Final asset sale referendum results

The final result shows only minor changes.

Citizens Initiated Referendum 2013

Final Result

17 December 2013
The Electoral Commission has released the final result for the Citizens Initiated Referendum on the question:
“Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power,
Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?”
Votes Number of Votes
Received
Percentage of Total
Valid Votes
Yes 442,985 32.4%
 No 920,188 67.3%
Informal 4,167 0.3%
Total Valid 1,367,340 100%
The number of invalid votes cast was 1,585.Voter turnout is 45.07%. Turnout is calculated by taking the total votes cast of 1,368,925 (being total
valid and invalid votes) as a percentage of the total number of voters enrolled as at 21 November 2013 (3,037,405).

Referendum Results by Electorate

Final Government response to referendum: 100 per cent don’t give a s**t

Don’t ditch CIR, fix it

A Dominion Post editorial is highly critical of Citizen Initiated Referenda after the Green and Labour hijacking. I agree that the asset sale referendum was a Waste of Money.

To listen to Labour and the Greens one would think the Government had no choice but to begin buying back state assets following the referendum on state asset sales.

According to Labour leader David Cunliffe the people “clamoured” to have their voices heard and they have “spoken” against the partial sales of Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy and Air New Zealand.

According to Green party co-leader Russel Norman the referendum has shown the prime minister is out of touch with mainstream New Zealand.

There is only one problem for Mr Cunliffe and Dr Norman. The referendum on state asset sales was not the first held under the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993. It was the fifth.

…except that on each previous occasion a citizens-initiated referendum was held, the government of the day also ignored its outcome.

The asset sale petition and referendum was too cumbersome, too expensive, too late to make any difference. Easy to ignore.

The citizens-initiated referendum experiment should be abandoned. It is an unnecessary add-on that has contributed nothing but cost to the political system.

I agree that CIR are a failed experiment. Designed by politicians to be impotent, then ironically hijacked by politicians.

But giving up and abandoning is not answer.

What we should do is replace CIR with something that is effective – and not controlled by politicians or Parliament.

Something that is fast enough to express public opinion before legislation is debated and decided in Parliament. A system of public information, debate and opinion measurement that can contribute to MP knowledge of public opinion. If it is timely it will have more influence.

The citizens-initiated referendum experiment should be abandoned. It is an unnecessary add-on that has contributed nothing but cost to the political system.

I agree that CIR are a failed experiment. Designed by politicians to be impotent, then ironically hijacked by politicians.

But giving up and abandoning is not answer.

What we should do is replace CIR with something that is effective – and not controlled by politicians or Parliament.

Something that is fast enough to express public opinion before legislation is debated and decided in Parliament. A system of public information, debate and opinion measurement that can contribute to MP knowledge of public opinion. If it is timely it will have more influence.

Labour and Greens harvesting emails

Labour and Green Parties harvesting petition email addresses for wider political purposes is raised in a Standard post, where activists  from both parties try to defend it – Muppets.

Did Mike Williams just suggest (about 19 minutes in) that the Greens and Labour Parties utilise the email addresses they gathered from the petition against asset sales in their election campaigns?! I sincerely hope he wasn’t channeling an idea that has any traction within the Labour Party machine.

Just to be absolutely clear on this. I did a lot of political activism in the past. And sometimes that involved gathering people’s email addresses or whatever on petitions and so on. Any thought of using those contact details to canvas on other matters, or even associated matters, was rightly so off the cards as to be unthinkable. If there is a desire to use collected contact details, then the simple inclusion of a tick box for permission to contact should be included on any form. Otherwise…no. Don’t do it. It’s that simple.

The only surprise is this is a surprise to some. It’s been talked about since early this year – Asset petition a data source for political spam? and also on Whale Oil yesterday – The Green Party Data scammers: Look at their Guidelines where it was pointed out:

We want to stay in touch with supporters about the campaign and other Green Party activities. That’s why we ask for email, address and phone. Contact info is optional, email is best.

Amongst the comments is some good advice:

Idiot/Savant

I encourage everyone who believes their information has been misused in this way to lodge a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner.

Also remember to tell the world you’ve done so. Bad publicity is an effective weapon against politicians; make sure you use it.

Apart from it possibly being illegal as it is contrary to the Privacy Act this would be deceitful use of the asset sales petition.

However a Labour Party activist claims a very extravagant interpretation:

Te Reo Putake

Hate to inject some reality into this discussion, but the petition form asks signers to provide their phone and email address if they want to “keep up to date with the campaign”. A phone call from Labour, the Greens or Grey Power during election year for that purpose would obviously be lawful.

