Wednesday, 15 September 2010

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Christchurch and Cuba – Moving In Different Directions

_richardmcgrath Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.

This week:   Christchurch and Cuba – Moving In Different Directions

1. The report, in the CHRISTCHURCH PRESS - “Recovery law cuts red tape “Emergency legislation rushed through Parliament has given the Government extraordinary powers to rebuild Christchurch. Faced with a massive damage bill and an uncertain future for many home and business owners, the Government says it needs the powers to get the city back on its feet as soon as possible.”

The reality: The government awards itself massive unbridled powers; places itself above laws such as the RMA and District Plans enforced by ferret-faced council bureaucrats, under which our freedom to act is crushed on a daily basis; exempts itself from scrutiny, accountability and liability for its actions; and blocks even our courts from challenging any of its decisions, under the guise of rebuilding Christchurch.

The problem: This is a draconian power grab, which will strengthen the power of the state at the expense of our liberty. This is an over-the-top reaction to a natural disaster, an opportunity for the government to seize for itself the power to impose its will on the people of NZ. The country is not at war; we are not under threat from foreign invaders or an armed insurrection from the populace. Yet our freedoms have been eroded; and this law may never be repealed. The government has decided it can ignore crap laws such as the RMA, Public Works Act, Local Government Act, and Building Act. But hang on - weren’t these laws necessary for our protection? Suddenly the government decides they weren’t that necessary after all. Why not get ditch these laws then, instead of having one rule for politicians and another for the rest of us peasants?  

Bouquet: To the Greens, for questioning the effect these emergency laws will have on our civil liberties, and whether such a concentration of power in the hands of a few is a good thing. But then why the hell did they end up voting for it?

Brickbat: To ACT – where was the “liberal” party while the government were rushing this legislation through in the middle of the night? Marching lockstep with their National masters, that’s where, like the faithful lapdogs they have become.

2. The report, in the NZ HERALD – “Cuba Cuts 500,000 State Jobs – “Cuba has announced it will cast off at least half a million state workers by early next year and reduce restrictions on private enterprise to help them find new jobs - the most dramatic step yet in President Raul Castro's push to radically remake employment on the communist-run island. Because unemployment is anathema in a communist society, state businesses have been forced to carry many people who do almost nothing. The labour overhaul comes less than a week after Fidel Castro caused a stir around the globe when he was quoted by visiting American magazine writer Jeffrey Goldberg as saying Cuba's communist economy no longer works.”

My reaction: – After fifty years of oppression, this could be the beginning of the end for the Communist dictatorship in Cuba, the Carribean equivalent of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. It will be interesting to see whether the Castro government will allow the sort of privatisation and freeing up of trade that has seen China become the world’s fastest growing economy. Watch this space.

Bouquet (partial): To Raul Castro, for facing reality. He should be encouraged to push further and hold free elections in Cuba.

Brickbat: To President Obama, for extending the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba two weeks ago. His reaction to the bold moves toward a free society in Cuba should be to lift the embargo completely.

When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the government
fear the people, there is liberty.
- attributed to Thomas Jefferson


  1. Nice points Richard ... I brought up the Cuban development on one of the most important stories today - further proof of the pain of planned economies/societies, and how they will never trump markets/freedom, but how many generations to we have to keep throwing into this proof?

    Regarding the 'draconian power grab' through the emergency legislation out of the earthquake, that is the second blatant example of how little respect this government has for what they no doubt think of as that quaint notion of individual freedom.

    No matter what you think of Ecan - and that's a whole subset of other issues - never forget that Nick Smith unilaterally fired all elected councillors and installed his own Commissars who wield wide-ranging authoritarian powers. [Again, we all know the fallacy vis vis freedom of 'elected' officials; the Commissars may get much more done as far as irrigating Canterbury is concerned; but the precedent of appointing officials without consultation and whom hold a high degree of centralised power, is starting to become more and more alarming with National. This government needs to take a philosophy course, starting with the ideas coming from the Declaration of Independence.]

  2. ... how many generations do we ...

  3. Pro-Capitalist15 Sep 2010, 12:43:00

    Mark Hubbard,

    It's good that you get engage in the discussion at but really, you're wasting your time over there as the main resident blogger, Berny Hickey is a socialist and also a daft commentator.

  4. Sean Fitzpatrick15 Sep 2010, 12:48:00

    Bouquet: To the Greens, for questioning the effect these emergency laws will have on our civil liberties, and whether such a concentration of power in the hands of a few is a good thing. But then why the hell did they end up voting for it?

    Answer - because they like to be seen to be the friend of civil liberties while actively working to erode them in the cause of their own assumption of 'we know best'. Classic Orwellian double-speak.

  5. Um, and another thought regarding the draconian propensity of this government. In his budget over May, English made a breath taking change to the legal structures known as Qualifying Companies and Loss Attributing Qualifying Companies. In a few strokes of his pen he has said if you have such a company (there are over 130,000 LAQC's) then from April next year it is not a company, it is a partnership (a very different structure tax-wise). Orwellian, and the uninitiated won't understand the significance of it - and I suspect English didn't fully comprehend what he had done also - but it's 'huge'. It'll put a lot of taxpayers in an unenviable position that due to the reckless pace this legislation seems to be taking, they have no way to prudently redress.

    When governments can make such wide-sweeping changes on whim, structuring businesses now becomes something between impossible and a nightmare.

  6. Richard McGrath15 Sep 2010, 18:56:00

    Sean: You're right. I think the Greens were trying to have a bob each way.

    Mark: Thanks for the comments. I used to have a LAQC for the very reason that there were tax advantages. Thankfully I let it lapse into deregisteration a few years back once its advantage to me was lost.

    If I remember correctly rental property owners will be hit with a double whammy with the demise of LAQCs + inability to claim depreciation on builings thanks to English's budgetary measures.

  7. Regarding the LAQC's though, Richard, as I stated, there are over 130,000 in the country, of which I suspect only a tiny percentage contain residential rentals. For example I have a lot of LAQC's on my client base, not one is a residential rental operation, and there's a very prudent reason for using every one of those LAQC's or QC's. So, to 'punish' a minority, English has taken out an entire legal structure that had an appropriate use across all industries. All he needed to do was ring fence rental losses no matter what the structure; instead to get at rental property operators he's nuc'ed an entire, useful - that's why QC's were legislated originally - legal structure.


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