Asset sales to proceed

John Key.
John Key.
The partial sale of Genesis Energy will go ahead as planned, despite a referendum pointing to public disapproval of asset sales.

The citizens initiated referendum (CIR) on asset sales found most of those who voted opposed the partial sale of state owned power companies and Air New Zealand.

In the preliminary result, released last tonight, 67.2 per cent of those who voted said they did not support the Government selling up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand.

A total of 32.5 per cent said they did support the policy. There were a total of 1,332,340 valid votes cast.

Today, Prime Minister John Key said Labour and the Greens would be disappointed by the result, NZN reported.

"They were expecting a big turnout, they were expecting a big vote in their favour and they didn't get either of those," he told reporters.

"Overall what it basically shows is that it was a political stunt."

The result would not affect the partial privatisation programme, with the Government due to put 49 percent of Genesis Energy up for sale next year.

However, Labour has said it was committed to stopping the asset sales programme and reserved the right to buy back assets where it made sense.

Leader David Cunliffe said there would be no privatisation under a Labour-led Government.

"We reserve the right to buy back our hard-earned assets just as the last Labour Government bought back KiwiRail and most of Air New Zealand after privatisation had all but ruined both companies.

"The next Labour Government will govern in New Zealanders interests, not the interests of merchant bankers who have pocketed a cool $150 million in sale fees so far."

The referendum result was a "decisive mandate against National's asset sales programme", Mr Cunliffe said.

Mr Key earlier indicated his Government would take little notice of the result of the referendum, which had cost the taxpayer $9 million.

He said the result would be "interesting" if it showed voters opposed the asset sales programme totalled more than a million - the number of votes National got at the last election which was largely fought on the issue.


If there was money coming from somewhere else?

I thought we all paid taxes for schools, hospitals etc and their operation. Oh, thats right, National takes less tax off the rich while also giving taxes back to James Cameron and Peter Jackson so they can make bigger returns on their stories. That's why National has decided to sell part of "our" infrastructure. That money won't go far.


Unpopular but necessary policies

Skinhat - this had been the refrain of many a dictatorship - "unpopular but necessary policies".
A non-binding referendum is a waste of time and money. However, the idea of not letting the masses run the country can appear to be a very sound one. Rome could no longer run the mighty and complex Roman Empire as a two consul, senate-based democracy, so gradually descended into dictatorship with just a select few from then on making all the laws, implementing them and making sure they were obeyed.
History has shown that dictatorships generally run more efficiently than democracies, especially the benevolent dictatorships. The question we should be asking ourselves is: "Do we really want an efficient autocracy or do we settle for the relative inefficiency of a purely democratic form of government?

Referedum waste of taxpayers money.

Let's be honest. I'm not even a National voter but they do have a mandate to sell assets and that was the last election with a 50% majority of the votes under this term. Anything in the next term will have to be campaigned on prior. If you sincerely do not want them in other's hands then you should buy some shares yourself to add to the sum of 51% that the govt still owns and won't sell. 

Labour talk big as usual but they were the ones that sold them first in the 1980s, seren't they? And they "might" buy some back under quote on a case by case basis.

The money has to come from somewhere

I would be against asset sales if there was money coming from somewhere else to pay for schools, hospitals and earthquake repair. I would also be against them if the Govt no longer held the majority or shares. I also see hypocrisy in the Greens having a referendum considering there was a stronger turnout and result against their ridiculous anti smacking law (which is so useless the cops hardly use it).

How many didn't get their voting papers?

Didn't get our papers and had to ring to get them, the only one in our household that did get them is on the Maori roll. we are all on the roll at this address and the lady on the phone at the electrol office would not divulge how many people had to call to get papers. Where is the media when you need them? How many people missed out getting their papers, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, who cares . . .

The Golden State


You really don't know what you are talking about. California does have many problems - it's a big state after all. But it deals with its problems quite well - including through ballot proposition. For example, the school spending proposition you mention was for the sale of bonds to fund the same. California may be ridiculed for its progressive environmental and social legislation - again some through ballot propositions - yet it is leading the economic recovery of the USA. The state buget will be balanced this year when others are nearly bankrupt as a consequence of its strong economy. New Zealand would be quite fortunate to find itself in the same position as California.

Key's hypocrisy

He claimed a mandate for the sales after the last election when the Natitonal party received less total votes and only has a 2 person voting majority.

How stupid does he think we are?

Get rid of this Bankster shyster. He is clearly beholden to corporate greed. There is no place in New Zealand for this kind of behaviour. Treat him like the wannabe despot he really is. Send him back to New York where he belongs.



It should be binding as people put a lot into letting this arrogant government with no mandate for these sales just what they think of their asset sales.

It may well just turn into votes at next year's election as people do seem to care about being sold out.


Glad referendum wasnt binding

I'm glad the referendum wasn't binding or New Zealand could find itself with Californian style politics where people can ballot for law changes. Often the results in California of these ballot propositions are conflicting binding laws. For example a ballot might be to cut taxes while another might call to increase spending for schools.  New Zealand could find itself in the same position as California with lots of paralysis and gridlock if referendums were binding. Many of us would vote yes for a binding referendum to reduce taxes and likewise we'd probably also vote yes to increase school spending. I think unpopular policies are often like brussels sprouts and binding referendums could make it easy for us to get rid of unpopular but necessary policies.

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