As you may have heard, signatures are currently being collected for a petition calling for a Citizens’ Initiated Referendum (CIR) against the Government’s proposed asset sales. If the petition gets enough valid signatures, the Government cannot prevent the referendum from being held.

From a Coal Action Network Aotearoa perspective, we are most concerned about the planned privatisation of Solid Energy, which may allow them to raise investment capital for their planned massive lignite projects in Southland. Solid Energy is towards the back of the queue for privatisation. That means that, even if some asset sales have occurred by the time the referendum takes place, we should do everything we can to mobilise political opposition to the remaining sales.

The wording of the referendum question will be:

Do you support the Government selling up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?

For the referendum to go ahead, the promoters of the referendum need to obtain over 300,000 valid signatures on the petition – that is, the signatures of people who are on the electoral roll, with their name and address details listed as they are on the electoral roll.

That makes collecting signatures a job that has to be done carefully and well. And that’s why we’d like Coal Action Network Aotearoa supporters to help with the signature-gathering process.

You can do so by going to the Keep Our Assets website at This is where you can download the petition form, and find out how to get more involved in the campaign at

If you have already signed the AVAAZ petition against the bill that is currently going through Parliament, you should still sign the Citizens’ Initiated Referendum petition as well. Passing the bill does not sell the assets – it just makes it legally possible. It will still take months after that before they can float companies on the sharemarket.

Solid Energy does enough damage as it is. Let’s make it as difficult as possible for the Government to make matters even worse. Recent events show that this Government will buckle when sufficient political pressure is exerted on them.