Q: Should central government contribute more money to the Transmission Gully project than it has already committed?
No. The Transmission Gully project is a wildly overpriced boondoggle that will contribute nothing to fixing Wellington transport. The trouble is that politicians prefer enormous shiny projects - regardless of whether they work or not - to small sensible ones, such as the numerous upgrades that are already relieving congestion on the coastal route. If gold-plated projects like this and the billion-dollar tunnel under Helen Clark's electorate were abandoned taxes on petrol wouldn't need to be 70 cents a litre.
Q: What book are you currently reading?
'Culture of Fear' by Frank Furedi. Furedi contends that despite being healthier and safer than ever, our culture is suffused with fear. We fear bird flu, pesticides, and paedophiles, even though none of these is ever likely to harm us. We fear that we're incompetent to deal with problems, leading to an infestation of mediators, facilitators, counsellors, and similar nonsense professions. In politics people demand government protection from all manner of imagined ills. We trade real freedom for false security.
Q: What is the key issue Wellington will face over the next three years?
The biggest issue facing Wellington and New Zealand is resource management. Whatever your pet topic is - transport, energy, or house prices - the Resource Management Act has an impact, usually negative. New roads and power stations are delayed or prevented by the RMA. The recent housing boom, and hence bust, was caused by restrictions on land use. Businesses use the RMA to stymie competitors rather than to protect the environment. Protecting property rights rather than “managing resources” would fix all this.
Q: Is the public service bloated and overstaffed or under-resourced given its importance to society?
The public “service” is grossly overstaffed. Bureaucracy is a parasitic growth that lives off the productive sector and it should be slashed. There's a myth that the government “runs the country”. In fact the government's usual role is to get in the way. Those who really run the country are the entrepreneurs, plumbers, and truckies. Without them the country would grind to a halt. It's hard to imagine that a few thousand communications strategists and policy analysts would be missed.
Q: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
A pangolin. Standing for Libertarianz is a bit like being a pangolin. Nobody's ever heard of pangolins either. Pangolins – or spiny anteaters – have thick skins, something that's necessary both in the sub-Saharan forest and the Aro Valley Community Centre election meeting. Like good libertarians, pangolins aren't aggressive but will defend themselves if required. Allegedly, the problem-solving section of a pangolin's brain is highly developed, essential for finding food at night and rolling back the nanny state once elected.
|Culture of Fear Revisited: Risk-taking and the Morality of Low Expectation |
by Frank Furedi
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