Wednesday, 27 May 2009

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Scandal, more scandal & vigilantism

An irreverent look at some headlines from the past week, by Libertarianz leader Richard McGrath.

  1. British scandal lesson valid in our House too – Thanks to British law and the efforts (and money) of the Daily Telegraph, hundreds of British MPs are now squirming under the light as their profligate and corrupt expenses claims are exposed. Unfortunately, in New Zealand it is far more difficult to discover just how much our MPs are spending on themselves via the public purse. As this opinion piece notes, details of our parliamentarians’ expenses are exempted from searches under the Official Information Act -- the politicians made this loophole for themselves when the OIA was drafted. And there is no requirement for them to keep details of how they spend the $14,800 they each receive annually for entertainment, membership fees and other “out=of pocket” expenses. It’s time the activities of our MPs were made transparent, instead of having to rely on inside information to reveal the few scraps of information, such as Jonathan Hunt’s $29,000 taxi bill, and the accommodation allowance rort perpetrated by Phillida Bunkle and Marian Hobbs. It’s time the books were opened and this loophole for corrupt MPs was closed.
  2. Vigilantes back on the streets – The Martinborough Militia are back! Days after one of their number was arrested for allegedly discharging a shotgun, the fifty-plus members of the town’s militia are back on the streets doing their overnight patrols, assisting the town constable in preventing the burglary of elderly people’s homes. This sort of community action is commendable in my view. But there needs to be discipline within the ranks to ensure that the militia themselves don’t become the aggressors.
  3. Debts make cuts in health services likely – It appears the previous CEO of Wairarapa Health and his board may have been fibbing when it told Aunty Helen it would work within its budget if she built it a shiny new hospital. Well, Masterton has its new hospital, David Meates has moved on to become CEO at the Canterbury DHB, while the Wairarapa DHB is still running huge budget deficits. New boss Tracey Adamson has a difficult job ahead of her – she will have to cut services. This is the reality when health care is rationed – or rather, when the money you might have spent on purchasing private medical insurance is taken in taxes, put into a pot and divvied up according to who screams the loudest. From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need.
  4. Council knew before opening that musical would bomb – A scandal that deserves to bring down the Auckland City Council. Over four million dollars of ratepayer money has been used to bail out losses incurred by entertainment companies in Auckland over the past six month. It should be apparent to everyone that any further sponsorship or bailouts of entertainment companies by ratepayers should be halted forthwith. The good citizens of Auckland should be marching on the City Council with pitchforks and flaming torches and demanding some answers and accountability. This is outrageous!         

See y’all next week!
Doc McGrath


  1. Great argument for a super-city, eh.

    So instead of the 'little' expensive mistakes they make now they can make great big whoppers of super-expensive mistakes instead.

  2. "So instead of the 'little' expensive mistakes they make now they can make great big whoppers of super-expensive mistakes instead."

    Its got to be got out of the hands of the left. No matter what. Break it up again later if you want, but for now, this is a good strategy because to leave things as they are just means more collectivist stagnation.

    I know you think small is good, but the trouble with that concept at the moment in NZ is that only the intensely dedicated left have the time and money (usually taxpayer funded) to develop any kind of real presence in "community" style government.

    Al over the country you will find nests of leftist vipers just waiting to pretend to be representative of "citizens" and getting on boards and councils and local bodies to progress their grand plan.

    The idea of the big council is to free Auckland planning and administration from the grip of the left, and there's a lot more to that than just the powers of general competence.

    Freedom in NZ will only come at the political (and financial) expense of the left, and until you acknowledge that fact, you're just blowing smoke.

    BTW, great series of issues from Doc McGrath. Not one reference to Ayn Rand. Not one example of sanctimonious preaching.

    IMHO, Good stuff.

  3. The problem is, if the left get voted in and have control of the super city, then you get the opposite of what you want.

  4. RB, the frightening thing is that you don't have to look far to find examples of political misbehaviour. Sadly, the newspapers are full of it, and good on them for highlighting it when it happens.

  5. re council - read article properly - loss was 2.4m not 4m - and 2.4m was partially covered by their previous profits from events.

