Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories on issues affecting our freedom.
This week: Bill English’s Expensive Driving Habits and Peter Dunne’s War on Rural Teenagers
1. Motoring MPs put $40k dent in public purse – Internal Affairs spent tens of thousands of your dollars fixing wear and tear and damage to the cars and limousines it furnishes to government ministers. That’s a little over $2300 each. No surprise to learn that Sir Double Dipton is the most expensive MP to keep on the road.
I suggest making MPs responsible for their own motoring costs. Let them purchase and insure their own vehicles – the Greens will ride bikes or trains, of course. If they were honest. If they want to drive around in BMWs, that’s up to them, but we shouldn’t be sent the bill for their lifestyle choices.
The news item mentioned demanding workloads and long hours on the road for these senior MPs. The Libertarianz Party has a solution to this problem – cut down the scope of government, so that MPs are not overworked. Limit the role of government to upholding individual rights by concentrating on rebuilding our justice system and police force. Make MPs’ job part-time, with expenses and remuneration funded by the political parties they represent.
On a related subject, I also resent having to contribute to Phil Goff’s ‘Axe The Tax’ bus ride around the countryside. His party introduced the horrible GST and he wants to maintain it at current levels, not to axe it.
Stop misleading the public, Mr Goff!
2. Key firm as driver reforms attacked – Peter Dunne’s crusade against rural youth has gained traction, with John Key backing moves to limit the mobility of teenagers living in the country.
Key’s reasoning includes the statement that “if [the law changes] mean a youngster lives and doesn’t die in a road fatality, that’s a sacrifice worth making.” On those grounds, the PM should ban all motor vehicles and cycles, and cut the road toll down to somewhere near zero.
Isn’t that a sacrifice worth making, John?
The Libertarianz Party believes the owners of roads should set the rules for whoever uses them, but believes the business of providing roads for New Zealanders could be farmed out to private industry, who would want to turn a profit from this ownership, and would therefore want their roads to be safe and user-friendly. Along with this, a reformed justice system that held people of all ages legally and financially accountable for the harm they caused others would also provide disincentives to those who currently drive carelessly or incompetently.
3. Police call for tough action on disrespect – This sort of thing is the thin end of the wedge. Yes, the police have a tough job to do, but when some of them abuse their position it becomes difficult to maintain public respect. There is freedom of speech in this country, and that includes the right to offer an opinion on the appearance and actions of on-duty police officers. At least as long as that particular brand of free speech is still allowed.
Assaulting a police officers is a different matter, unless a person is defending themselves against unjustified or excessive violence.
‘Insulting behaviour’ is not a crime - police officers must learn to take criticism on the chin. Several times in my work as a contracted police medical officer I have been called a ‘pig doctor’ by injured or intoxicated people I’ve been asked to assess. But I’m not about to go crying to a district court judge that my dignity has been offended. Similarly, Police Association president Greg O’Connor needs to realise that assault and hurt feelings are two different things. What next, Greg - will people be arrested for failing to salute police officers?
“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the
government fear the people, there is liberty.”
- Thomas Jefferson