The Blandification of [N]ACT

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2011-11-16 01:22

For all sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these:
It might have been.

—John Greenleaf Whittier

I note that Don Brash, just before the Cuppagate "scandal" broke out, cited the speech in which he offered his personal musings about the cannabis laws as his "biggest mistake" of the 2011 election campaign.

Newstalk ZB quotes him as saying "No question about that, I should not have talked about it, it isn't ACT Party policy, it hadn't been approved by the board."

I would say there are plenty of contenders for the Don's Biggest Mistake Award, but the marijuana speech isn't one of them. Don's mistake in that regard was to lose his nerve after the event, even though public opinion was overwhelmingly on his side for once.

I wrote that speech (and was made the scapegoat for it). It's worth repeating that it didn't claim to state ACT policy (though it certainly ought to be ACT policy); rather, as part of a wide-ranging discussion of law-and-order issues, it simply questioned the wisdom and justice of criminalising, at enormous taxpayer expense, a substance routinely ingested by 400,000 supposedly autonomous New Zealanders harming no one but themselves (if they're doing even that). The leader of a party whose core principle is

that individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent rights and responsibilities; and that the proper purpose of government is to protect such rights and not to assume such responsibilities

is entitled at least to raise such an issue, surely?! Why on earth would talking about it constitute such a leader's biggest mistake?!

Actually, the speech was crafted in such a way that Don could have deleted the marijuana segment with no one being any the wiser. He displayed great integrity in keeping it in. His thinking had quite genuinely progressed to the point where he believed what it said. Alas, the courage of his new-found conviction deserted him when John Banks ran amok and the Board panicked.

On the night after the speech, Don appeared on Campbell Live to defend it. The programme ran a poll on decriminalisation to coincide with his appearance. A record number of people—15000—responded; 72% supported him! Not for the first time, we saw that this is one of those libertarian issues where the voters are much more enlightened than most politicians. As the Press noted at the time, on this matter Banks rather than Brash is the dinosaur.

Here was Don's chance to re-brand ACT unambiguously as the live-and-let-live party across the board, not just on economic issues. But he needed to hold his nerve. I had texted him a line from Rudyard Kipling just before his Campbell Live appearance: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you ... "

Alas, he buckled. Not only did he deliver my scalp as demanded, he rang David Farrar asking him to delete from Kiwiblog an article written by an ACT candidate supporting the speech! In a stunningly Orwellian turn, that speech was now officially deemed never to have happened! Had not Don Brash called for a debate? Well, ACT was certainly not going to participate in it! Candidates seeking clarification were told simply not to go there. To their shame, even ACT's youngsters who had been clamouring for social as well as economic liberalism capitulated to this cowardly revisionism.

If we're looking for the actual winner of the Don's Biggest Mistake Award, I would say there are two contenders. One is John Banks. This feral conservative has always been actively hostile to the self-ownership principle (if he even understands it). It was Don's idea to have him run for Epsom. At the outset it didn't matter too much because we all expected ACT to clear 5% quite quickly after Don's coup and not be dependent on an authoritarian homophobe's winning a seat. As things stand now, however, Banks has a pivotal status that is incongruous to the point of grotesquery.

And that points to the other contender for the DBM Award, the reason for the low polling that leaves ACT beholden to a philosophical enemy: Don's failure to put his own stamp on the party swiftly and ruthlessly, clearing out the Rodents who were intent on thwarting him from within at every turn. They're still there, and they still run the show, aided and abetted from without by the same oleaginous public relations charlatans of yore (the kind of kumbaya homogenisers who are the bane of contemporary political discourse). These entities have combined to promote and preserve the Blandification of ACT—and Don has allowed himself to be their captive. They've turned the party's subservience to National up several notches, making it effectively the NACT party. The party that once boasted it would give National a backbone has lost its own. The party that once fearlessly stirred up controversy is now paralysed by fear of controversy. Thinking voters—the party's natural constituency—are staying away in droves.

If ACT goes down, the Rodents will oust Don before you can say "Rodney's revenge." Indeed, the process has already begun, courtesy of card-carrying Rodent Cactus Kate, who is demanding Don's resignation before the election. (If ACT by some miracle secures one or two MPs, Banks or Banks/Brash, it'll be Banks who ousts him—which one suspects Banks himself indicated on the Cuppagate tape.) Don, maddeningly, has only himself to blame. He rightly called Rodney "toxic"—but left him and all of Team Toxic in place! (Team Toxic are congenital connivers first, libertarians a distant and occasional second.) As a decent man he refused to believe, much less confront, that he was surrounded by indecent Machiavellians outraged by his impertinent disruption of their cosy cabal. The leaking of the love-child rumour should have alerted him to the dirtiness of their tactics, but he refused to heed the lesson.

Thus did Don render his own coup futile and set the stage for the counter-coup that is now inevitable.

In his speech at ACT's official campaign launch on Sunday, Don again offered intimations of what might have been. I doubt the oleaginites had anything to do with it; it was far too ballsy. He finally committed to an ambitious tax target—something some of us had been urging him to do months before (his spending targets, alas, were not correspondingly bold). He reaffirmed one law for all. He reiterated his ambition to liberate education from state bureaucrats and teacher unions. He mooted again the adding of property rights and the right to self-defence to the Bill of Rights. In a speech not written by me he even managed to remember the "f" word!

A commitment to repeal marijuana prohibition would have sat well in that speech.

The day such a speech does contain such a commitment will be the day ACT finally comes of age as the classical liberal party it is supposed to be.

Candidates such as Stephen Whittington understand that, as was admirably clear from Whittington's stellar performance on Back Benches last Wednesday. They are the party's future ... if it is to have one.

When that future is secured, Don's marijuana speech will be seen not as his biggest mistake but one of his finest moments. By the party, even if not by him.

Well the name "The

Andrew Atkin's picture

Well the name "The Western Civilisation Party" is kinda growing on me. It sounds elegant and proud. And I love innocent pride Smiling

...any movement in this direction and I would be interested.

Does it really take a fortune to kick off a political party?

The Western Civilisation Party ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... needs members, and leaders, who are not narcissistic bloviators. Part of OrgOism's problem is that it has nurtured such bloviators, who conflate their Narcissism with rational egoism. They think the universe will cease to exist without their stunningly dull presences. Exhibits A: Binswanker, Warts and Yawon (Yawn). Exhibits B: ARISIS and its Auckland sycophants.

Islamappeasing mediocrities strutting as somehow important and talented.

Western Civilisation Party! Who's on board??!! Smiling

Ansell's project

Andrew Atkin's picture

Yeah, for reasons I wouldn't want to talk about publicly, I abandoned his project a few months ago. I'm not sure if there are others sticking with it. I'm not sure if John is either.

Lol to the video. You're probably right....yes, it was rather 'raw'.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

John Ansell asked me to attend an early inaugural meeting of that group, and I declined. I knew it would be one long soliloquy from him, and he knows I have an issue with his inability to shut up and listen every once in a while (I gather he considers it "insulting" for me to bring that up, but in my brief time with ACT I can report that it was an issue for everyone who dealt with him). Also, I've been hearing from him for years about some magic new party or Think Tank he's forming which has already raised squillions of dollars, etc., and nothing ever comes from any of it. John would be a huge asset to any new entity if he confined himself to what he's brilliant at: succinctly verbalising the message for billboards and ads and the like. But the first requisite is moneybags, and all NZ moneybags are too gutless to be involved in such a project. That especially includes Alan Gibbs and Bob Jones. Their only concern is respectability.

Oh, and I looked at your video. You need to take my speech and media course! Smiling Smile

Political Party

Andrew Atkin's picture

Yep, a good soundbite could be "Child abuse begins with having kids for the wrong reasons"...and it does!

I've thought for some time on an idealistic new political party, and in case there's interest here's a run through of my ideas and thinking:

-Note the video linked within this (of myself) was originally intended to help bring interest into John Ansell's project which I was recently a part of, and what I'm pretty sure you're familiar with Lindsay. And the video was meant to also make a statement of myself, as a reference for the future.

