A referendum will be held on the sale of state owned asset after almost 330,000 people signed a petition against them.
The Clerk of the House of Representatives has declared that enough signatures have been gathered to prompt a Citizens-Initiated Referendum asking whether New Zealanders support the sale of up to 49 per cent of Meridian Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.
The 327,224 valid signatures – 18,500 more than required to initiate the referendum – were collected by the Keep Our Assets coalition which includes the Green Party.
Greens co-leader Russel Norman said the result shows the Government had no mandate for asset sales.
He called on Prime Minister John Key to hold the referendum as soon as possible and suspend the sales until after it was held.
“John Key considers he has a mandate for these sales,” Norman said.
“Now is his chance to test it.
“The Government needs to suspend the sale of Meridian Energy until after this referendum.
“Shares from the Government’s sale of Mighty River Power hit an all-time low last week. This sale was bad for both the alleged mum and dad kiwi investors and the Government.”
Before a Citizens Initiated Referendum can be held, the Clerk has to be sure more than 10 per cent of the voting population (308,753 in this case) have signed a petition calling for it.
The Clerk, Mary Harris, said the Speaker David Carter was expected to present the petition to the House on September 3.
Within one month of its presentation, the Government must set a date for the referendum or specify that it is to be a postal referendum.
The referendum must be held within 12 months of the petition’s presentation to the House, unless the House by a 75-per-cent majority vote agrees to postpone it for up to a further year. This is the fifth petition under the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act to proceed to a referendum.
– © Fairfax NZ News