interest.
Congratulations to all involved in putting pressure on the government on this issue, and particularly to the organisers and volunteers who collected an amazing number of signatures. The chickens aren’t hatched yet, but either way it has been an amazing effort.