The delay in the sale of shares in Mighty River Power gives New Zealanders the chance to have their say in the citizens-initiated referendum and stop asset sales, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
Dr Norman was responding to the announcement by Prime Minister John Key today that the Government's asset sales agenda, which has descended into crisis in recent weeks, will be put on hold with the delay of the planned float of Mighty River until March 2013.
"Quarter of a million of New Zealanders have signed the petition for a referendum on asset sales; the Government has an obligation not to press ahead before the referendum is held," said Dr Norman.
"National's welcome decision to put its asset sales agenda on ice until next year allows time for the referendum to take place.
"National should really drop its asset sales agenda altogether; it has descended into crisis as costs rack up, companies are found unready for sale, the Waitangi Tribunal confirms iwi rights to water, and poll after poll shows that New Zealanders want to keep their assets.
"It is clear that National is only delaying the sale because its plan is unravelling so badly.
"National has wasted over $16 million so far on asset sales and that figure will balloon into the hundreds of millions if asset sales go ahead.
"There is no point in continuing to throw good money after bad for a policy that nobody wants.
"National should take the time to resolve the water rights dispute and listen to New Zealanders' views on asset sales. It is not too late to do the sensible thing and drop this crisis-ridden, economically-unsound policy," said Dr Norman.