Two thirds of New Zealanders have voted against the Government's asset sales programme, in the referendum result released this evening.
The Opposition is calling it an overwhelming victory, while the Government says it's nothing more than a costly stunt that's ended in disappointment.
The cake was cut at the Green's party well before result was announced - which came at about 8pm.
"This sends a very clear message to John Key to stop the asset sales madness," says Green Party co-leader Russell Norman.
The Referendum asked, 'do you support the Government selling up to 49 percent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?'
The 'yes' received 32 percent, with 430,000 votes.
The 'no' won the majority with 67 percent - almost 900,000 thousand votes.
Turnout was 1.3 million, or 44 percent, compared with 2.2 million at the last election when a referendum on the voting system was also held, and 1.6 million on the 2009 smacking referendum.
"I think 44 percent turnout in the context of a Government that did everything it possibly could to sabotage the referendum, told people they weren't going to listen to it, told people it was irrelevant voting and all the rest of it, 44 percent turnout is a very good result," says Dr Norman.
John Key said things would get "interesting" if the no vote was larger than what National got at the last election.
Back then National got just over 1 million votes. Tonight the 'no' vote fell short of that, with almost 900,000.
Finance Minister Bill English released a statement this evening saying this has been nothing more than a costly stunt and the opposition will be disappointed with the turnout.
He added this does not change the plan to sell down Genesis early next year.
source: newshub archive