The asset sale petition has now been presented to parliament. About 390,000 signatures have been counted and now need to be checked for validity.
In the meantime there have been claims made that data gathered with the petitions is being collated by political parties, to be used for election campaigning. Bin Man at Truth:
All the people who signed the petition to stop our assets sales can probably look forward to an avalanche of spam from Labour and the Green Taliban in the run-up to the election, if reports out of Wellington are true. Apparently, the support staff for the left MPs are being made to enter all the details written on the petition forms. These will be collated into a database, all done at a cost to the taxpayer. It’s estimated that it will take each secretary about a week of data entry.
The petition form had space for Email and Phone, saying:
To keep up with the campoaign please provide your email and phone number.
Providing email and phone numbers gave consent to be contacted about the Keep Our Assets campaign and will presumably be used to encourage saying No in the referendum.
But it is not clear who will own the data, and therefore who will be able to use the data.
And there is no definition of what “the campaign” refers to.
Labour and the Greens have effectively used the Keep Our Assets petition/referendum as an extention of their 2011 election campaign, it has given them a means of taxpayer funded continuous campaigning. This will continue until the referendum is held.
What then? Will the campaign continue until the election next year?
Labour and Greens were well aware that any referendum could and would be ignored by the Government.
So why have they put so much time and (taxpayer) resources into the petition?
It’s not difficult to see the asset sales issue as simply a front for political campaigning, and the gathering of a political spam database.