Green abuse of CIR could be more insidious

The Green party has been criticised for spending tens of thousands of dollars collecting petition signatures.

Greens know the referendum will be too late.
They now it will probably be ignored (as they have done in the past).
Why are they spending so much?

Are they investing in something bigger? Like planning on using $millions of taxpayers dollars on their 2014 election campaign?

A story that went round the blogosphere three weeks ago was picked up by the NZ Herald this week, on Green Party use of parliamentary funds to employ petition signature gatherers.

Greens spend taxpayer cash to fight asset sales
The Green Party has used $75,000 of taxpayer money to pay signature-collectors for a referendum opposing asset sales.

‘Pay it back’ calls over Greens’ payments
The Greens’ use of public money to pay signature collectors was permitted by parliamentary rules, but it was believed to be an unprecedented use of the Leader’s Office fund.

Finance Minister Bill English criticised the spending during parliamentary question time yesterday.

“It is a bit odd that Greens used to support citizens-initiated referendums, whereas now we are paying for Greens-initiated referendums.”

Editorial: Greens’ use of public cash for petition wrong
The Greens are wasting their time, as well as our money, trying to put the issue to a second test. Their effort can only undermine the system of citizens’ initiative yet again by forcing another poll that the Government would safely ignore.

Most, like the smacking referendum, have produced results Governments can ignore. The citizens’ initiative still awaits an issue of such resounding importance, and official neglect, that the country can compel Parliament to act.

Every time a referendum is demanded as a recourse for parliamentary defeat, those demanding it run the risk that Parliament will decide the whole system is a waste of money and repeal it. That likelihood looms larger if parties are going to use their parliamentary allowances to hire signature-gatherers.

This is criticising Greens for using parliamentary funds to abuse the Citizen Initiated Referendum process. They have turned it into a Politician Driven Petition – so far.

But…Greens (and Labour) must know that even if they get enough signatures for the petition to force a referendum that will come far too late to stop the start of the part selling of assets. And they know that when the referendum eventually happened the results can be ignored, like they ignored the smacking referendum.

So what is their intent here? One possibility is that it gives them a means of continuing a lost election campaign, funded by the taxpayer. But what is the real purpose of a seemingly futile referendum?

Comments on previous posts here suggests a longer game:

robertguyton
June 19, 2012

The Greens are managing these issues perfectly. You can’t catch them. They’ve learned alright! You won’t ping them on the referendum support either. The public will regard you as sniping if you try to portray the Greens as they see National, Labour, NZFirst, Act and UnitedFuture. Go for it though, Pete!

robertguyton
June 19, 2012

The referendum will reflect the country’s real feelings and will come at a time when it counts – just prior to the election. Perfect. Bye bye Mr Dunne. Bye Mr Key. Sayonara.

Wasting tens of thousands of dollars of  parliamentary resources in hijacking Referenda from Citizens is bad enough.

But has the Green Party also planned to co-opt millions of taxpayers dollars on a referendum with the intention of using it as part of their 2014 election campaign?

Rodney Hide was politically crucified for having a (legal) taxpayer fling with his girlfriend.

Is the Green Party flinging principles – and our dollars – out the window in a quest for power at any cost?

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1 Comment

  1. Now the asset bill has passed… « Your NZ

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