12 Mar 2013

Heed petition, SOE sales opponents say

7:05 pm on 12 March 2013

A group opposing the partial privatisation of state-owned enterprises hopes the Government will pay attention to a petition that opposes share sales.

One of the signatories, Peter Love of Te Atiawa and leader of the group Say No to Asset Sales, is encouraging Prime Minister John Key and his Government to take notice of the petition. But he worries Mr Key will ignore it.

The Prime Minister has said that the partial sale of Mighty River Power will not affect the Crown's ability to recognise Maori rights and interests in water.

A total of 392,000 signatures appear on the petition, which was delivered to parliament on Tuesday.

The Clerk of the House has two months to check the petition and determine whether there are enough valid signatures to trigger a referendum on the Government's asset sales programme.

Petition organisers are confident that, once checks have been made, there will be enough valid signatures to force a referendum on asset sales.

Finance Minister Bill English says the petition process will be respected but a referendum would not be binding.

He says the Government believes it has a mandate from the last election, and will stick to its asset sales plans.