  6. "Al over the country you will find nests of leftist vipers just waiting to pretend to be representative of "citizens" and getting on boards and councils and local bodies to progress their grand plan."
    Because they understand the power of being organised and because a lot of 'em aren't too busy working for a living.
    Much as I loathe the collectivist mindset, opposition to the left needs to be more cohesive and better organised. We need to stop squabbling among ourselves about our differences and focus on the enemy--which never changes.

  7. Breakfast on One advertised that they were going to do an article on NZ MP's expenses. Then it they just skipped it without explaination.

  8. "The problem is, if the left get voted in and have control of the super city, then you get the opposite of what you want."

    Yes, but don't you think Rod Hide is smart enough to know this?

    The idea is that the left do not get voted in. Not easy, but at least something worth striving for. Worth hoping for.

    It would help if the Libertarians dropped the silly political subterfuge of attempting to portray the left and right as an equal threat to freedom.

    The whole problem in NZ is that this line has been greyed by the left. Its needs to be made much more distinctive, and the differences between the left and the right in terms of small and big government should be the focus.

    The left have spent decades demonising the right, and making right wing thought and speech as objectionable as child molestation.

    It pisses me off no end to see the Libertarians assisting in the promotion of this perversion of reality.

    Helping the left in demonising the right will get them exactly nowhere, as their declining electoral support has demonstrated.

    (I see where you seek to join the Libs. Good luck. If you can get rid of the mincing navel gazing leftists in the party you might achieve something. Its not easy tho. They're vicious and hate driven opponents with little respect for views that confront their own.

    All I have ever wanted for the Libs is to see them grow in popularity, but they have been going steadily backwards and it seems that those responsible for this decline will not take responsibility for their failure. I reckon all all leadership should be held to account. For success or failure. Don't you?)

  9. "Because they understand the power of being organised and because a lot of 'em aren't too busy working for a living."

    A contributor to NewstalkZB claimed the leaders of that walk over the bridge were apparently mostly government employed "planners" from some bicycle action group.

  10. ...and before I'm criticised because of the apparent conflict between greying and demonising, the point I'm trying to make is that by demonising real right wing ideas, we now have left or center left ideas being presented as if they are right wing or extreme right wing ideas.

    We have only mildly right wing politicians, (John Boscowan for example) being portrayed as "extreme right". (the alleged justification for the assault the other day).

    The whole idea is to gradually push traditional Conservative/ right wing ideas so far to the end of the spectrum they are out of sight and out of mind. The discussion then is confined to ideas within a much more limited political spectrum extending from extreme left to (perhaps) centre left.

    But that is not where it ends, for all the time, the left are working to move that area of dicussion further and further leftward.

    The public falls for the illusion. They think the political spectrum is remaining broad, but in reality, the discussion of ideas is stretched and stretched as the substance becomes thinner and thinner until finally, all there is to talk and think about is communism.

    And then its too late.

  11. Redbaiter, someone very astutely observed that "right-wing" politicians campaign on a platform that big government doesn't work. Then when they get elected, they go right ahead and prove it.


    The fact that the council made losses on entertainment events should not be the reason why we protest against them sponsoring such events. Even if they made a profit on every single event, the point would remain: councils and governments have NO business running entertainment events (among a great many other things!).

  12. Anon - I added the 2.4M loss from the Auckland City Council's recent sponsored events to the 1.8M loss from the Beckham debacle last December to get my 4M.

    And Luke is right - I may not have made it clear that the councils just shouldn't be involved in organising and sponsoring entertainment at all.

  13. " .. and the differences between the left and the right in terms of small and big government should be the focus."

    Exactly. But to get to that crux of the real dichotomy being small v big govt (or the individual v the state) requires pointing out that very blurring of left and 'right'! Start calling the Nats 'right-light', if you want to get the public to see that more accurately! Fine by me.

    When the lovely KG once noted that the only issue he had with the Libz was his differing viewpoint on immigration, my response was to put that to one side for the time being and concentrate on the rest with which we agreed.

    I still believe that.

    I don't argue with some; quite a lot even; of what you say, Red -- even though I'd like to smack you more often than not. You're serious about wanting change, and who else is going to effect it?

    When it comes to the massive task of shrinking govt, more supporters would be helpful. But standing on the sideline screaming at the players for not doing exactly what you want, is not.

