Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath takes his regularly irreverent look at some of the past week’s headlines.
1. Dog mauling left woman looking like ‘blob of blood’ – A woman jogging down a country road near Putaruru is attacked and badly injured by a pack of eight pig hunting dogs. She has had the first of several operations to her mangled limbs and scalp. The female owner has now been arrested and charged. Assuming Margit Christensen was going about her lawful business, and that there was no reason for the dogs to attack her, the owner of the dogs should be held fully liable for the cost of the medical treatment and the police and ambulance callout (and the dogs should be shot forthwith). Ideally, if Ms Christensen had an insurance policy that covered all the costs associated with her treatment, her insurance company could then recover the amount paid out from the dogs’ owner.
Instead of this, the cost of treatment will be covered by the ACC insurance monopoly, whose premiums are paid at the point of a government gun. ACC will dictate what payments to the hospital are ‘appropriate’, and what help will be offered to Ms Christensen during her recovery. There is no capacity for New Zealanders to purchase a higher level of insurance cover from ACC by paying a higher premium – in the ACC monopoly, one size fits all. Policies are not individualized; New Zealanders are lumped into one amorphous collective, with no distinction made (among those who are not employed) for high or low risk lifestyles. No financial incentives exist for the private citizen who takes extra precautions in trying to keep out of harm’s way.
Just one more reason why accident insurance should be opened up to private competition.
2. ‘Government may support rights plan’ – Having said they will ratify the UN declaration on indigenous people’s (bogus) rights, the National Party are just beginning to realize what a draconian, backward document it is. At least Simon Power has stated that these imaginary rights are trumped by our constitutional framework and existing law. Which, thankfully, will render the UN declaration toothless. Looks like the Maori Party -- who announced rather prematurely that New Zealand would support the declaration (that the Clark government had so rightly opposed) -- is wagging the dog. If this declaration is ratified and ended up taking precedence over existing law, there would be a never-ceasing series of land occupations and multi-billion dollar compensation claims that would result in pitched battles and bloodshed.
One way to settle all outstanding Waitangi Treaty claims would simply be to issue shares in all Crown land currently under claim by Maori to individual Maori shareholders, not to tribal authorities or tribal leaders. Shareholders could purchase land to the value of their shareholding – first in gets the best land. Let them band together and create co-operative farms, vineyards, kumara patches – or whatever. The key to this is that once Crown land is transferred into private hands, the UN can’t touch it, or tell its owners what to do with it!
3. ‘Westpac looks set to follow BNZ and scrap penalty fees’ – In the minds of people like Jim Anderton and Chris Trotter our banks, oil companies and other multinational corporations form secret cartels that collude to fix prices, cut services and rip you and me off. Yet here we have banking giant Westpac having to cut fees because of that time-honoured price-chopping market place factor: competition. Now ANZ National and ASB are feeling the heat and inching closer to dropping their fees too. Looks like the grumbles from dissatisfied customers over the past year have made a difference. Marvellous what a bit of rivalry can do – while the banks fight it out among themselves, the winners will be you and I -- the customers.
4. ‘Man pulls out 13 of his own teeth with pliers’ – from the Daily Mail’s NHS horror file, another victim of the British public health system (along with an equal measure of self-neglect, to be fair). A 42 year old veteran of the British Army in Iraq says he tried to enrol with 30 dentists in East Yorkshire to get some treatment before giving up in frustration and repairing to the garden shed to perform a bit of DIY. This news article comes complete with picture of the amateur toothsmith, complete with gappy smile and thirteen presents for the Tooth Fairy.
Where even in New Zealand would anyone have to try thirty dentists before they could find one who would even see them? What dentist in their right mind would work for rock-bottom non-negotiable prices, while having to keep a small business afloat? Why do you think the goal of ‘equal access to all regardless of ability to pay’ means rationed die-while-you-wait care?
See y’all next week!