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Poll critical of PM's handling of asset sales

Published: 7:30PM Wednesday September 26, 2012 Source: ONE News

Just 3% of New Zealanders think the Prime Minister has done a good job handling the controversial asset sales plan.

John Key has been pushing for the sale of minority shareholdings in up to five state-owned energy companies and Air New Zealand since last November's election.

But the proposal has faced protests and a stiff challenge from political opponents. The scheme is currently delayed while consultation is carried out with iwi over who should benefit financially from water systems.

And the whole situation seems to have reflected badly on the Government according to responses to the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll.

Only 3% said they thought the Government had handled the process 'very well' while 25% said they thought it had been handled 'quite well'. However 47% said 'not that well' and 31% said 'not well at all'. The rest were not sure.

"I accept that there are quite a number of New Zealanders who are either not supportive or apprehensive of the overall issue, we've tried hard as a political party to make people understand the rational behind what we're doing," Key said.

But it seems overall support for the scheme is also dropping away. ONE News has conducted four polls in the last year and each time voters were asked if they support the asset sales policy. In the latest poll only 28% said they did compared to 32% in July.

"I think it's very significant. The fact is people are obviously seeing this is not a good idea and want the Government to stop its asset sales programme," Labour leader David Shearer said.

The Government is determined to push ahead with the scheme and the first shares in Mighty River Power are expected to be offered for sale at the start of next year.