To say that and actually mean it.
I’ve waited nearly two decades for any other party to say that recognising property rights means the Resource Management Act must go, must be abolished, must be repealed, binned, burned, destroyed. I’ve waited exactly that long for someone, anyone, to recognise that in binning it we don’t need to replace it with more town planning, but with the good old-fashioned protection of common law – protection for property rights and environment combined that has over eight-hundred years of sophistication in dealing with the issues the RMA purports to deal with, but doesn’t.
Like all successful countries, New Zealand was built on the rule of law, private property rights and trade. And our continued success also depends on them.
Chip away at these institutions and we will lose the prosperity and freedom that we now enjoy.
Labour, New Zealand First, the Greens, Mana-Internet and the Conservatives are all openly hostile to the institution of private property.
All want to ban the sale of land to foreigners. I have heard the leaders of all these parties justify this policy by claiming that “we should not be selling our land to foreigners”.
When Lochinvar station was sold to Chinese buyers, we were not selling our land. The Stevenson family was selling their land.
Land in New Zealand is not collectively owned; it is privately owned. New Zealand is not yet a communist country.
Winston Peters lives in a street near mine. He cannot come knocking at my door demanding entry to “our house”. Nor should he presume to tell me who I can sell my house to. I own my house and Winston owns his.
That’s what John Key should have told David Cunliffe when the topic came up during their televised debate. Instead, Key quibbled that the National government already applies Labour’s proposed test for an acceptable land sale.
In other words, Key accepted Cunliffe’s assumption that the government should decide who a private property owner may sell to.
There is no virtue in meeting your opponents halfway when they have strayed miles off course.
As true as this is necessary:
ACT would also abolish the Resource Management Act rather than streamlining its consenting processes, as National plans to do.
The problem is not with the administration of the RMA. The problem is with the very conception of it. The RMA is an assault on property rights that stifles investment and economic growth. The restrictions it puts on using land for residential development are the reason housing is so expensive.
We did not have an environmental crisis in 1990 when the RMA was made law. But we did have affordable housing. ACT would return to sensible planning laws based on private property rights.
Jamie Whyte has earlier noted that “there's no need for the RMA as the environment is already protected by common law; said “parliament should admit it is a 30 year experiment that has failed and we should start again using the common law as the basis for environmental protections”; that there is "hundreds of years of common law" that can adequately protect the environment.”
Something not one of his predecessors ever either understood, or even tried to get their head around.
To hear it said, finally, out in the open, by someone other than me, is truly inspiring.
To watch him point out that all his electoral protagonists are “communistic” – to point out and explain – is tremendous.
To hear ideas like this,* finally and properly articulated, is a blessing:
Precisely because of those damned predecessors, who delivered to this new leader a party too toxic for any rational voter to touch.
Jamie Whyte is making a magnificent fist out of what he inherited. But it’s the party he inherited that is proving his biggest problem. He is way better than this shambles deserves.
The ACT Party began badly, let’s face it, when right from its founding the party talked about values out of one side of its mouth while Richard Prebble talked politics out of the other – betraying ever value it claimed to stand for, and every voter who lent that way who lent them their vote on that basis. The slide into permanent toxicity was cemented when Rodney Hide danced his way into ministerial perks before delivering to Auckland a super-sized bureaucracy from which it may only barely recover.
Not to mention the toxic and vindictive inner party squabbles that occasionally erupted forth onto the front pages, betraying the way values were valued in this petty fiefdom run so sourly by a fat and flaccid fool.
The toxicity was such that when Don Brash stooped to conquer, he discovered that the electoral effect of association with this visibly toxic cabal was not to raise the ACT Party up to some appreciable percentage of the vote tally he had earlier earned as National Party leader, but instead to drag down his own reputation to the nether regions of this party.
And then he delivered to the country John Banks.
I wasn’t there at New ACT’s campaign launch on Saturday, so I don’t know if those two toxic dwarfs Rodney Hide or John Banks attended, but I’d like to think they were invited just so they could be told to take a long walk off a very short pier. Or just to be punched in the face.
Because if Jamie Whyte needs in four short words the reason his many fine ones are failing to catch electoral fire, it is the names of those two worms – John Banks and Rodney Hide -- who have so poisoned the platform from which New ACT is attempting to launch – so poisoned the well for the classical liberal ideas they claimed to represent -- that I fear a misfire is the best now that can be hoped for.**
Because I would hate the fine ideas on which they are now trying to stand – after many years of much worse – to be themselves tarnished by association.
They deserve, and have always deserved, much better than that.
* No, not an ACT Party billboard if you look closely, more’s the pity. Hat tip for it to top Brit Oliver Cooper.
** I wish Jamie and David Seymour the very best, I really do. Because they’re both fine people. But I fear their own association with this toxic rump will make them and what they stand for just as untouchable as Don Brash.