The late Roger Kerr ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... advocated that rather than subsidise breeding by people totally unfit to do so, govt should subsidise these people's contraceptive implants. Since breeding is a meal ticket for such people, I'm not sure they'd avail themselves of such a subsidy.

Anyway, there should be a new party proposing licenses to breed and to vote, wresting education from the child-molesters, along with my Not One Muslim immigration policy. I'd like to call it something provocative like the Western Civilisation Party. It ought to be able to muster 5%, and thus be a hope for retrieving our country from barbarism.

Thanks Lindsay - nice to hear

Andrew Atkin's picture

Thanks Lindsay - nice to hear it's appreciated Smiling

The 'breeding licence' thing was very interesting, and the reason why I got kicked out of the ACT members forum (along with making a mock-up advert as a suggestion. I stated that it was a mock up, and not to duplicate it, but that wasn't good enough. Mr Naughty had to be disciplined).

My basic position was/is that we should screen people to make sure they're not going to have their children born into hell. I think it's better to undermine *some* people's fertility, than to allow certain children to be born into families where they will almost certainly used as punching bags and/or sex toys, etc. Not to mention the far-reaching social costs for everyone.

David Marsland's thinking is very close to my own.

I actually did a private (and very carefully conducted) survey of 40 people to get a crude feel for the public sentiment on the issue. What I gathered was that people are more in tune with the real world than the politically correct world, than we might typically assume.

Everyone knows that there are people out there who by no reasonable measure should be having children, and they know that sooner or later we're going to have to do something real about it.

Dear God!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'd strongly urge everyone to read the entirety of this thread, as I have just re-read it all these years later. The whole human condition is represented here!


Lindsay Perigo's picture

A most interesting link—enjoyed reading it immensely. Enjoyed re-reading my own article too. Wotta tragedy that all was.

I agree that education should be a biggie and like your proposal re homeschooling being put on the same playing field as the state child-molesters-of-the-mind. I think Political Correctness should be a biggie, too. That's what's doing the damage to our entire culture. Oh, and I do think only people licensed to breed should be permitted to do so. The worst act of abuse committed by the abusers is having children in the first place!

The Reform Party

Andrew Atkin's picture

Alas, if only Don Brash cashed in on himself and created the Reform party. He might have had a real impact. He certainly would have attracted a lot of core supporters; and not have had to deal with the controlling conservatives within ACT posing as classic-liberals, or the chronic baggage then loaded within the party.

The most insane thing ACT ever did was put John Banks in Epsom. What were they thinking? He couldn't be a more obviously non-ACT guy!

For interest, I was a rather active member of the ACT party myself a short while back. I ended up leaving due to frustration and a lack of faith in their ability. My open goodbye love letter:

Banks on Campus Press Release

Lindsay Perigo's picture

This press release today refers to Banks's upcoming vote to "Keep It 18." Is this for real, or Banks on Campus playing a game? The feral conservative's comments were about some daft Labour proposal to impose minimum prices for alcohol. He didn't comment on the drinking age, as best I could tell.

ACT on Campus Pleased With Banks' New Alcohol Position

ACT on Campus is today praising ACT Leader John Banks’ announcement that he believes blanket measures against alcohol are unfair and ultimately ineffective.

“We do have an issue of problem drinking in New Zealand. But punishing everyone is not the way to go about solving it.” said Mr Banks.

“We are extremely pleased that John has come around to our argument that changes to alcohol law must be targeted at those acting illegally and carelessly, rather than punishing the thousands of New Zealanders that enjoy alcohol responsibly,” said ACT on Campus President Hayden Fitzgerald.

“Just as with minimum pricing, raising the alcohol purchase age is a blanket measure that will only succeed in punishing responsible 18 and 19 year old drinkers - myself included,” continued Mr Fitzgerald.

“Addressing our binge drinking culture requires better education, more involvement from family and communities and sensible targeted law changes; not poorly thought out policies that only punish responsible drinkers.”

“ACT on Campus is looking forward to John Banks’ vote to Keep It 18 and we encourage other MPs to listen to his well thought out and reasoned position”, said Mr Fitzgerald.


Media Contact:

Hayden Fitzgerald
ACT on Campus President
027 846 0349


Lindsay Perigo's picture

Polling Company: DigiPoll

Poll Method: Random Phone

Undecideds: 7.1%

Poll Size: 750 respondents, of whom 697 had a party vote preference

Dates: 19 to 29 April 2012

Client: NZ Herald

Report: NZ Herald

Party Support

National 48.1% (-2.8%)
Labour 34.8% (+6.8%)
Green 9.2% (-2.6%)
NZ First 4.9% (-0.3%)
Maori 1.7% (+1.3%)
United Future 0.7% (+0.7%)
ACT 0.0% (-1.8%)
Mana 0.1% (-0.2%)
Conservative 0.1% (-1.2%)

The Q+A video

Ross Elliot's picture

At about 4:00

Banks looking uncomfortable.

Now, as far as I'm concerned, how you get your money, even for political campaigns, is your own business.

But if you live by the sword, you die by it. And as a former Minister of Police, Banks may well be hoist by his own statist petard.

What strikes me about all of this...

Ross Elliot's picture that, even now in 2012, we still have this refuse from the Muldoon era stinking things up. Winston Peters, a true disciple of Muldoon if ever there was one, took a different path, but you can't help but equate Banks and Peters. They just have the same slick, double-breasted, opportunistic taint about them.

In other news ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Banks, feral conservative and congenital politician (= liar), is at it again:

The new Freedom Party had better have a candidate ready for a by-election in Epsom.

Aussie produces most dumbed down politcian in history...

Marcus's picture

That speech simply exploded in the office

Sandi's picture

It was one of the most brilliant speeches ever written in NZ politics and it went viral in the office because it embraced what has been lacking in government. Namely it recognised and dealt with REAL ISSUES facing NZ and damn it! There was a backbone to stand for it. As for Don, it was a sad day for a man to stand up and speak for something he did not support and without having a gun pointed at his head. And John Banks, his heart and soul is with the program. Agenda 21 and the totalitarianism that drives it.

KASS work Linz.

Rory Sweeney

Damien Grant's picture

I hope this from Paul Thomas goes some way to providing you comfort that liberal views are given a run.

And you should buy the Herald tomorrow, you will see that liberals in the media are on the rise!

It strikes me...

Ross Elliot's picture

...that we have same-sex marriage and prostitution made legal, yet we can't quite get our heads around drugs.

Why is this? I'm a student of NZ liberal politics and I can't quite see why this should be. Why, that at the least, NZ does not have a medical marijuana exemption, is beyond me.

If this was Queensland, you'd maybe suspect a redneck, authoritarian factor at play. Perhaps that's it. Maybe there's more excitement in grabbing dope growers than there is in nabbing Magdalenes and sodomites.


Marcus's picture

"During his time as premier of New South Wales, Mr Carr effectively eliminated criminal penalties for individual marijuana use in the state and opened Australia's first legal heroin injecting room."

Bob Carr for PM!

Failure of Courage

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Don Brash's capitulation to oleaginites after the marijuana speech will go down as one of the most cowardly pieces of behaviour in the history of NZ politics. Note now that even the Australian Foreign Minister is on board.

sex workers

Damien Grant's picture

got a run as well!

I notice Damien ..

Mark Hubbard's picture

.. . managed to slip marijuana into his opinion piece today. Don't get too excited though Eye

Mind you, I'd not realised the Aussies did that.


Damien Grant's picture

I understand totally and agree almost entirely. I have given this considerable thought, I am not a libertarian, merely a fellow traveller who accepts almost all of the tenets of the philosophy but retains some muddled statist leanings, as Mark Hubbard would say.

Your earlier writing seemed to be an attempt to entice the reader, almost seduce them into your world view and it was effective.

