Monday, April 16, 2007

Want to be forced to fund political parties?

I don't want to say too much on this.
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Whatever way you cut it, this is compulsory funding of political parties.
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Nobody spinning this one way or another can escape that it is making you pay for the activities of a voluntary association that you may or may not have ever chosen to join or support financially.
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You might ask why everyone isn’t forced to pay for all other voluntary associations?
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You should. You’ll be told “that would be ridiculous and unaffordable”, and that would be correct.
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You next question should then be – why should I be forced to pay for YOUR voluntary association? Why is YOUR one more important than mine?
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You may ask why the proposal is NOT that all political parties should get the same amount of money, after all, the advocates of this often go on about equality, and how unfair it is that some have more than others. They spit out their own jealous venom at those who are richer than others. However no, the biggest recipients will be the two encumbents
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You may ask what the proposal means for you wanting to fund a campaign by your own money – remember it “your” money. Money you haven’t stolen, defrauded or cheated from anyone else, but money you have property rights over (something politicians don’t often understand).
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Think about what it will do to that, your choices will be restricted.
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In North Korea, Ceaucescu’s Romania, and indeed under any totalitarian government, the one think people could never escape was politics. In a free society it is something people take for granted. You need not vote, you need not be a member of any political party, in fact you can enjoy getting on with your own life peacefully.
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Those of us in politics sometimes think that those who are completely outside it and do nothing about it are stupid, naïve or even lesser people as a result. In fact, some of those outside politics simply think there is something more interesting than choosing or supporting people who, by and large, want to tell others what to do. Unfortunately those outside politics make the biggest mistake by thinking it will all be ok, until they find some politician has actually interfered with something that matters to them.
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I have voluntarily supported several political parties in my life, including one very small one. One reason I never joined a trade union was because I refused to support the Labour Party by proxy (another was because I didn’t think it offered me anything).
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Political parties have come and gone in New Zealand’s history, and maybe one day Labour and National will go too. The spectre of this has haunted both parties quite recently, but survival is a fairly strong incentive to change.
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I don’t care which part of the political spectrum you come from – it is absolutely immoral to force private citizens to pay for political parties – organisations that are not publicly elected, and are not accountable to anyone for their activities.
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People elect political parties based upon the individuals put on the party lists and a desire for those people to govern – but they do pay taxes to fund government NOT the parties. It is the job of MPs to represent the views of their electors and to govern or to oppose. That is what they are paid to do. We do not pay political parties directly through taxes because it opens the door to corrupt, biased funding that nobody can be clearly accountable for.
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Quite simply, if a political party cannot convince people that it is worth funding by their own choice, then by what twisted logic is it moral to force them to do so?
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The argument that “the Labour Party exists for your own good” does not wash – in fact it is eerily reminiscent of the attitude taken in one party states. Now "the two main parties are good for you, and the smaller ones a bit less good for you, and the smallest not at all".
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And no, the fact that some other countries do it is not a rebuttal. In fact is the argument of a person without an argument – it is like the child who tells his parents “but Johnny’s parents let Him do it?”.
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So that is it – do you want to be forced to pay for political parties? And if so, why aren’t you paying for them now? Why can’t you and your supporters convince people to choose to pay for political parties?

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