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

Gordon Campbell: On Welcoming The Major Health Reforms

Usually “reform” of government agencies is a cost cutting exercise in disguise, but this morning’s revision of the health system looks totally different. These reforms amount to the biggest shake-up of the health system since the neo-liberal reforms of the early 1990s, which have now been completely reversed. Good. The main ingredients announced by Health Minister Andrew Little this morning have included the setting up of a new and truly independent Maori Health Authority... More>>

 

Government: Major Reforms Will Make Healthcare Accessible For All NZers

Putting a greater emphasis on primary healthcare and ensuring fairer access for all New Zealanders are two of the main drivers of health sector reforms announced today by Health Minister Andrew Little. “We are going to put the emphasis squarely ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Border Exceptions Will See More Families Reunited

Hundreds more families who were separated by the border closure will be reunited under new border exceptions announced today, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said. More>>

ALSO:

National: Proposed Hate Speech Laws A Step Too Far

Reports of the Government’s proposed new hate speech laws go a step too far and risk sacrificing the freedoms New Zealanders enjoy, National’s Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says. “The reforms are supposedly including protections to every ... More>>

ALSO:


PM Ardern And PM Morrison: Commencement Of Two-Way Quarantine-Free Travel Between Australia And New Zealand

Joint Statement by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern Commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand Today, Australia and New Zealand have fulfilled their commitment to establish two-way quarantine free ... More>>

Claire Breen: ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform

Claire Breen , University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. More>>

Police: Police Accept Findings Of IPCA Report Into Photographs Taken At Checkpoint

Police accept the findings of a report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) relating to photographs taken at a checkpoint in Northland. On November 16, 2019, Police set up a checkpoint down the road from a fight night event in Ruakaka ... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels