Letter to the World

26 June 2012

Dear World,

Today the New Zealand Government passed a bill permitting the Government to sell property that does not belong to them. If an individual sells property that does not belong to them it is theft and constitutes a criminal offence. The Government today legalised the partial conversion of state assets against the will of the people of New Zealand.  
The Government claimed that they had a mandate to partially sell state assets because they campaigned on the issue for the year leading up to the last election in 2011 in which they were re-elected.  On election night, the National Party only secured 47% of the vote while 53% of those who voted did not support the National Party. New Zealand also suffered its lowest voter turnout in history signalling the lack of confidence our people had in the Government.
Public polls, protests, and multiple media streams have demonstrated the persistent opposition to the partial sale of our assets and the people of New Zealand will persist with their opposition until the Government listen to the democratic will of our people.
The Mixed Ownership Model Bill today passed its third reading meaning that it will become law after assented to by the Governor General. It passed its third reading by a single vote – 61:60. The balance of power, the one vote, was held by a Member of Parliament who represents a single electorate. In the months leading up to the passage of this bill, his electorate campaigned heavily against the sale of state assets and urged him to refrain from allowing this bill to pass. He did not listen. He chose to override the democratic will of his constituents and voted in favour of this bill.
During the Select Committee stage 1448 submissions were received.  Only 9 (0.6%) of those submissions were in favour of the bill while 1421 (98.1%) of the submissions were opposed to the sale of state assets. The Government abused its authority and position of a bare majority to ram through the bill knowingly and deliberately in the face of public opposition.
The people of New Zealand have made it clear that they wished to exercise their democratic right to a referendum and petitions for a referendum are currently in circulation. The Government refuses to hold off the partial sale to allow a referendum, arguing that a referendum has been held and it was called the election. This illustrates to the world that our Government is not only arrogant but is also anti-democratic. It is silencing our voices and suppressing our will.
This is a pledge to the world community to reprimand our government for its anti-democratic practices.
This is a pledge to boycott the purchasing of any shares the Government offers in respect of the partial sale of our assets.  The Government will embark on a multimillion dollar advertising campaign which will dishonestly and without claim of right represent to potential investors that they, the Government, have the consent of the rightful owners to sell 49% of shares in these companies.   If you purchase these shares then you do so against the will of the people who are the rightful owners and are simply an accessory to the crime against our people.
The Government has accused us of being xenophobic, we are not. The people of New Zealand value foreign investment and look forward to securing investments with foreign interests now and in the future but we do not want assets that were bought with our taxes to be sold without our consent.
Please help the people of New Zealand raise their voices against the anti-democratic practices of our Government. Please support us in keeping our assets for the benefit of our future generations.
You can support the people of New Zealand by sharing our message.
Thank you.
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5 comments

  1. This government said from the begining that if voted in they would do this, and the majority of NZ voted them in. If this is theft (when it was voted for) then what was it called when Labour sold off Air New Zealand under urgency for $660 million to Brierley’s (65%) and overseas airline companies Qantas (19.9%), American Airlines (7.5%) and Japan Airlines (7.5%) without consulting the public?Also in 1989 Labour sold off Shipping Corp to ACT (NZ) Ltd? This $33.5 million sale was again pushed through under urgency – with no select committee process. Labour then sold Rural Banking Finance to Magneton Holdings for over half a billion dollars In just three years, Labour sold over 15 state assets for almost $10 billion to the highest bidders. With NO consultation.National is keeping a controlling interest, not selling the assets outright. NZ public have known about this since before the election and yet they were still voted in – indicating that the majority of kiwi's were in favour of this.

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  2. Firstly, National did not get voted in by the majority of New Zealand. They received a 47% share of the 75% of people who voted – which means it was only around 35% of eligible voters who made a positive vote for National. Therefore, selling off publicly owned assets was not 'voted for'. Yes, what Labour did was atrocious and a complete breach of the democratic process which in my view was theft. It does not mean though that because Labour did it that National can too. Secondly, a 51% controlling interest still gives investors a significant platform (49%) to influence policy and affect the socio-economic positions of the majority of the New Zealand public who are opposed to the sale. These assets have the capacity to sustain the economies of our future generations and are being sold for a short term injection of capital to fund non-profitable infrastructure including some infrastructure projects that will not add value to our economy, and other projects that could be funded by other means.Lastly, the key issue is that in the face of public opposition the Government refused to allow democratic participation via a referendum and have already signalled it does not care. People vote for a variety of reasons while a referendum determines a specific issue. The Government are by-passing the democratic route because they know its a losing battle for them.

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  3. the government is under no mandate to allow a referendum – if we used this argument then we would have a referendum once a month. why didn't we have a popular vote on Civil Unions then? or legalizing prostitution? these were both huge social policies the left put through that drove the right wild – both also had huge opposition from the public. the government got voted in and are doing what governments do – making shit happen whether you like it or not. If you are annoyed a government can get 47% of the vote and make these changes then why did you vote for MMP in the last election? If it were still FPP they would have won in a landslide and this conversation wouldn't even be happening

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  4. CORRECTION: Of the 100% of people who voted, National received a 47% share of those votes, and while this was an admirable lead it was in my opinion not a majority. Around, only 75% of eligible voters cast their vote in the election, so of the entire eligible voting population, National received around 35% of that vote. Arguably what happens on the night is what counts, and point taken. But I have to respectfully disagree that it amounts to a mandate. EXTRA COMMENT: The main purpose of the letter is to express dissatisfaction with the process leading up to the enactment of this bill. The main principle guiding me is a passion for greater democracy and transparency in the governance system as a whole. This is not intended as an assault on any person who voted for National – part of democracy is that it requires representational voting, this is simply about how the process has been followed.

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  5. I'm not annoyed that National got the vote they received. I'm annoyed about the process undertaken in the quick passage of this bill. The issues on civil unions and decriminalising prostituion are based on arguments of equality and anti-discrimination in respect of same sex couples and employment status respectively. There are objective standards in law for assessing whether a specific law perpetuates inequality or discriminates against a person or group of persons. The issues around the sale of assets is based on property, who owns it, who can consent to selling it, and what impact those decisions will have on the public, these are issues that the public should have an input into.

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