Reflections on leafleting for the Citizen’s Initiated Referendum

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.

About Denise Roche 161 Articles

Green Party MP

5 Comments Posted

  1. Can someone please explain to me why the government should listen to this referendum when all others have been ignored, and will the Green Party now back the results of any CIR should they be in government?

  2. Thanks for your hard work, Denise. I’ve already voted no and I do think these referendums should be important. However, the last one achieved nothing and was ignored by all parties (including the Greens). Key probably thinks that set the tone for ignoring any referendum results that he doesn’t like. So I don’t have high hopes that it will make a difference, even with an overwhelming no vote.

  3. I agree with the sentiment.. those who don’t vote are sending a message that either Key has already won or they simply don’t care ! BUT regardless of whether the referendum is binding, anyone who is genuinely opposed to the crony capitalists flogging the ‘family silver’ to their wealthy mates & overseas interests.. should vote ‘NO’ just to let the Key-party know it !!!

    kia ora Denise

  4. Thank you for working hard to encourage many to vote…
    No thanks to JKey’s arrogant comment, trying to convice the public not to bother, he repeatatively told us how referrendum is such a waste of energy and money (while the result isn’t binding), without telling the public how many hundreds of thousands already being wasted to realize asset sales…how little is left after all expenses actually go to our treasury. How few people actually benefit from those sales…
    As you said there was no time to engage in lenghty debate or reasoning on the street with passers-by during rush hours…
    I usually replied to those pessimistic ones : if you don’t vote No for this referendum; this govt will sell all we have in no time, plenty more on the list after these fours (although they will not admit that before the election)

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