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Our Five Million Dollars: Not Yours To Give, John

Our Five Million Dollars: Not Yours To Give, John

Libertarianz leader Richard McGrath has attacked Prime Minister John Key’s decision to divert five million dollars of taxpayers’ money to victims of the Canterbury earthquake, saying acts of charity should start at the individual level, not with central government.

“If John Key wants to donate five million dollars to the people hit by this disaster, he should use his own money, and not dip into the pockets of other people.”

“Property owners have recourse to family, friends, workmates, employers, friendly societies and charities, for assistance in dealing with the problems arising from this disaster,” said Dr McGrath.

“The role of central government in this situation is to maintain law and order and protect private property while people repair damage to infrastructure and rebuild their homes or move away. Police should be drafted in, if necessary, to combat looting and other opportunist crime.”

“It is even debatable whether the government should have involved taxpayers, many of whom do not own real estate themselves, in providing earthquake insurance for those who do own property.”

“What is clear to me, though, is that the five million dollars that John Key so glibly promised was not his to give. It was yours, and mine.”

Paraphrasing U.S. Congressman Davy Crockett, who argued against the appropriation of public money for the widow of a distinguished naval officer, Dr McGrath added:

“I have as much sympathy for the sufferings of the people affected by this earthquake as anyone else, but we must not permit our respect for the victims of this disaster to lead us into perpetrating an act of injustice on those unaffected. Government does not have the moral authority to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every MP knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but politicians have no right to appropriate a dollar of public money.”

"Every New Zealander knows there was no debt previously owed to the people of Canterbury by the rest of New Zealand. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. Parliament does not have the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. We have the right to give as much money of our own as we please.”

“If every New Zealander will give five dollars to help the people of Canterbury, this will amount to much more than John Key has taken from us."

Dr McGrath said he would be giving fifty dollars of his own money to funds set up to aid the earthquake victims.

For more information, see www.libertarianz.org.nz.

ENDS

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