Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Q: What would 'Party X' do about the environment?– A: They’d use it to push privatisation.

IMAGINE A ‘PARTY X’ that was actually committed to opposing statism ,and to advocating for free enterprise. Imagine such a party had a cabinet committing to rolling back the state, and an environment minister brimming over with ideas to do that.
    Here, in several parts, are the sort of environmental policies such a party (and such a minister) could advocate. Seven simple policies using present-day political realities to roll back the state without introducing any new coercion along the way.

Today, “Iwi then Kiwi” - a unique kind of privatisation. A politically viable method of ending the tragedy of the commons by beginning to get rid of the commons.

The leitmotif of this series so far is using existing pressures in the political environment to advance the de-politicisation of the natural environment.

There is arguably no more virulent and on-going political pressure in the wild than those that formed the Maori and Mana Parties. And there’s no more important environmental repair than fixing the Tragedy of the Commons. The water needs it. The land needs it. Even “protected” species need it.(And while the reasons the Commons need fixing are as simple to understand as cocktail party etiquette, the methods by which the Tragedy is overcome are enough to earn people a Nobel Prize.)

Now, I’ve maintained in many posts here that property rights under a common law regime provides superior environmental protection to what we presently endure. Property rights are the key to genuine environmental protection. Property rights in defence of nature. But there’s a problem there too, isn’t there.  There’s no property rights without property…

To work effectively, property rights-based environmental protection needs an owner to stand up for it. And more than half of this beautiful country (and, despite the best efforts of Hone, Pita and Tariana, most of the seabed, foreshore and waterways) have no-one to stand up for them but a bureaucrat.  [Cue the joke told by Department of Conservation (DoC) bureaucrats: Q: What’s the best way to exterminate possums? A: Give them to DoC to protect. ]

No, most of this beautiful country still has no property rights attached. Most of it is essentially un-owned, i.e., nearly half of the country is still nominally Crown Land, with no owner in the least interested in standing up for their patch. (With about thirty percent of the country being so called “conservation estate,” i.e., “protected” by Kate Wilkinson and her Department of Conservation (DoC).) 

SO WHAT DO WE do? Using our ‘judo’ principle of using our opponents’ strengths to gain our goals, what do you think the easiest way would be to establish property rights in all that land that needs property rights protection. Anyone?

I’ll give you that clue again, shall I? What about giving the Maori and Mana Parties something to vote for? Think about that for a moment.

It makes a lot of sense. Who’s going to advocate loudest and longest for title in all Crown land, seabed, foreshore and waterways to be privatised?  Just imagine getting the full weight of brown roundtable behind privatisation. That’s a fair old weight!

So am I really advocating giving all this un-owned land away to a bunch of tribalists!? Well, yes I am.

What have they done to deserve it? Well, nothing. Nothing, that is, except develop rights in land and water over long historic use, and agitate loudly enough today so that they’re on point as the easiest way to effect this sort of privatisation.

If we can have titles created in land where there are presently no titles at all, if we can extract land and water from the hands of the state and turn it into private property with covenants and easements attached that protect all existing rights, then that’s as good a thing as any peaceful freedom fighter can hope to achieve—and it’s perfectly in line with our goal of more freedom, with no new coercion.

THERE”S JUST FOUR THINGS that should be done to ensure that both freedom and prosperity are secured.

