Will The 1080 REFERENDUM Be Another Casualty Of COVID-19?
With the canceling of major events, organisers of the petition about 1080 and other cruel poisons, are calling on the Ministry of Health to invoke their provisions for a pandemic, and support their call for an extension of time to collect the required number of signatures.
The Clerk of the House has replied to their request by saying that this is not possible under the Citizens Initiated Referendum Act 1993 that they are charged with administering, so Friends of Sherwood hope that the extraordinary powers vested in the Government in the event of a pandemic being declared, will be able to be brought to bear, and they can secure an extension to at least a month past the time cruise ships are once again able to berth in New Zealand, which, at the moment, is the 30th June.
To date they have received no reply to their request, and the help line was unable to assist, despite the situation being described by a trustee as dire, since their collectors have been known to gather hundreds of signatures in one day with just a couple of pens, and they have asked the Ministry of Health to provide guidelines to minimise the risks should an extension not be granted, and they need to continue to collect vigorously.
It is an unusual situation since, if the target is not reached by Friday 17th April, then it will be another 5 years before the question can be put to all voters: “Should New Zealand stop using all cruel and inhumane poisons, such as 1080, brodifacoum, and PAPP, to kill wildlife because these toxic substances inflict intense and prolonged, unjustifiable suffering on all animals, including native birds, pets and livestock.”
Despite falling well short of getting signatures from the required 10% of eligible voters, within a year of the question being gazetted, hope was still alive for it to become a Citizens Initiated Referendum in the September election, once the Clerk of the House officially declared that the petition had lapsed, on 17th February, and they had 2 months to bring the total up to the required 325,500 petitioners.
Friends of Sherwood Trustee, Tricia Cheel, says,
"We would of course be relieved to discontinue public collections at this time, since we don't want to put our collectors at any unnecessary risk, nor be accused of being a vector in the spread of CoVid19, since the petition involves nationwide activity relying on hand to pen to hand contact with hundreds of people, and having just turned 70, and thus been catapulted into the next significant risk category, I am no longer looking forward to receiving mountains of potentially, lethally infected, petition forms through my mail box!!!"
The problem could be solved if signatures could be received on-line as other petitions to Parliament are now being done, but present requirements of the CIR Act 1993 accept only original signatures in hard copy. After carefully numbering 33,000 petition forms, the organisers have reluctantly made the petition form available on the web site hosting the referendum, so that people may print it out, make as many copies as they wish, collect signatures from wherever they can, and post them back before Easter.
All details are available on the internet at www.STOP366.wordpress.com