Saturday, April 23, 2005

Libz Whangarei candidate Helen Hughes raises the roof


Libz Whangarei candidate Helen Hughes raises the roof

Libz Hamilton West candidate and Deregulation of Maori Affairs Spokesman Tim Wikiriwhi


Libz Hamilton West candidate and Deregulation of Maori Affairs Spokesman Tim Wikiriwhi

Libz leader Bernard Darnton


Libz leader Bernard Darnton

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Libz Conference 4, The Business End

The afternoon session begins with Terry Verhoeven presenting ideas for a national campaign, and money is pledged. Webmaster Richard Goode introduced his plans for the website in election year.

Toastmistress ‘Susan the Libertarian’ – well-known to Leighton Smith’s listeners - told candidates how to ‘Enhance Your Communication Skills,’ and warned about being ‘too well-read’ for your audience – something libertarians and Objectivists are prone to – and need to ensure they present their ideas clearly and simply, and argue with passion. Package properly. Repetition and Alliteration/same phrases over and over: Comrade Clark; Socialist Sisterhood; That Silly Cow Steve Chadwick, Nanny Government, Get the Government out of your face, out of your wallet and out of your life. Feminazi. Heil Helen. Marxist Wilson. Helengrad. Ministries of Mis-education, Injustice. Government Slavery Tax, Child Molesters of the Mind. And introduced some ‘scare words.’ NCEA: National Communist Education Agenda.

Much interest in the candidate policy debates coming up – especially to watch candidates follow Susan’s tips.

How should we remove state welfare? What transitional policy is the best? Nik The Negative Income Tax (NIT) proposal was put by Nik Haden and team (the Nits). I confess the idea still leaves me mystified, but apparently it’s something both Milton Friedman and Sue Kedgley approve, so … Bernard, Sally O’Brien and team (The Nitpickers) argued that the idea is ‘bollocks’ – complicated and intrusive. Sally argued for the privatisation of welfare. As chairman, I tried to remain neutral. The audience disagreed, and the Nits voted down.

LIBZ ON CAMPUS AT VIC
Luke and Philip Howison outlined what they’re up to with Libz on Campus at Victoria, and making it a marketplace of ideas for students coalescing under the Voluntary Student Membership(VSM) banner – the VSM argument is a ready-made one for radicalising young students for freedom. Even Young Nats and young ACT people are radicalised by the VSM argument, and many are realising that in areas of personal freedom such as recreational drug use and the like, both ACT and the Nats are just not up to it.

STUDENT POLITICS IN AUCKLAND
Sean Kimpton told us his experiences campaigning for VSM, and told us we need to get excited about being successful in a campaign. Auckland’s VSM campaign was successful, and Sean was and is a part of it. To win the VSM campaign, they engaged in guerrilla activism on the moral front. It was intellectual activism – eight-hundred word leaflets arguing the issues! And winning on it. High quality literature. Printed out the opposition’s lies in a series – people wanted to ‘collect the set’ from 1-12. But they told many more than twelve lies.

Compulsory Student Membership (CSM) ran a crap campaign. Leafletting from 6:30am every day by the VSM team outstripped the CSM campaign’s sloth. Chalking, postering, leafleting, and lecturing … Sean argued for freedom of association in ledcture theatres across campus. No more commies and jobsworths at Student Union. Student Union has to provide a service – and student attitude is different. Student polling shows students expect to pay for their own education now. Remember when campaigning that reality is on your side … and you can win.

CAMPAIGNING IN HAMILTON
Robin Thomsen blasted through the campaigning that Tim Wikiriwhi and he have been doing with their team in Hamilton. It’s hard campaigning when unlike the socialists and government employees you actually have jobs. But in the last council elections they planted the seed of liberty in numerous Hamiltonians, some already partial to it by the earlier efforts of the likes of Steve McClennan.
Dire Despot Yates is now being targeted by Robin; Tim is targeting MP Martin Gallagher who, according to Tim, is one of the best MPs since he generally does nothing.

Robin called for a National Day of Action for Budget Day, protesting against government theft on the steps of Parliament, and then concluded with stories from their New Freeland Show on 1206AM.

An inspiring afternoon, with another debate to come!

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Libz Conference 3, Candidates to inspire

Libz electoral candidates are announced, and each spoke to great applause and tremendous enthusiasm. All candidates are incredibly committed, and hugely inspirational.

North Shore contingent spoke first:
Michael Murphy is standing in North Shore against Wayne Mapp. Wayne Who? And ‘Phil’ McCracken. And Deborah Coddington, who clearly stood down because she doesn’t want to stand against a Libertarian.
So why at my age do I want to do this, asked Micheal? Because we once took for granted the things that kids and their parents just don’t’ understand. Self-responsibility. Kids can’t climb trees without a safety harness – we now have a culture where the govt wants to think for you. Too many want laws, and regulations and to have the living shit taxed out of them. We’ve got to get back to being human beings again – being a sovereign human being once again. You could once buy Opium over the counter, now you need a prescription for Voltaren. The culture needs to change. That’s the reason I’m standing. I like a good scrap! The standard of politicians in this country is just appalling lobby fodder. I mean to change that.

Huge applause.

Peter Linton in Northcote: He’s spoiling for a fight! People must have the right to defend themselves. Sally O’Brien in Rodney intends the North Shore contingent to be a ‘centre of excellence.’

Julian Pistorius in Northland and Helen Hughes in Whangarei are inspired and inspiring. Julian is gong to give his opponents a big fright – incredible commitment! Their meeting with the Orauta School trustees inspired them, and us.

Tim Wikiriwhi and Robin Thomsen standing in the Hamilton’s are really looking forward to continuing their campaign, already begun with their local radio show ‘New Freeland.’ Dianne Yates is the point-woman for Hate Speech laws; Robin wants to target that hypocrisy. Tim spells out the message that he is presenting to Maori, that they need to stand on their own feet, and they can’t do that with other people’s money. End Waitangi Apartheid.