Now it challenges them, confronts them in an aggressive manner. Obamarx, and similar phrases, means those who agree with you will rally around, those who do not will disengage.

I preferred the seducing Lindsay, but that is only my preference, relevant only to me.

Damien ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Your writing style then and now seems very different.

In what way?

My message is the same, regardless. All compulsion is bad. That's the point you don't seem to grasp.


Damien Grant's picture

I cannot speak about being black listed but I can tell you that your writings do have an effect.

You wrote a piece in I assume the Herald, many many years ago, back when you were pretending to smoke and running for the libertarian party, criticising ACT for supporting compulsory savings for retirement.

At the time I thought compulsory savings was an excellent idea, it made economic sense, I still think it makes economic sense, but you came at it from a totally different perspective that I had not really considered and it changed my thinking on the matter.

Your writing style then and now seems very different.

Well Damien ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

It's good to have it acknowledged that the world is governed by cowardice. I don't know what price you've paid for sticking your head above the parapet, and can't even tell that you have, but I empathise. I am blacklisted, by all media, state and private. That's the rule of cowardice.


Damien Grant's picture

I do not know why the world is governed by cowardice, but it is.

I'm a business person first and I’ve paid a hefty price for sticking my head above the parapet, others do not wish to bear the same cost I suspect.

I was at a speech given by Roger Kerr a year ago. He was remarkably vibrant and he made the point that business people worry about doing or saying anything that may cause offense, it loses them customers, so they stay silent.

He seemed annoyed by this and he was right to be.

When I look at the courage of those who rush off to war, and contrast this with the pathetic hunger of our political leaders for the leather seats of office I get annoyed.

Our current Prime Minister, I suspect, knows what needs to be done, and he has the moral and political power to do so, but the desire for another three years with the baubles and trappings of power is too strong a siren call.


Damien Grant's picture

I think what I write in the Herald has a clear liberal bias, but my brief is business not social issues.

I’m a liquidator, not a journalist or social commentator. I’m surprised anyone cares what I have to say on areas that I have some marginal competence without boring the wider public on matters well outside my jurisdiction.

Paul Thomas wrote a well-considered piece eighteen months ago, if I was to write on the topic I doubt I could a better job:

Damien ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'm equally curious. I wrote that speech. When ACT betrayed it, I wondered where all the classical liberals were who'd been clamoring for it. Why is the world governed by cowardice?!

Damien Grant

Rory Sweeney's picture

As an avid follower of the Herald it seems odd that I haven't picked up such views in your posts. Is there a reason for this, and is there a chance we may have more socially liberal views spoken about (or even acknowledged) in the mainstream media?

Hey Damien...

Marcus's picture

...maybe you could get together a lawsuit with your Tangata Whenua claiming that 50% of all cannabis plants are to be shared with Maori from Crown drug seizures - which at the time of the treaty signing were still legal to grow - and should be legal for Maori to consume today under the treaty of 1840.


Damien Grant's picture

Well thank you both. It seems odd to me that mainstream right wing political movements advocate freedom in the economic arena but want to control what people do in their private lives.

Careful Damien!

Jules Troy's picture

Smiling You are in danger of actually becoming an objectivist! Smiling Smile

Oh all is forgiven Mr Grant

Mark Hubbard's picture

Oh all is forgiven Mr Grant Smiling You lovely man.

It is a shame

Damien Grant's picture

I was enthralled when don brash gave this speech. I was even moved to give act money.

Liberalising drug laws is an issue that has the power to change the public's perception of liberalism.

It could have become the defining election issue, tore the left apart, forced the reactionaries from the right wing onto the defensive, and demonstrated ACT is a party of principle.

Brash awakens

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Don has just pasted this on Faecesbook:

At the risk of starting a storm even more intense than the debate on climate change, I thought I'd note that the current issue of "The Economist" (in my opinion the best weekly news magazine in the English-speaking world) has an article on the ongoing drug wars in Latin America. Thousands of people have died, and it is not at all obvious than the flow of drugs, much of it to the US, has been reduced despite the cost in human life.

Last year, I enlivened my campaign for the ACT Party - unwisely in retrospect - by suggesting that in New Zealand we should be taking a serious look at whether the present policy on drugs like marijuana should be changed. The Law Commission has suggested there should be change, and internationally the Global Commission on Drugs has made a similar recommendation. I should stress that I myself have not ever used recreational drugs (except relatively small amounts of alcohol) and I do not want to see my teenage son using them either. I'm simply saying that by continuing to make the possession of small amounts of marijuana a criminal offence we drive the drug traffic into the hands of seriously bad people, who do enormous damage to everybody they touch.

The speech in which I discussed this last year is on my website, and if I can do it I'll provide a link to it.

No worries, Don. Here's the link Eye :

As ye sow ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The oleaginites have now created ACT's worst nightmare, self-inflicted: an ACT party led by its sole MP, the repulsive feral conservative John Banks. He made a point of thanking ACT on Campus tonight for their contribution to getting him elected: the very people who ought to have known better, misled by slimy Rodentian connivers at their helm who acquiesced to the denial that the marijuana speech ever happened and that ACT's core principles ever existed. I hope they're satisfied. But it's the end of them, and the end of ACT. Thank Galt.

It's time for a new Freedom Party, minus Rodents and oleaginites, comprised of people whose reason for getting out of bed is not The Game and the nuances of who's shafting whom. Libz folk should be open to this too. A snarling, self-important clique of the heroically irrelevant is not going to cut it. Out of tonight's ashes must arise a phoenix of freedom—principled, professional, prolific and politically proficient.

John Key has no basis on which to effect significant redemption from tonight's results; the country will carry on drowning in the mire of socialism. A new Phoenix (or Freedom) Party will be the only means of dragging us out of it. Meaning, for libertarians, our best days are ahead.

"Come my friends! 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world!"

I said last year...

Marcus's picture

...or was it earlier(?) that John Key would win with a landslide after having taken on the unions (albeit with a limp wrist) to secure the Hobbit films.

By NZ standards that was his "Thatcher moment".

If he was clever he would have campaigned against MMP too. It would have changed the outcome of the referendum and have been of benefit to his party and the country.

Luckily the Kaikoura

Mark Hubbard's picture

Luckily the Kaikoura electorate (where I registered) had a Libz candidate, so they got both ticks from me also.

The Conservatives have certainly made a lot of traction - including in 'our house' - but I find them pretty dreadful. Cynically setting themselves as the party of the Right against asset sales, while a clever tactical ploy, tells me they're either horse traders (and will do so with their principles), or, believing the State should own the means of production, they're socialists. Either way, they're Statists: case in point, ex-United Future Catholic Gordon Copeland on the list who believes the State, via God, has the right to stop abortion and euthanasia. No freedom to be found in that party. In fact, National will still give you smaller huge government than they will.

Changed my mind ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Just back from voting. In the end gave both votes to Libz. I feel clean!!

Thatcher is still...

Marcus's picture

...loved by the conservative party in the UK.

It is only the left-wing liberal media in the UK that act as if she is a universal figure of hate.

I'm surprised at the hatchet job the liberals in the US are doing on Reagan too which many US SOLOists here have bought into.


Richard Goode's picture

FPP can give carte blanche power to a Labour government, which with this Labour government is frightening.

Thanks for illustrating the point I made here. I, too, struggle to tell them apart. No matter who you vote for ...

No, no

Ross Elliot's picture


"I wouldn't describe Reagan as reactionary."

I didn't mean Reagan, Thatcher, Douglas were reactionary, I meant those who came after them were. In all cases those that succeeded them either spun their wheels or renounced them.

I appreciate that in one case, Reagan, has been paid lip service by conservatives in the US, but in NZ and Britain, Douglas and Thatcher have been marginalised, at best.

Wavering ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I might yet join you in your party vote, Bro Hubbard. No sooner had I posted how I'd vote than I saw Don's superannuation speech today calling for a referendum on the age of eligibility. A referendum: first refuge of a milksop.

