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CIR & the silience of the citirats

Written By: - Date published: 11:28 am, September 10th, 2012 - 6 comments
Categories: local body elections, petition, referendum - Tags:

The Nats’ lines on the citizens-initiated referendum on asset sales are very weak: ‘we don’t care because we have a mandate’ and making up stories about invalid signatures. Those lines will only hold until the petition is certified by the Clerk of the House later this year. Then, they’ll have to grow up a little. Their first decision will be when to hold the referendum.

The Keep Our Assets Coalition is pushing for it to be as early as possible, which would be early next year before the sale of Might River. National doesn’t want that, of course. They would prefer to push it past two of the sales if they can. So, the logical option, according to the conventional wisdom, is to hold the referendum in conjunction with the local body elections at the end of 2013.

But has the conventional wisdom considered what National’s allies in Citizens and Ratepayers would have to say about that?

Local body elections have turn-outs of around 45%, heavily weighted to the conservative end of the spectrum.

Turn-out at the last citizens-initiated referendum was 56%.

Naturally, a referendum is going to encourage turnout – primarily among those who feel strongly opposed to asset sales. With a proper campaign behind it, and the Keep Our Assets Coalition has proven it can run one of those with the petition-collection, turnout among anti-asset sales/Left voters will be even higher.

And that’s bad news for the Citirats. What happens to them if turnout of Labour and Green voters, usually low at local body elections, is boosted by half because they’re voting against the asset sales and voting in the council elections at the same time?

What happens to rightwing candidates in council elections, particularly in Auckland and Christchurch, if the question of council asset sales comes up again and again against a backdrop of a national campaign against asset sales?

Will National really risk a massacre of its local body wing and strongly anti-asset sales councils? Surely not.

But it still won’t want to hold a referendum in the first quarter of 2013 and holding one in the middle of the year would seem like a perverse attempt to avoid holding it either before the first sale or in conjunction with the local body elections – and National would be punished for its transparent cynicism. What’s an asset seller to do?

6 comments on “CIR & the silience of the citirats ”

  1. aerobubble 1

    Where’s the money, cries National, we have to sell assets, lower taxes to stimulate the economy.

    But the sad fact is that the billions lost in the finance sector would have been paying taxes!

    The sad fact that insipid legislation that fails due to its complexity (because ACT does not
    believe in government) and our legal system is incapable of providing any deterrent effect
    (oh, no not more home detention – like those on welfare who cannot afford to go out, and
    don’t have basic heating let alone high end broadband – is home detention for a financial
    fraudster punishment???).

    National are soft on crime and soft on government, soft on the economy, and soft in the head.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    The “shits and ratz” won’t be getting away with this one as easily as they might have once. Despite the many deficiencies of ACT’s deadly spawn the Orcland super city, one feature stands out: less rocks to hide under for the right. CCOs on down are a lot more knowable, if not necessarily accountable, to those prepared to investigate and follow up.

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Quite a dilemma. Key’s response was to re-invent the NZ constitution, saying “we’ll need to check those signatures”, or words to that effect. Interesting use of “we”!

    I’d love to see the left embrace a move to greater public participation. Suggestion: let’s have Democracy Day every year (e.g. Oct/Nov) – a fixed date, like the first Saturday in the month.

    Every 3 years: Parliament. Every 3 years: Local. And the third one: Referendum.

    If Labour or the Greens campaigned for “Democracy Day” they would get a bandwagon of support. People feel disenfranchised, frustrated, for many reasons. They don’t just want to replace Team A with Team B. A move to increase turnout would empower the voters and strengthen democracy. Just a thought.

  4. Adrian 4

    Now that one of our national “iconic” ( i hate that word ) companies being sold to the Chinese and almost certainly completely leaving NZ and the huge job losses that will entail any hope Key had for pressing on with asset sales has had an F&P K.O.

  5. Ed 5

    The left need to do a better job of identifying their own candidates from those of the right – with a large number of self-styled “independents”, all many voters have to go on is whether they recognise a name; the blurbs all candidates write are full of motherhood statements.

    Voting for names you do not know without any meaningful affiliations or differences in policy statements – or even identification on sites like this, would lead a lot of people to not bother again.

  6. Steve Wrathall 6

    Have it after the general election, like helen clark did

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