Peter Cresswell in Epsom: Seeks your vote on his blog in order to make his final decision. He really wants to help ensure ACT don’t get a seat for their sub-5% security, just as he helped make sure that Jeanette didn’t get a seat in Coromandel last time. Says ACT need to realise their mortality, and his candidacy should do that. Phil Howision. Hutt South. Standing against Mallard, and the only candidate young enough to have endured NCEA. But all the parties have the same educational policies, as all essentially support the status quo. Phil’s problem is that he is so articulate he makes the NCEA look good. Mallard’s problem will be that he just can’t be seen to bully

Scott Wilson pointed out that the standard of MPs is appallingly low; our candidates are simply inspiring. Huge applause again. Sitting MPs are not ten feet tall, they are pygmies. Our job is to advance our ideas – it’s a battle of ideas we’re in, and our job is to shift the debate.

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Libz Conference, 2: Leader Bernard Darnton says it's a fight worth fighting

Leader Bernard Darnton said the campaign has already begun. It is a fight worth fighting. Libz is the only party principled and committed to freedom.

Most party conferences at theis point would see the leader stand up and explain the party’s policies. Not us. No need. That’s why we’re special. Our policies haven’t changed since 1996. They don’t need to: they are all based on principles.

Policies are not chosen by focus groups, but because they are RIGHT! And we MEAN THEM!

Went to a ‘public meeting’ about GE last election at which all parties’ candidates appeared – questions had been mailed out to candidates, the National Party candidate had an e-mail from Head Office telling him the answers to all the questions on the party line. He leaned over to congratulate Bernard on his answers “I couldn’t say that.” Who is the wasted vote.

Principles are not important to such parties – getting into power is.

There are 19 parties seeking power, but they are al saying the same thing. We want to run your life, and we want you to pay fro the privilege.

They each have a plan fro how you should run your life.

They want to have their cake, and eat yours too.

Libz the only party consistently in favour of personal liberty and economic freedom. The only one advocating freedom across the board.

Remember what inspired you to join Libz in the first place. It’s not what tax rate we should have or how much money to give to artists …. It was a desire to run your own life.

Only important question when judging a policy is: does this make me more free? Or does it make me less free?

We know running a party is difficult – a few new parties with ‘freedom’ in their name. We are painfully aware of the difficulty of running a party, and we all know the infamous electoral cock-up of 2002. When Bernard heard, he was gutted, as we all were. Felt his soul had been torn out.

A good show in 2005 will kill of that memory. We’ve fixed the mistakes, we have talented driven people that make huge contributions to the party, many never seen. We really have top-shelf officers.

The best thing about activism is that IT IS FUN. Arguments aren’t bad manners, THEY”RE FUN. Election time is perfect time to GET STUCK INTO THE BASTARDS! Even when there is no libertarian in the room, you never know who is listening when you debate.

During recent campaigning around Helengrad…in a Karaoke bar … at empty space at end of table, they said ‘you can’t sit here unless you sign here.’ We signed up a dozen members, and had a great chat with all of them. That’s how easy it is. You never know where your next supporter will come from. (Party Sec Robert Palmer later pointed out that he originally joined the party through one such conversation!)

If you’re not campaigning for fun or profit then you’re not doing it right. When Density Church stomped down Lambton Quay last year, Bernard rang his friends and ran downstairs with a ‘legalise gay marriage’ picket and quickly copied a few hundred ‘Legalise Gay Marriage’ flyers, and started talking to passers-by and the Density nutters and passers-by were queuing up to get them! Strike when the activism is hot! The Iranian Ambassador was visiting at the time, so Iranian flag was run up the flagpole – so Brian Tamaki was ranting against gay marriage while the Iranian flag flew proudly behind him! Some of us caught the irony. Hilariously, Brian didn’t.

When I see Libz news clippings and photos I always wish: I Wish I could have been there! The events are so much fun! The people you meet always hold plenty of interest. And you’re trying to effect the future you believe in.

We’ve got people no our list who have been Libz since 1996; we’ve got new people who only recently joined and are full of enthusiasm. We have a chance to make some noise. Ten years ago this party did not exist. In that time some hundred or so parties have come and gone. We Haven’t. We’ve staked our claim. This year we seek to expand that. This is a fight worth fighting, and one you will enjoy.

We know we’ve always had the right policies. We know we’ve got the right people. Let’s let everyone else know.

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Libz Conference,1: The President speaks

Not PC is reporting today from the Libertarianz Party conferencein Auckland.

Pres Scott Wilson began the morning. Scott ran through the many supremely competent office holders now running the party – professional, accountable, and committed – stronger now than at any time in our history – 14 electorate camndidates already confirmed; 30 list candidates to be confirmed.

Same electoral funding as CHP, Destiny and Alliance, because of similar polling, and our excellent council election results.

One minute on TV1 at prime time gives every person in the country the chance to get our message.

So why do we bother? The Greens and ALCP are interested in issues of personal freedom. ACT is well-funded; Rodney is moderately libertarian; so why not just join them and radicalise them? We are an open party, we have members from all parties in Libz. But all parties change policies regularly.

I’ll take just three ACT policies at random to explain their problem:

DRUGS. At best they’re silent, at worst they want to lock up all drug users. The liberal party!

CIVIL UNIONS: They won’t confront that marriage should be liberalised, that the state should simply recognise people’s choice. They’re just conservatives, when even Catholic Spain allows gay marriage.

PROSTITUTION: They were against two adults being allowed to make choices for themselves.

Where they fail is they don’t believe in personal and social freedom. We believe you own your bank account, your life and your body. ACT agree with the first. They don ‘t even understand the second. [And they have no idea what to do about the disaster that is the RMA, Ed.]

We are not going to criminalise drug users. We will not be offering to lock them up. The ‘liberal party’ does!

The ALCP are dead in the water. And look what the Greens have done to their one member standing up for personal freedom! So much for their commitment for personal freedom.

We’re not a personality cult, as some entities have claimed, we are a serious party committed to getting Nanny government off your back, out of your pocket, and our of your life.

This election we are going to get that message across in spades.

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Friday, April 22, 2005

The perfect martini does exist

After lengthy research, and many repetitions of that research, I have much pleasure in announcing that I can now reveal the recipe for the perfect martini. It exists, it is real, it can be yours!

The perfect martini is made with vodka, not gin, and is made with the best vodka you can buy/bludge/cadge from someone who has just come through Duty Free. Absolut and Stolichnaya are good. And yes, it must be shaken, not stirred (can I hear some mumbling at the back from the purists?)

