3 Sep 2013

Tide turning on asset sales programme - council

6:46 pm on 3 September 2013

A referendum into the Government's asset sales programme suggests the tide is turning and is a win for democracy, the Maori Council says.

The organisers of the Keep our Assets petition on Monday succeeded in their second attempt to gather enough signatures to force a non-binding referendum, with an estimated 327,000-plus eligible voters signing the petition.

Prime Minister John Key says the referendum will cost about $9 million and is a waste of money.

But Maori Council co-chair Maanu Paul disagrees, saying that is the price of democracy - something Mr Key has ignored.

Mr Key is also rejecting calls by petition organisers to suspend asset sales until the referendum can be held and says the partial float of Meridian Energy will go ahead.