About the 2013 Citizens Initiated Referendum

This referendum asked voters the question: “Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?"  People could vote “yes” or “no” in answer to this question on their voting paper.

Voting in the Citizens Initiated Referendum took place between 22 November and 13 December. It was conducted by postal ballot.

A referendum was held because more than 10% of enrolled voters signed a petition asking the following question: “Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?”

This means that under the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993, a referendum must be held within 12 months of the successful petition being presented to the House of Representatives.   The petition that triggered this referendum was presented to the House of Representatives on 3 September 2013.

The results of citizens initiated referenda indicate the views held by voters on specific questions and are not binding on the Government.

Can the result be challenged?

Yes. Applications for an inquiry into the conduct of the referendum can be made to the High Court within 20 working days of the result being declared. An application requires 200 electors  to be dissatisfied with the result.

Can the petitioner change the question now that some of the assets have been sold?

No.  The question was proposed by the promoter of the Citizens Initiated Referendum petition.  The question was then determined by the Clerk of the House of Representatives following a public submission period for comments on the wording.  The Clerk makes sure that the wording shows the referendum’s purpose and effect and that people can only answer yes or no to the question.  Petitioners have signed a petition to have that question put to voters in a referendum.

Can the petition be withdrawn?

The petitioner can withdraw the petition at any time prior to the day the writ for the referendum is issued.  The writ for the referendum must be issued at least 28 days before the start of the postal voting period for a referendum conducted by post or at least 28 days before referendum day if the referendum is to be conducted by stand-alone poll.

Last updated: 16 December 2013