The question we will be asked in the asset sale referendum:
“Do you support the Government selling up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?”
No, I don’t. I doubt that anyone would support selling Solid Energy in it’s current state. Government have indicated it won’t be sold at this stage.
I do support the right of Government to have sold Mighty River Power shares, they campaigned on it, they were elected, and they got support to get their legislation through Parliament.
But I would honestly say No to the referendum question.
And then the Opposition would claim that supports their “no asset sales” campaign. Which would be false.
This illustrates the absurdity of our Citizen Initiated referenda system.
A single question has to be designed to attract petition signatures, and then cover all possibilities in a referendum question eighteen months later.
Time has passed by the original premise of the question.
And a single question is unable to address more complex possibilities and preferences.
The infamous smacking referendum question was just as flawed. It was designed to get a particular negative response, regardless of the actual arguments for and against.
Questions have become simplistic political tools, campaign tools. They do not accurately capture complexities of public opinion, they are not designed to do that. They can’t do that anyway, so they are used to try and score political points.
The asset sale question is an ass, as is the system of citizen democracy that has been taken over by political campaigners.
This petition is a waste of time and taxpayer money. It is simply a means of parties extending their campaigning between elections. And we pay for it.