Little change in final referendum results

December 17, 2013

The final results for the referendum on the partial float of a few state assets show little change from the preliminary ones:

Votes

Number of Votes Received

Percentage of Total Valid Votes

For the response

Yes

442,985

32.4%

For the response

No

920,188

67.3%

Informal votes*

4,167

0.30%

Total valid votes

1,367,340

100.0%

*An informal vote is where the voter has not clearly indicated the response they wish to vote for.

Voter turnout on the basis of the final result is 45.1%.  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).

The number of invalid votes cast was 1,585 or 0.12% of total votes cast.  Invalid votes are excluded from the count and include, for example, voting papers that cannot be processed because the voter has made the QR code unreadable, or voting papers cancelled as a result of replacement voting papers being issued.

Breakdown by electorate can be found here.

The Dominion Post says the referendum was a waste of money:

. . . If opponents of partial privatisation believe the Government is now honour bound to reverse its position on state asset sales, then previous governments were presumably honour bound to give effect to the popular will expressed in referendums on firefighter numbers, the size of Parliament, tougher prison sentences and smacking.

Except that on each previous occasion a citizens-initiated referendum was held, the government of the day also ignored its outcome. The 1995 National government did not entrench firefighter numbers at January 1995 levels. The 1999 Labour-led government did not cut the number of MPs from 120 to 99. Nor did it introduce hard labour for serious violent offenders. The current National-led Government has not reversed the anti-smacking legislation introduced by its predecessor.

There’s the rub. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Referendums are, as the 1986 Royal Commission on the Electoral System observed, “blunt and crude” instruments.

They have their place. There are a handful of constitutional issues that should not be decided without reference to the public.

But generally governments should be left to govern. Issues can seldom be reduced to simple “yes” or “no” questions and the country’s position on serious matters should not be determined by populism. . .

Few issues are black and white and therefore most are unsuited to the referendum option of yes or no.

This has been an expensive exercise in self-promotion for the opposition.

Labour’s former president Mike Williams said it was also a way to harvest contact details which discredits the process even more.

 


Only 43.9% vote in referendum

December 13, 2013

Preliminary results of the referendum on the partial float of a few SOEs show:

2013 Citizens Initiated Referendum Preliminary Result

Votes

Number of Votes Received

Percentage of Total Valid Votes

For the response

Yes

432,950

32.5%

For the response

No

895,322

67.2%

Informal votes*

4068

0.31%

Total valid votes

1,332,340

100.0%

Voter turnout on the basis of the preliminary result 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).

The number of invalid votes cast was 1,062 or 0.08% of total votes cast.  Invalid votes are excluded from the count and include, for example, voting papers that cannot be processed because the voter has made the QR Code unreadable, or voting papers cancelled as a result of replacement voting papers being issued.

The politicians who initiated the referendum will say they got nearly 67% support for opposing the partial sales.

But 67% of just 43.9% of eligible voters is no victory. It’s just an expensive exercise in futility.

All they’ve done is waste money and reinforce that citizens’ – or politicians’ – initiated referenda have had their day.

UPDATE:


Voting because I can

November 28, 2013

Today’s history post noted it was on this day  120 years ago that women in New Zealand first voted.

That’s a good reason to vote in the referendum, even though the question is wrong and the opposition subverted the process to make it a politicians’ initiated referendum rather than a citizens’ one.

I believe that if you’re free to vote you’re also free to not vote.

But because so many people fought so hard to win universal suffrage and that right isn’t available in too many other countries yet, I am voting because I can.

And I’ll be voting yes. Although it doesn’t reflect my views exactly, it’s closer to them than no would be.

I don’t have a problem with the government selling any or all of its shares in a few energy companies and Air New Zealand.

I’d far rather they did that than borrow more or not invest in other much-needed assets.


A good reason to vote yes

November 27, 2013

The comments in yesterday’s post about the referendum provide several good reasons to vote and vote yes in the referendum.

The best of which was from Poneke:

November 26, 2013 at 2:31 pm
 

Quantcast

Already voted. Yes. Anything the Greens oppose must be good.


If question is wrong how can any answer be valid?

November 27, 2013

The question on the politicians’ initiated referendum asks: do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand.

Several people have pointed out that those who want more than 49% sold could vote no.

That would be taken as opposition to any sale when that’s the opposite of their view which favours total sales.

Then there’s the name of one of the companies – if Google is to be believed Genesis Energy is an SOE but I couldn’t find a Genesis Power.

There is another even more fundamental flaw in the question – the Government hasn’t sold and isn’t planning to sell up to 49% of Air New Zealand.

It didn’t own 100% of the shares in the first place and sold only 20% of the total, retaining 53%.

If the question is wrong, how can any answer be valid?


To vote or not to vote

November 26, 2013

Voting papers for the referendum arrived on Friday.

I haven’t opened the envelope yet and am not sure if I will.

The hijacking of what is supposed to be a citizens’ initiated referendum by politicians makes it just another political stunt.

The $9 million being wasted on this exercise in self-promotion for the opposition is a disgrace – and that’s not counting the other public money they used to get the petition signatures.

The tiny amount it will cost if I do vote won’t be significant.

But even so, is voting adding legitimacy to this farce, even if I vote yes or spoil the paper?


Inaccurate and out of date

September 2, 2013

Enough signatures have been gathered to force a politicians’ initiated referendum on asset sales.

The question we’ll be asked is:

“Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?”

That is inaccurate and out of date.

MRP has already been partially floated, Meridian Energy is about to be, Solid Energy has been taken off the list and there is no plan to reduce the government’s share in Air New Zealand.

The law states:

The Governor-General sets a date for the referendum within one month from the date of presentation. The referendum must be held within a year of the date of presentation unless 75% of all members of the House vote to defer it.

The left made the partial sale of assets the main policy of the last election.

They could do so again next year without wasting public money on this referendum which will have no impact on the policy.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,369 other followers

%d bloggers like this: