Friday, 19 September 2014

Concerned, from Epsom [updated]

We each have our hot-button election issues.

Mine is property rights.

Has been for years.

For years I’ve been saying the Resource Management Act (RMA) is an abuse of property rights and has to go. It has empowered councils to take your property rights under all their thoroughly meddling district plans and directives, and has to go.

It has to go, I’ve said, to be replaced with common law protection of property rights – protecting private property rights and the environment, in which the common law can point to several hundred years of success.

No major party has followed that line. So, consequently, I’ve followed no major party.

But this year is different.

This year, after years of seeing  Old ACT offering weasel words about “reforming” the RMA, tinkering around the edges but nothing to frighten their consultant constituency, this year the new leader of New ACT finally recognised and stated the obvious:

"The problem with the Resource Management Act is not in its administration, the problem is with the very conception of it."
The Act was "an assault on private property rights that stifles investment and economic growth", he said, blaming the Act's restrictions for the increasingly expensive property market.
Act instead would return a "sensible plan based on private property rights."


ACT believes parliament should admit [the Resource Management Act] is a 30 year experiment that has failed and we should start again using the common law as the basis for environmental protections. 



Bravo! I said.

I said it many times. I said it despite my fear of politicians saying one thing and meaning another.

I even said I’d head out tomorrow for the first time in my life and vote ACT, and David Seymour.

So when they started this week to talk instead about “reform” again, I had to check with David. Were they going blancmange again?, I asked. Not at all, he said.

I think it should be repealed. Could we negotiate that? Probably not.  There would still be regulation in its place, just far narrower.

Hmm, but your policy was to abolish RMA and replace it with common law.

That's not right, Jamie's always said replace with specific laws when and only when common law is deficient.

(Well, see above.) But you’re still saying abolish?

Yes. To be clear there would still be regulation, not promising common law only, just that RMA is beyond redemption, scrap and replace with much simpler law only when common law problems are clear.

So, customers, what do I do?

Was that the ringing re-endorsement I was hoping for? Or is New ACT going blancmange?

And what should I do about it tomorrow?

UPDATE:  It’s not just me with doubts.  Former ACT board member Peter McCaffrey writes…

Tomorrow I will cast an absentee vote for ACT from Canada because I think Jamie Whyte would contribute significantly to New Zealand’s Parliament, and of all the various party’s list candidates who are on the margin of getting elected, he is by far the best.
Having said that, ACT’s campaign has been woeful.
… the party [was presented with] a fantastic opportunity to finally become properly liberal, to campaign on some new policies (drug reform, civil liberties, etc) and look to slowly and steadily grow the party.
In short, [however] the party was too risk averse, too worried about the few votes they might lose, and never considering the votes they might win – a disappointing ignorance of Bastiat’s principles of the seen and the unseen, for a supposedly economically literate party….
In short, you still probably should give your party vote to ACT, in hopes of getting Jamie elected…
But I don’t blame you if you can’t bring yourself to do it.


  1. Suzuki Samurai19 Sep 2014, 11:16:00

    What should you do...? Drink too many Martini's today/tonight. Wake late tomorrow, do rude things, breakfast with victim of rude things, keep all news off all weekend, go for a drive somewhere remote; and pretend it's all happening somewhere else far far away, and never speak of elections again.

  2. I think what he is saying is "yes, that is our policy - but with 2 MPs we don't have the votes to actually do it".

    Seymour appears to be thinking beyond the ideological wish lists of those who aren't actually in Parliament, or government, to what the situation would be in real life.

    Contast that with Colin Craig or Winston First or the Greens talking about 'Bottom Lines" which are dangerous and unable to be implemented, but continue to assure their brain damaged supporters such nonsense can be top of the agenda at 9 o'clock on Monday morning.

    I am quite impressed with Seymour over this response; perhaps he is the right man for the job

  3. Stop being a pedantic purist and vote Act. The alternative is having your property rights being taken away completely. Sometimes libertarians are their own worst enemies.

  4. Yes, I know, it's a bit like voting to have a couple of fingers chopped off instead of your whole arm, but I will be voting ACT.

  5. At least they recognise the issue - the only ones who do.
    Far better to have people in there with that knowledge/attitude, than some Peters slot filling idiot!
    As reforms come up they can argue from within the tent - at the very least could hold balance to stop anything worse being done by withdrawing support.

    But common law hasn't gone away - RMA didn't remove those rights, it's just people don't know they can still sue under tort of nuisance etc.
    To bring back proper property rights, there needs to actually be more common law actions taken now - that will show people that they can claim back control.
    Council can well zone 6 storey apartment next to you, shading / reducing your amenity and property value, but would a devoper build if they will be sued?

  6. National is now well to the left of the Clark-Cullen "government". Who else is left?

    ACT's been going blancmange ever since Whyte took over - incest; supporting every red cent of National's welfare spend - but you still have to vote for either them or Craig.

  7. Council can well zone 6 storey apartment next to you, shading / reducing your amenity and property value, but would a devoper build if they will be sued?

