Sunday, 26 March 2006

Two questions for you

Two questions for you: If you could change one thing in New Zealand's present law, what would it be?

And if you have a sneaking admiration for some area of government activity, what is it?

I'll post my own answers later if there's sufficient interest in the questions.

TAGS: Politics, Politics-NZ


  1. Robert Winefield26 Mar 2006, 16:13:00

    1 thing to change about NZ Law: This constitution:
    Things I admire about Government activity: Defence Forces & Police

  2. The Social Security Act 1964 and the occasionally good advice Treasury offers a cloth-eared Dr Cullen.

  3. I will go with the constitution one too, but not one drawn up by a pack of Liarour weasels.

    The above looks good!

    The only thing I admire about Government activities, is by those who carry out the legitimate functions- the defence of our contry and protection for force and fraud- despite having every obstacle thrown in their way by the powers-that-be!

  4. Only one!?
    I'd change the Interpretation Act to outlaw retrospective legislation.

    Sneeking admiration?
    Is this a trick question? Nice try.

  5. Constitution is obvious, but if you are talking about legislation -it would be the RMA. A comprehensive dismantling of property rights giving planners enormous reign over land - no other single Act if repealed would be more liberating.

    Sneaking admiration for Treasury's fisking of new proposals for spending by departments. More often than not it has been the only source of reasoned advice to Ministers, and it almost always hires talent rather than university graduate dross

  6. Winefield beat me to it. Prick!

    But I'll add Justice.

    Good call Scott.

  7. I'd add meaningful property rights to the Bill of Rights.

    My sneaking admiration of something Govt does well - the way it can take (under pain of persecution) money from you, provide a crappy service from people who don't care a flying fuck about your priorities and then tell you how lucky you are to be one of the sheeple. Fuck, I'd run a business like that for $4 Billion a year profit, Cullen does it for $10b.

  8. An area for change:
    Social welfare. I wouldn't abolish it but I would introduce something along the lines of food parcels/vouchers.

    Sneaking admiration for:
    There are many government ideals I admire, as there are many areas of public good (some touched on above). For me, and it's really so difficult to apply correctly but, state funding of research is admired, and preferably increased at the expense of undergraduate degree subsidisation. A lot of good research has no foreseeable commercial application until after it has been completed. The private sector would never provide this.

  9. Or maybe I'd change the excise tax rules so that small breweries would pay no excise tax on the first 30,000L.

    Yeh... I like that...

  10. Yalnikim said: 'I wouldn't abolish it (social welfare) but I would introduce something along the lines of food vouchers/parcels'.

    Wouldn't make a blind bit of difference to the mess we currently have.

    That's like changing the colour of the players' jerseys instead of the players themselves.

    At the crux will still be the state acquiring money by force from the productive (tax) to dish out to whomever it decides will be the beneficiaries of the largesse.

    That's the way all political football is played - with typically crap results.

    However, if you feel strongly about it, nobody's stopping you from putting your money where your mouth is. Which is why the concept of voluntary welfare is in line with libertarian philosophy.

  11. Yep Sus, my family would be ok if there was no social welfare.
    But no, it is not like changing the jerseys at all.

    Unfortunately your libertarian views are only supported by a miniscule proportion of the population, and thus will not be implemented in my lifetime (without a gun to people's heads).
    It's easy to fashion bold ideals when there is no chance of them coming to fruition. What you need to do, if you are at all pragmatic, is to make some change while not losing sight of your ultimate ideals.

    Or you could just keep on being Scandanavian, and trying to "organise freedom" (a free bottle of Monk's Habit to anyone that can pick who I am referencing there).

  12. Re Yal's last post: what was that about attacking the proponent instead of the argument, PC? :)

    Yal: 'Unfortunately your lib views ... will not be implemented within my lifetime (without a gun to people's heads).'

    A contradiction in terms. We leave force to the statists.

    Yal: 'It's easy to fashion bold ideals when there is no chance of them coming to fruition ..'

    It takes guts to not compromise one's principles. And as for there being 'no chance', etc, whyever not? Tariana Turia only last wknd addressed the ACT conference, no less, announcing that benefits should be wiped. Who'd have thought it?

    I remain an optimist for positive outcomes ... the alternative is to be negative like typical whining losers.

    Yal: 'What you need to do, if you are at all pragmatic, is to make some change, while not losing sight of your ultimate ideals'.

    Another oxymoron. If being pragmatic means to compromise your principles, you'll end up ultimately wasting your time. A case of one step forward, two steps back.

    I guess Neville Chamberlain thought he was being 'pragmatic' when he signed the Munich agreement, too.

    The point is that 'state welfare' - whatever its form - is not designed to temporarily care. It's about long-term control. Otherwise we'd see the beneficiary lists reducing rather than growing like weeds.

  13. Hi Sus. I fail to see where I have attacked the proponent but I won't sue you for failing to point it out ;-)

    The gun to head comment, like the "organise freedom" one, were tongue-in-cheek pokes (purposely oxymoronic, I like to call it "irony") at Libertarian/liberal ideals. You are free to have a laugh or be pained by this.

    The fact that Libertarian ideals, or anything that comes close to these, will never be implemented within my (or your) lifetime is my just my personal view. These ideals fail to recognise that we live in a society that requires central planning, or they make assumptions (either of goodwill, or that my own benefit will benefit others too). They are, from my experience, often espoused by people who have plenty (often people who were staunchly "socialist" or "left" in their younger years). Unfortunately, in a democratic society, those who have plenty make up a small percentage of the entire population and are, therefore, likely to struggle to convince those who have little.