    Jump in. The water's bloody hot.

  14. thanks Richard - understand the 4m
    I undersatnd some of the keep tp core business - but it's very hard in soem of these areas.

    Would anyone argue auckland isn't a better place now with the Vector arena? It's put us on the same circuit as sydney etc - but wouldn't have happended if council didn't fund under a "boot" scheme.

    then economic benefits do get spread - go and look around town after an event - restaurants etc - but anyone runnign an Arena doesn;t get those benefits - so thay can't afford to build them as provate companies.

    The EDGE is similar - it's juts that it was built in a time before BOOT schemes - but ratepayers have 100m+ invested - now they could close it, and never lose any money. Or they can try filling it as much as they can - and often comes down to financial deals with promoters. their track record is pretty good over last 6-7 years, and I'm sure they'll be catuaious in this new climate.

    that is differetn from a high risk one off event like Beckham

  15. Whoops: my first paragraph above is ambiguous.

    My thrust is that I prefer to concentrate on 'small v big govt' than fluff around with the alternatives of hard left, left and right-of-left.

    Statists, all.

  16. "Whoops: my first paragraph above is ambiguous."

    Like the Libz political position.

    FYI, Sus, I was initially a great believer in the Libz. I once had my old Granny record Perigo's shows on cassette and post them to me when I lived overseas. I drove through the deserts of Nth Africa listening to the tapes, and people were asking me how I could pick up Auckland radio from there and who was the loon doing the show.

    I far preceded your good self in sending Lib style emails to Leighton.

    However, my insistence back then on the Lib leadership having to set up some KPIs was a view that made me unwelcome in the club.

    So I have watched as the Libz have become more and more doctrinal, and less and less effective, and attracted less and less votes, and I will never help them while they continue to be too gutless to publicly align themselves with the right and continue to fail to subject their leaders to performance testing.)

  17. All of which puts you in a self-satisfying moral corner, I'm sure, but is hardly going to do anything twd shrinking the size of govt.

    You'll be waiting a long time to find an outfit that produces carbon copy members -- aside from the (carbon-free) Greens, that is.

    Am I right in assuming your involvement was a long time ago? I started faxing ZB, prior to email, in 1995, years before I met the Libz.

  18. "Would anyone argue auckland isn't a better place now with the Vector arena? It's put us on the same circuit as sydney etc - but wouldn't have happended if council didn't fund under a "boot" scheme."

    A lot more things would be done privately if all the obstacles weren't put in the way and if the nutters didn't go round chanting that "profit" was a dirty word.

    If it's worth doing then it could be done privately and profitably. If it's not worth doing, then it's morally reprehensible to force people who don't want it to pay for it anyway.

  19. "I started faxing ZB, prior to email, in 1995, years before I met the Libz."

    OK. Maybe you did beat me. I can't recall the exact date, but I remember I first faxed Leighton after hearing John Carter in a telephone conversation with him, defending the cancellation of the life time driving licences.

  20. Sus, Redbaiter does have a good point about not co-operating. I agree with a lot of the Libz ideas - I think you've got the best defence policy of any party for example. However I've lost count of how many times I've had Libz supporters on the blogs simply abuse me over being a Christian (you have not done so, but many others have), rather than being content to agree and work together on the issues we agree on. That is ridiculous pettiness and achieves nothing.

    "Left" and "Right" are generally seen as economic terms. Sure they aren't perfect - but the public understand those terms. And on that basis, the Libz are a right-wing party.

    You seem scared of calling yourselves "right" in case you're identified with the "religious right". But that is nonsense, as there are people of all moral views on both the left and the right. Don't let that stop you from identifying yourselves as a right-wing party.

    Call yourselves right-wing, small-government (as you most certainly are), and lets work together for freedom in this country.