Now take your shaker and fill it with crushed ice. Let it sit for a second as you get two glasses out (you just can't drink a martini alone) and put in each glass an olive, a cocktail onion and about a teaspoon of brine from either olive or onion.

Now, accuracy is important now: pour over the ice in the shaker six measures of vodka and three measures of extra dry vermouth. Shake vigorously, pour into the glassware and enjoy its clear oiliness as it fills the glass.

The ideal serving accompaniments are at least one friend, and the Benny Goodman Small Groups CD on your player. The Breakfast at Tiffany's soundtrack is an acceptable alternative.

See you in the morning. (Hic) And in the meantime, feel free to post your own perfect martini recipe below.

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A weekend with the Libz

This weekend I’ll be hanging out at the Libertarianz conference here in Auckland. Read about it here.

I can’t promise to be as diligent a reporter as Aaron Bhatnagar was at last week's National conference, but I’ll do what I can.

Must away to get the drinks trolley ready. Do check in later.

;^)

RMA is permissive? Yeah, right.

"Property developers could face more hurdles in getting large new projects approved after a Supreme Court decision this week," says Resource Management Act (RMA) specialist Richard Brabant this morning.

Like they need more hurdles, right? And who pays when every new hurdle adds costs? You can answer that one yourself, can't you.

According to the RMA's cheerleaders, the RMA is en example of "permissive legislation." That's what ACT's Ken Shirley (then Labour MP) said at the time it was introduced. Further, the RMA does not allow anti-competitive behaviour - or so said the cheerleaders.

Well, tell that to Josephine Grierson and her tenants and customers at the Fox outlet shopping centre in Northcote; it is the Resource Consent for this project that the Supreme Court has just turned down. The Resource Consent was in the Supreme Court because shopping mall giant Westfield objected to another shopping centre down the road from their own.

The RMA is permissive. Really?

And it prohibits anti-competitive behaviour. Yeah, right.

Left? Right? A plague on you both

Greg Stephens at NZ Political Comments was asking recently about the usefulness and derivation of the left-right spectrum, and I suggested essentially that its usefulness is close to zero, except for those with minds as one-dimensional as the left-right spectrum itself.

As for its derivation, the terms derive from the seating arrangements of the Post-Revolutionary French Parliaments, one of the more venal and violent ruling bodies anywhere, anytime. The venality exposes the real truth of the terms: each post-revolutionary group wanted to plant its snout firmly in the trough of wealth opened looted and filled up by the Revolution’s executions and property seizures.

Those on the right-hand benches wanted to claim the loot for the already wealthy; those on the left claimed the loot for the poor (and then, like Rob Campbell and Ken Douglas, they moved to the right). And those in the centre? They just hoped to keep their heads on while all around them were losing theirs, courtesy of Madame Guillotine.
So that’s where it came from, and what it describes: Robin Hood at one end and the Sheriff of Nottingham at the other. So where do greens, fascists, communitarians, libertarians, Stalinists, Nazis and Helen Clark fit on the left-right spectrum? The correct answer is, ‘Uh, I don’t know.’

So is it any use then as a measure of political position? The answer is both yes and no. No, because government’s legitimate business is not looting from one group to enrich another (that is to say, it shouldn’t be), and thus terms coined only to delineate the snout in the trough should no longer be considered valid. Yes, because modern politics, unfortunately, continues to be an exercise in such venality. Modern politics is an exercise in getting the snout of one’s group firmly and permanently in said trough.

Self-appointed interest group representatives continue to clamour for special favours for their group at the expense of others. Lobbyists in Wellington pour arguments into the ears and alcohol down the throats of politicians in pursuit of these special favours. Politicians curry favour with their chosen groups - their ‘power bases’ - promising special favours bought at the expense of someone else in order to keep the politician momentarily above water before sinking under the weight of the group’s growing voraciousness, and the noise of the next group’s clamouring.

And the guy picking up the tab for all this is the one who’s completely forgotten about.

Such is modern politics – a disgusting, bruising process - and terms like “left” and “right” are used to mask the nature of it and to give it a veneer of respectability. This oft-used and archaic political ‘saw’ slices up the body politic into two kinds of thief, and helps give respectability to their thieving.

It is a saw that sees the “right” purportedly upholding the interests of business and existing wealth at the expense of others (as if wealth can only come at the expense of others), and the “left” purportedly upholding the claim of the poor and disadvantaged to their ‘fair share’ of the pie (as if wealth was a static and once-baked commodity). It sees the right upholding the censorship of personal, intellectual and moral values on the basis that “we know what is best for you," and the left extolling the regulation and emasculation of all wealth creation on the basis that it is “exploitative of the poor, and probably bad for the environment to boot." And it leaves the centre exposed as a “zero” i.e., Peter Dunne.

It is time to cry: “Enough! A plague on both your houses.” And on Peter Dunne. It is time to recognise that there is no ‘pie’ to be sliced ever more thinly and redistributed to ever hungrier groups, but only wealth created and owned by those individuals who created it; time to recognise that the saw’s slicing gives momentary succour only to the loudest and strongest of groups, with claims measured not on validity but on the size of the group and the volume of their voices.

For who misses out in this wolf-pack-ridden wasteland, this constant war of group against group? Who misses out is the smallest minority of all, that’s who: the individual.

When the two false alternatives of “left” and “right” are taken out for a drive, it is the engine of freedom that is left at the side of the road - an engine whose motive power is the thinking, creative power of the individual, and whose mainspring is the rights of all individuals to live their own lives in their own way, without fear of being forced against their will by others.

That’s why the seductive brandings of “left” and “right” continue to be used. Such groupings exclude all arguments for the rights and freedom of the individual from the debate in the same way as they were excluded from the Post-Revolutionary French Parliaments, and for the same reason. The left-right ‘political spectrum’ effectively excludes the two sides’ common enemy from the debate – individualism. That is the aim, and it is the measure of its advocates’ success that we continue to use such terms, meaningless, distortionary and antiquated as they are.