An obvious update would be either party announcing they intended to buy back the assets or some similar measure.

So, no privacy breach as long as it’s relevant to the campaign.

http://www.labour.org.nz/sites/default/files/KOA_CIR_PETITION_FORM_L_27_04_2012.pdf

That opens up the possibility of weaselly workarounds of the law. “The campaign” was the campaign to gather signatures for the petition. Unless Te reo Putake is suggesting it was always intended as a long running political campaign using the petition and referendum for taxpayer funding.

And a Green Party activist also tries to make excuses:

toad

What’s more, all emails a person receives from the Greens in response to signing a petition have the following options:

Unsubscribe from this email list

Change subscriptions and update your details – subscribe to email newsletters and more

Unsubscribe from all emails

So at any time a person who opts to go onto the Green database through signing a petition can unsubscribe from receiving all emails, or particular types of emails from the Greens (or can add particular additional types of emails they want to receive if they wish).

Harvesting and then providing an opt-out option after spamming is not acceptable, as a Green supporter says:

framu

“So at any time a person who opts to go onto the Green database through signing a petition”

but unless that situation was stated up front all they did was sign a petition – thats the problem

Im a solid green voter but i detest ANYTHING turning up in my email that i didnt ask for. Even from those i support

like others have said – all it needs is an opt in check box – “do you want to receive further communications from the green party”.

It shouldnt be an opt out later situation

Bill

Toad. If I sign a petition, it means that I’m signing a petition. And that’s it. The signing isnot a license for the holder of the petition to contact me on either that or other mattersunless they have explicitly sought and received my permission to do so.

As I said in the post, I’ve collected signatures and details on a number of occasions. Usually the petition was simply to give people the feeling they were doing something in support of whatever the cause was…ie, it wasn’t really of any consequence or help.

Anyway, I can say with absolute confidence that most people who sign a petition want the signing to be the beginning and end of their involvement. (This from the %age of ‘buy in’ when a ‘buy in’ option was put on forms and pointed out to people)

But sure, feel entitled to pester people as you seem to indicate is your ‘right’ having gained contact details. It’ll blow up in your face.

Idiot/Savant

The petition form’s only nod to the Privacy Act was a note saying “To keep up to date with the campaign please provide your email and phone number”. Which suggests strongly that use of the information collected should be limited to the actual referendum campaign, not the wider political campaigning of the petitioner or political parties doing the collection.

Responses are very concerning:

Te Reo Putake

Nope, it’s all part of the same campaign, Bill. One of the ‘other strings’ you have forgotten is the just completed referendum. The next string is the election campaign. If you signed the petition and gave your details, you have consented to be contacted about asset sales. That’s the fact of the matter.

Te Reo Putake

Referring to I/S’s narrow understanding of what the word campaign means doesn’t help. The anti asset sales campaign continues unabated and the use of the contact details for the purpose for which they were provided is not only sensible, it’s vital.

The would mean parties could call it an endless campaign and endlessly abuse the intent of the Privacy Act. That will annoy a lot of people.

No Right Turn has also blogged on this calling it (correctly) Grossly unethical:

To point out the obvious: this is a screaming violation of Privacy Principle 10, and possibly Privacy Principle 11 if you take the collecting agency as Roy Reid, the formal petitioner, rather than the parties who provided the footsoldiers. And it is grossly unethical. Quite apart from that, its also stupid, burning both potential supporters and their activist base (who may not be too keen on having their hard work perverted to violate people’s privacy).

As for what to do about it, firstly people have a right of access to information held about them by agencies – so if you gave the petition campaign your email address, you can always check with Labour to see if it has somehow migrated its way into their fundraising and supporter’s databases. And if the information is used, then I recommend lodging a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner.

You should also publicise that complaint over social media (or, if you feel like it, by emailing a press release to Scoop – but social media is probably enough, because people like me will retweet it if we see it, and journalists will pick up an easy story like this).

Political parties are (sensibly) afraid of bad publicity, and this is the best stick we have to enforce ethical behaviour on them. Sadly, it looks like we may have to use it.

Not a good look if this is the official Labour view on it:

Te Reo Putake

Yep, you’re starting to get it! As long as they are contacted about the asset sales, then its not an issue at all. And given how big a deal asset sales is to most kiwis, just about every phone call and email from the left is going to mention it.

 

Asset sales referendum ra-ra ho-hum

The assets sales referendum results is quite predictable, with about two thirds voting no. This is similar to opinion poll results.

