The 2011 Libertarianz conference and AGM was held last Saturday, at Mac’s Brewbar in Wellington. This is the speech he delivered to the assembled throng.
The 2011 general election is now a little over three months away. As of 24 June, there were 15 political parties registered in New Zealand. Since I’ve heard it said that several of these parties claim to hold principles similar to those of the Libertarianz Party, I checked out the websites of these Pretenders to find out more. Here’s what I discovered:
- There is the National Party, whose stated values include individual freedom and choice, personal responsibility, competitive enterprise and limited government.
- The ACT Party describes individuals as owners of their lives, with rights and responsibilities—and the purpose of government is to protect these rights and not to assume the responsibilities.
- The Kiwi Party supports freedom of association, speech, assembly and religious belief.
- The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, whose candidate in a recent by-election promised to put the toke back in Tai Tokerau, believes adults have the right to exercise freedom of choice, unless that choice harms other people.
- New Zealand First’s policies include cutting government advisers and consultancies by 50%, lowering taxes and eliminating corruption within the state sector.
- The Democrats for Social Credit say the individual is more important than the state, that co-operative enterprise should be the basis of economic organisation, and that the current monetary system is the major cause of war, poverty, inflation and other social problems.
- The Maori Party’s policies include stopping Maori-owned land being confiscated under the Public Works Act, making the first $25k of income exempt from income tax, dropping the GST on food, dropping company tax and stopping any rise in compliance costs for businesses.
- Not yet registered as a political party is the NZ (Taxpayers) Tea Party, who wants smaller government with lower taxes, less regulation, and less borrowing.
The remaining seven parties don’t even pretend to be interested in freedom, or in protecting the rights of New Zealanders.
- United Future mentions, in passing, self-reliance.
- The New Citizen Party appears to be a race-based party, along the lines of the Maori and Mana Parties, aiming to represent Chinese New Zealanders. No values or policies are available as yet and as the party did not apply for broadcasting funding for the 2011 election, we are unlikely to learn much more about them before November.
- The Mana Party has no stated values and one policy, wanting more money from Treaty of Waitangi settlements.
- As of 28 July, the NZ Labour Party had no values or principles it was willing to share on its website. There is a link to a 2-minute video with Phil Goff and others talking platitudes about people caring for each other, teachers being the best they can, owning our own future, a land of our own, development of the community, obligations to provide for others, a no-nonsense attitude, a steak on every plate, a car in every house, and to every young girl a new pony. (At least one of these I have made up.)
There were brief glimpses of sanity on the Labour Party website with mention of ‘focusing on achievement’ and ‘people taking responsibility for their families,’ but nowhere could I find principles or policies by which these goals could be achieved. (But high up on the Labour Party plans for that would be, I’d wager, a need for oodles of taxpayers’ money.)
- The Green Party's values are said to be: engaging respectfully, supporting ideas on their merit, challenging oppression, and fostering compassion, a sense of humour and enjoyment in the workplace.
- The Alliance Party believes the dreams and aspirations of individual, identifiable New Zealanders should be sacrificed to the needs of anonymous, non-identifiable New Zealanders.
- The website for Jim Anderton’s Progressives is rather quaint, with just 3 policies mentioned – free dental care, partial alcohol prohibition and increased levels of taxpayer-sourced superannuation. Like the Labour Party, it appears devoid of principle or – more likely – too afraid to make any principles available for private consumption. (Scary things, principles.)
Thus there are, on the one hand, at least seven registered political parties, plus two as yet unregistered with one or more policies said to be underpinned by the sort of values shared by libertarians everywhere.
There are also six registered political parties in this country that fail to acknowledge in any way at all the concept of inalienable personal rights—the protection of which is the single most important (in fact, only) job of government.
And then there is the Libertarianz Party – a party that has unequivocally held to the same principles and policies for the entire 15 years of its existence. In summary those principles are:
- individual sovereignty & tolerance for the choices of others
- the right to create, acquire and control private property
- voluntary interaction & the non-initiation of force
- limited government
- the rule of law
In essence, these are corollaries of that one single principle: the non-aggression or non-bullying principle.
Simply put it is wrong for one person to bully another, and for governments to bully their citizens. Physical violence, and the threat of it, is immoral regardless of who is threatening who.
Unlike several parties in parliament whom I could mention, the Libertarianz is a party that does not merely pay lip service to the principles of small government while daily effecting their betrayal. Unlike them, we have an unswerving commitment to expanding the freedom of every New Zealander by rolling back the gargantuan, bloated and overbearing Nanny State.
So what distinguishes the Libertarianz Party from the pretenders, from the others who smile and say nice things about freedom—which incidentally even the most diehard socialist wants for themselves, but not for others?
Well, clearly enough we are not in parliament while they are. But to be there while doing over and daily voting against the principles on which you claim to stand neither advances your cause, nor your principles.
The one characteristic that sets Libertarianz apart from these pretenders is: INTEGRITY. Integrity is a wholeness, a consistency, an adherence to moral and ethical principles. A virtue, in other words, that is wholly and utterly alien to every single one of our elected representatives.
- The problem with the National Party is that despite throwing about words like freedom, choice, responsibility and limited government, it does nothing in government to uphold them. Meanwhile, it shoots itself in the foot by throwing into the mix other values such as Queen-worship, caring communities, security and capitulation to Greenwash.
- The ACT Party has allowed itself to be distracted from promoting classical liberal values by the antics of its former leader Rodney Hide and the resulting power struggle within the party, its increasing obsession with race, and the bizarre candidacy of John Banks in Epsom.
- The Kiwi Party wants to nationalise native animals and plants and have government interference in the media, and restrictions on freedom of speech.
- ALCP oppose the prohibition of their favoured substance, but favour the prohibition of those they don’t favour—like alcohol.
- NZ First, as their name suggests, want a Fortress NZ, an expansion of the welfare state (especially for over-65s) and a knighthood for Garth George.
- The Democrats for Social Credit would promote wasteful biofuels, the downside of which includes human starvation; would ban foreign investment in farm land, which would reduce local capital; would promote a state broadcasting arm to spread government propaganda; would subsidise the disabled at the expense of the able-bodied; introduce new taxes; would tolerate a central bank; would allow a government monopoly on energy sales; ‘free’ health care; subsidy of the performing arts. The few policies that are good, such as armed neutrality and restorative justice are outweighed by multiple Nanny State policies.
- The Maori and Mana Parties promote special rights for racial groups, thus judging people by the colour of their skin and not by the content of their character.
- United Future believe that adults who self-medicate without harming other people should be arrested, and that people who sell medication to others should be jailed without the option of home detention.
There is thus a tendency for New Zealand political parties to promote one or two token libertarian values, but you don’t have to dig far to discover they are all closet statists. It seems clear then that at this election, as in every other, you really only have two choices: either vote for one of the statists (with whichever favoured face of authoritarianism you choose) or you vote for the Libertarianz Party, the only party whose policies are compatible with freedom, with tolerance, and with deregulating every facet of human activity while outlawing every new form of coercion.
If you are looking for a registered political party advocating limited government and maximal personal freedom with consistency and integrity, then look no further then the Libertarianz Party of New Zealand—the party I am proud to lead.