Two yes votes


Voting papers for the politicians’ initiated referendum with the misleading question had to be in the post by yesterday to count.

“To have your say in the referendum you need to get your voting papers in the post by this Thursday 12 December,” says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer. . .

As of Friday 6 December 1,126,448 voting papers had been received by the Returning Officer.

Ours weren’t among those received last week.

The waste of money involved and the subversion of what’s supposed to be a citizen’s initiated process by Green and Labour politicians who said the last election was a referendum on the issue was putting us off.

But the feeling that the right to vote come with the responsibility to do so spurred us on and two yes votes went back.

Preliminary results will be announced this evening.

nov 13 007

Are we paying for the billboards?


The Green party has launched a campaign to encourage people to vote no in the referendum on whether or not a minority shareholding in a few state owned assets should be sold.

They’ve put up billboards around Auckland and I’m wondering if there’s a parliamentary crest on them.

If not the party is funding them, if there is a crest we are through parliamentary services.

The Greens and Labour turned what was supposed to be a citizens’ initiated referendum into a politicians’ initiated one.

Labour has gone quiet on the referendum, perhaps realising that the public has no appetite for wasting around $9 million on a referendum which will have absolutely no impact on the policy.

But the Greens are continuing to use the issue to keep their profile up.

Enough public money has already been wasted, I’d hate to think we’re paying for the billboards too.

Postal referendum on partial floats


The government has taken the least expensive option for the referendum on the partial float of a few state owned assets.

The citizens initiated referendum on the Mixed Ownership Model will be held as a postal vote in November and December this year after a petition regarding the Mixed Ownership Model was signed by 10 per cent of eligible voters. 

The referendum will ask whether New Zealanders support the Government’s sale of up to 49 per cent of Meridian, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Government is required to hold the referendum by September 2014, which will be overseen by the Electoral Commission.

“We want to hold this referendum as soon as practicably possible and completing it before the traditional holiday period begins will help us get maximum voter participation,” Ms Collins says.

The voting period will open on Friday, 22 November and will close three weeks later on Friday, 13 December.

The referendum roll will close on Friday, 25 October, but voters will be able to enrol on the supplementary roll up until Thursday, 21 November.

The Electoral Commission has estimated the cost of the postal referendum at $9 million – including $2.85 million for public information and advertising.

The Commission is expected to deliver a preliminary result after voting closes and a final result will be delivered as soon as possible thereafter.

The result of the referendum is not binding on the Government.

This politicians’ initiated referendum is a very expensive publicity exercise for the opposition.

Grey Power, which initially fronted the petition, lost any credibility on the issue when it signed up to discounts for its members with a private company.

Meanwhile, the share offer for up to 49% of Meridian energy began this morning with strong demand.

The Prime Minister says there has already been “strong” early demand for Meridian Energy shares by retail investors, ahead of the offer opening today.

Close to half of the Meridian Energy share offer has been pre-committed to New Zealand retail investors after Kiwi sharebrokers were invited last week to submit bids for shares on behalf of interested clients. . .

The partial float will be done and dusted with the money banked before  the referendum begins.

Policy reversal would be broken promise


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.

Greens’ bogus branding exercise


Rob Hosking describes the politicians’ initiated referendum as a bogus branding exercise for the Green Party.

If this is their brand it’s a bad one.

It says they’re a party that:

*  subverted the citizens’ initiated referendum process and turned it into a politicians’ one, funded by taxpayers.

* doesn’t care about wasting the $9 million, or more, it will cost for the referendum which will change nothing.

* is still focussed on debating an issue which was decided in the election nearly two years ago.

The Greens have been starved of publicity since the focus went on Labour and its leadership.

The referendum has got them back in the news, but this bogus branding exercise isn’t good news for them or the taxpayers who are funding it.



Look what they do with our money


We don’t have public funding of political forties parties in New Zealand.

We leave that to their members and supporters.

We do have public funding of MPs to enable them to serve their constituents and do their work in  parliament.

The rules are very clear that this money should not be used for party political activities.

Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory.

But Kiwiblog shows that Labour and Green Party have used their parliamentary staff to help get signatures for the petition seeking a referendum on the partial sale of a few state assets.

A mole has leaked to me a couple of strategy documents from Labour and Greens on the referendum they have just purchased with our money. The documents are embedded below, and they show the extent of taxpayer resources used to purchase this referendum.

CIRs are meant to be about the public being able to send a message to MPs, not MPs using taxpayer funds to relitigate an election result. Some key revelations:

>>They aimed for 400,000 signatures as they knew a fair proportion would be found to be invalid.

>>At the 300,000 mark the Greens collected 150,000, Labour 105,000 and Unions 40,000. The Greens are the ones who used taxpayer funding to hire petition collectors.

>>Labour pledged 30 hours per week staff time from their taxpayer funded budget.

>>Greens were using their permament taxpayer funded staff to co-ordinate
The unions had a paid national co-ordinator.

>>They refer to unions gathering “car loads” of organisers and activists to travel to areas.

>>For their day of action, Greens said they will committ five full-time staff – presumably all taxpayer funded, if Labour does the same. That’s 10 taxpayer funded organisers.

>>A list of unions to pressure to do more, including PPTA, NZEI, Nurses Organisation – minority shares in power companies of course being key education and health issues!

It is very clear that there has been very few ordinary citizens involved in this petition – mainly a legion of taxpayer funded staff and union staff. . .

This isn’t a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum. It’s a politicians’s one and you and I have paid for it.

What a waste


There is never a good time to waste public money but if ever there was a worse time, it’s now.

Our economy is growing, but  slowly, and many or our trading partners are still struggling with the impact of the Global Financial Crisis.

We’ve got the added cost of the Christchurch rebuild,  the need to cut back because of the extravagances and mismanagement of the previous Labour-led government and almost all of the country is facing drought.

There is no fat in the system.

National has been focussed on getting more for less from public services which requires very careful management and fiscal rigour.

The opposition has shown it hasn’t got the seriousness of the problem by opposing every move the government has made to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Now the petition calling for a referendum on the policy to sell minority stake in a few state owned energy companies is to be presented to parliament.

It’s supposed to be a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum but this is a politician’s initiated one.

It was never anything more than a political stunt and carrying on with it now that the sales process for the sale of up to 49% of shares in Mighty River Power has begun reinforces that.

If there are enough valid signatures to force a referendum it will be too late. MRP will be under mixed ownership and at least one of the other companies could be too before it’s held.

Regardless of the timing of the referendum and the partial sales this is an expensive exercise in futility.

National campaigned on its Mixed Ownership Model and won.  The Labour and Green Parties and their potential coalition partners New Zealand First and Mana campaigned against it and lost.

The partial sales are a fundamental part of National’s financial plan and the referendum will do nothing but provide an opportunity for grandstanding by the opposition.

It’s time for them to realise they’ve lost and accept the importance of not wasting public money.


Keeping Stock shows it’s not just money being wasted.

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