Petition veteran shows how it's done

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013

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Following a few basic steps makes all the difference when collecting petition signatures, New Plymouth woman Stuart Bramhall says.

The Green Party says Ms Bramhall, 65, has collected more signatures than any of its 3600 members petitioning nationwide for the Keep Our Assets campaign.

Ms Bramhall has collected 8700 signatures in Taranaki since the petition was initiated in March last year.

The Keep Our Assets Coalition was launched to instigate a citizens initiated referendum on the Government selling up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand.

It has collected more than 360,000 signatures.

Petitioning was a volume game, Ms Bramhall said.

"The first thing is you don't want to stop and engage people who disagree with you," she said.

"The more time you spend talking to them the less signatures you get."

She also uses five boards at a time which was useful for passing along lines and groups at festivals and events.

Petitions played an important role in educating the public, she said.

About 30 per cent of the people she spoke to were unaware of the planned sale of state owned assets.

Waitara and rural Taranaki centres, including Stratford, Eltham, Kaponga and Midhirst, were the most supportive of the petition, while collecting in New Plymouth was more difficult.

"There's a lot more people in New Plymouth who want to buy shares."

Ms Bramhall, a former US resident who moved to New Plymouth in 2005, has been the Green Party's branch convener for New Plymouth since 2007.

For Ms Bramhall, activism is in the blood, with her great-grandfather having been chased out of Germany for rebelling against the government there nearly 100 years ago.

Her mother also used to take her along while collecting petition signatures in the 1950s.

In 2000 Ms Bramhall led a petition in Washington State campaigning for basic funded healthcare.

Ms Bramhall said she left the US because she disagreed with its wars in the Middle East and did not want her taxes funding "war crimes" in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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