by Catherine Delahunty
This weekend I took to the streets of my hometown to help the team of volunteers collecting signatures for the petition calling for a Citizens Initiated Referendum on the sale of our state assets. Some people call it a partial sale I cannot see much hope in such a fine distinction.
I began collecting signatures at the local market where I met many people enthusiastic about the opportunity to sign. Then I moved to outside Kiwibank where I engaged in some illuminating conversations. Some people think the Government won’t listen to the peoples’ views on asset sales, but others regard the backdown over class size in schools as a hopeful sign.
One man eagerly signed and then shared his refreshing thoughts about foreign miners wanting to dig up his valley behind Thames. “Last time they tried everyone in our valley wrote them a letter which said ‘Get stuffed’,” he said cheerfully.
A technology teacher who signed said she was very pleased that the Government had been forced to change their mind over class size but she didn’t have much faith in the Minister of Education really understanding the issues.
I was encouraged by how many people I met who had already signed the petition, had gone up to Auckland and marched in protest, or had written a submission against it.
After splitting up to hit the streets, the volunteer team re-grouped in the wonderful cafe Sola and shared stories. It was heartening how empowered people feel when they actively fight for their values and ideals.
The next day I was off to collect signatures in Tauranga where I met more interesting people. It was a privilege!