From the better-late-than-never department, the Herald reports:
The Green Party has used $75,000 of taxpayer money to pay signature-collectors for a referendum opposing asset sales.The party has used its Leader's Office fund to hire the equivalent of eight fulltime staff members in an attempt to force a citizens-initiated referendum before the Government begins to sell state-owned power companies.The payments were permitted under parliamentary rules, but it was believed to be the first time the fund has been used to gather support for a party policy.The Greens spent $47,000 of their annual leader's fund to pay signature collectors in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, and planned to spend around $76,000 in total.Communications director Andrew Campbell said the party was proud to spend part of its $1.3 million leader's budget to fight asset sales, and would consider the strategy again.
This is, of course, Rent-a-Petition. We believe that we were the first bloggers to break this story, which we did on Tuesday 29th May 2012; three weeks ago!It would appear that the anti-asset sales petition is not going to produce a Citizens Initiated Referendum as much as a taxpayer funded-Green-and-Labour-Party-initiated variant.
Just yesterday, Fairfax in Australia announced wholesale job losses; a desperate measure to try and make their newspapers competitive. Whilst APN in New Zealand (the owners of the Herald) haven't yet gone that far, it is likely that Granny Herald will appear in tabloid format before too much longer.