Let’s get a referendum!

10 Jun

A friend recently sent us her photos from the asset sales protest that marched through the streets of Wellington about a month ago. I wanted to share them with you here because I think they provide a powerful reminder of how many people care about the selling of our assets in this country. The impacts of these changes will be felt for many, many years to come. This was discussed in an earlier post written on the sale of State Owned Enterprises and the long term implications that has had for NZ today.

In a truly democratic society we would have the opportunity to have our say on these decisions. Considering how many people are engaging with this issue, it seems obvious that holding a referendum would be a fair way of making a decision on this issue that represents the desires of the people. The problem is that the current Government has no interest in listening to the voice of the public. This was made the most strikingly clear in John Key’s flippant remarks about the 2000-5000 of us that took to the streets asking to be heard.

However, we still have choices – we can use the political tools available to us so that the Government has to listen. This can be achieved by calling a citizens initiated referendum. Calling a referendum involves putting a petition to parliament signed by 10% of all registered electors. A citizen led campaign has been created to achieve this. I encourage you to check out the Keep Our Assets site and download the petition and sign it today. There you can also find really comprehensive and easily digestible information about what it means to sell state-owned assets.

The recent turn around on budget cuts to schools can give at least a little hope that if enough of us (and perhaps the right people) make our voices loud enough there is a chance for a little give and take.

In the meantime, enjoy these photos by photographer, Jenny Rahman:
(if you click on them they become bigger)

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