  • The first thing is to ensure that only Crown Land is involved; that no existing private property will be in the mix.  Don’t put it past a bureaucrat to take the chance to effect another confiscation, even while all around are being privatised.
  • The second is that tribalism must taken out of the mix: title must be transferred NOT to tribal leaders so they can increase their control or create new tribal fiefdoms, but to individuals. The only opposition to this condition will come from tribal leaders themselves, of course, who realise they’re being made redundant, and not before time—and that opposition in itself will reveal that the interests of the tribal leaders and the people on whose behalf they claim to speak are not the same, and are actually at odds with each other.
  • The third thing is to ensure that all existing interests, such as logging rights, fishing rights, harvesting rights—all existing easements or covenants, whether presently registered or not—are registered and protected on all new titles.
  • And the fourth thing to do is to to ensure that all titles created are both fully individualised and transferable. As Ronald Coase points out, as long as titles are made transferable and transaction costs are kept low, then land titles so created will tend to end up in the hands of those who most value them. The first holders of these new titles can do anything they wish with them (and making land individually owned and transferable is between them a necessary condition to allow the holders of these titles to borrow against them to advance their wealth), but as we’re all aware the deadbeats and the astute will both quickly sell to those who value them more than they do, and the productive who wish to will keep theirs and use it to produce something more. The choice will be entirely up to these new first-time owners.

So there you have it. A simple and politically possible way to begin effecting property rights all over the country. In short, this is a privatisation even talkback callers can support.

And over time we would expect to see this land and water which was initially un-owned and unprotected (the main reason for problems like ‘dirty dairying’) used first to raise people out of poverty who are in urgent need of that boon and thence to reduce the importance of tribalism--and then once land and water end up in the hands of those who value the land and waterways the most, owners who have most to gain from its protection, we’ll have the sort of strong environmental protection across the country that common law was so successful at delivering.

[Tomorrow, a very special carbon tax plan ...]

* * * * *

INTRO: 'What Would 'Party X' Do About the Environment?'
PART TWO: 'A Nuisance and a BOR.'
Making Life Easier for Small Consents
THE SERIES IS BASED ON THE PRINCIPLE DEVELOPED HERE: 'Transitions to Freedom: Shall We Kill Them in Their Beds?'


  1. Actually, this is exactly what was the policy of the Native Land Court in the mid-late 19th Centuries. The judges of the NLC tried to protect Maori ownership by investing it in trustee representatives of the tribes. A fair proportion of the Waitangi Tribunal claims relate to land that was disposed of by these trustees.

    I'm not saying your idea is a bad one - just that the tribal leaders will be claiming it all back again in 100 years (actually in less than 30 years if some Waitangi claims are anything to go by).

  2. This is where you lose me completely, PC. 98 percent of your blog is superb in both its logic and its sentiment - but then you come up with ridiculous crap like this. Give all the seashore and seabed and a third of our country's land to a bunch of private individuals who's culture has never had even the slightest conception of property values or even common law! Oh yeah... that'll fix everything. FFS.

  3. @Dave: Given the political environment, do you know any other way to quickly privatise the country?

  4. @PC: I don't think that all Crown Land SHOULD be privatised. Even if I thought that every single particle in the universe should be automatically and quickly privatised (as matter of dogma) then I still would not support giving it away to people who never had any concept of property law before Europeans came here.

    Your views on this (and the 'all tax is theft' thing for example) are simply far too extreme for any sensible person to support; which is why the Libz will never get anywhere. Your general thrust has so much going for it, but you lose the plot when you try to push the boundaries off the edge into insanity.

  5. This is a good series PC; you're ahead of your time. You're kicking off a kind of creative thinking that is a real alternative to the ingrained contemporary ways of how to do things with the state. Carry on.

    (And this is a good idea.)

  6. People of Maori culture have no appreciation of private property rights. A sweeping statement. If true though the this Idea by PC is the fastest way to give these Maori an an appreciation od individual private property rights. See how their mindset would change if they had true property rights that they too want to protect.

  7. @Dave
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein

    This seems to be what you are offering.

    PC is suggesting giving it to ancestors of people who had no concept of property rights. It's a subtle but important difference don't you think?

  8. No, PC isn't suggesting giving the bloody resources to the ANCESTORS... he's suggesting giving it to their DESCENDENTS. Get it right.

    And whats the reason for this staggering piece of largesse? Its because their ANCESTORS (who THEN had no concept of property rights) used to use the bloody place.


  9. Yes, I stuffed up my editing and should have stuck with "...people whose ancestors...". Thanks for so politely pointing that out.

