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Asset sales referendum likely

Wednesday 6 Feb 2013 5:35 a.m.

The Greens and their allies are close to collecting 400,000 signatures on a petition to force a citizens-initiated referendum on asset sales.

The latest tally is 365,000 and another big weekend push planned for February 16 and 17 should get them over the line, a party spokesman told NZ Newswire.

They're well past the 310,000 needed - 10 percent of enrolled voters - but they want to make sure nothing goes wrong.

The petition will be handed to the Clerk of Parliament when the 400,000 mark is reached, and officials will check every signature before the referendum gets the green light.

In the past, thousands of signatures on petitions have been ruled invalid because people signed more than once or their enrolment details weren't accurate.

"We're working on losing about a quarter, we should be safe with 400,000," the spokesman said.

The referendum will ask voters whether they support selling assets like the state-owned energy companies the Government is going to partially privatise.

The Greens are confident of the outcome because polls have shown more than 70 percent of voters oppose asset sales.

The Government has already said the referendum won't make any difference to its plans.

Once Parliament has confirmed there are enough valid signatures on the petition, the referendum must be held within 12 months.

NZN

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