by Denise Roche
I was one of those thousands of people who spent a lot of my spare time last year collecting signatures to trigger the referendum on the sale of our state owned assets. Now that the voting papers have been delivered to people’s letterboxes I’m not wanting to see all that work wasted so have spent the last couple of mornings leafleting and stickering Auckland commuters to encourage them to vote no in the referendum.
There’s not a lot of time for in-depth conversations when leafleting transport hubs however from what I’m seeing I’d say that about a third of commuters have filled in their voting papers so far. Asking people to vote no invariably gets a nod in response or a quick smile. Although in longer interactions (on the ferry or bus) it’s apparent that some people see the asset sales as a fait accomplit and don’t think their vote matters. My response (if there’s enough time) is:
- “Yes, it sure does matter! A decisive vote against asset sales protects future assets from privatisation.
- Every time you vote you exercise your democratic right to be heard by the decision-makers of this country.
- The government says it has a mandate – even though every poll there is shows that 60 -80% of people are opposed to asset sales – we need to vote to show them they haven’t.
- Once we get a decisive NO vote on the referendum it will be politically risky for the government to sell off any more of our state-owned assets.”
Quick interactions are appreciated by busy commuters so I don’t generally get to make all those points. But I am giving out lots of leaflets and stickers.