It's still Libz for my party

Mark Hubbard's picture

It's still Libz for my party vote.

I've been thinking STV. All the same qualifications as you, vis a vis, rights should be placed beyond vote, but FPP can give carte blanche power to a Labour government, which with this Labour government is frightening. STV still keeps some proportionality, thus hopefully stymies policy making at least a little I hope, while getting rid of the list MP's. The referendum is still a work in progress for me though (and as I said on Stephen's thread, should include the option of no elections at all).

How I'll vote

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Notwithstanding my disillusionment on account of its blandification and domination by Rodents and oleaginites of which I've written here, I shall be giving my party vote to ACT. For all that he turned out to be a milksop on the marijuana issue, I'd rather have Don Brash in Parliament—and better still, in government—than not. He's still one of the good guys.

To get him in requires a party vote of 1.2% (assuming the feral conservative wins Epsom). In the last Fairfax poll of the campaign, published this morning, ACT were on .7%. Not enough (and a stunning repudiation of blandification and oleaginy). Point seven per cent means only Banks would be in Parliament—a travesty I've already described as grotesque. But ACT always do better on the night. I should say they'll easily secure 1.2% and am certainly going to contribute to that with my own party vote. (2% would bring in Catherine Isaac, 2.8% Don Nicolson. The latter I regard as an admirable non-milksop and warrior. I hope he makes it. 3.6%—the same as last time—would bring in David Seymour.)

Whether or not ACT secure seats in Parliament, they will have to address and settle the question of who they are after the election in a way they signally failed to do before it. No more feral conservatives! The young libertarians must swarm all over the party and capture it. The last hold-outs for compulsionism, Lee Kuan Boscawen and Lee Kuan Douglas, have gone, so that's one hurdle less. But the young 'uns must also repudiate the toxic culture bequeathed by Rodney. Conviction must trump conniving. Subterranean character assassination of one's fellow-soldiers should be no part of the arsenal of any soldier or party of liberty.

As for my electorate vote, I shall be giving it to the Libz candidate. In the case of Wgtn Central, I believe that's one Reagan Cutting, of whom I've never heard. I'm told he's just ten years old, which doesn't bother me at all: a ten-year-old Libz candidate is always going to have more wisdom than all other contenders combined.

Re the voting system, I shall be supporting FPP. It's not ideal, of course—the ideal system is laid out in the Libz constitution. An ideal system would place rights beyond the vote. I'd simply say that FPP is the least virulent form of mobocracy, MMP the most virulent. MMP has coincided with a cultural disaster I'd call the Cretinisation of Everything, whereby airheads rule. From every which way in every walk of life, alien creatures in human form have emerged who have lost the ability to speak. Instead they emit a searing quacking sound from which those with better hearing than mine claim to be able occasionally to discern something resembling English words. Under MMP these specimens not only have the vote, but their vote counts for way too much. Under MMP, cretins can end up in government, or at least in bed with government—see the Greens. Under MMP, a cretin can even end up as Prime Minister—see John Key and the mysterious noises he passes off as speech.

Whatever the outcome of the vote on MMP, some way will have to be found to decretinise the suffrage. Disenfranchising everyone under 40 would help, though some means would have to be devised to exempt those members of Generations Airhead who are not airheads. (Disenfranchising all women of all ages without exemption would definitely help also.) As things are, democracy is just, to paraphrase Mencken, a bunch of wolves and a sheep having a vote on what's for dinner. Rights, I repeat, must be placed beyond the vote.

More blandification

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The oleaginites and Rodents have struck again! Contrast this part of ACT's law and order policy announced today with what Don foreshadowed in the marijuana speech (naturally there's no mention of decriminalising marijuana in today's version!):


Second, ACT will push for a review of police procedures surrounding the application of defences, such as sections 48 and 56 of the Crimes Act 1961, which allow for self-defence and defence of property.

Although the law as written ensures that victims of crime are able to use reasonable force to defend themselves and their property, in far too many cases the victims themselves are dragged through the court process, only to have the charges immediately thrown out.

People like Virender Singh, who defended himself and his family with a hockey stick against five thugs, were clearly acting in self-defence. Those who endure the trauma of being threatened by criminals, only to then be accused of perpetrating a crime in the defence of their family, must feel that the criminal justice system is seriously skewed against the victims of crime. The police procedures surrounding the application of these defences must reflect the intent of the legislation – to enable people to reasonably defend themselves and their property without legal consequence.

Marijuana speech:

My intention is to see that ACT Party policy reflects a firm commitment to Section 48 of the Crimes Act.

To that end, I believe that the right to self-defence should be enshrined in our Bill of Rights also. It's already ACT policy to add private property rights to the Bill of Rights; the right to self-defence should be there too.

The Crimes Act should be amended to include a presumption – not a guarantee, but a presumption – of immunity from prosecution for anyone who uses reasonable force to defend his person and/or property.

And I would favour amending Section 56, which currently says:

“Everyone in peaceable possession of any land or building, and everyone lawfully assisting him or acting by his authority, is justified in using reasonable force to prevent any person from trespassing on the land or building or to remove him therefrom, if he does not strike or do bodily harm to that person.”

I would delete the words “if he does not strike or do bodily harm to that person.” If a trespasser turns violent, it's entirely possible that any reasonable force used to evict him will involve striking him or causing him bodily harm. The law should allow for that.

The key concept in all of this of course is “reasonable.” Shooting someone who's retrieving a tennis ball he or she has accidentally lobbed onto your property would clearly be unreasonable, not to mention despicable … and should most definitely be prosecutable.

But – and this is the bottom line as far as I'm concerned – the status quo where innocent people are more likely than not to be prosecuted for using legitimate force in self-defence and in defence of their property must be overturned.

Your home is your castle; your body is your temple. The law must be unequivocal in allowing you to defend both with reasonable force.

I pledge that ACT policy will be directed to that end.

No comment on the watering-down necessary from me. Except: what milksops!

Linz, didn't you once say the same...

Marcus's picture

...thing about Kiri te Kanawa? That she was bland?

Over the years you seemed to have changed your mind about her though.

I'm not a fan of Kiri or Hayley, but they do have their moments.

Not too bad Don

gregster's picture

Our final priority will be to have the ETS scrapped completely, at least for the time being. Is not really that bad and it shows he is confident it is a dead duck overseas, while not putting off some potential voters.

He could have gained many more supporters if he had gone the way of Abbott in Oz but generally New Zealanders don't seem as intelligent as Australians.

The Blandification of Everything

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I called the main article here The Blandification of [N]ACT" but I could just as easily have called it "The Blandification of Everything." This thought struck me forcefully as I read this story about a ChCh reviewer's scathingly accurate write-up of a Hayley Westenra concert. Hayley, of course, is the epitome of bland. So is the astonishingly popular John Key. It seems Kiwis lap bland up. Oleaginy rules.

Thus we have the Hayleyfication of ACT.

Most peculiar times we live in.

Here we go ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Here's part of what Don said in his speech today:

I’m not going to get into an argument about climate science. Let us proceed from here using the assumptions of the most shrill believers in anthropogenic climate change. Let us assume that climate change is a real threat to our way of life, that it is primarily caused by us humans, and that we should be doing everything in our power to stop it.

In the name of sanity, why?!

Here's the rest of it from the para above to the end. As you'll see, it goes along the exact line I predicted last night. In one breath we're "scrapping" the thing, in the next we're "putting it on ice" till other countries show similar enthusiasm for economic suicide. "Scrapped completely, at least for the time being." "For the time being" is not the same as "completely"! Of course, this is still light years ahead of what the others are proposing, but falls short of an unequivocal promise to dump the bloody thing, no ifs, buts or maybes. This was an opportunity to denounce the current Green form of Marxism, but of course we couldn't have that 'cos someone might have got upset. Note to the oleaginites: This is war, and for war we need warriors!

