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A public referendum on asset sales could be held early next year before any of the power companies are sold, the Green Party said today.
The Keep Our Assets coalition, which the Green Party is a member of, launched their Spring Collection drive today which aims to get the required number of signatures to force a referendum by the end of the month.
"The Government's asset sales programme is in crisis and the referendum campaign is on a roll," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.
"A referendum early next year is a real possibility. If we have the required number of signatures by the end of September, parliament's Clerk of the House can validate the petition by the end of November.
"A referendum should be held as soon as possible once the signatures are collected.
"If the Government delays the holding of a referendum then they are playing politics with the issue against the will of New Zealanders.
"It is only fair that a referendum is held as soon as possible to give the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders who oppose asset sales the chance to cast a vote against them.
"The Government needs to delay their asset sales agenda. The Waitangi Tribunal report, the state of the companies themselves, and the referendum are just three reasons why it would be foolish for the Government to press ahead.
"If the Government delays the asset sales programme, which they should, then a referendum should be held before any assets are sold.
"That is a real possibility if the sale of Mighty River Power is pushed back to March 2013."