Olivia Wannan at Stuff reports:
Since April, a coalition including Grey Power, the Council of Trade Unions, the Green Party and Labour have been collecting signatures for the petition.
They need 10 per cent of all registered voters, or approximately 310,000 people, to sign to force a referendum.
Grey Power national president Roy Reid said the group had collected more than 340,000 signatures, allowing for a percentage of signatures that did not meet the requirements under the Citizen Initiated Referendum Act.
It was inevitable they would get the signatures once the Greens used taxpayer funding to hire people to collect signatures. It makes an absolute travesty of a process which is meant to be about citizens initiating a referendum, not about taxpayer funded parliamentary parties purchasing one with taxpayer funding.
The hypocrisy of Labour and Greens in arranging the referendum is quite immense, when you consider their response to the last CIR – on the anti-smacking law. A massive 85% of New Zealanders voted that a light parental smack for correctional purposes should not be a criminal offence, yet they voted against a bill which would have done exactly that a few weeks after the 85% result.
Now you can have a legitimate view that parliamentary parties should vote on the basis of the policies they were elected on, not on the basis of referenda. That is my view for example. But it is hypocrisy to promote a referendum on one issue, and insist the referendum result must be followed – while you continue to oppose implementing other referendum results.
So at some stage in 2013 there will be a referendum. It will achieve nothing but posturing as the policies a Government gets elected on out-trump a non-binding referendum. The end result will just be a few million wasted on a referendum.