Even on that assumption it is pointless for New Zealand to have an ETS. New Zealand produces 0.2 per cent of global emissions. There is no way that New Zealand could ever expect to have a measureable effect on climate change if we shut down the entire country tomorrow, let alone making the fractional changes that the ETS might achieve.

So it’s not about directly affecting the climate. We simply cannot do that no matter how hard we try.

We might believe that it’s about pulling our weight, doing our fair share as good international citizens. After all, we do like to think of ourselves as good global citizens.

But a “fair share” doesn’t mean “the lion’s share”. Why are we leading the world?

The Ministry for the Environment has a page of examples supposed to show that we’re not alone, but actually shows no other country is going as far or as fast as we are.

The European Union has a highly selective scheme that includes only so-called “major installations” in some industries and is generally riddled with exemptions.

The Japanese and Swiss have voluntary schemes.

The United States never even ratified the Kyoto Protocol and has only a few weak regional trading schemes within its borders.

There are no examples from the entire continents of South America and Asia, or the Subcontinent.

The Ministry has not updated their website to reflect the recent passing of Australia’s Clean Energy Act, but if they did they would show another country with a far less comprehensive scheme than ours. The Australian scheme rewards rather than punishes farmers. It does not include private transport as ours does. And who knows whether it will survive Australia’s next election, when a popular Opposition has “pledged in blood” to repeal it?

Some might still say shame on them. It is those other recalcitrant countries who have got it wrong while we are on the moral high ground. The real lesson we will offer the world is that going too far and too fast on climate policy drives industry, jobs and investment away from our shores.

We will drive industry to places with worse environmental standards than ours, hurting our own economy and the environment simultaneously. It seems unlikely that many countries will be falling over themselves to follow such an example.

Finally, some will argue that we need an ETS to shore up “Brand New Zealand.” Being aggressive about climate change, the argument goes, will make our exports, including tourism, more attractive to foreigners.

The great difficulty here is that we don’t really know how much foreign customers actually value dealing with a country that has a comprehensive ETS. Considering they haven’t voted for them in their own countries, we might surmise that the answer is, not much.

The truth is that some customers for some of our products will pay more for the Climate Friendly brand, and others won’t. A much more sensible way of marketing to climate sensitive customers would be to let our export and tourist industries get on with it.

If an airline or a farmer or a manufacturer wants to pass on the additional cost of carbon offsets to their customers, nothing is stopping them. Some businesses already do this. We have many tourist operators who offer low carbon holidays in New Zealand. Why should the entire economy be implicated in their decision?

There is no good reason for the ETS. It doesn’t help with our international obligations, because after next year we won’t have any.

It doesn’t change the global climate, because four million out of seven billion people simply can’t do that.

It doesn’t show moral leadership, it shows the cost of self-defeating indulgence.

It might make us popular at international conferences, but at enormous expense to all New Zealanders.

And what exactly is that expense?

The Ministry for the Environment says it will be only $167 for the average household. That’s less than 50 cents per day. Who knew that saving the world was so cheap?

It isn’t.

The ETS is effectively a tax on energy, and our economy runs on energy. The tax is collected from electricity, oil and gas companies and therefore goes into their costs. Those costs go into all transport, all raw materials production, wholesaling, retailing, logistics, financing, etc. In Australia, they called it “a great big new tax on everything”.

Next year, ETS levies will be collected on about 23 million tonnes of CO2. At $25 per tonne, that’s nearly $600 million. Politicians trying to sell the scheme will do what politicians trying to sell expensive policies always do. They’ll claim that some of the cost will fall on business, some on foreign buyers of our exports, and some on the guy down the street. Basically, on anybody but the voter they’re talking to at the time.

The truth is that all costs eventually fall on workers, consumers, and investors, there aren’t any other types of people in New Zealand who can pay the costs, and all of us are at least one of those, many of us are all three. The cost, folks, will ultimately fall on your household.

For a household of four, we’d expect the cost to be around $600 per year. Pensioners on fixed incomes will be particularly vulnerable.

But that’s the good news, by comparison.

The bad news is that the cost is set to double because over the next three years the carbon price will double.

Costs will increase by a third in 2013, another third in 2014 and a further third in 2015. At that point, a household of four will be paying $1200 per annum – $100 each month – for the privilege of having an ETS.

Compare all this with Australia, where their Government has just enacted tax cuts and grants of almost $1800 per household to compensate them for the costs they will incur under the new carbon tax. Our Government is offering no compensation for the same costs hitting New Zealanders. And for good reason – the taxpayers simply can’t afford it.

Then the news gets even worse. What I’ve described so far is what we have before the biological emissions produced by agriculture are brought into the ETS. Labour threatens to do so by 2013, and National by 2015.

Labour’s “Fiscal Strategy” document claims that it will be taking $218 million per year. That’s a very large chunk of the net income of farmers. New Zealand farmers cannot recover these new costs from export markets, so it comes out of their own pockets. Such a massive imposition by the ETS would lead to a wave of farm foreclosures, especially amongst those younger farmers with high debt levels. And these are the exporters we rely upon to generate the foreign dollars we need to buy our imports and service our international debts.

We can only hope that Labour’s ETS figures are wildly astray, like so many of their other fiscal calculations.

The Emissions Trading Scheme is not strictly a tax in the sense that the money goes through government coffers. It is, however, a government imposed cost on workers and consumers that benefits specific groups.

The question is, who gets the money?

The most obvious and immediate beneficiaries are the foresters who can sell carbon credits for growing trees. If it was only they who benefit we might say that the following has happened:

New Zealand has chosen to take a $100 per month out of the average household of four in order to plant more trees and perhaps allow forestry companies to make windfall profits out of this new market.

However, once again, it gets worse. It’s not guaranteed that New Zealand emitters will fulfil their obligations by buying credits off New Zealand foresters. This is where the real insanity sets in.

It is quite possible, even likely, that emitters will find it cheaper to buy credits from countries with more potential to reduce emissions by adopting better technology. Ironically, these tend to be developing countries that don’t have much technology at the moment. Countries like China whose emissions are growing faster than any other countries’, and who are not bound to reduce their emissions even by the current Kyoto agreement.

We can now amend our story:

New Zealand will soon choose to take $100 per month out of the average family of four and give some of it to foresters and the rest to developing countries that are making little other effort to reduce their emissions.

As I said in the beginning of this speech, New Zealand is currently fighting desperately to remain a first world country for the next generation.

If we are to win this fight, we cannot afford poor policy choices, let alone choices that take large amounts of money out of New Zealand household budgets in order to achieve nothing but a fillip to the forestry industry and the despatch of more money overseas.

In any future government, the ACT Party will make it a priority to stop this madness. How much power ACT has after this Saturday is up to you, the voter, this week.

However it’s my job to tell you what ACT believes, and what a vote for ACT means.

Our first priority will be to take biological emissions, meaning charges on methane belched from sheep and cows, out of the ETS. Permanently. Rather than National’s approach of stalling the inclusion of biological emissions, we would give farmers assured protection from the ETS by having biological emissions out of the legislation altogether.

This would be a major step in bringing our ETS at least into line with Australia’s Clean Energy Act, and would safeguard the viability of many farms in New Zealand.

The inclusion of farmers offends the whole principle of targeting increases in emissions. Greenhouse gases are increased only when a herd or flock of livestock is being established. Maintenance of an established farm causes no net change to the composition of the atmosphere. Our farms are not only long-established, our livestock numbers are decreasing, and net biological emissions per unit of output have fallen steadily since 1990.

Excluding livestock emissions would be a major step in bringing our ETS at least into line with Europe and Australia. No other country has even considered taxing food production at a time when the world’s greatest challenge is to feed 9 billion people by 2040.

Our second priority would be to ensure that the coming price rise in Carbon Units is delayed indefinitely. The current $600 cost for a household of four is a major impediment for the recovery of our economy. Doubling it would be a death blow. ACT will push to keep the carbon obligations frozen where they are now.