Green and Labour party campaigners were targeting a No vote in excess of those who voted for National in 2011 but didn’t make that so their self congratulations have been ra-ra ho-hum.

David Cunliffe: The people have spoken – National must listen

The people of New Zealand have spoken and voted overwhelmingly against asset sales – it is now time for John Key to listen to them, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe.

“Kiwis have clamoured to have their voice heard on asset sales. More than 310,000 thousand backed the petition and now 1.3 million have voted. Over 67 per cent or almost 900,000 have said no to asset sales.

“The numbers are clear. Kiwis don’t want their assets sold. John Key must listen and call off the Genesis sale now. National’s claimed mandate to sell the assets has now disappeared.

Russel Norman:

The Opposition is calling it an overwhelming victory, while the Government says it’s nothing more than a costly stunt that’s ended in disappointment.

The cake was cut at the Green’s party well before result was announced – which came at about 8pm.

“This sends a very clear message to John Key to stop the asset sales madness,” says Green Party co-leader Russell Norman.

- Asset sales referendum results announced

Being non-binding it was always known to be a futile exercise beyond political point scoring and extended taxpayer funded campaiging.

Key numbers:

  • 2/3 voted No
  • 3/5 assets part sold
  • 1/5 assets unsaleable
  • 1/5 assets – sale subject to financial conditions

National have said they will go ahead with the Genesis float. I have always said that selling too much in one market sector in an election term time frame was flawed.

 

Citizens Initiated Referendum 2013

Preliminary Result

13 December 2013
The Electoral Commission has released the preliminary result for the Citizens Initiated Referendum on the question:
“Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power,
Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?”
The preliminary result is based on the number of votes counted as at 7pm, Friday 13 December 2013.
The final result will be available by 5pm, Tuesday 17 December 2013.
Votes Number of Votes
Received
Percentage of Total
Valid Votes
For the response Yes 432,950 32.50%
For the response No 895,322 67.20%
Informal Votes 4,068 0.31%
Total Valid Votes 1,332,340 100.00%
The number of invalid votes cast was 1,062.

Voter turnout is 43.9%. Turnout is calculated by taking the total votes cast of 1,333,402 (being total
valid and invalid votes) as a percentage of the total number of voters enrolled as at 21 November 2013 (3,037,405).

Preliminary Results by Electorate

Preliminary Results in Excel Format

Preliminary Results in PDF Format bb

Referendum imbalance

Voting in the asset sale referendum closes this Saturday. So far about 1.2 million votes have been returned.

There has been a major imbalance in promotion, all No and no Yes. One side wants to make something big out of it, the other side wants to bury it.

The result is widely expected to strongly favour the No vote. This is partly because opinion generally leans that way.

And the Green and Labour parties are very actively campaigning for a No vote. They are treating it like a mini election, with hoardings, advertising, direct promotion from MPs and extensive social media campaigning. This is backed by left leaning blogs.

In contrast virtually no one is promoting the Yes vote. It is seen as futile.

Knowing they will ‘win’ easily the No promoters are trying to make a victory out the number of votes they can get. They are targeting a vote in excess of the number of votes National got in the last election – 1,058,636.

If they achieve this they will claim that National didn’t have a mandate to part sell the assets. But it will be too late, most of the sales programme is complete.

And everyone knows the referendum will be ignored by the Government. Timed leading into Christmas and the holidays National no doubt hope the referendum will quickly be forgotten. Greens and Labour will try to extend their campaign into election year and the expected Genesis float will give them something to campaign around, but by the time next year’s election campaign kicks off asset sales are likey to be just history.

Unless Labour campaigns with the Green proposal to buy back assets. Would that be an election winner? Or flogging a dead horse?

Asset sale referendum – Yeah, Nah

The asset sale referendum will run from 22 November to 13 December. I’m going to Yeah/Nah it and vote both yes and no. This will be recorded as a spoiled vote, which I think is appropriate for a futile and expensive exercise in opposition party political posturing.

X   Yes        X  No

I supported National’s right to implement their flagship policy so two years ago I could have voted Yes to this.

Like just about everyone I don’t support selling Solid Energy so I could vote No now. But that vote would be distorted by opposition parties who are claiming it would mean I oppose the asset sales and think they should be stopped. It’s too late to stop most of them.

The referendum asks a question about whether someone supports asset sales or not, not whether they want the programme stopped. So the result of the referendum is irrelevant to the asset sales programme.