    You obviously understood the point I was trying to make though.

    You've accused PC of pushing the boundaries os insanity yet haven't come up with a viable alternative. Continueing down the current path and expecting a different result from where we are now seems less sane to me.

  10. There was nothing wrong with the result we were getting before the quisling racist-sympathiser cunt Key stuck his oar in in order to ingratiate himself with the maoris.

  11. There is a story about a Maori women who inherited 17000acres of land in Whakapuaka just outside of Nelson in the late 1800s. The title was free and clear when her father died. Her cousins were a bit jealous of her, because she leased the land to some pakeha farmers who ran sheep on it, tilled the soil and paid their rent.
    She of course recognised that the land was generating a nice income tyvm, one that afforded her the ability to live in a large house, with a tennis court, run some sheep herself, and so be in meat all year round. She refused all attempts to sell it. Her cousins tried 10 times to get the courts to recognise their claim on the land.
    Finally they managed to get 20% of the land. Sure enough it was gone within a very short period of time after the cousins 'ownership'.
    By 1955 the entire stake was sold off, and the cussies had nothing.

    Free holding title in this manner would result in exactly the same scenario, as PC points out. But the good thing about it, that the titles would be issued for time immemorial and the Maaori would have their treaty claims repaid in full, with finality, and it would cost the taxpayer nothing more than a survey, and some historians to allocate the land appropriately.... but that could be a major problem

    how do you fulfill that element? do you just say righto theres 575000 Maori descent people lets give them all title to x sqm and then issue the land accordingly?

  12. Hey Mort... I've got a better idea.

    Lets all just ignore 150 years of settlement in this country, give the place lock stock and barrel to the Maoris and all fuck off back to where we came from, shall we?

    But hang on... some of us were born here. Oh that's alright then.... my half-step-auntie-in-law was born here but she's got 1/16th Maori in her from the postman in 1907 and some domestic servant on a farm. Awkward. OK, We'll both fuck off back to whence we came and we'll chop half her leg off and leave it here. That'll be the Maori part.

    Wait on though. That wouldn't work, coz we don't actually know whence we came exactly. Never mind, we'll just fuck of anyway just as soon as we can buy some fake South African passports in the internet.

    I suppose my neighbour will be in the shit though. He reckons he's mainly Maori but he looks kinda white and the local tribe keep hassling him to prove his heritage. His wife's well out of the picture though, cos she's a chinky import from the Otago goldfields so she'll be off back to wherever her great grandfather came from just as soon as the Iwi can draw up the papers.

    Gee, who would have thought property rights could be so complicated.... but it serves us bloody well right for our ancestors thinking they could just come here, work and build a country for their descendants to live in.

  13. Dave, PC advocated for Crown land only to be divvied up. Not private stuff. Yes your current property will drop in value intiially, but think about the opportunities some retard alco p freak kid basher is going to want to offload. Once its gone, thats it. Done . FINITO
    Haere ra bro... you got your payout. Treaty gravy train is now derailed.

  14. Mort... Treaty Gravy Trains NEVER derail. There's always some engine pushing wagons around in sidings somewhere, and as long as there are white-guilt appeasers snivelling on the points there will always be dissatisfaction-activists only too willing to shunt their wagon back onto the mainline.

    I can see Neville Key right now waving his fucking treaty document in the air and exclaiming "peace in our time" while the bros sit on the sidelines working out new ways to steal the country off the pakeha motherfuckers.

    Tragically, I can seee well-meaning philosophical types like PC nodding sagely as they watch the 'free market' at its magical work.

  15. Why give it to one particular ethnicity?
    If you want private ownership what would be fairer than giving a bit to everyone.
    I do not see that having an ancestor who lived here before european settlement should give one special entitlement now.
    Why is it more important that maori have land than anyone else?
    You are advocating ethnic discrimination, something that has never had a good outcome for humanity in its entire history.
    Even better, allow people to purchase it, why the handout mindset?


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