Thursday, 10 November 2011

DOWN TO THE DOCTORS: “What will your party policies do to help the poor and underprivileged of NZ?”

_richardmcgrathYour weekly prescription of good sense from Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath.

This week, around the hustings.

I’ve attended so many meetings and shaken so many hands recently I’ve prescribed myself a course of hand-cream and antibiotics, along with therapy to counter the insanity of all the state worshippers I’ve encountered.

But it’s not all bad. Take a recent meeting in Upper Hutt, when the first person that Labour candidate  Michael Bott attacked during the meeting was me! And he commented before we started that he had read a lot of our stuff. So as Mrs Marsh said on the Colgate TV ad: “it does get in”.

At least two of the other parties represented yesterday, including Labour, explicitly made mention of a tax free income band in their policies. If I recall correctly, we came up with that policy. Now the others are copying it. Great!

The Nats didn’t come, which went down poorly with the audience, a fairly left wing mob of about 50 people.

A heckler from the audience (who was the Greens candidate in Wairarapa in 2008), was told to shut up or leave by the chairman (who was the Alliance candidate in Wellington Central up against Bernard in 2008).

The Conservative Party was represented by a thoroughly nice guy, who I drove back to Masterton after the anti-ETS rally in Wgtn last year.

The Democrats for Social Credit were represented by an old timer who was wobbly on his feet and terrified me as I thought he was going to topple off the stage every time he got up to speak.

The Alliance were represented by a guy from Hawkes Bay who was fairly unimpressive and read off sheets printed off the Alliance website.

ACT’s speaker was Graeme Tulloch, a 75 year old man with fire in his belly who answered questions well.

There was a panel of three inquisitors, a guy from from Caritas (the Catholic welfare organization), a woman who provides lunches for kids in one of Masterton’s low decile schools, and a virulent poisonous nasty bitch from the Child Poverty Action Group.

The speeches + answering questions went on for two hours – quite a long meeting, and most of the audience hung around for the cup of tea at the end. Answering the question “What will your party policies do to help the poor and underprivileged of NZ?,” here’s what I said to them:

Welcome ladies and gentlemen.
My name is Richard McGrath, and I work as a doctor in general practice and in the field of addiction treatment.
I represent the Libertarianz Party, who believe that solutions to poverty need to take regard of the rights of everyone in society.
They need to reward endeavour and productivity, and they need to avoid eroding the moral fibre and self-esteem of welfare recipients.   
The key to addressing the problem of poverty is in making it easier for people to help themselves and others, and to give those who are truly disabled the security of an adequate income stream.  
The poor and underprivileged can be divided into 2 groups – those who can do something to help themselves, and those who are truly disabled and can never hope to discover self-sustaining sources of income.
The Libertarianz Party has policies that will assist both groups of people.
For those people capable of work, we advocate:
•       Abolishing minimum wage laws.
These laws stop the low-skilled from obtaining their first job, and threaten the livelihoods of marginally productive workers.
My party believes it better that a young man with time on his hands be earning $10 an hour in gainful employment, than $5 an hour playing on his X-Box on the unemployment benefit.
       Implementing a tax free band for the first $50k of income.
Currently government taxes from the first dollar, then gives low and middle income earners Working for Families tax credits. There is a cost to this double handling, which could be eliminated by not taxing low income earners in the first place.
•       Abolishing GST, a tax which hurts everyone including the poor.
For those people permanently incapable of work, Libertarianz Party policy is:
•       To fund the permanently incapacitated by way of private individualized annuities 
         funded from the interest on capital raised from the sale of state owned enterprises.
•       To encourage the young and able of today to think ahead and purchase disability,
         income protection and accident insurance;    join private welfare groups such as trade 
         unions, friendly societies or lodges;    or set aside sufficient savings so they are
         adequately covered in the event of permanent disability. Reward this sort of forward
         planning with tax credits.
The Libertarianz Party believes in a smaller less intrusive government, that would allow local communities and neighbourhoods to set up their own solutions to the problems of poverty, long term unemployment and disability; using their own money.
Eighty years of government-run welfare has failed the poor and underprivileged – my party has a better plan that is fair to everyone. 
Thank you.

