Richard Prebble's "The Letter" 31 March 2003
UNDER COVER OF WAR
It is not just Mugabe who is using the world’s preoccupation with the war in Iraq to achieve his agenda. Here in NZ Labour is pushing its own unpopular policies:
- ABOLITION OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL Blanket media coverage of the war has meant papers like the Herald did not even report the 85% vote by Auckland law practitioners against the Supreme Court Bill. - NEW LAND TRANSPORT BILL It is the near unanimous view that this law will make new roads harder to build. - THE RMA AMENDMENT BILL Another measure that is being reported as pro-growth is a huge step towards a centrally controlled economy. Under the bill local councils can declare land to have heritage status. The effect of such a declaration is that the landowner cannot make use of his land – it becomes, in reality, a park.
Officials now believe that NZ will have a severe power shortage this winter. Labour’s answer - more regulations. It is a direct result of NZ being the only country in the Southern Hemisphere to sign the Kyoto treaty.
Government surplus is now on track to be $4 billion. That’s 3.1% of GDP! In other words, if government gave back all the over-taxing it would be more than $2,000 per household.
Last week’s Ngati Awa settlement broke a long-standing pledge not to settle Waitangi claims with private property. The forestry companies when they purchased cutting rights also purchased the road access. The Crown has agreed that Maori can charge the forestry companies a market rent to use their own roads! The international banks regard it as nationalisation without compensation.
A NEW THINK TANK
The Republican triumph not just in the Presidency but also in Congress is put down in part to the right’s triumph in the bat-tle of ideas. About 20 years ago, the right started to found their own think tanks. In Australia there is the Centre for Independent Studies. Here in NZ the closest we have is the Business Roundtable that commissions independent research of a very high standard. 18 months ago a conservative think tank, the Maxim Institute, was started. Its speciality is the family. The Institute is already producing researched alternatives. If the Prostitution Bill fails it will be because of research from the Institute into how similar Bills have had unintended consequences. The website is worth a look - http://www.maxim.org.nz . Last week the Institute held its first conference, In Search of Civil Society. An American speaker, Larry Reed, put forward:
- THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF SOUND PUBLIC POLICY 1. Free people are not equal and equal people are not free. 2. What belongs to you, you tend to take care of; what belongs to no one or everyone tends to fall into disrepair. 3. Sound policy requires that we consider long run effects and all people, not simply short run effects and a few people. 4. If you encourage something you get more of it. If you discourage something you get less of it. 5. Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. 6. Government has nothing to give anybody except what it first takes from somebody, and a Government that’s big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you’ve got. 7. Liberty makes all the difference in the world. (Larry Reed’s articles can be read at http://www.mackinac.org.)
Donna Awatere Huata has formally advised Parliamentary Services that she is now administering her own parliamentary resources. In effect she is an independent. Her first purchase? A state-of-the-art paper shredder. And who would work for Mrs Huata? She’s just employed her daughter as an electorate agent.
Since Labour took office, crime has increased. Police statistics show: Robbery up 15.8% Grievous assaults up 20.8% Violence up 13.3% Homicides up 23.2% Kidnapping up 36.1% Intimidation up 26.3%
ACT CONFERENCE VIDEOS
Due to popular demand, the major presentations of the ACT conference, including Milton and Rose Friedman’s, can be viewed at http://www.act.org.nz/conference.
ACT MPs have just completed a new book, Liberal Thinking, that is to be published in May.
BAGGING THE BAGHDAD HERALD
The Herald believes that one line on page six is balance for four front page attacks on ACT which is no doubt why the paper has not told readers that the Serious Fraud Office has dismissed the complaints against the Party. But then it could be that the Paper’s just too full of headlines like, "Herald correspondent a scourge of US foreign policy" - the paper obviously considers it a mark of honour when its writers are less than balanced.
REFUGEES WE’D LIKE TO SEE
Clark has refused to give refugee status to white farmers from Zimbabwe saying they’re not refugees. Well what about the cricketers Andy Flower and Henry Olonga. The media reports that the two cricketers who wore armbands are now in hiding because Mugabe’s thugs have threatened them. They’re real refugees and wouldn’t they go well in the Black Caps?