Little change in final referendum results

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.

 

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