Minto’s Forced Equality Would Destroy Ambition

In my spare time I’ve been looking at other party’s policies, such as they are. One that caught my eye was John Minto’s call for GST to be abolished.  I support him. But don’t just lift the GST on lentils and cumquats, as Phil Goff suggests as well - take it off all goods and services, and instantly make them 15% cheaper.

Minto is quite correct in calling for “dramatic, revolutionary change in economic policy” - but the change New Zealand needs is not the poverty and slavery of communism that he advocates, but the motivation and life-enhancing opportunities offered by free market capitalism.

imageI also back John Minto’s calls for a tax-free income band, but  the Mana Party are “wimps” for suggesting a figure of $27,000 whereas I hold that the first $50,000 of income should be exempt from molestation by the IRD.

The Mana Party’s backing of Labour’s $15 an hour minimum wage, fixing it at two-thirds of the average wage, is a cynical method of ensuring there will always be an underclass of jobless New Zealanders that the hard left can manipulate.

If minimum wage laws worked, then all the left-leaning political parties, including National, would be calling for $100 an hour as the bottom line. The fact is that minimum wage laws cause unemployment, particularly for the young and vulnerable who need jobs the most. That’s why Libertarianz wants such laws struck out.

The rest of the Mana Party tax policy is lifted straight from the Communist Manifesto – which I’m sure comprises Mr Minto’s bedtime reading.

Health Promises Highlight Ryall’s Contempt For Doctors

Tony Ryall’s election promise to make doctors provide around-the-clock medical care for all children under six - regardless of the urgency of the perceived problem and free of any surcharge - is bullying and hypocritical.

This promise was made without consulting those who would have to provide the service: GPs like myself and our staff.

imageThis is a blatant election bribe that treats doctors as chattel who can be ordered to provide services day and night, for no charge, at the whim and behest of the Minister.

This is the same Tony Ryall who once described the Clark regime’s management style as command-and-control. So now he’s running the show, how does Tony’s regime differ?

The reality is that the National Party government is no better than the one it replaced. It has equal contempt for general practitioners and their staff.

The Libertarianz Party would excise the State from the provision of health care services by abolishing subsidies, reducing taxes, and opening up orthodox practitioners to competition. We would allow more affordable options for people on limited budgets.

And, importantly, we would enforce the ban on human slavery which Mr Ryall has conveniently sidestepped with extravagant election promises that would impose further obligations on already-overworked GPs.

Labour/National Economic Policy is Insulting

In the face of the most severe economic crisis since the end of World War II, New Zealanders are looking to political leaders for direction—or at least for them to get out of the way. However all we are being offered is the same old tired formula of divide and bribe.

Labour/National and their various cling-on parties are practitioners of the worst kind of “trickle down” imaginable. All are addicted to the concept of central government sucking up as much money as possible and then trickling down on the rest of us.

Libertarianz recognizes however that economies are, in fact, organic. That they grow from the bottom up, through the actions of hard working folk acting in their own rational self interest—the very people Labour/National treat as milch cows.

New Zealanders have the boldness to get ahead in life, the wisdom to know it takes effort to do so, and the maturity to respect those who succeed. By contrast, our professional politicians seek to appeal to people’s worst instincts: to laziness, greed and envy. They regularly behave like overgrown toddlers themselves in Parliament, and apparently assume the rest of us to be similarly infantile.

It is time to stop looking for answers from this political “elite” who see every crisis as merely an opportunity to increase their own power base.

We need to get unproductive politicians and bureaucrats out of the way of productive workers and businesses. In Parliament, Libertarianz will support any legislative step, however small, towards reducing the tax and regulatory burdens on private enterprise.

imageTaxing Kiwis into a state of financial hardship and then drip feeding them back our own money in order to keep us dependant on the state is simple cruelty. At the very least, bribing us with our own damn money and then expecting us to be grateful for it is a massive insult.

A vote for Libertarianz is the best way for New Zealanders to send the message they refuse treated with such contempt any longer.  A vote for Libertarianz is a serious protest vote.

