It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
Jordan Carter suggests the time is right to reflect on Labour's performance in its seven years, three months in office, and he offers five best and five worst things his objects of worship have done in all that time. Here's my list. First, five worst:
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- The blatant theft of an election by using the money taken from taxpayers to run the Prime Minister's Office to run for the Office, demonstrating an utter disregard for constitutional restraints.
- The introduction of retrospective legislation to legitimise the theft, indicating that in the area of constitutional restraints on government, we're down there with Botswana.
- Passing the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which in one stroke removed the right of litigants in common law to prove before a court that they have property rights in these areas -- demonstrating an utter disregard for judicial independence, common law and property rights.
- The renationalisation of the Accident Compensation Corporation and Air New Zealand (after refusing permission for Air New Zealand to make its own way in the world), and the ever-expanding, ever-more intrusive meddling in all areas of the economy.
- Piling up the tax take to pay for a new welfare system (which also, incidentally, helped to buy the last election): Welfare for Working Families takes with one hand and doles out with the other, demonstrating that trickle down is not a characteristic of capitalism, but of state worship. Welfare for Working Families raises the marginal tax rate of recipients to levels of nearly ninety percent, it makes beneficiaries out of one third of the country, and it will 'normalise' for a whole generation the lifestyle of sucking off the state tit, meaning this is damage on a generational scale.
- No action taken at all to increase property rights protection under the Resource Management Act, to make any positive changes to the state's disastrous factory schools, or to slow down the rampantly soft fascism of political correctness that infests the government half of the economy, and is slowly taking over the other half.
- One unequivocal move in the direction of freedom was the introduction of civil unions. Government has no business in people's bedrooms, and good for Tim Barnett for quietly and diligently pushing this through on the grounds of individual freedom. Support for laws such as this is a litmus test for freedom lovers: it is not for the State to judge adult relationships; it is their job simply to recognise and protect them should the partners wish that to happen (I won't mention the Property Relationships Bill which does just the opposite -- whoops! I just did). The Civil Union Bill moves in the direction of freedom, with no new coercion. A big tick.
- The decriminilisation of prostitution recognised that people should be free to do with their own bodies what they wish, and free to charge for the use of their bodies if they wish. You don't need to be an advocate for prostitution itself to recognise that it's not the State's business to proscribe people's choices for themselves. And once again, good for Tim Barnett for being the quiet achiever. Another big tick.
- I confess I'm struggling now. I think the Chinese free trade deal looks good. So that's another tick. In fact, the commitment to free trade at all deserves a very favourable tick, as does Labour's recognition that the Douglas-Richardson reforms should (for the most part) be retained -- even if these reforms have been regularly demonised for Labour's rather simple constituency who still haven't realised that these reforms have remained largely intact.
- I did enjoy Marian Hobbs' defence of genetic engineering during the pathetic 'corngate' beat-up. Not so much an achievement, I guess, but her arguments and those of the Royal Commission for the science of GE were very sound, and as a consequence the legal environment for genetic engineering hasn't been as bad as it could be. Things would have been a a lot worse with Nick (A Tongue So Forked You Could Hug a Tree With It) Smith in the Environment chair.
- Some of Phil Goff's changes with parole and sentencing were a step in the right direction of making punishments fit the crime. Small steps. Just baby steps, and only because of electoral pressure. Steps that the death of showed are still barely sufficient. Susan Couch, Tai Hobson and the families of Kylie Jones, Karl Kuckenbecker and many many others would undoubtedly disagree that things have yet moved far enough, and of course they'd be right.
- The words 'slow', and 'only because of electoral pressure' could also be applied to the few weak moves to remove racial favouritism from legislation. But baby steps have been taken here too, which is something.
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