    I agree that we are closer to a nightmare than a dream, in regards to social welfare in NZ, but I don't agree that scrapping it altogether is the solution. Liberal ideals tend to rise to prominence during times of great growth, while society is prosperous. Perhaps, during the next great depression, you may even come to agree that social welfare does have it's benefits.

  14. Yalnikim - You are quoting Bjork, you can send that bottle to me.

    There lies the great Libertarian Paradox - "Freedom will be compulsory." But it's better than "Freedom is Salvery", I guess.

    Of course, there will be nothing stopping Clark and Cullen and other Statists from forming a Socialist Sub-Govt and inviting anyt stray sheeple to join their collectivist community. Just as long as there is nothing to stop people leaving.

  15. Michael, if you would aim to avoid contradictions instead of embracing them, and to contcretise your terms instead of leaving them to hang -- in other words, if you check your premises -- then you'll find that freedom, political freedom, is simply the absence of compulsion.

  16. Well done Michael. Did Uncle Google help or were you familiar with the lyrics already?

    I see you are local and work in banking, which means you quite likely work near me (Willis/Lambton corner). One 330ml bottle of Monk's Habit, NZ's most awarded beer, will be in my bag on Monday (I only work Mon - Wed). Should you wish to collect it send me an email to this name at yahoo uk.

    PC - I'm sure you won't mind me giving Luke's beer a wee pug on here. It is a quite splendid beer, as you can see from my review at

  17. I meant "plug"! I wasn't saying I'd give Luke a pug. It might dribble in his wort.

  18. Yal: 'These ideals fail to recognise that we live in a society that requires central planning'.

    'Requires central planning.' Why?

    Yal: '.. during the next great depression you may even come to realise that social welfare has it's (sic) benefits'.

    Can't do that, Yal, as per last para of last post.

    Besides, if education was removed from the clutches of the socialist state, schools would be free to teach subjects such as the principles of financial independence to offset financial misery associated with cycles of recession/depression.

    But right now they're too busy fitting in kapa haka and 'Religions of the World' studies, in readiness for state tertiary courses in twilight golf, air guitar and basket-weaving.

    Yep. Gotta love that central planning!

  19. I'd certainly prefer my child to be learning about the religions of the world, history, art and other cultures than about how to make money by buying lots of greenbacks while the NZ dollar is over-inflated. They can learn that by doing some elementary mathematics and economic history.

    I think you'll find that only a tiny minority of the richest and/or most self-sufficient individuals would have avoided the impact of the financial misery that occurred in the 1930's. Feel free to propose a way of teaching people to make food out of thin air (or out of their $400,000 mortgaged rental property that nobody can afford to rent).

    If education were removed from the clutches of the socialist state (i.e. you and me, as voters), it would be firmly gripped by the corporate world (i.e. you and me, again, but as shareholders). You could gladly send your child off to Coca-Cola College. However, the advantage we have as voters, is that I cannot buy everyone elses vote off them and then stomp on all your ideas.

    I believe the state, and hence some central planning, is absolutely necessary but fair point Sus - I too would definitely like to see far more room for choice. And if you chose to send your child to a $10,000/term McDonald's Intermediate, you should be allowed some (but not all) of your tax back.

    Same thing for ACC, Health, etc.
    Not so sure about justice, defence and some of the infrastructural areas.

  20. Yal, the concept of *real* financial independence is not at all the 'cross your fingers and hope like hell the sharemarket doesn't crash before I sell' notion you speak of. It's certainly not what I'm working toward.

    Secondly, I have no desire to go round in circles - and I'm sure you've got better things to do, too - but I cannot see why you insist on supporting some degree of state control (over services other than policing, defence & justice), which, by definition, then requires the acquisition of money by force to fund.

    Health and education are just services. Nothing more, nothing less. Important? Yes. More important than, say, the food supply or undertaking? No.

    And yet the latter are supplied by the free market. And thank God for that!

    Can you imagine if the state jumped in with jackboots to control undertaking. The bodies would be stacked deep in bloody freezers awaiting burial because of (increasing) waiting lists! Too bad that you'd like to bury Nana with dignity when appropriate. Get back in state-line, you bastard!

    And as for the state running the food supply, oy vey! Right now we are spoiled for choice. Food outlets to suit every budget & taste - because the market is simply meeting the current demand. No demand - no supplier.

    Can you see the state supermarkets? They'd be grey, grubby and close on the dot of 5pm. Open wknds/late nights for convenience? Bugger off!

    There'd be bugger all choice, (but every product line would have its mandatory Maori translation - in spite of the empty shelves!), queues a mile long with tiki-wearing managers running around with clipboards busily rearranging the queues!

    Whoops! Just described your local *public* hospital!

    Health and education are not sacred cows. There is a perception that they are, due solely to the fact that they're run so poorly - by the state.

  21. Just spent some time in the local public hospital, for the birth of my first son. The staff were brilliant and the facilities more than adequate.

    Some aspects of health and education are, like many other areas, actually "public" services that would not be funded by private organisations.

    I agree that we'll disagree here, probably forever, and there is no point going on (or in circles). However, to be honest, I'm glad people like you (and PC) are here to disagree with me. I hope, being so passionate, that you're involved in politics. I'm sure the Libertarians could get more than a couple of hundred votes, if people like you were more involved. I don't agree with your strategy but I do agree that moving in your direction, at least a little way, in some areas, would be a good step for NZ.


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