This morning I attended the official launch of the Citizens Initiated Referendum - a citizen led campaign to ensure that New Zealand's important assets remain Kiwi owned. This follows hot on the heels of the vibrant, electric and deafening hikoi that strode in to Wellington last week to deliver the message: that Aotearoa is not for sale.
The breakfast launch down at parliament was standing room only as MP's from opposition parties, community groups, student organisations, unions and media all came to listen to the very eloquent and articulate speeches from Grey Power's Roy Reid and Arena Williams from the New Zealand Union of Students' Association. The very same pair who had the previous night defied the adverse conditions of a wet, wintry Wellington evening to project a Keep Our Assets logo on to the side of the Meridian Headquarters.
The Keep Our Assets campaign hopes to collect half a millions signatures to force a referendum on the Government's asset sale agenda.
It was extraordinary to hear these determined and focused campaigners, separated by a generation, explain why opposing the Government's plans to sell off our prized assets not only betrayed the efforts of those who had built and paid for them, but how it would affect generations to come.
There were poignant expressions of frustration and disbelief at the audacity and wrong-headedness of a Prime Minister who seemed committed to trade away our heritage like a share dealer skirting across a stock exchange floor.
And a rousing sentiment that every effort would be made to be steadfast in opposition and dynamic in moving the nation to stand up to this reckless and flawed Government policy.
Indeed, the speeches from those political parties present, united in their commitment to protect the nation's interests, only fed the energy that was in the room - an energy that was palpable and as charged as those prized renewable energy assets that have been earmarked for sale.
See, as I've said before, Greenpeace agree with many of the legitimate and well-founded concerns that have been expressed - that the economic case articulated by the Finance Minister smacks of fiscal incompetence; that the imperative for healthy shareholder dividends will inevitably lead to increase power bills; and that privatisation will gut the value and service that these assets provide for all New Zealanders. But we also believe that this will ultimately undermine our ambition to build a cleaner, smarter economy.
Hocking off our renewable energy assets, our powerbase and bedrock of energy independence and haemorrhaging the profits from becoming an exporter in clean energy know-how to overseas investors just doesn't make sense and highlights the lack of leadership, vision and ambition at the heart of this Government.
If you oppose the Government's plans to sell our state owned assets and want to have your voice heard please check out: www.keepourassets.org.nz and sign the petition.
Photo: Roy Reid, Grey Power National President, and Arena Williams, NZ University Student Association President, in front of the Keep Our Assets message projected onto the Meridian Building, Wellington. The two organizations are members of the Keep Our Assets coalition which officially launched its campaign on 10 May 2012 opposing the Government's plan to partially privatize state owned assets. Meridian is one of the companies up for privatization. The projected message reads ‘Keep Our Assets' and urges people to sign a petition at www.keepourassets.org.nz (C) Marty Melville