That is why I favour dropping the labels “left” and “right” as meaningless and divisive - they merely tell us which gang is making their illegitimate demands on us. I suggest instead making the spectrum two-dimensional instead of one by adopting the Nolan Chart (named after its inventor David Nolan) and its accompanying five labels Authoritarian, Libertarian, Left-Liberal, Right-Conservative and Centrist. You'll start to see those labels appearing on my sidebar as I start collecting responses to this quiz from fellow bloggers.

I have already been collecting over the last ten years the scores of MPs and their supporters, and I’ll shorrtly be posting many of them here as well. Two-dimensions and five labels do a much better job of explaining political positioning than one-dimensional thinking ever did, and most importantly two-dimensional thinking opens the door for the long-overdue inclusion of individualism in the political equation.

[DISCLOSURE: Recycled from a piece by myself originally published in the Herald, November 1997.]

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

What's a woman to do?


‘'Big ups'’ as they say to the Auckland kick-boxer who pummelled a burglar last night found rummaging around his lounge after midnight. Well done, sir!

But what would you and I do when confronted with someone rummaging through our lounge uninvited? Or someone threatening violence against us or our family? What for instance could a women do, or a scrawny bloke, out alone after dark and set upon by thugs?

Despite police pronouncements at repeated arms inquiries that the thing to do when confronted with criminals is to ring the police, I think even George Hawkins now realises that the police are too busy to answer emergency calls when somebody is being set upon: too busy surfing for porn, collecting revenue or sorting out unassigned files. And we know that the 111 call system is a joke even if our victim could get to the phone.

So what can our victim do if she'’s set upon? She may be a kick-boxer who can do over a burglar with her bare hands, but if not there’s nothing she can do but allow herself to be done over, or to hope for a kick-boxer to stroll past.

Our Nanny Government bans women from carrying a gun to defend themselves or their families - bizarrely enough it even bans them carrying mace, tasers, or pepper spray - and it is still trying to enact gun control legislation to remove guns from the law-abiding citizens. Non-law-abiding citizens just can't wait!

So what’s a woman to do, then? Well, if she's Helen Clark or Rosie O'Donnell then she can have men with guns protect her, but if not you'll have to ask these guys about making a submission on the Firearms Bill– so you can too, and you might consider letting Ann Coulter help you with what to say.

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Rob Moodie on The Wire

Rob Moodie is interviewed on 95bFM on The Wire at 1pm(ish), ie., in roughly five minutes!

Live feed is here.

From the bFM site:
Lawyer representing the Berrymans who has taken a principled but perhaps personally expensive stand in publishing the Butcher Report. The report lays the blame for the bridge accident at their farm at the Army's door, but by publishing it in defiance of a court order Moodie faces serious consequences. Who said Lawyers are always unprincipled.

Right to property = a place to stand

Yesterday I commented to Lucyna that you can't be sure that someone is actually on the same side as you if there is disagreement over what concepts such as property rights actually mean.

Today Tibor Machan writes here on the confusion over property rights, and some of the consequences of that confusion:
Now if it is clearly understood that the respect and protection of the right to private property facilitates not only the pursuit of one’s direct, immediate self-interest but also all those other projects that people so evidently and widely support, then the abrogation of that right can be seen in a different light from the usual.

Many who oppose private property rights do so on the grounds that ... it simply facilitates the pursuit of private goals. Thus it must neglect others and impersonal goals. But if we understand that private property rights facilitate much else besides taking good care of one’s immediate concerns, including many of those I have listed above, then attacking it takes on a very different coloration...

Putting it a bit differently, attacking the right to private property amounts to attacking the judgments of private individuals who would have the option to support various goals they believe in. Instead, government officials—politicians, bureaucrats and their advisors—get to confiscate private property in taxes and other takings and they get to say to what ends these will be contributed.
Note especially what Tibor says about confiscation, and remember that compensation for confiscation is what many still believe as being being the essence of property rights: ACT's 2002 manifesto for example offers the plank: "Improve the security of property rights by establishing a prima facie right of compensation for regulatory takings."

What can one say except, 'Marx help me!'

And he can. Remember that point one of Marx's Communist Manifesto - point one! - was the abolition of private property. Marx understand the importance of private property; he knew that as a bulwark of freedom it would need to be destroyed first so that the terrorism could commence forthwith.

The UN even understands the importance of property rights: Article 17 of the Universal Dclaration of Human Rights declares: (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Ayn Rand understood the concept of private property rights and unlike the drafters of that declaration she knew how to defend it; she knew that this bulwark of freedom must be protected by being defended with the right ideas, and defend them she did. She understood that "the right to life is the source of all rights - and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights" - without a place to stand - "no other rights are possible."

Point that out to the drafters of the RMA Amendments when you get a chance.

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No Frank Lloyd Wright for SOLO

As the 2005 SOLO conference kicks off this weekend in LA, news comes in that the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in LA is " is temporarily closed because of rain-related damages." Today's news report on the Ennis-Brown house here.

The most filmed of Wright's houses - it appeared in movies such as 'Brazil' and 'Blade Runner' - there are still hopes of it rising once again to its former glory, as has the house named the 'building of the century': Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, just re-opened on the East Coast.

A bit far for SOLOists to travel though, I think.

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Rob Moodie and Army both face contempt

The army has launched a contempt of court action against Dr Rob Moodie for posting the Butcher Report on the internet reports the Dominion this morning. It makes no mention of the contempt felt by the New Zealand public for the army, but no doubt that is what the "thousands" feel who have been downloading and distributing it:
Rob Moodie said yesterday he would fight the action and would not be silenced.
The report itself was not suppressed by Justice Wild and the copy he put on the Internet was not one of those he had been ordered to return to the army, he said.
Thousands of people had seen the report on the Internet despite Crown Law putting pressure on Internet service providers to remove it from websites.
Transport and industrial relations select committee chairman Mark Gosche said last night there had been no formal request yet from any committee member for an inquiry into the saga.
Gosche's comments are worth noting, as are the names and contact details for those committee members:
Peter Brown, Deborah Coddington, Lianne Dalziel, Helen Duncan, Hon Mark Gosche (Chairperson), Dr Wayne Mapp, Lynne Pillay, Mike Ward and Hon Maurice Williamson. Feel free to make contact with them to encourage their makig that formal request.

Supporters of Dr Moodie who live in or near Wellington might also like to attend the High Court on Wednesday to show him your support.

