On Saturday, we took a break from the South Island Green Policy Conference and hit the streets of Invercargill to collect signatures for the “Keep Our Assets” petition final push.
About half the Green MPs and a team of local and regional volunteers collected more than 500 signatures in a single hour.
Downtown Invercargill may not be as heavily populated as downtown Auckland, or Wellington, but I have never met such a supportive and friendly group of random strangers.
Collecting at Waitangi on Waitangi Day was also fantastically successful, but then it is a political event and people expect both petitions and debate.
People were instantly responsive to the words “asset sales” and they were wishing us luck even though some who signed felt the Prime Minister was incapable of listening.
My best conversations were with the elderly who had strong memories of the failure of asset sales to benefit this country in the past, and the young who were like “this is just a stupid idea”. I had some lovely chats with young people outside a tattoo parlour, and Māori elders outside the chemist who were very concerned about water rights but also about the impact on the whole country. Whole families were getting $10.00 haircuts and parents were very much against asset sales. There is a slow friendly vibration under the open skies of the deep South, but make no mistake about it: they are keen to be asset keepers. Back at the Policy Conference we compared notes and everyone had been well received and welcomed on this kaupapa.
We were inspired by Invercargill.