Our final priority will be to have the ETS scrapped completely, at least for the time being. It should be held on ice until the majority of our key trading partners adopt schemes which are equally draconian and impose comparable costs on their citizens. This is clearly a very long way off.

ACT will push to bring New Zealand back into line with the rest of the world, removing the bureaucracy and cost from our entire economy, and boosting our economic recovery.

Try putting it another way. ACT has a policy that will put $100 per month into every household, and remove the threat to the viability of farming by 2014. It’s simple: Scrap the ETS.


After Brash delivers his

Mark Hubbard's picture

After Brash delivers his welfare speech, so long as no legal constraints, perhaps you could publish the speech he should have given.

For me, the point of attack has to be government spending, because everything else leading to limited government - oh, yes, stupidly ignoring philosophy Smiling - comes from that. The austerity packages in Europe will all fail and lead to further economic chaos and bigger government because when you really look at them, the cuts in government spending involved are minor, because with rising unemployment (Spain, youth unemployment now 40%) the welfare bills are actually getting bigger, rather, austerity is sadly, but predictably, being worked through higher taxation. For the next decade there will be little private sector growth as all firms will be constrained by higher and higher tax liabilities - so, set to fail already.

It's hard to think of a man who has done more long term damage to the West than Keynes, playing on the puny, Gramsci retarded minds of politicians. Case in point, per my small post yesterday, quoting Labour's David Parker, 'I support free but regulated markets'. Unfortunately, so does National. A complete failure of the ability to comprehend reality, and the slaver's mind wanting to keep me tied to them. They've built the Gulags of Good Intentions in the West, which have destroyed free peoples as well as any totalitarian could have.

Last, Dire Strait

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I see that Don is delivering what are billed as three major speeches on the economy this week, the last of the election campaign. Tomorrow's is on the ETS. That's a no-brainer. He should say, just dump the thing. I suspect he will, but fear he won't. I could never move him beyond merely suspending it till other countries were stupid enough to join in.

Don should also denounce the idea that climate change is man-made as a fraud, but I know he won't. He's captive to the bolshevik Boscawen, whom I call Boscevik, on such matters. Boscevik said to my face that anyone who cuts down a tree on his own property when the law forbids it should go to jail.

After that Don should propose a KASS assault on government spending, including the abolition of bullshit government scams like Women's Affairs, Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry of Economic Development, but I know he won't. He's captive to the oleaginites whose primary imperative is to avoid controversy.

Then he should deliver the speech I wrote for him on welfare. I *definitely* know he won't be up for that one. Which is a shame. Had that been delivered on schedule, instead of being deferred because the oleaginites deemed the venue to be insensitively swank (and then cancelled altogether by Banks), it could have been the game-changer that the marijuana speech could also have been if handled properly.


Richard Goode's picture

what's your point?

I agree with you and Ross.

[Marcus's comment here is in reply to my comment here.]


Richard Goode's picture

You might think that the party with the most party votes, keen to form a government, would negotiate with its nearest ideological neighbour, with a view to forming a coalition.

It never happens.

Passing the baton from one socialist to another

[To avoid having your comments fall foul of the Chief Censor, restrict image widths to a 600 pixel maximum. Wider images break the page layout on 1024 x 768 screens.]


Lindsay Perigo's picture

You write:

In any event, I wasn't aware that IOC/TOC/TAS handed out such awards. As an Objectivist who justified his view based on the philosophy's principles, I would have thought they would have taken your analysis to heart.

They were quite intransigent on the matter, Roger Donway in particular.

However, they appear to have formed some sort of coalition with US libertarian people/groups. The rumor is that TAS showed Bidinotto the door because he harshly criticized Ron Paul, and the libertarian elements didn't like it. Was that the reason? Were they paying heed to US libertarian elements? (I don't know about NZ libertarians, but US libertarians are largely a coalition of the apathetic, the cynical, and the treasonous. At best, Hayekian -- at worst, Rothbardian.)

Well, perhaps you should ask Ed Hudgins next time you see him here, though I doubt he'd respond. The reasons for Bidinotto's departure were kept very quiet by TAS *and* Bidinotto—perhaps a confidentiality agreement was involved. But it wouldn't surprise me if those reasons were related to TAS's cosiness with libertarians. I remember participating in a debate with him at the 2005 (?) Summer Seminar in Vancouver, in which he affirmed the proposition that Objectivists should eschew the word "libertarian" altogether, given how it had been sullied by sundry anarcho-Saddamites and the like. I was not unsympathetic, but didn't feel it was necessary to surrender the word because some of the folk claiming it were unsavoury. Eric Mack and David Kelley also took part. It was clear that Bidinotto took a much harder line with US big-l Libertarians than Kelley, but their differences were amicable at that point.

Latterly TAS have taken to holding their Summer Seminars jointly with the ISIL, on which organisation I'm sure it's not necessary to repeat my views. Eye


Damien Grant's picture

I was unaware of this back story to the legalising of marijuana speech. When I first heard it I was delighted, thinking that Brash was going to take Act in a true liberal direction. I think had that happened it would have really been a game changer.

It was very disappointing how it all panned out.


Olivia's picture

So? Ross and I must think alike on this one, what's your point?


Richard Goode's picture

I wouldn't trust them to do anything fundamentally important. ... I find the whole situation depressing and sad.

What Ross Elliot said here. Sad

The thing is ... that marijuana liberalisation is a metaphor for the state of our culture.

It's such a simple thing. A telling thing. If we can't do that, we can't do much else.


Richard Goode's picture

It does happen... Perhaps give it another decade or so of MMP and you will get "Conservative-Labour" grand coalitions in NZ ...

You're right. What a nightmare scenario. Sad

It does happen...

Marcus's picture both Germany and Austria who both have had proportional voting systems since the second world war.

Perhaps give it another decade or so of MMP and you will get "Conservative-Labour" grand coalitions in NZ as they do there.

Yes, good on Roy and Nicolson

Mark Hubbard's picture

Yes, good on Roy and Nicolson (the latter has done some fine speeches over the last twelve months, one at least quite risque given the conservative group (farmers) he represents; I really think he 'gets' it), but, ACT with Banksie is a hopeless proposition, and I think would be better put out of it's misery and swept away this election. The ACT 'brand' is discredited for me beyond redemption. They put 'party being elected' ahead of principle. I'm growing to hate party politics, but the only answer for that is a Libertarian minarchy, where parties aren't necessary, and the chances of that in the lifetime of anyone posting to this thread is next to nil. Libz for me next Saturday, and we'll go up to the Sounds and watch the results over a charcoal smoked BBQ (my new pleasure), some friends there, and several or ten bottles of wine.

Oh, yes, thanks for reminding me Olivia: well done Linz, you made a difference and at least tested ACT and freedom one time properly, so now they can be consigned rightly to history.

Given all that...

Olivia's picture

then they absolutely deserve to lose as badly as the polls indicate they will. As was clear, the speech wasn't even claiming that legalising cannibis was to become Act party policy. That this issue couldn't even be proposed for discussion is so facist that I wouldn't trust them to do anything fundamentally important.

I find the whole situation depressing and sad. The incessant viciousness of how our media and citizens treat Brash so disgusts and enrages me, I can't even watch any of the debates anymore without it ruining my night, so I don't.

You did an admirable job Linz, given this is what you were working with.

David Farrar says ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... on Kiwiblog:

I agree with Lindsay that the speech was not a mistake per se. However where I have been critical is that key stakeholders were not in the loop, and talking points agreed in advance. If that had been done, then the speech could well have worked as intended – showing Don as a social liberal, not just an economic liberal.

I did the speech to a tight deadline precisely because Don wanted time to run it past the usual suspects who might be expected to have kittens. He did tell Banks and the Board he'd be touching on the marijuana laws in the speech—but they didn't see fit to ask exactly what he'd be saying and he didn't see fit to tell them. To this day I don't know why. Obviously a show of solidarity planned in advance would have been desirable.