    Which is why Whyte is in a sense rhyte - we need to expunge the "right" to sue other people for what they do on their property. (Thats the one good bit of the ACC Act: it stops bludgers who get hurt somehow suing their employers or manufacturers or roading engineers trying to claim agains them when what we need is personal responsibility: you got injured? you're responsible - don't try to blame or sue anyone else).

    Where Whyte is Whrong is in saying that we need to replace the RMA with a bunch of other. clearer, laws - which is absolutely what he said, go and listen here:

    In exactly the same way, if it's my fucking land, it's my fucking RIGHT to build whatever I want to there. Beginning. End. No court should even recognise a tort or a suit restricting that right - because fighting nuisance lawsuits is just as bad as regulation in the first place. (This again is why we need "Stand your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" laws - when I gun down some criminal, especially on my land, it's no-one else's damn business and I'm not answerable to any other court).

    That's the real solution to the RMA - not more new regulation; not going back to common law; just enforcing my rights as a landowner. It's my land, my rights, the rest of you NIMBYs can just f*** off.

  8. @Idiotic Tory: Your idiotic caricatures continue to ignore the nature of real property rights in land, which consist of the right to peaceful enjoyment of your land -- containing within it (as you've ignored many times) the corollary that your neighbour has the equal right to the peaceful enjoyment of *his* land.

    Got that?

    Common law recognises this corollary through recognition of rights to light, to air, to support and so on -- and offers you a response in either nuisance or trespass if without prior negotiation and agreement (which common law makes easy), you were to shade or obscure your neighbours window(s), or emit foul smells, or excavate to undermine him, or emit excessive noise or vibration, or transmit your runoff across his land, or emit sparks that set fire to his crops etc.

    These are all fairly standard examples for which common law has built up a network of precedents over many centuries, and many straighforward ways to deal with them.

    So in short, Idiotic Tory, please take your caricatures and find a dark place to shove them.

  9. Well said Peter.

    It's amazing how some people just don't get it. Interestingly David Kirkpatrick (now Judge), and chair of Unitary Plan, in a paper a few years ago alluded to 2 planning rules - you let me do what I want, and I won't impact on your property.
    the whole NIMBY rubbish needs to be debunked out in the media somehow. While maybe 30-40% are over-stating, my experience is that the majority of NIMBY's are basing it on that right to peaceful enjoyment. ie noise, shading etc ie "real" impacts. Some however do go beyond, ie visual impact, lost views, too many people etc.
    But we need a better debate - and I think Seymour/White are the only people that I would support here to do that.

  10. "But we need a better debate - and I think Seymour/White are the only people that I would support here to do that."

    Yes, there's that.

  11. Gee, so great of Mr McCaffrey to share his deep strategic insight with us all on the eve of the election. Yep, stuff that hardly could have waited. Solid chap. Good man to have alongside in the trenches I bet. Jesus.

  12. No you don't get it. Sure you could allow common-law "negotiation" and caveats and sight lines and all the rest and what you end up with a mess by another mechanism.

    True Property Rights are simple: My Property, My Rights. Your right to complain ends at the boundary. If you don't like my noise - take personal responsibility and double-glaze; if you don't like the smell, fit air filters; if you want light, fit arc lamps. And if I'm apparently in some way inconvenienced by something you do to your land inside your boundary: well it's up to me to take personal responsibly for my discomfort - not come winging.

    ie noise, shading etc ie "real" impacts....

    No it's pathetic NIMBYIsm. If you don't like what I'm doing with my land - either offer to buy me out, or leave.
    Meanwhile I will take complete personal responsibility for myself and my property - and I won't come whinging to you with complaints or lawsuits --- as long as whatever your doing hasn't crossed my boundary.

    Real Property Rights - Simple, Straightforward, no need for judges or juries or torts to adjudge precedents back to the Norman conquest. If we're going to reform the RMA let's do it properly: real rights, no whinging. Just a simple rule: What's mine's me own.

  13. Sam P - you summed it up well, and exactly what I was saying last week about the ACT people - they are all sneaky weasels who betray their mates very easily which is why you can't trust them, and a century ago would have been the cowards in the trenches haha!

    The more I see and hear of NewACT the prouder I am for voting National

  14. ACT is the nearest party to what Libz stood for. It's not perfect & suffers from a lack of consistency, but it's the best we have available.

    B Whitehead

  15. I'll be voting ACT.

    Falafulu Fisi

  16. "and a century ago would have been the cowards in the trenches haha!"

    You wouldn't have been found anywhere near trenches, Lineberry. You'd have been trying to turn a meagre profit from the efforts of war profiteers, and cheering on the slaughter from the sidelines along with the other Atlases.

  17. Lineberry, trenchman. Outstanding!


  18. Whitehead

    So what did LibZ stand for? I just read they stood Lineberry as a candidate in a NZ national election and they were serious. What a pack of dropkicks (to use the Kiwi vernacular).


  19. Angry Tory

    I do not understand your approach. How can a man enjoy quiet enjoyment of his property if the guy next door is emitting smells, noise, nuisance and the like what come across the boundary? There is a lack of consistency in your definition somewhere I fear. Can you explain and clarify for me. I am interested.


  20. Hey you guys just got sentenced to another three years of servitude. Do you think your "say" (vote) made a difference to what is going to happen to you now?

    If you voted you cannot complain!



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