The asset sales petition is going gangbusters. Various groups in the coalition are reporting they’re already 20-30% of the way to their targets after only 5 weeks. The Greens have collected a massive 30,000 signatures already of their 100,000 target. So, there’s going to be a referendum. And that’s why even parties who support asset sales should agree to wait until after the people have their say.
The Greens have put up an amendment that would, if the asset sales law passes, would place a hold on any actual sales going ahead until after the referendum. That would legally have to be within 12 months of the Keep Our Assets Coalition getting the signatures it needs, so, sometime within the next year and a half.
The amendment wouldn’t prevent the Government from going ahead with sales after the referendum, no matter the result (we don’t have binding referenda in New Zealand) but it would allow us to have a clear and unequivocal say. It would be on the head of any government that would choose to ignore the result.
Peter Dunne – who holds the casting vote on both the asset sales law and this amendment – would be really, really smart to vote for the amendment. He could still vote for the asset sales law and keep the Nats on side but claim some moral high ground in saying ‘no sales until after the referendum’. Then, when the result is overwhelming opposition, he can do the commonsense shuffle and switch to opposing asset sales. It would be too late to stop the law passing but it might just save Dunne’s skin in 2014.
Now, John Key has mouthed his bullshit again that the people had their chance to vote on asset sales,and they voted National into government. He neglects to mention that we didn’t just vote on asset sales and, despite all the other reasons why voters favoured National over the Left, his coalition on asset sales still only has a one-vote majority.
But I don’t mind when Key tells the public ‘fuck off, you had your chance’ – that just makes the 50% of National voters who oppose asset sales (also known as the swing vote) all the more pissed off. And what’s he going to say next year after the referendum? Will he ignore it citing a child-like interpretation of 2-year old election instead?