Since posting the article I've learned some candidates, after Banks went berserk, drew up a statement of support they all signed with the intention of releasing it to the media. But as I report in the article, the word came down from on high that the subject was now taboo, and everyone, disgracefully, buckled. The candidates' statement was obviously a casualty of the taboofication. Mr Farrar collaborated with that taboofication, which is curious given that he agrees with the content of the speech. Taboofication ensured that the speech could not "work as intended."

It should be recorded to their credit that "retiring" MP Heather Roy (I put that in inverted commas because I believe she didn't really want to stand down, especially given her triumph with voluntary student union membership—she just saw it as pointless to stay on while the Rodents remained in charge) and candidate Don Nicolson spoke up in Don's support, before the decree went out that the speech had never happened and there was nothing to support.


Mark Hubbard's picture

The only significant thing about Libz is its focus on an individual's freedom, and the non-initiation of force principle, with the policy that comes from that: limited government constrained by written constitution, etc. It is the only party under which you can be guaranteed freedom of worship. A Libertarian minarchy is one in which you can do whatever you like among consenting adults as long as you don't initiate force or fraud. And no tyranny of the majority could ever vote your freedom to do as you choose away from you.

SOLO is Objectivist, which should not be confused with Libz, although for myself, Objectivism and Libertarianz fit like a hand in a glove, but not even Rand would've agreed with me on that.

Freedom. Your freedom to practice your religion arises from the same principle I don't have to practice any religion. It's dangerous to speak for anyone else, but I'm sure Peter Cresswell would disagree with nothing I've said in this single post.

I can't comprehend how you don't understand this after being here for over four years?

Libertarianz promotes freedom

reed's picture

Libertarianz promotes freedom of religion.

PC promotes freedom from religion.
Are PC's views not indicative of Libz?
Libz leader posts on PC's blog - I've never seen him dissent.
Freedom from religion is promoted at solo too - am I wrong to think that this forum is indicative of Libz culture?


Michael Moeller's picture

I am not surprised that things reversed under Clark. If Douglas could not defend the reforms morally and ceded fundamental principles, the electorate would naturally think collectivism and pro-free market reforms are compatible and remain oblivious to the true cause -- even in the face of the benefits. I am sure Clark proposed a more consistent version of the fundamental principles, and much of the electorate assumed the benefits would continue.

I can imagine that this would be radical, but has there ever been a political push to scrap the parliamentary system in favor of a presidential system with a greater separation of powers?

"In purely economic terms, Douglas, Thatcher and Reagan have the same legacy: reactionary, third-way inheritors. Maybe they gave us another ten years. Time's up."

I wouldn't describe Reagan as reactionary. Goldwater, maybe, after the long onslaught of Progressivism. In Reagan, I think people found a voice they had been looking for for some time, starting with Goldwater. And Reagan still has a substantial legacy, which is why all the Republican candidates try to latch onto him. OWS and Michael Moore types notwithstanding, most of my leftist friends don't deny the efficacy and superiority of capitalism. They just want to "improve" it by regulating it to death.

But given the statement above, I imagine that you would enjoy Mark Steyn's writings of late.



Michael Moeller's picture

He proposes to stop the "free-loader" problem by allowing the option of the current system? Isn't it obvious where all the "free-loaders" will go? Douglas likes numbers, eh? He should take a look at Massachusetts and how an individual mandate has exploded healthcare costs and patient waiting times, as opposed to the prior more free market system, which he apparently considers "unrealistic".

In any event, I wasn't aware that IOC/TOC/TAS handed out such awards. As an Objectivist who justified his view based on the philosophy's principles, I would have thought they would have taken your analysis to heart. However, they appear to have formed some sort of coalition with US libertarian people/groups. The rumor is that TAS showed Bidinotto the door because he harshly criticized Ron Paul, and the libertarian elements didn't like it. Was that the reason? Were they paying heed to US libertarian elements? (I don't know about NZ libertarians, but US libertarians are largely a coalition of the apathetic, the cynical, and the treasonous. At best, Hayekian -- at worst, Rothbardian.)


Why were NZ first...

Marcus's picture

...labelled as kingmakers then for several elections in a row? Whoring themselves to either of the two large parties and often getting positions in the cabinet?

Even if there is no single "kingmaker", the fact that smaller parties are often needed to make up a Government causes them to have more influence over Government policies than larger parties not in the coalition with much larger numbers of votes.

That might be more democratic than FPP, but makes Government less "representative" of the majority.

The kingmaker myth

Richard Goode's picture

If a party who has only a 5% vote share is the kingmaker of the next government, then those 5% of voters have had disportional leverage and power over all other voters.

It's a myth that MMP produces "kingmakers".

However [MMP] leads to disproportional outcomes far in excess of FPP.

Complete bollocks, as usual.

If I were there...

Marcus's picture

...I would vote FPP.

People say proportional representation is more democratic.

However it leads to disproportional outcomes far in excess of FPP.

If a party who has only a 5% vote share is the kingmaker of the next government, then those 5% of voters have had disportional leverage and power over all other voters.

How is that more democratic?


Ross Elliot's picture

...the question isn't directed to me, but I'll throw in.

I'll vote FPP.

Demoracy in the form of MMP results results in pragmatism, and the tail wagging the dog.

If I was a betting man I'd not wager against a Labour-Green-Mana-Maori coalition with NZ First holding the trump card come early December. That's MMP.

I think back to 1984 when Bob Jones and the NZ Party, under FPP, killed National and allowed Labour-Douglas to win.

Modern democracy is a nasty beast. MMP makes it somewhat nastier. And, yes, I grant that if a small party could influence the majority party in the direction of freedom, then that would be a plus, but recent history has not shown us that.


Richard Goode's picture

A particularly excruciating form of the tyranny of numbers

I take it you won't be voting to retain MMP in next Saturday's referendum. What's your preferred alternative?


Ross Elliot's picture

Douglas is a communitarian, and therefore a third-wayer. Feed the slaves better and they'll work harder.

Douglas is held up as a semi-hero because he took the actions necessary to pull NZ out of the mire, but he did that purely for "social justice" reasons.

In 1990, when Labour's reforms had run their pragmatic course, National was elected. Now, the National Party of the early 90s was able to distance itself from the command-economy of Muldoon circa early 80s. But the advent of MMP in 1996 put all that to an end (actually, they were already slipping). In 1999 a resurgent Labour Party under Helen Clark distanced itself from the Labour Party of 84-90. In fact, Labour 80s is regarded in the Labour Party as an aberration. It's an apostasy. And it's hard to communicate how much the modern Labourites despise that era.

Clark was as much a dominating force for the nine years of her rule as Muldoon was in his. The size of government under Clark nearly doubled in expenditure and employees. It's quite stunning in hindsight.

Since 2008, National has spun it's wheels, and that's down to John Key and his lack of courage. I say lack of courage assuming he had any actual free-market philosophy. Of that there's much doubt. In fact, he's probably just a run of the mill conservative, in favour of the status quo with tweaks.

In purely economic terms, Douglas, Thatcher and Reagan have the same legacy: reactionary, third-way inheritors. Maybe they gave us another ten years. Time's up.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

What was the Objectivist response after the talk? Had they heard the rumors of NZ's rise and did your speech deliver a caveat emptor?

They proceeded to award NZ their Gold Medal for Freedom. Twice. Or maybe it was thrice. That's what first soured relations between IOS/TOC/TAS and me.

As for what happened since—some good things, but mainly bad things. Bolger/Richardson, 1990-93, gave us a repeat of Lange/Douglas, 1984-88. I think that's covered in the speech. It's been pretty much exclusively downhill since the advent of MMP in 1996. A particularly excruciating form of the tyranny of numbers, exacerbated of course by the Age of the Airhead.

