As a supposed Citizen Initiated Referendum the asset sales petition was always a politicised farce. It was known from the start that if a referendum was held it would be ignored by Government, as past Governments have done with past referenda.
But the Greens poured considerable resources into using the referendum as a between elections campaign tool. And as seems to be common practice these days Labour followed along.
As far as political PR stunts go Greens and Labour have been majorly embarrassed by failing to get the required number of signatures.
They are initially putting on brave faces, albeit considerably egg covered. Russel Norman and David Shearer are vowing to get back to gathering signatures again to get the additional signatures required.
I wonder how many of the Green and Labour troops are groaning with trepidation. A year long signature gathering campaign was a major slog. Now they are being asked to psych themselves again for another burst of pleading to the public.
If they get the signatures a referendum will be held, perhaps later this year – well after Mighty River Power shares go on NZX (this Friday), and quite possibly after Meridian as well some time in the next few months. Too toothless, too late.
A referendum would be a multi million dollar exercise in futility.
Greens thought they were onto a winning strategy where they could use taxpayer money to fund a long running party campaign leading in to the next election.
They have now lost face, big time.
And if they continue on with the petition they stand to gain little if anything more, and could lose more egg covered face.
If Greens and Labour can’t organise a successful petition together, how would the look organising a government coalition?
A referendum will have zero effect on the asset share sale programme. It will keep reminding voters of the ongoing CIR farce.
If Greens and Labour had any sense they would cut their losses and move on to something more positive.
But by the sound of Russel Norman’s response to the news yesterday the Green petition machine is likely to continue.
And Labour sound like they will continue – Anti-asset sales campaign not over yet – Labour
Talk about flogging long dead horses. I think it’s time to end the farce.