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.

Leave a comment


  1. Steve W

     /  18th November 2013

    I’ve always thought people who can’t cast a proper vote are probably a bit dim…..

  2. Darryl

     /  18th November 2013

    When the Referendum arrives in our Letter Box, it will be shredded and biffed straight into the rubbish bin.

  3. You call a referendum on selling assets that generations of New Zealanders have worked hard to create on to those who already possess most of the wealth in this country, an abuse of democracy? Incredible. Look what’s happened in the UK with British Gas – it’s an archaic failed ideology of privatisation that only serves to pass on profitable assets to those at the top. These assets are for all New Zealanders, not the greedy few. You must have an interest here – perhaps declare yours rather than hiding behind empty arguments of what constitutes a democracy.

    • Citizen Initiated Referenda were given to us by politicians so we thought we had a way of having a say, but designed so we couldn’t make Parliament do anything.

      Now CIR has been hijacked by political parties as a taxpayer funded means of campaigning against something the lost an election on and failed to stop in our Parliamentary process.

      So yes, it’s an abuse of decent democracy.

    • My only interest is in following and commenting on NZ politics, with a special interest in doing democracy better. Misusing CIR is not good democratic process.

  4. Goldie

     /  19th November 2013

    The question is whether I support the Govt. selling “up to 49%” of SOEs.

    The facts are that the Govt. is paying about 4.7% on its 10-year bonds, which is far above the ROI of those SOEs (Meridian has returned 2.3% on average for the past 5 years). Now any sensible person should be retiring debt if the interest they are paying is above the return on their investments – agreed? So the only rational thing for the Govt. to do should be to sell 100% of the SOEs. Get rid of them, because the rate of return by holding them is well below the interest that the Govt. (taxpayers) are paying on overseas debt.

    So in all honesty I should vote “No” to the question – I do not support the Govt. selling up to 49% – if the Govt. was serious about the welfare of the country, it should sell 100% of those assets. Unfortunately, if I do vote “No”, it will be taken as a vote in favour of economic madness, which I definitely do not want to do. So I think I might spoil my paper like Pete George suggests.


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