Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Heather Roy's Diary – 26 May 2006

Heather Roy's Diary – 26 May 2006

This week's guest columnist is Helen Simpson, President of ACT On Campus. Helen is a student at Auckland University.

The comment I am most frequently faced with after declaring my political beliefs is that I am selfish. Unfair. Immoral. It is difficult to convince students that Classical Liberalism is the fairest and most moral political philosophy. Socialism seems so much more appealing to students, at least on the surface.

Take last week, for example, when Auckland University celebrated Eco- Week. According to its organisers, Eco-Week provides a "big helping of local live music, vegetarian food, environmental info and debate". It seemed to be a valuable opportunity for environmental groups to promote innovative ways to sustain our environment. The university was buzzing: music hummed in the background while environmentally sound freebees were given away, and the smell of freshly cooking sausages snaked its way through the area.

However, the week was destined to be little more than a pillaging of student resources and a one-sided meditation on a narrow set of views. On Thursday, the "Student Representative Council" at Auckland University - a group of around fifty self-selected students - passed a motion that the Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) urge the Government to place a ban on unsustainable light bulbs.

I discovered that sustainable light bulbs last significantly longer than ordinary light bulbs and are much more economically viable. They sounded perfect. So why, I asked, have I never heard of them? And, if they are so much more efficient, why would anyone buy any other type of light bulb? Finally, and most importantly, if they are so wonderful, why is there a need to ban unsustainable ones?

I found that sustainable light bulbs, although cheaper to sustain, destroy many older light fittings when turned on and they also omit a blindingly bright light. To fit them into new buildings is rational; to be forced into replacing all old light fittings is ludicrous, especially for those who would rather pay to feed their family than to replace an entire household's lighting.

A minority of students, many of whom contribute little more to the economy than purchasing baked beans and two-minute noodles, are pressuring for legislation that would force many New Zealanders into financial hardship for the sake of defunct and irrational ideology. Although the likelihood of such a bill passing at parliamentary level is slim, the rationale behind it remains a classic case of elitism.

Behind this absurdity lurks a much more malevolent force involving compulsion, hypocrisy and the destruction of human lives.

What bothers me further about the Eco-Week 'celebration' is that it was student funded - not through voluntary donations, but rather acquired through the compulsory student levy that is used to fund student affairs.

Through no choice of their own, the 32,000 plus students of Auckland University were forced to fund a highly politicised event at huge cost.

$150 of the money allocated to 'Eco-Week' was used to buy an ancient Persian smoking device, otherwise known as a Hookah, to promote 'safer smoking substances.' In between snipes at the immorality of 'corporate overproduction', apple scented tobacco smoke billowed past in carcinogenic clouds.

Funds also went towards an organic egg and spoon race. Many of its organisers, while having a ball of a time throwing around exorbitantly priced eggs, wore t-shirts that encouraged an end to world hunger and poverty.

I began to wonder how morality and fairness ever came to be attributed to the political parties and individuals behind such an event. While one Greens member began a rant about the evils of free trade, another anti- corporate woman dressed in a Chinese- manufactured chicken suit smoked a Benson and Hedges through her beak.

It is easy to dismiss such sights as harmless student protest. But the effects go much deeper into issues of morality and fairness. There is no morality or fairness involved in compulsion; neither can there be in hypocrisy. The example used above is just one of many that ACT on Campus encounters at universities on an everyday basis. It is part of the reason why we are involved in politics and why we maintain such an active opposition. Most students are not irrational; however, those that scream loudly are difficult to ignore.

Like all ACT members, we realise that the beauty of free-market capitalism lies in its ability to expand ingenuity and entrepreneurship. We know that freedom and choice is fairest to everyone, and unlike socialists, we understand that individuals place a higher value on self- protection and environmental protection than governments do. Free-market capitalism is the only system that provides us with the incentives to do so.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, lest he be carried away in the slavering jaws of Jack Tame…. but this was mere incompetence, not malice. At the same time the President of the United States was (a) falsely accusing one of his media critics of murder, and (b) threatening to shut down Twitter for attaching a warning label to Trump’s attempt at poisoning the electoral process by falsely claiming that postal voting has led to extensive voter fraud... More>>


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>


National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>


Lockdown Rules: Timeline For Moving To Level 1 Needed

The BusinessNZ Network is calling for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to Covid level 1. The network is concerned about large numbers of businesses that are at risk of closure if restrictions continue at the current ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>


Covid-19 Response: Law Setting Up Legal Framework For Covid-19 Alert Level 2 Passes

The law establishing a legal framework for the response to Covid-19 has passed its final reading and will become law in time for the move to Alert Level 2 tonight.
This is a bespoke Act designed specifically to stop the spread of COVID-19... More>>


Trans-Tasman Bubble: PMs Jacinda And Morrison Announce Plans

Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP have announced... More>>


Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>


Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>


The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>


Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>


Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>






InfoPages News Channels