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Anti-asset sales fight in streets of Johnsonville

May 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

ABOUT 200 volunteers took to the streets of Ohariu at the weekend, collecting more than 3000 signatures in opposition to the sale of state assets.

Participants were stationed around central Johnsonville’s main streets, while others knocked on doors in the wider Ohariu district.

Their goal was to give every Ohariu citizen a chance to have their say on asset sales, says event organizer Steve Booth.

“We’re aiming to give everyone in Ohariu the chance to sign the citizens initiated referendum on asset sales, which is a nationwide referendum.”

The event was organised by People’s Power Ohariu, which has headed a number of initiatives against the sales since last year’s election.

Though People’s Power Ohariu has remained politically neutral throughout their campaign, Mr Booth says they welcomed support from representatives of Labour, Greens, Mana, and NZ First parties.

Groups such as Grey Power and Wellington Student Associations, which have been actively involved in campaigns against the sales, are also involved.

The focus on Ohariu is due to the MP for the electorate, Peter Dunne, holding the vote that allows the Government to go ahead with the sales.

If he were to change his vote, the sales would be halted.

Charles Chauvel, who was the Labour candidate for the Ohariu district in last year’s election, assisted the volunteers.

“So many people are opposed to the sales that we don’t think there’s a political mandate to go ahead with it.

“Certainly given that Peter Dunne has got the casting vote and he only won by 1300 votes, we want to show him that there’s many thousands of voters in Ohariu who are opposed to the asset sales process.”

Frances Kuo, pictured above getting a signature, has been actively involved in People’s Power Ohariu’s initiatives.

She implored Mr Dunne to think carefully about the choice he is making.

“His one vote is so critical and so important. I believe this is the most important decision in his entire life.

“I wish he would really think about what sort of name he is going to leave.”

The Ohariu Citizens Select Committee, which works alongside People’s Power, recently compiled a report outlining the details of the 681 submissions they have received opposing the sales.

Richard Goldsbrough, the Committee’s spokesperson, says Mr Dunne declined requests to meet to receive the report.

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