I also strongly oppose the principle aim of the referendum – from the start over eighteen months ago it has been used as an extended campaign tool by Greens and Labour. They knew it would be futile in stopping any asset sales. They are using it to sustain a taxpayer funded inter-election political campaign. It’s cynical abuse of the purpose of Citizen Initiated Referenda.

Government legislation has a parliamentary process, this cannot be dictated to by a petition and referendum that takes up to two years to take place. If a CIR was able to halt and overturn Government policies and programmes it would make our Parliament a farce.

The asset sale referendum is a foolish futile farce.

So I will vote Yeah/Nah to register my protest at this misuse and abuse of our democracy.

Referendum irrelevant to Air New Zealand sell-down

The announced sell-down of 20% of Air New Zealand shares has been slammed by opposition party leaders, criticisng the timing with the asset sale referendum about to be held.

David Cunliffe:

“This is an arrogant, out-of-touch Government desperate to get the sale done before the public has its say.”

Russel Norman:

“It’s a deeply cynical and desperate measure but a Government that knows there’s a referendum about to happen.”

I don’t know how sensible the timing is from a business and share-market point of view is except that Air New Zealand shares are at a record high which sounds like a good time to sell.

I don’t know if the Government has timed the sell-down to deliberately coincide with the referendum, if that was a primary factor in the timing it would be cynical and stupid.

But the referendum shouldn’t be an issue. It is irrelevant to the asset sale programme, it shouldn’t and won’t make any difference to whether the MOM sales programme continues or not. Like all Citizen Initiated Referenda everyone always knew it could and would be ignored. Cunliffe and Norman knew this.

Cunliffe and Norman know that Government will not pause or halt sales because of the referendum.

They are using the referendum as a political campaign weapon. That’s all it has ever been.

Their posturing is desperate and cynical politics.

Government programmes and parliamentary legislation can’t be scheduled by and dictated by the eighteen month timeframe of a Citizen Initiated Referendum.

Labour-Green-Conservative coalition?

Colin Craig says he will work with any parties on common policies.

One of Craig’s biggest policies is to have binding referenda. And he wants to roll back the ‘anti-smacking’ law.

Craig also opposes the asset sales. It would follow that should the upcoming referendum vote against asset sales then Craig would support the Greens in rolling back the asset sales. And rolling back the convention centre?

We could end up with a Conservative-Labour-Green government, especially if the CCCP get’s in at the expense of NZ First – if they can work out their clash on the smacking law.

Craig will at least promote binding referenda so we can have Government by party political agenda petitions and referenda.

 

Craig wants binding referenda and smacking

Colin Craig is suddenly getting a lot of media attention. He is getting the chance to state policy positions. Time will tell whether this exposure enhances Conservative chances or if it raises concerns.

Craig was asked on TV3’s Firstline…

“Are there some absolutes you would go to National with and say ‘We’re not coming on board unless you give us this?’”

He replied…

“One of the things we’ve always been very clear about is when you’ve got a strong result in a referendum, we don’t think in a democracy the government should just be able to throw it out. That’s something I do think needs changing.”

Not an absolute position. It appears to be targeting voters who want some ballot power, but it’s hard to see Parliament agreeing to binding referenda. Seeking support for a futile cause.

Craig used the smacking referendum as an example of the will of the people being ignored.

87.4% voted against a parent hitting a child “as part of good parental correction” being made a criminal offence, but National reached a deal with Labour that saw the legislation passed.

Smacking has been one of the driving forces behind Craig’s push for political power. Again this is seeking support from people who still feel strongly about the ‘anti-smacking’ legislation but it’s hard to see other parties wanting to revisit this.

The legislation certainly annoyed many people but that’s history and it’s been nothing like the societal catastrophe some predicted. It’s an issue that might attract a few votes but it’s hard to see it swinging an election, nor interesting the next Parliament.

Following the Craig line Conservatives would want to reverse the asset sales if the upcoming referendum supported rolling back the sales, but that would make a farce of parliamentary process.

Craig is using attention seeking issues to build support, but it will be more difficult to look like a credible coalition partner with do-able policies.

Asset sales a bad mix of business and politics

The partial asset sale programme shows that political game playing and sound business decisions don’t go well together. Have we ever seen such a costly (to the country) opposition campaign before?Labour and Greens have deliberately tried to score points at great cost to the country (us).

And I always thought National was unwise to put so many political eggs in one business sector basket, one of the most important rules of investment is diversity, so small investors would be unwise to put too much into power generation.

Another angle – while the sale prices and subsequent market performance have been disappointing when all the Green energy initiatives kick in next term the Government may have been wise to flick off ownership in big old energy companies.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 217 other followers