Signing up to prevent asset sales

STEPHEN FORBES
Last updated 05:00 11/05/2012

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Gathering 10,000 signatures in support of keeping New Zealand's assets is a challenge Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford believes he can take on.

The Labour MP is collecting support for the Keep Our Assets petition which has the backing of various groups including the Labour Party, Green Party, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Grey Power and the New Zealand Union of Students Associations.

Their goal is to gather 310,000 signatures required to hold a referendum on the Government's plans to partially privatise Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand.

The campaign was launched in Wellington yesterday and Mr Twyford has 12 months to gather his share.

"We are going to be on the streets, we are going to have volunteers out there door-knocking."

Mr Twyford says it's the first time he's been involved in gathering signatures for a citizens initiated referendum and he says the feedback from the public has been great.

"The Government appears to be content to push ahead with its asset sales agenda, yet everywhere we go the opposition appears to be so strong. We know people oppose the sale of state assets," Mr Twyford says.

People can download the petition forms and collect signatures themselves.

Te Atatu National MP Tau Henare says he's not too worried about the petition.

"He's the local MP and he can do what he likes. It doesn't have any bearing on our programme," Mr Henare says. "The people who voted for National in last year's election want to see us get back into surplus by 2014/15 and one of the ways we will do that is through the partial asset sales."

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