Wednesday, 25 February 2015

“Turning to social liberalism, the issue I would suggest ACT focuses on is voluntary euthanasia.”

David Farrar was asked to talk to last weekend’s ACT conference on how ACT might gain more voters to increase their representation in parliament and decrease their reliance on the Epsom electorate?

Mark Hubbard will be pleased…

…I think a clear message of opposition to most forms of corporate welfare has potential appeal to not just economic liberals on the right, but also to many on the left. It would make it hard for the left to paint ACT as the party of big business, if they are signing up to your campaigns against corporate welfare.

Turning to social liberalism, the issue I would suggest ACT focuses on is [voluntary] euthanasia. Is anything a more fundamental human right than being able to choose between quantity of life and quality of life?
    This is not some abstract issue. Sadly for many families, they have been through the horrors of a loved one who was unable to make an informed choice to reduce their suffering.  I actually used to be against euthanasia until I listened to the speech Rodney Hide made in 2003 about the death of Martin Hames. It reduced me to tears and made me realise how harmful the current law can be, and converted me to favouring a law change.
    It is an issue that is both very real to many, but also very popular. The last public poll on this issue saw 61% in favour of terminally ill people being able to choose when to end their lives and only 18% opposed. A 3:1 ratio in favour is about as good as it gets.
    Labour has banned their MPs from advancing this issue, because it may distract them from their core mission of getting more people to join a union. National MPs are discouraged from doing bills on conscience issues. In fact I think National discourages their MPs from doing any bills that haven’t been written by Chris Finlayson for them. The highlight was the West Coast MP’s bill on reforming the law of habeas corpus.
    NZ First are generally against euthanasia, except for immigrants. The Greens are admirably supportive, but the suspicion is they see it as a way to reduce carbon emissions. 
    More seriously there is an opportunity for ACT here to lead on this issue, and connect to New Zealanders on an issue that resonates, as well as clearly position themselves as the only party not wanting the state to interfere in decisions that belong to individuals.


  1. Farrar makes great sense when not towing the National Party line.

    Afraid this fallen on deaf ears, however, as far as Seymour is concerned.

  2. Although for anyone at the ACT conference, was anything said by Seymour regarding this speech?

  3. Ahem, that would be "toeing."

    "...for anyone at the ACT conference, was anything said by Seymour regarding this [in his] speech?" See for yourself...

  4. Whoops, somehow lost a comment into the ether. And yes, typos and dodgy spelling: story of social media for me.

    Cheers for clip, will watch after tea.

  5. Um, 42 minutes ... give a busy man a clue: does he actually mention euthanasia in that speech?

  6. I read Orwell's essay about politics and the English language recently which singles out 'towing the line' and makes no allowances for typos and spelling (or, as a marker of mine once excused it, "typo's.") Just sayin', you're going up against George here.

    The short answer is: No, Mark.

    You can watch this at double speed like me, then it's only 21mins. First 20mins are an annoying (to me) history myth about 'The Liberal Tribe' as if Ward, Bob Jones, Roger Douglas etc. represent a continuity. Here mentions at 17.45 David Farrar's speech to highlight a compliment to ACT.

    Mentions Elenor Catton's 'collectivisation' comments twice, 22 and 32, which interests me too. Warm and humorous throughout btw, though leaning on ancient jokes and old crowd-pleasing quotes....

    Last 20mins filled with a bit of contemporary private enterprise praise (not too contemporary though, but this decade.) And finally, David settles on Sir Roger's old interest of superannuation reform. This excites nobody, including not himself, but is supposed to be the soundbyte for the Press and only suggests to me that it's a political assignment for him from National. A cross to bear, a decoy to be.

    Ah, and also worth a mention to the aggravation of individualists is David's constant peppering of the word altruism in this speech. He says it's good, he says ACT's altruistic, he's altruistic, the supporters are altruistic. It's supposed to be a compliment, according to what was decided in the branding meeting that came up with this idea for softening ACT's image. Pointing out that this is anti-individualism to them would be to draw on deeper thinking than marketers are capable of...

  7. Great synopsis Rick. Cheers. Yes, I don't need to listen to it. Seymour is trying to popularise classical liberalism by leaning to modern tropes: sorry, exchange popularise with kill. Seymour is trying to kill classical liberalism ....


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