Libertarianz have released a video on the problems created by government bribery – available at

Libertarianz Party Creates Unusual Political Broadcasts

imageOh, and in a move away from the usual brief adverts on main channels,  Libertarianz candidates are presenting a series of four half-hour shows starting this Thursday at 8pm on Stratos TV (Freeview channel 21 and Sky channel 89).

By creating full length programs and broadcasting on the less expensive Stratos TV, we hope to impart more information to potential supporters of our radical ideas.

Tonight, we present a special documentary on the Christchurch earthquake, appearing at 8pm on Stratos TV (Freeview channel 21 and Sky channel 89).

It shows the devastating effect of government bureaucracy following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and argues for Libertarianz policy to make Christchurch a free enterprise zone.

Spread the word!

Radio Interview

I just finished an interview on Radio 531PI with morning host Yolande, who had looked at our website and was interested in our principles based around freedom!  I was given free rein to advertise Libz and spoke almost uninterrupted for 10 minutes.

The station is aimed at a Pacific Island audience, so I talked about low taxes and abolishing the minimum wage.

imageI said our party wouldn’t have to stand if National stuck to its stated values, which are largely along our lines.

I pointed out the arrogance of taxation – government thinking it knows better how to spend your money than you do.

I called politicians cold blooded reptiles who don’t mind sacrificing their children and grandchildren on top of a mountain of borrowed money.

I said electing governments has been like electing a school bully who will pick your pockets for the next 3 years.

I pointed out that taxing those on low incomes and giving some back as welfare payments is wasteful double handling, and a pernicious theft of people’s futures.

I said Labour would prefer young and low skilled people to be sitting at home playing X-Box for $5 an hour than out there in productive work earning $10 an hour. 

I got a word in re our website and directed listeners to it.

I thought it went bloody well. Yolande was courteous and complimentary and said she wants to interview me again during the campaign.

I genuinely think her curiosity has been tickled by what I had to say. I came on straight after Carmel Sepuloni who had been giving listeners the same old Big Govt diatribe, and the first thing I did after introductions was attack the way big government solutions had failed the people of NZ.

Good to be out there offering some semblance of sense in an election based more than most on evasion of basic economic realities.

See you next week!
Doc McGrath


  1. Mark Hubbard (Tribeless)10 Nov 2011, 12:22:00

    Best of luck Richard. You're running a much more visible campaign this time around, so well done. I'll be sure to check into the Stratos show tonight.

    You've got my vote, sorry I've put no time into the effort this election (other than Internet postings).

  2. I think you first $50k of income being tax free is around the wrong way.
    To reward hard working people you should make a top threshold were no tax is paid. Example - for every dollar you earn over $150k, you are taxed less. Perhaps on a graduated scale
    Gives incentive to keep working


  3. Richard McGrath10 Nov 2011, 23:32:00

    @Mark - thanks for the kind words. Went to another meeting tonight in Featherston, which was a mission as I had to drive 200 km to get there from Whanganui.

    Five candidates attended, along with a photo of absent local Nat MP John Hayes.

    My biased opinion afterward was that the Labour candidate and myself probably came across best. I raised one or two laughs along the way which I think always helps.

    Onward to Masterton on Sunday and Monday, then Martinborough Tuesday and Carterton Thursday. Bring on the statists!

    @David- the $50k tax free band means a tax cut for all - better than no tax cut - and encourages a thriving bartering/black market for people on low incomes. You are quite correct on incentives to work at the top income levels. Of course, Libz would eventually want all tax abolished.

  4. Hal Incandenza11 Nov 2011, 08:34:00

    "Of course, Libz would eventually want all tax abolished."

    And would fund defence, police and the criminal justice system by selling magic fairy dust.

  5. Richard McGrath11 Nov 2011, 09:05:00

    @Hal: Why do you assume the only way to raise money is to point a gun at people's heads or to borrow it? There is such a thing as voluntary funding of government services.

    Is that your real name or are you hiding behind a pseudonym?

  6. @Hal Incomprehensible:
    Well, maybe magic fairy dust works for you, but when the per-capita cost for defence, police and the criminal justice system is around the same as the per-capita cost of insurance, I'd expect folk to pay voluntarily in a similar way and for the same reasons they buy insurance.