Douglas co-founded ACT in 1995. See the 2010 debate between me and him:


Michael Moeller's picture

Muldoon sounds like Nixon after a lifetime of steroids. It also sounds like you have one of the most tightly regulated labor markets around. The Human Rights Act prevents discrimination based on "intellectual disability"?!?

It's funny, when I was reading the early portion about Roger Douglas' reforms, I thought: isn't that just like a Hayekian? Anti-ideological, freedom for the public good, economic efficiency-driven policy, while conceding all the underlying premises of collectivists. Then I got to your "Liberty vs. Hayek" and "The Moral and the Practical" parts and found the same diagnosis. The same Austrian-Chicago School here that wraps itself in a "whatever works" policy agenda. They've expanded into the law in what is known as Law & Economics theory where they use economic analysis to set legal policy, and it is the same efficiency-driven model. Utterly loathesome, all of it. I don't think it is difficult to understand why Hayek got the Nobel Prize and leftists give time to Law & Economics -- they agree on fundamental premises.

In any event, has the political situation gotten worse since then? Have any of the policies you mentioned in Part IV been repealed or reversed?

While I wasn't surprised that Muldoon was from the equivalent of the Republicans as I could imagine many Republicans acting the same, I was surprised that Douglas came from Labour. That's quite an anamoly. I could not imagine one single Democrat in the US ushering in those types of reforms.

I wasn't at all surprised that Bill Bradford's Liberty promoted Douglas and his policies as the Holy Grail. I subscribed to that rag once, and wished I had my money back after the reading the first issue. It was the JARS of political theory/policy sans the academicspeak. Wannabes peddling pseudo-intellectual tripe in an attempt to bolster their self-esteem because there was no other way for them to get noteriety. The mushhead brand of libertarians, which is most of them.

What was the Objectivist response after the talk? Had they heard the rumors of NZ's rise and did your speech deliver a caveat emptor?



Mark Hubbard's picture

I thought Reed might be thinking of Peter.

Re the question though, for the reason given below, I see no difference. How is freedom of religion different to freedom from religion, in the context of a society in which I'm a free man? Um, you're not intending to force me into religion, are you (Reed)? I know Richard isn't, but you're not pushing for Theocracy?


Richard Goode's picture

Libertarianz promotes freedom of religion.

PC promotes freedom from religion.

They're the same thing Reed,

Mark Hubbard's picture

They're the same thing Reed, no matter how cleverly you try and evade that fact. Because you have freedom 'of' religion, you also have freedom 'from' religion. A libertarian minarchy is the only one under which you can guarantee you'll be able to worship whatever you want, the big tree frog if you like, so long as you respect the non-initiation of force principle. So, just no sacrificing virgins, or smoting people, and you're free to worship as you like (well, other than free from Christ, but that's your hang up, not mine).

Funny, I thought it was

reed's picture

Funny, I thought it was obvious.

Consider the following example...

Do Libertarianz promote/support "freedom of religion" or "freedom from religion"?


Lindsay Perigo's picture

I remember...

Michael Moeller's picture

Back in the 90's when NZ was hyped here as making significant strides towards economic liberty, and getting high marks from those freedom studies. There were a couple of international investors I enjoyed reading and they were recommending it at the time as a good place to invest. I was too young to really follow it or know what was going on, but was the political climate good then, and since gone downhill? Or was that largely a myth?


Please explain

Richard Goode's picture

It's a shame the Libz are evil at heart.


Mark Hubbard's picture

Goodness, Reed finally laying a political belief on the line and tying himself down.

Why do you think the Libz are evil, Reed? Of all parties, that is the one you can't say that about given they're the only one advocating true limited government and the non-initiation of force.

Election lamentation

reed's picture

I've voted Act as long as I can remember but I realised when Roger Douglas proposed/supported a capital gains tax that they weren't worth voting for. No principles.

Brash becoming leader made me reconsider. But he is too moderate.

Maybe I will vote Maori Party if they make a lot of noise about their Independent Commission Against Corruption policy.

It's a shame the Libz are evil at heart.

"Freedom" and the media

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"Freedom" is too abstract a concept for the retards who occupy positions once held by journalists. They think it means the right to tape conversations without the consent of the taped, and the right to spew their inane witterings about nothing ad nauseam. Overarchingly they think it means the right to help yourself to the fruits of others' labour. Thus the resurgence of socialism and its endless promotion in the media. Key is popular not because he's anti-socialist (he isn't) but because he's "cool"—i.e. he speaks as the retard quackers speak, literally, mangling vowels and consonants—and with the arrested inflections of a five-year-old—and doesn't frighten the morons. If the Epsom vox pops on Campbell last night don't prove me right I can't imagine what would.

And these life forms have the vote!

Anyway, most comments on my article on other blogs thus far have missed the main point: ACT's blandification, of which the panic over the marijuana speech was merely a symptom. ACT's Neil, on this very thread, inadvertently demonstrates the problem: one shouldn't frighten the horses (morons), he says. We can see how well that approach is working!

Yes, I basically knew the

Mark Hubbard's picture

Yes, I basically knew the answer to my own question. Kiwiblog is supposed to be centre-right - is that correct?

I still haven't heard a single politician utter either of the words 'liberty' or 'freedom' this election, not in one debate, not in one party political broadcast - why? Because as this pragmatic moocher indicates, they are too scared to mention is as it will scare the slaves. They call it tactical voting, I say it simply indicates how incredibly far the West has fallen from classical liberalism back toward the Orwellian State.

Here's another one. I have a lot of respect for ex-ACT MP, Stephen Franks. He writes well on his blog. He stands for limited government and freedom of the individual, in theory. However, over last four months (guessing) I've left three comments on his blogs, including, as 'sort of a tester' yesterday, a completely non-controversial, middle of the road post about inappropriate use of police powers to this thread, yet that, and neither of the first two posts, both similarly middle of the road, have ever made it past moderation. Perhaps I'm paranoid, perhaps it's some sort of technical glitch, however, days after my posts others have always appeared. So I don't know. Perhaps he's wary because of my posts against welfare state and police state powers of IRD to threads on, or NBR, Red Alert or Standard, if he reads those. Perhaps my proud association with SOLO. Perhaps my old Life Behind the IRon Drape blog, which I'd like to think someone was reading. Who knows. But it's hard for me not to conclude that as much as he uses the word freedom on his blog, he's as scared with the practice of it as the other ACT-olytes. So they've never deserved my vote.

Still, I guess at least the pragmatist moochers at Kiwiblog are reading this site Sticking out tongue (And I have to give credit to Kim Jon Hickey who not only has never shut a single post down, but is prepared from time to time to debate his posts with me).

.... hey! Boo, FREEDOM ... quick run before it explodes ...

Brother Hubbard ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Mark—someone called Madman on Kiwiblog has an answer for you:

There are plenty of others who have much better “unique perspectives”, and who have worked for Act for much longer than Perigo, who could give a much better analysis than this drivel. I note on his blog there is a comment by a Libertarian who wonders “why Libertarianz can’t get traction”!!! That’s because there is no support for Libertarianism, despite how appealing it is!! That means you don’t talk about it, because it doesn’t get you votes!!! Don’s so intelligent but cannot figure this out?!?!?! Mr Banks was right to reject the stupid speech. It merely confirmed Dr Don as the Mr Magoo of NZ politics, and it doesn’t matter one iota whether he is a nice guy or not. I heard him on Radio NZ this morning still talking about the teatapes. STFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was no way Act could market itself as a purely liberal party only a few months out from an election, especially when it holds a conservative seat!! Some parts of Epsom are liberal, but there’s a good reason it’s been held by the Gnats forever!!! This speech was a disaster for Act and I’m told the lady who pushed it on Dr Don (Cathy Bridgeman??) was given the flick and rightly so!! But this wasn’t the biggest disaster for Act. That nutcase Heather Roy and her offsider Ewings were the ones that started the decline. They should be put in front of the firing squad!!!

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