This week Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath tears strips from Peter Dunne and Russel Norman. Surgically.
1. Watermelon Coalition’s Plans For Electricity Monopoly are 'Economic Dyslexia'
Leaders of the Red and Green parties Russel Norman and David Shearer have a not-so-cunning plan to further nationalise the electricity sector.
The suggestion by the Watermelon Coalition to set up an electricity wholesaler run by politicians smacks of economic dyslexia.
The current electricity “market” is already almost entirely government-run, with three of the big four retailers and the national grid operator still state-owned enterprises. This is a market which lacks virtually everything that would make it an actual market. But that’s still not enough for the Watermelon Coalition.
Many don’t realise it, by the pseudo-reforms put in place by the National Party when in government did not deliver a free market in electricity supply. Rather, it maintained the government's dominance in this crucial market. The not-for-profit model of Power Boards was replaced by the SOE model with little or no discernible benefit for consumers. [Read ‘Power for the People’ on page 38 of the July 2006 Free Radical magazine]
The way to get retail electricity prices down is to reduce barriers to entry and allow new players into the market to expose the state-owned dinosaurs - Genesis, Meridian and Mighty River - to increased levels of competition. Rather than putting politicians in control of the electricity market, power companies should be allowed to put pressure on each other to better serve their customers. The consumer - not the politician - should be king.
The suggestion that an entity called “NZ Power”’ award themselves a monopoly on the purchase of generated electricity at a 'fair' price and magically deliver cheap electricity to the people is just pure Marxist fantasy.
You know, whenever a politician drops the word 'fair' into a sentence, it invariably refers to a centrally planned command-and-control economy of which Rob Muldoon and Chairman Mao would be proud. People should run a mile from such charlatans.
If Opposition co-leader Russel Norman wanted a sustained drop in electricity retail prices, he would be advocating the government end its interference in the energy sector. His 'NZ Power' plan is aptly named - it's all about more power for statist politicians, and less power for common New Zealanders.
Any reduction in electricity prices based on the flawed and out-dated theories of Lenin and Marx will be short lived, require massive subsidisation and be open to political manipulation.
In the same breath as they talk about cheaper prices, the Greens also talk about price hikes when a household's use of electricity rises above a certain level, in the interests of something Russel Norman calls 'efficiency'. That sort of we-know-best ideology is poison to New Zealanders who value their freedom and the ability to make choices for themselves.
However, I don't hold out any hope that this National-led administration are interested in reforming the electricity market—with few exceptions, they abandoned any pretence of limiting the scope and power of government over individual Kiwis long ago.
2. Peter Dunne-Nothing
Peter Dunne wants to kill off charter schools, along with any hope of a decent education for many Kiwi kids. His dramatic about-face on charter schools shows he is little more than the Teachers Council's tame poodle.
Charter schools promote competition in education, and challenge the stranglehold by teachers' unions over what choices are available to parents and their children.
Our party remains firmly in favour of giving parents and children the right to decide how they are educated. Peter Dunne's backsliding, gutless treachery and total surrender to the teachers' unions is typical of his party's unprincipled populist stance on virtually every important issue.
He is clearly more interested in keeping in with the NZEI and other voting blocs than in letting New Zealanders choose a style of teaching for their children that is remotely at variance with the one-size-fits-all teacher-centric state education system.
Peter Dunne, you are now owned by the teachers union - I hope you are proud of your abandonment of those children doomed to failure in the current politically correct, inflexible and increasingly useless network of detention centres for the young.
There are some wonderful teachers out there who could do achieve so much good working in schools specialised to the needs of their pupils. Unfortunately, such teachers are constrained by the rules of their protectionist trade unions and training bodies who are terrified of losing their tightly-held monopoly on teacher qualifications and jobs--along with losing all those billions of dollars of taxpayer funding thrown at the government’s factory schools.
Teacher qualifications are a smokescreen being utilised by universities, NZEI and PPTA to disguise an undignified grab for money and power that Dunne is now aiding and abetting.
If charter schools are so bad, why not give them a limited trial for a year or two in order to to demonstrate just how terrible they are? Yet the education establishment is fearful of any competition and clearly view the prospect of charter schools with considerable alarm, as their own deficiencies are likely to be exposed to public scrutiny.
Peter Dunne appears to forget that in a free education market, bad and incompetent teachers and school are more likely to be ruthlessly and rapidly weeded out, as pupils and parents can more easily vote with their feet and take their education funding elsewhere if they are unhappy with a particular school.
The bottom line is not what letters a teacher has after his or her name, but whether he or she can engage with pupils and keep them keen to learn and hungry for knowledge. Such skills aren't learnt at teacher training colleges and universities. And having a politically driven national curriculum which propagates, for instance, the fiction of the “principles” of the Treaty, or the nonsense of anthropogenic global warming, both so wrong as to be bordering on criminal.
It is imperative that the education market be opened up in every way; that children cease to be political pawns; and that power and funding be wrested away from teacher unions and training colleges and placed back where it belongs, in the hands of education consumers.
See you next week!