Dompost on Asset Sales Referendum

The Dompost is somewhat emphatic in their mockery of the Greens and Labour.

To listen to Labour and the Greens one would think the Government had no choice but to begin buying back state assets following the referendum on state asset sales.

According to Labour leader David Cunliffe the people “clamoured” to have their voices heard and they have “spoken” against the partial sales of Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy and Air New Zealand.

According to Green party co-leader Russel Norman the referendum has shown the prime minister is out of touch with mainstream New Zealand.

There is only one problem for Mr Cunliffe and Dr Norman. The referendum on state asset sales was not the first held under the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993. It was the fifth.  

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.

David Cunliffe is nicely painting himself into a corner over asset sales too…promising, albeit hesitantly, that Labour will buy back the assets. This is great, I’d like nothing better than for Labour to go into th election campaign promising to borrow up to $6 billion on offshore markets to buy back shares so that the governments majority shareholding can be just a little bit bigger.

Presumably they won’t buy all the shares back though, stopping at about 75% like they did before with Air New Zealand


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