Meanwhile, Winston confides that he intends to keep trying to table the Butcher Report, but as Parliament does not re-open until may 3rd that comes too late for Rob Moodie.

Second Week Stats and General Business

Just finished my second full week in the blogosphere. I'm having a ball, and I hope you are too with what you see here. My special find this week is that I've learned what an RSS feed is, and now I've put one into my Firefox browser I can read every blog in creation in five minutes. I definitely commend one of these babies to your attention.

Now to the stats: The good news is that as of this morning this blog has now received 9,000 hits, the 9,000th being a visitor from Ireland. The bad news is that this visitor only stayed 8 seconds. Perhaps they had a newsreader like me? I can see too that 34% of you have Firefox browsers, and that the top five visitors are from NZ, the US, Canada, Germany, and Australia. Oddly, Guam figures in eighth - is there something I should know?

Thanks this week to all those who've linked to me this week, particularly Stephen Hicks, Chris Sciabarra, Sir Humph, Scribble Me This, good (and not as old as Vivien Leigh) Ruth again, Spotlight and No Right Turn. Right back at you, guys (and do let me know if I've missed you out!) :-)

Following NZ bloggers' mentor DPF, once again I'll list the top ten searches for this site for no other reason than that Dave does, so there must be a good reason. Fortunately there were no hits for "front bums", and a few interesting additions joined several old friends. Let me at this point offer a special welcome to those young ladies who came here seeking nannying work in Scandinavia, and another to those seeking principles in their political opposition - the unfortunate scarcity of these worldwide was enough to propel this blog to a number one ranking for this search. All hits are from Google unless otherwise noted:

1. rob moodie home page berryman (Not on 1st page)
2. berrymans/bridge (6th)
3. adrian chisholm (2nd)
4. bridge collapse timber transoms not sealed (2nd)
5. adrian chisholm sludgegate (1st)
6. bob moodie butcher report (3rd)
7. berryman report (Yahoo Search: 5th)
8. the affects of music on the brain (Yahoo Search: 6th)
9. nannying in norway (1st!)
10. principles of a political opposition (1st)

Rest assured that I'm not resting on laurels here at Not PC, and helful new features are being added all the time - feel free to make suggestions. A poll has been added, a Recent Comments panel to help navigation, and a Favourite Posts list to help you find popular pages. Clearly, the Berrymans' fight for justice continues to attract people here, and I will continue to follow this news as it unravels. I've also amended my blog listings slightly, and I'm happy to hear from Authoritarian bloggers who wish to be raised to Libertarian, or even from 'Good People' who wish to go bad. :-)

That's all the good news. An unwelcome new feature this week has been the arrival of insulting and utterly irrational anonymous posters. Rest assured that I can accept the former, but I won't accept the latter and these posts will be deleted as I see them.

DPF's rules of engagement, given here and here seem reasonable ones, and as long as I retain comments I will be adopting his policies with, however, one addition: I will not be giving the benefit of the doubt to anonymites, particularly to those offering only wilful slander or a slithering farrago of half truths. Such posts will be deleted as soon as I see them, particularly if from anonymites.

Anonymites aside, I've enjoyed my second week. I trust you have too.

Cheers,

PC
(Peter Cresswell)

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Candidate surveys

Libertarianz Hutt South candidate Philip Howison is one of the first to return No Right Turn's candidate survey. These are Philip's answers here. I have to say I agree with Philip on everything except his answer on the question of sitting MPs with which he agrees. Clearly Philip wouldn't support me standing in Epsom. (Vote down there on the sidebar to help me decide.)

Anyway, if there were sitting MPs with which I agreed then we wouldn't need the Libertarianz, would we?

Pressure mounts for Berryman justice

The pressure going on politicians over the Berryman case is slowly bringing results.

Winston Peters tried to table the Butcher Report that is now all over the internet. Yesterday former Defence Minister Max Bradford confirmed publicly that Army suppression of the Butcher Report is possibly "criminal." Michael Laws has spent the morning on Radio Live raising the case, and now, National's Rural Affairs spokesman is finally speaking out, seven years after he first raised the issue and then dropped it, saying the Berrymans deserve justice. At least he's speaking out now, and seeking 'cross-party' support for his stand.

The silence of Rodney Hide on this issue is now becoming deafening.

[UPDATE: Still nothing from Rodney Hide, but Stephen Franks has entered the fray with a very nuanced position, talking about why policians are staying silent, and what "a select committee inquiry" should do. He's not exactly calling for an inquiry though, and one wonders if it is Franks's advice that Rodney is following in remaining silent on an issue in which even Michael Laws has had a say.

Anyway, Franks suggests "The select committee will have to open up the nanny state concept of law. For 20 years the legal industry has been bent on making criminals out of people who mean no harm....The committee’s terms of reference will have to be wide enough to go past the first villains.” So there you go.]

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From V8 demolition to Kaikohe Demolition

As V8 racing in Wellington faces demolition by the RMA, frustrated Wellington punters can still enjoy a slice of heartland Kiwi culture being celebrated on the big screen. 'Kaikohe Demolition' returns to Wellington screens this weekend only for another run around the oval track. Director Florian Habicht finds ballet in demolition, and character where many would see none, and you leave the theatre feeling great about a country in which people like these can still enjoy their own life in their own chosen way.

"You caught exactly what makes that area and those people so great!" said Mikey Havoc. Read reviews here, about the production team here, and see it this weekend here.

When gutting legislation sounds fishy

Can someone tell me the difference between 'gut' and 'abolish'?

Rodney Hide says ACT will "unshackle New Zealand business from the red tape that is strangling them." Great. I wonder what the details are?

First, ACT's press release doen't promise to to reduce compliance costs, they promise "fewer compliance costs." Uh huh? And their policy release argues that "lower taxes also mean lower compliance costs." Huh, really?

Second, Rodney promises to "Gut legislation that imposes the greatest level of compliance costs on business, including the Resource Management Act, the Employment Relations Act, the Health and Safety in Employment Act and the Holidays Act."

"Gut." Not abolish. 'Gut' is better than ACT's previous promise of 'radical reform' or to 'confine the RMA to its original purpose,' but is there any reason at all to retain any of these Acts?

