Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

On The Right: Confessions Of A Misspent Youth

Mike Heine is a member of Prebble's Rebels

Okay, a confession: I was once Nelson’s representative at a nationwide Labour Youth conference.

This I was reminded of as I drove through Wellington en route to Auckland, where I am now writing this. I spent over thirty hours last week travelling by bus, ferry and train (glowing examples of deregulation too, I might add) from Dunedin to Auckland, stopping briefly in Nelson and Wellington.

There is a point to this tale. While travelling through Cannons Creek in Porirua, I started wondering whatever possessed me to work for the Labour Party in the first place. Here was a poor area with a huge number of state houses. Same went for South Auckland, an area I already knew about but became more real when seeing it in person. Put frankly, there were more government-owned properties in these places than in the Havana CBD.

What did Labour want to do about this? Well there was the idea to increase benefits and to make it possible for tenants to buy their state house. The latter is a fine scheme if people actually want to buy their house, but it doesn’t help the people who want to own a better place. Of course, neither does the former. Giving people another $20 a week does not do anything to get them off the benefit, out of their dungy homes and into a meaningful way of life.

I used to think it would. I honestly thought increasing the amount of disposable income by a few dollars would truly help people. Oh yes, it may help them week to week, but it doesn’t break the cycle of welfare dependency. And that is the most important thing.

Other things drove me away from Labour also. When Labour Youth – now Young Labour – looked at joining an international socialist youth organisation, I wrote to the group and suggested that it wasn’t a good idea to align ourselves with some potentially dubious people, not to mention the label we would have with this shift to the left. I got no feedback, just a one-line acknowledgement in the following meeting’s minutes.

Then, some months later, a petition appeared in the local paper opposing the tariff cuts and was signed by both Labour and Green Party members. This was too much. I promptly disassociated myself from the party.

So why did I then join ACT? I was reminded of the answer last week when I saw these state houses. The solution to our problems is not to increase the welfare budget. It is to increase the opportunities for everyone to better themselves. Employment opportunities must be available. People must be given the chance to actually keep what they earn. It is all about incentives.

Jim Anderton wants overseas New Zealanders to come home. Why should they? My local barber told me about his sister who came back from England for a visit, and was amazed at the low standard of living here compared to London. Another relative came home from Hong Kong to live and has regretted it ever since. Labour and the Alliance try to appeal to these people by increasing the top tax rate to 39 percent. How is that going to keep people here? Even the dollar’s low value overseas has not been enough to stop people from leaving.

This is why I joined ACT. I had always supported the reform process of the 1980s, but more needed to be done. The tax rate, both corporate and personal, must be reduced. This will help business to expand, increasing employment opportunities and giving poorer people not only the chance to earn good money, but the chance to keep more of it. ACT wants people off welfare, and the only way to achieve that is to make the economy competitive.

Of course, the Left argues that this idea would also make the rich richer, and to them that is a tragic outcome. The fact that this makes the poor richer too is not a good enough reason to adopt these policies. This is absurd. Alas, ideology has played a large role in politics since the beginning of time. To the Left, giving the rich more money is as immoral as giving Hitler Czechoslovakia.

It is that way of thinking that made me realise just how much of a mess Labour and the Alliance could, and now have, put us in. From a personal point of view, I’m glad it only took me until I was 18 to change my way of thinking. In that vein, spare a thought for Jonathon Hunt – he’s still in Labour and he’s 100.

- Feedback to Mike Heine


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Dealing Crackdown, Addiction Support: Government Action On Synthetics

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it. More>>

ALSO:

Strategy Committee Unanimous: Wellington To Forge Ahead With Convention Centre

The three-storey Cable Street building, with around 18,000-square metres of floor space, will comfortably be able to host 1500 people for conventions. It includes a 1651sq m exhibition area that will attract international exhibitions too big for nearby Te Papa and provide an always-changing visitor attraction. More>>

ALSO:

Surveying The Surveillance: First IGIS Review Of Warrants Under New Act

The report sets out the Inspector-General’s interpretation of the new warrant provisions under the ISA and her expectations of the GCSB and NZSIS when they prepare warrant applications. More>>

SSC: 2018 Public Service Workforce Data Published

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has published the 2018 Our People, Public Service Workforce Data , which shows the Public Service is making significant progress in important areas. More>>

ALSO:

Sinking Cap: Auctions, Permanent Forests, Added To ETS

The move to auctions, signalled in an August consultation paper, will help put a cap on the number of emission units available over time. Annual announcements, looking forward five years, will help provide certainty for scheme participants, she said. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Select Committee Report: Achieving Smokefree 2025

In a historic first for select committees, the Māori Affairs Committee and the Health Committee presented their joint report on achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal to the House on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. More>>

"Shared Interests And Democratic Values": Peters To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. for talks with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and other senior members of the US Administration. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels