13 Dec 2013

Two-thirds vote against asset sales

10:59 pm on 13 December 2013

More than two-thirds of voters in an asset sales referendum have said they don't support the Government's partial privatisation programme.

Russel Norman.

Russel Norman. Photo: GREEN PARTY

The citizen-initiated non-binding referendum - in which almost 44% of all eligible voters took part - asked if voters support the Government selling up to 49% of four state-owned power companies and Air New Zealand.

The preliminary result was announced on Friday night, showing that 1,333,402 people voted - of which 32.5% voted for the asset sales and 67.2% against. The official result will be released on Tuesday.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said on Friday the result is an overwhelming message to the Government. The Labour Party agrees.

"It's a great night for democracy," Dr Norman said. "The people of New Zealand have spoken very clearly by a two-thirds majority that they're opposed to the Government's asset sales programme, and I think it's very important that the Government listens to the people of New Zealand."

Dr Norman said the Government must cancel the sale of Genesis Energy, which is likely to be floated early next year.

Shares in Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy and Air New Zealand have already been sold, while there is no date yet for financially troubled Solid Energy.