Rodney promises to 'gut' them "by returning to the basic principles of the sanctity of private property rights and the freedom to contract." Great. But as always with ACT's promises, there are no further details.

The truth being avoided with these broadbrush promises is that you can't return to the basic principles of the sanctity of private property rights and the freedom to contract if you retain any of these Acts - you can only do that if you abolish and start again.

In the case of the Resource Management Act (RMA), you can only return to the basic principles of the sanctity of private property rights if you abolish it and return to the basic principles of the common law. The common law has seven-hundred years of sophistication in dealing with the issues and conflicts the RMA purports to deal with; the RMA has just over ten. Why would you retain it at all?

I've made these arguments before, most recently here and here. We know Ken Shirley and Rodney Hide read them, because they went on to plagiarise them in subsequent speeches. Here's Ken's. Now that's fine, that's what our ideas are for, but unfortunately, they left out the conclusion. They always do.

Lessons from Peron, 1: How to give an answer without giving an answer

Jim Peron writes a whole article here without mentioning either himself or the evidence against him, as a prelude no doubt to showing that the world and his brother has been conspiring against him.

There are no easy answers, he argues. Oh purleeese. Maybe he just had all those pictures of naked boys and published all those stories about seducing them because he was doing research?

Contaminated Blood - will Clark deliver this time?

Update from the Herald site:
Haemophiliacs who contracted hepatitis C during the bad-blood saga want compensation, better medical treatment, and an apology from the Government.

Their proposal was delivered to the Health Ministry yesterday by Mike Carnahan of the Haemophilia Foundation and accepted by the ministry's deputy director-general of clinical services, Colin Feek.
I wonder if their demands include unburying the relevant documents relating to the actions of then-Minister of Contaminated Blood Helen Clark. What do you think she might have to hide?

Will the Nats take up this case, as they've still failed to take up the Berryman's? Not likely - they will want to protect their former colleague and then-Minister of Contaminated Blood Simon Upton.

My earlier comments on this case are here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What's in the new 'Free Radical'?


"War is the real enemy," says PM here.

"Pacifism Kills," says PC here: in The Free Radical. Only from your newsagent, or subscribe online.

The latest Free Radical magazine includes PC's latest article on what Helen could learn from the Moriori, and a cover story exposing the NCEA fraud. George Cordero explains why appeasement isn't practical, Judith Collins MP explains why Hate Speech laws are immoral, and Bernard Darnton & Julian Pistorius explain why liberty is worth celebrating.

Why don't gun laws work? Gary Mauser will tell you. Why was communism no bogeyman? Tibor Machan explains. Does the tsunami sink God? Lindsay Perigo wonders if it does. Is contempt good? Jeff Perren thinks it might be.

Find out why Charlie Chaplin was hated, why Ayn Rand shouldn't be, and how Barbara Branden feels about the latest attacks on her.

It's all here, and only in your Free Radical.

You won't find any of this online, so subscribe now, or order it up at your local newsagent.

The Free Radical: Politics, Economics and Life as if Freedom Mattered!

[Hat-tip to Sir Humph for the quote and his comments on the PM's vacant mind.]

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Butcher Report suppression may be criminal says former Defence Minister

Former Defence Minister Max Bradford has said he wonders if the Army has broken the law by not telling him about the Butcher Report when he was Minister.
"There’s an issue about whether or not there’s a criminality involved in not advising the minister who is responsible," Bradford says.

On Newstalk ZB yesterday Helen Clark said the Army had given the report to the Berrymans’ lawyers, but she did not know when. I comment on that claim here.

In response, Dr Moodie told the Herald last night it was simply not correct to say the Berrymans’ lawyer had ever seen the report, in any form.

"If it had been released, it would have been used," he said.

[UPDATE: Duncan Bayne links to another mirror for Rob Moodie's comments on the Butcher Report here.]

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Maori Party want more

The Maori Party are yet another party unhappy with the Electoral Commission's largesse. They call the amount of taxpayer largesse they're getting 'disappointing.' They want more loot from the taxpayer to fund their campaign, just as they want more loot from the taxpayer to fund their 'independence' - although to be fair they seem equable enough about the funding, saying they planned to campaign face-to-face anyway.

Odd though that the word 'disappointing' appears only in the headline of their presser, leading to speculation that Jordan Carter might be writing Tariana's pressers. Or at least giving lessons to those who do.

And the Libertarianz answer questions here as to why they're taking tax dollars for their campaign. "A vote for Libertarianz will be a vote for this system of propaganda funding to be scrapped," they say.

Brash supports school facing Ministry prosecution

I've previously praised the actions of Orauta School and Raupanga School for defying the Ministry of Mis-Education's orders to close their doors and send their children to the state's factory schools. Now Don Brash is found praising trustees of Papakura's unregistered Te Kura 0 Kawepo school which faces closure for similar reasons:
[Brash] pointed to a newsletter sent out by the trust, which said: We believe it is more important to teach Maori kids to read, write and count than it is to ensure that ineffective state providers are protected by the Crown from competition.
That is exactly what we want to achieve," Dr Brash said.
Good for him, and good on the Kotahitanga Trust.

Jim Matheson is the Man From the Ministry who has decided to bully this school. Tell him what you think of him on this phone number: Jim Matheson, Operational Policy Manager, National Operations, ph 04-463-8231.

And send your messages of support to the Kotahitanga Trust, at 2/6 Queen St Papakura Auckland. Tell them I sent you. :^)

Elephant dung with your art, sir?

If you've given up visiting art galleries because elephant dung, animals pickled in formaldehyde and Colin McCahon just aren't your thing, then you might have wondered how they could ever have become anyone's thing?

Stephen Hicks explains here how today's 'post-modern art' came to be so ugly. (And if you like what he's got here, keep your eye out for his next book - after slaying the Postmodernist dragon, for his next job he'll be be moving in on postmodernist art.)

He concludes: "The world of postmodern art is a run-down hall of mirrors reflecting tiredly some innovations introduced a century ago. It is time to move on."

