Referendum on asset sales

If are a New Zealand voter, you can vote in a referendum on asset sales. You are asked to vote Yes or No to the following question: Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand? After you vote, you must post your voting paper by Thursday December 12th.

A referendum is a chance for everyone to vote. This kind of referendum is not common. It is the idea of a number of citizens who want the government to listen to their idea. They had to get 10% of voters to sign that they wanted this referendum. More than 3 million people are registered to vote in New Zealand so this means they had to get more than 300,000 signatures in 365 days. However, the government does not have to do anything if it does not want to. In fact, the government has already sold 49% of Meridian and Might River Power, and 20 % of Air New Zealand.

The Prime Minister, John Key, said that if only a small number of people vote in this referendum, it shows that most people don’t care about asset sales.

Some people say that we elect MPs to make laws. MPs discuss ideas before making laws. They have to think of all sides of a new law – the good and the bad. This can be complex. A referendum, on the other hand, is a simple question.

However, the citizens who wanted the referendum say that only 47% of voters voted for the National party in 2011. That is not a majority of people. They want a majority to say “no” to the referendum.

The cost of a postal referendum is about $9m. The government says this is a waste of money.

Look at “Recent News” AirNZ shares, and follow the links to find out more about asset sales.


  • referendum – plural ‘referendums’ or ‘referenda’
  • assets – government-owned companies
  • citizen – New Zealanders
  • signature (n), sign (v) – write your name
  • majority – more than 50%
  • complex – complicated, not simple

One Comments

  1. I’m not one if the sheep following the pack
    I say YES
    NZ desperately needs the money for Health , policing, education etc
    And govt will still own 51% when sales go ahead

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