The petition on the partial sale of a few state assets could be delayed until the general election if a super majority of parliament agreed to it.
That would save at least $9 million dollars for which there are far more pressing needs.
Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove offered Labour’s support for that move, but it came with a condition.
Will his Government accept the Labour Party’s offer to hold the asset sales referendum alongside the next general election, thereby substantially reducing the cost, with one condition: that he immediately halt the asset sales programme?
Clayton’s was the drink you’re having when you’re not having a drink.
This is a Clayton’s offer from Clayton, the sort you make when you’re not really making it.
He would know that there is no way the government would delay the partial float of any more assets until next year.
Not all the people who voted for National in the last election supported the partial floats, but enough didn’t oppose them sufficiently strongly to vote for any of the other parties which made opposing them their major platform.
Bill English explained that in response Cosgrove:
The Government’s moral authority to move on with the asset sales hinged on the fact that even the Opposition said that the 2011 election was a referendum on asset sales. We outlined our policies in detail and campaigned on them transparently. It was the dominant issue of that election campaign, and we have proceeded with the sales. At the end of the sales process, tens of thousands of New Zealanders will have had the opportunity to invest in quality assets, the Government will have billions of dollars less debt, and we will have better-performing companies as a result of it.
National campaigned on the policy, it won, it’s factored the sales into spending plans and referendum or not, it has the right to carry on with the partial floats and it won’t be stopped by any Clayton’s offers.