Religionists for Nuclear

Stewart Brand predicts here in Technology Review that "Over the next ten years ... the mainstream of the environmental movement will reverse its opinion and activism in four major areas: population growth, urbani­zation, genetically engineered organisms, and nuclear power." The reason?
There are a great many more environmental romantics than there are scientists. That’s fortunate, since their inspiration means that most people in developed socie­ties see themselves as environmentalists. But it also means that scientific perceptions are always a minority view, easily ignored, suppressed, or demonized if they don’t fit the consensus story line.
Brand suggests a consequence of the 'romantic view' is that it can take a while to notice that the science doesn't fit their preconceived notions - sometimes up to thirty years; for example, population growth rates peaked in 1968, but the scare stories only recently began to slow down.

So will Rod and Jeanette start crusading for nuclear any time soon? Well, if their convictions on global warming and 'peak oil' are based on reason rather than religion, they will. (Yeah right.)

You see, people like Bob Bidinotto disagrees with the term 'romantic' to describe environmentalists. He prefers to call them religionists as he explains here in his blog. "Religions traditionally criticize human reason, and extol faith." he points out. "So does environmentalism."

And yes, there are a lot of them about. A 1997 survey published in American Demographics found that fully a fourth of all Americans 'see nature as sacred, want to stop corporate polluters, are suspicious of big business, are interested in voluntary simplicity, and are willing to pay to clean up the environment and stop global warming.' That’s amazing growth for a new faith in just three decades.

At this rate, environmentalism will supplant all rival religions in a few more years. "Why fight it?," says Bidinotto. Let's just accept environmentalism as a new religion and be done with it. At least then we could argue for the separation of church and state.

[Thanks to Stephen Hicks for spotting the Technology Review link.]

UPDATE: Owen McShane has pointed me to a speech by author Michael Crichton making a similar point about environmentalism being a religion. You can find the speech here.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Stealing Epsom


Flight and Pursuit, William Rimmer Posted by Hello

Site Poll: Cresswell for Epsom?

I've been asked by the Libertarianz to stand in Epsom, and I haven't yet decided.

They make a good argument. Way back in 1996 in the first election in which Libertarianz ran, Lindsay Perigo stood in Epsom for Libz - however, as as the ACT candidate was well-nigh invisible that year everyone assumed he was it. That year, ACT got its best party vote in Epsom and Rodney Hide switched electorates to take on Epsom in 1999.

Epsom is a crucial electorate this year. The ACT candidate should be obvious even to the most myopic voter, and the heightened interest in the electorate promises a great platform.

On the other hand, if I stand in Epsom there's a good chance that I won't be writing here so frequently. Maybe that's a good thing?

I'm interested in your thoughts on the matter. What do you think I should do? I've added a poll down there on the sidebar to allow you to vote on the matter, and you can of course comment here.

Open Source Software mugged by reality?

Berlin Bear suggested some days ago that Open Source software would be in line with my libertarian 'leanings.' (Hell, these aren't leanings man, they're full-fledged enthusiasms!)

At the time I was nonplussed by the comment, but a discussion at Tech Central Station today on developments at the Open Source Business Conference focussed my thinking a little. The Open Source movement is apparently being "mugged by reality," and dropping its collectivist roots in the process; it's a little like George Bernard Shaw's observation that if you aren't a socialist as a teenager you have no heart, and if you aren't a capitalist by thirty you have no brain:
The Open Source Business Conference demonstrated that capitalists have finally discovered a new way to think about software development. For innovation and economic growth to continue, calls for government intervention should be dismissed. Open source products require an open marketplace.

Rothbard and the 7.5 million

In 1975 Saigon fell to the Vietcong. Murder ensued. In fact, as a recent article notes, "April 30th, 2005 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Three decades in which the Vietnamese communist government and proxies killed 7.5 million people."

At the time of the collapse of the South Vietnamese government anti-government anarcho-capitalist Murray Rothbard celebrated, just as today comtemporary Rothbardians such as the antiwar.com crowd celebrate American deaths in Iraq, and dissemble over Rothbard's calumny.

Tom Palmer explains and I argue here and here that anti-government is not pro-liberty, and that in the end neither was Rothbard. 7.5 million deaths underscores that peace without freedom is injustice to the innocent.

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Baseball v Rugby v AFL

Are there a dialectics of baseball? Baseball obsessive and dialectician Chris Sciabarra muses today on the “dialectical significance” of baseball, and finds himself so depressed at Yankees performances that for once in his life he is almost lost for ideas.

Sport can do that to you.

Which offers me the dialetical opportunity to explain why my Links section lists Australian Football as the world's only libertarian sport. I did so for a 2001 audience here; Mitch has moved on, and much has changed, but the point remains the same.

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Election funding announced

As HL Mencken observed, elections are an advance auction of stolen goods. In New zealand, the auction is paid for by the taxpayer.

Parties are not allowed to use their own money for electronic advertising during the election period, so the taxpayer has to be fleeced in order to be made aware of the election bribes on offer. The distribution of that funding for the forthcoming election has been announced by the Electoral Commission.

Labour and National recieve $1.1 and $0.9 million respectively; ACT, NZF, UF and Greens $200k; Maori Party $125k; Progressive Party $75k; Alliance, CHP, Destiny and Libertarianz $20k each; and a truck-load of minor parties each getting a $10k bone.

AS you can expect, some people are happier than others at the state's generosity. DPF and related comments here. The Greens' frog croaks unhappily here. Greg Stephens comments here, Winston bleats here and Rodney Hide here.

TV time has been allocated for all but the minor parties. Libertarianz has received one minute of TV time; Labour and National 12 minutes each (and to top this up Labour also have the taxpaid promotion of their Working for Families bribe).

To bribe people with their own money! What could be more ingenious?

Full story here.

[UPDATE: Winston's bleating has been removed from Scoop. He now whinges here, and National respond here. ]

Never mind the truth, feel the quality

They used to call it being economical with the truth. It's now called spin. A short piece on the Newstalk ZB site offers the following half-truths:

1) Helen Clark says the Army has hid nothing from the Berrymans' lawyers. "The Army's report into its construction of the bridge has been suppressed by the courts but Helen Clark claims the Army gave a copy of the document to Keith and Margaret Berryman's lawyer."

But Clark knows that documents such as this as required to be produced to lawyers in the 'discovery' phase of a trial. Nothing was offered that wasn't legally required to be offered, and that reluctantly. That Rob Moodie chose to publicise the Butcher Report instead of helping to suppress it is evidence that he is one of the few honest men in his profession.

