KiwiNZ:(Truncated quote, due to my love of double spaced sentences....)
A citizens initiated referendum becomes initiated when enough signatures are gained on a petition requesting same, both petitions and referendums are examples of effective democracy, others are elections, lobbying MP's etc etc.
With regards to examples of parliamentary votes check Hansard.
The party I voted for at the last election I agreed with about 60% to 70% of their policies, a referendum allows for a vote on a particular matter that is of concern to the populous.
So you voted for them based on agreeing with 60-70% of their policies, and then hoped to be able to change their views on the remaining 30-40%, should they successfully gain power, by way of citizens initiated referendum?
How often has that worked?
I am certain, that history will show that in a democracy, no party has ruled from the year dot, through to where we are now. The extreme left and extreme right policies are not sustainable. I still say that a balncaed approach is required, but debating from extreme left or right positions, with no middle ground does nobody any favours.
If you look at asset sales as your example, you only need look at the power generation company sell down vs. the Air new Zealand sell down. Similar concepts, but in my opinion, one has merits and the other not so many. Having said this, the National approach was "sell, sell" whilst the Labour Greens approach was "don't sell, don't sell", all parties being guilty of not being able to see the pro's and cons of each proposal, merely shouting from their particular end of the left-right spectrum.
And yes, I do see the irony in my debating the topic of debating with you....