    Meanwhile, you'll still be freeloading, no doubt.

  7. Hal Incandenza is a character in the novel 'Infinite Jest', cheesefunnel is not. But you're correct Hal, the magic of 'voluntary funding' is always the ambulance at the bottom of every libertarian cliff. Surly it's not so far out to take the position that the government should only tax for core services, or does this mean I'm a communist?

  8. @Cheesefunnel: There is nothing "magical" about paying insurance, nothing coerced, nothing out of the ordinary--and nothing essentially dissimilar in cost, intention or motivation in paying for those core services.

    The payment(s) could made be through any or all means such as:
    * voluntary levies on insurance premiums (encouraged by insurance companies, no doubt, because order rather than chaos is a cheaper insurance environment to be in)
    * payments to register title deeds and contracts and such like
    * court costs levied from losers
    * government lotteries
    * direct debits by the likes of Finlay McDonald, Sam Morgan, Brian Edwards et al who insist even present taxes aren't high enough, and who will be encouraged to put their money where their substantial mouths are.

    So that's just a few means whereby voluntarism can work, just as long as the annual per-capita cost can be kept as low as insurance premiums are at present.

    If your point however is that no one would pay the present high rates for the present overspending system unless someone held a gun to our heads, then you're right. They wouldn't.

    But that really is the point, isn't it.

  9. Hal Incandenza11 Nov 2011, 12:52:00

    Nope, The point is that you live in fantasy land. Lotteries won't raise nearly enough, especially given that the government lottery will be in competition with private sector gambling to a much greater extent than now.

    No one would pay a voluntary levy on an insurance policy for the army or police. Why would they?

    Charges for government services such as registering land titles will cover the costs of those services nothing more. Otherwise they're just sneaky compulsion.

    As for fines, these might cover a tiny fraction of the costs of government, but nothing more. And you'll get accused of revenue gathering. Again, sneaky compulsion.

    That leave you with voluntary donations. But why should I or anyone donate when the real estate agents and spotty adolescents are free riding.

    So now you're $6 billion short and the world is falling apart. What are you going to do?

  10. @Hal Incontinence: Why would anyone pay a voluntary levy? For the same reason they voluntarily pay insurance.

    Why would folk pay voluntarily for police etc.? For the same reason they pay voluntarily for security.

    Why would folk be charged the full costs to register titles and contracts? Because the full costs includes the costs of the legal, enforcement and judicial apparatus
    of police and law courts.

    Who would benefit most from order and property protection rather than chaos and anarchy? The very insurance companies who themselves would value the legal, enforcement and judicial protection
    of police and defence and law courts.

    pSo unlike the situation now, Paying up would not be a sacrifice.

    But it would only bring in a fraction of the cost of government, you say?
    But we're talking about a government only a fraction the size of this present one. The per-capita cost of which (as you can see from fully-costed Libz Budgets) is less than your annual insurance bill.

  11. Hal Incandenza11 Nov 2011, 16:30:00

    Yep, you're dreaming.

    "Why would anyone pay a voluntary levy? For the same reason they voluntarily pay insurance."

    But it's a voluntary levy. What are they paying for that they wouldn't get as of right? Police services? It can't be, as in a libertarian state it's the government's responsibility to enforce the law. Unless you're saying that will only happen for those with the money to pay for it.

    "Why would folk pay voluntarily for police etc.? For the same reason they pay voluntarily for security."

    Again, security services are excludable, police services are not. Citizens get those as of right.

    "Why would folk be charged the full costs to register titles and contracts? Because the full costs includes the costs of the legal, enforcement and judicial apparatus of police and law courts."

    So you are talking sneaky compulsion. OK then. But why are homeowners being forced to pay for the police to keep order among the drunks on Queen Street on a Saturday night, or prisons? This isn't what I signed up for!

    "Who would benefit most from order and property protection rather than chaos and anarchy? The very insurance companies who themselves would value the legal, enforcement and judicial protection
    of police and defence and law courts."

    Your faith in the insurance industry is touching, given recent experience with them failing.

    "But it would only bring in a fraction of the cost of government, you say?"

    No, I'm saying that in would bring in only a tiny fraction of the cost of even a libertarian government.


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