To suggest as Clark does that reluctant production of the document and a demand for its return is 'hiding nothing' is just deceptive.

2) "The Crown has no legal liability but has offered the Berrymans $150,000 which they have consistently refused."

But the implication of this is that $150,000 would have covered the Berrymans for the $450,000 of legal bills they sold their farm to pay, quite apart from the destruction of their lives by successive administrations. It's not just that their lives have been destroyed, but that farm they lost would now cost in the region of $2-2.5 million to buy; the Berrymans' consistent refusal to accept Clark's proffered food scraps is the only thing they can do in the circumstances. It is not alms they are after, it is justice. They want their lives back.

For Clark to intimate that the Berrymans' refusal is evidence of their unreasonableness is just obscene.

So as with all lies and half-truths then, the question always remains why does the perpetrator need to lie or spin in order to defend themselves or to make their point? There's two reasons they do so:

1) because the truth doesn't support their story; and

2) they take us for idiots.

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The Butcher Report online

Trying to stop publication of the Butcher Report is like Canute trying to stop the sea. In the age of the internet and especially of blogs, it is being put up in one place as fast as it is being taken down in another.

Duncan Bayne posts today reporting new sites he's found from which to download it, and information still comes in on the Comments section of an earlier post on this here blog.

Feel free to post any other sightings here as you come across them, and help others to help Rob Moodie to help the Berrymans get justice.

The Ministers of Contaminated Blood

Q: What do Simon Upton and Helen Clark have in common?
A: As Ministers of Health they both presided over the Contaminated Blood scandal of the early nineties, and both have since sought to suppress sensitive information about the scandal.


In the early nineties, Clark and Upton decided that technology allowing screening of blood for Hepatitis C would not be used in the New Zealand health system; 250 haemophiliacs were infected and up to 20 people may have died as a result of this decision. Like the Berrymans, the people infected have found it impossible ever since to get justice. And as with the Berryman case, both Labour and National Governments are implicated in the commission and the cover-up.

A story in today's Press reports, "Haemophiliacs who contracted hepatitis C in the bad blood saga have won a chance at compensation, with health officials agreeing to consider a paper outlining a proposed settlement." But there are no guarantees, and as this story reminds us even getting to this stage has not been easy: "Haemophiliacs investigating the "bad blood scandal" of the 1990s have been stymied by a 30-year embargo placed on sensitive documents from Prime Minister Helen Clark's time as health minister."

It seems that the lesson from Watergate has still not been learned here in NZ, i.e., that it was the cover-up that ruined the President, not the break-in. Or maybe they're confident we don't have a Woodward or a Bernstein here to chase the story down. Or a Deep Throat.

Both Clark and Upton have been in denial of their role in the scandal ever since. Clark still suppresses documents about the scandal - why? - what does she have to hide, one wonders? - and when Upton left Parliament for his cushy sinecure with the OECD, he was asked whether he regretted anything in his career as a Minister. "No," he told Radio Pacific News, "nothing gnaws at my soul."

Perhaps he doesn't have one.

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Bad Song Survey

So is pop music depressing, as I'd asked here? Dave Barry's 'Bad Song Survey' might help you decide.

My vote for the worst song of all time is 'Train in Vain' by The Clash, but I'm not sure if meets his criterion that "a song had to be known well enough that a lot of people could hate it." I'm also not entirely sure that it's worse than his winner, which is truly laugh-out-loud hideous - and there's a lot of dross that winner had to beat off, including unsurprisingly the Billy Ray Cyrus virus.

Dave Barry's Lifetime Bad Achievement awards are also well considered. Elton John tops that poll for me, but that's just an old punk talking.

Dr Sally Jo Cunningham has embarked on a New Zealand survey of what people hate about songs "as part of research on music information retrieval." Story here.

Denouement, by Michael Newberry


Denouement, by Michael Newberry

Deborah is not in the house

As most of you already know, Deborah Coddington is retiring as an MP at the next election (as it seems will most of the present ACT caucus) saying her recent marriage means she now longer sees things in black and white, and she is no longer angry enough to spend her days attacking people.

More's the pity, since both New Zealand and the ACT caucus are in worse shape than when she jumped ship from Libertarianz three years ago to become an ACT MP and change the world.

I wish her well in whatever she decides to pursue. Perhaps she could write stories like this and this again, stories that once won her a Qantas Award for her journalism?

Brash targets Helengrad's 'white flag of surrender'

Don Brash's told the National Party conference that John Tamihere's abrasive honesty has exposed all New Zealanders to the truth about the Clark government. "John Tamihere’s comments about his colleagues – if we put aside his more offensive comments generally – have served to remind us, in somewhat colourful terms, why it is so important that we have a change of government this year: because New Zealand is not being governed by mainstream New Zealanders, or in the interests of mainstream New Zealanders."

He promises "a government which knows that this country can do better, much better, than merely flying Helen Clark’s white flag of surrender."

Roading was the first of two substative issues addressed. "Every dollar and every cent collected in petrol tax should be spent on improving our roading infrastructure. That policy will open the door to a whole new era in roading infrastructure in this country."

Education was the other big-ticket item to get his attention, and as with his comments on roading it was once again a repetition of his earlier policy announcement. The main points of Wednesday's speech were delievered to rapturous applause: "The days of the Wellington-based troika of the teachers’ unions, the bureaucrats and centralist politicians carving up the budgets and the decision-making amongst themselves will be well and truly over," he promised, and is given a standing ovation.

Says Aaron Bhatnagar who is reporting on the conference on his blog, "A quick scan of the room sees members nodding among themselves and grinning. Seems pretty positive a response to me!"

The text of the speech is here. Aaron Bhatnagar's comprehensive reports on the conference begin here.

Berrymans = Silence

Try Googling these words and notice the result:

"don brash" "keith berryman"

"rodney hide" "keith berryman"

"national party" "keith berryman"

The result: silence. Perhaps you could ask them why?

Email the good doctor at don.brash@national.org.nz

Email Rodney at rodney.hide@parliament.govt.nz , or you could post your question to his blog.

Feel free to post any replies back here.

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