  21. Quoth the Raven27 May 2009, 17:45:00

    Redbaiter - There is a lot of disagreement over what actually consititutes left and right - suffice to say that people have many different conceptions. What can be said is that in common usage, in propaganda rags like The Press or The Herald or on television news, the terms left and right are meaningless. Even more meaningless is the centre, which is just a constantly shifting area of populism that Labour and National scramble for. A lot of libertarians look at left and right and say I'm neither. I myself support a free market, private property and oppose all illegitimate authority including the state and I call myself left wing. A lot of the time though I think that the left-right dichotomy isn't useful.
    Sus has the right attitude - find common ground. I'm sure I could find a lot of common ground with people who support libertarianz, even though I don't support it.
    I don't think I could find much common ground with you. In your comments here you are displaying an anti-democratic attitute and are supporting the stalinist centralisation effort that is the Auckland super city and most of the time you are rather insolent.

    "Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire."Robert A. Heinlein

  22. Its got to be got out of the hands of the left
    Right! So can we please fix the fucking franchise and electoral laws: more to the point, just ban the lefty parties and their unionist friends!

    Key's got more than enough info in the electoral decisions from the last few elections to do that today.

    Freedom in NZ will only come at the political (and financial) expense of the left,
    Frankly I think either we'll have to wait until they die out or we encourage them sooner. Chopping all benefits would be another good start. And make no mistake: the books are in bad enough shape that Key could make a damn good start on this tomorrow. Even Roger is calling for immediate termination of the dole, DBP, WFF, and all public funding for health and education: no fucking pathetic "compulsory insurance" or a Libz "annuity" or some "transition policy".

    Arm the cops, and send them out to gun the unionsits and leftists down.

    We have only mildly right wing politicians, (John Boscowan for example)
    Boscowen - right wing?? Give me a fucking break! Garrett might be "left of centre", but Boscowen is just a fucking "libertarian" - which means he just listens to the lies of the other half of the french Enlightenment lefties.
    Heres a simple fact: Obama's actual policy positions are far to the right of *any* NZ political party: including the Libz
    When the libs have the force on the streets to take on the Labourists and Unionists then they'll be serious. Not before.
    The fundamental distinction is those who believe that NZ would be better of without leftists - no matter what cost is required to wipe them out - and those who do not. The Libz, with their abhorrence of "force", of using the power of the state and its armed agents to achieve political ends - supports the existing of laborist and unionists in NZ. This shows that the Libz are at most a centre party: hell even Garrett has rather more guts than that, when he said in the house Hellen should be in jail!

  23. Wonder why he posts an anonymous?

  24. Hi Mr D - several points:

    1. I don't think left & right are seen primarily in the economic sense anymore. In earlier decades, yes, but not so much now. Not since the Soviet Union disintegrated and Tony Blair threw out Clause 4 of the BLP constitution (nationalising the means of production, etc) - and even our own Labour party proclaims to oppose things like industry subsidies. More, National doesn't appear to be interested in small govt, either. I think left & right are seen more in social terms these days, blurred as they have become re every man & his dog fighting for the centre.

    2. It's been pointed out many times that the Libz do not fit on that one-dimensional left-right line, which is why we refer to the 'diamond' quiz. Further, I don't consider myself a right-winger because the self-professed right is as big & intrusive as the left. Luke's quote (from PJ O'Rourke I believe) above says it all for me, too.

    3. Re religion: this is Peter's blog and he is an Objectivist. His blog, his rules, free speech & all that. Proponents of religion, therefore, will tend to be fair game - not to put too fine a point on it.

    4. Happy to support anyone who is pro-freedom on any issue, eg John Boscawen's anti-EFB stance or Sue Kedgely's anti-TGA (Therapeutics Goods Act) -- the latter also demonstrating why we could never be referred to as specifically "right wing". That stance also allows me to criticise those same folk should I disagree with them on another issue.

    Hope that clarifies my viewpoint for you.


  25. Richard McGrath28 May 2009, 15:32:00

    Right wing vs libertarian attitudes on the issues:

    1. Drug legalisation:
    Right wingers - No
    Libertarians - Yes

    2. Abortion:
    Right wingers - No
    Libertarians - Yes

    3. Censorship of broadcasting/literature/internet:
    Right wingers - Yes
    Libertarians - No

    4. Tolerance of homosexuality
    Right wingers - No
    Libertarians - Yes

    5. Conscription into the military
    Right wingers - Yes
    Libertarians - No


  26. "Right wing vs libertarian attitudes on the issues:"

    Yep, you've sure got a handle on what's important alright...

    No wonder socialism has this country by the balls...


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