If National was to break an election promise opposition parties would have a field day.
But, Rodney Hide points out that is what they are asking the government to do in seeking an end to the a partial float of a few state assets:
. . . Now we are all to vote on whether or not we support selling a part of five Government businesses. The trouble is that National won the last election promising to do just that. The opposition parties campaigned against the sale and lost.
For National to reverse its policy on asset sales would mean breaking its election pledge. . .
Not everyone who voted for National supported the policy but other factors in National’s favour outweighed their feelings on the partial floats.
Some people who voted for National would have done so because of that policy.
Anyone who paid attention to the campaign would have known the party’s intentions and that they had a very clear choice between National and the opposition parties which made it the biggest election issue.
A reversal would be breaking an election promise.
It would also affect other pledges because the government would have to stop new investment and/or cut spending elsewhere to compensate for the large hole that stopping the partial floats would make in its Budget.
LabourGreen think support for the referendum has reduced the government mandate for sales.
It hasn’t done that but it has shown that referendums are a waste of time and money.
John Key has made it plain that the referendum won’t affect Government policy. Besides, the referendum doesn’t present the trade-offs involved in not selling state assets. The asset-sales referendum has one advantage over the others: we know it’s a waste of time before we vote. It won’t make one bit of difference.
The Greens and Labour will huff and puff about democracy.
But neither party took any notice of the smacking vote. Labour and the Greens only agree with the results of referendums when they suit them and, to date, they haven’t.
The 20-year citizens’ initiated referendums experiment has proved a flop. The asset sales vote should be the nail in its coffin. The next vote should be to get rid of the referendums act and to save the money and the trouble.
That’s a referendum I would support.