Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why Libertarianz and NOT Act

My reasons for 2005 are here, but since then National has moved to the left and ACT? Well it has changed too.

Those on the small government side of the spectrum are split between those who advocate voting for ACT, and those who say vote Libertarianz. The arguments on both sides are fairly short and sweet.

ACT advocates say:
1. A vote for ACT is a vote to move New Zealand towards less government, albeit at a far slower pace, degree and extent compared to Libertarianz.
2. ACT is almost guaranteed Parliamentary representation because Rodney Hide will almost certainly win Epsom.

So it comes down to ACT is pointing in the right direction and is in Parliament. However what does “the right direction mean”?

Being fair to ACT, the party looks better now than it has ever done. It has more policies to hinder the growth of the state than ever before, Rodney Hide has upped his game, and having Sir Roger Douglas on the ticket is notable, as he is light years ahead of any National MP in terms of courage and intellect.

ACT is better than National, but it didn’t need to work hard.

You see for me, I want to see six major changes in policies:

1. At least the option of opting out of state health and education.
2. Serious shrinkage of the welfare state
3. A significant reduction in the size of central and local government.
4. Significant reductions in tax consistent with the above.
5. Protection of private property rights.
6. Repeal of victimless crimes.

Obviously the Nats will do none of the above. How about ACT?

1. ACT policy is education vouchers, a step forward, and talks about an option for people to buy private healthcare. So, that gets a tick.
2. ACT would shift sickness beneficiaries towards an insurance based approach. Not exactly cutting the welfare state, but an improvement, so on balance the right direction.
3. ACT would cap central government to growing spending at the rate of inflation and population growth. That isn’t shrinking the state, it’s maintaining it at the same level as Labour. Standing still isn’t a direction. It would shrink local government, so why not central?
4. ACT’s tax policy sends mixed signals. It wouldn’t cut taxes until 2011. That is LESS than National. However, if you don’t shrink the state it is hardly a surprise. ACT also advocates a carbon tax. Yes you read right, it would replaced ETS with a carbon tax.
5. ACT would review the RMA so it would only supplement common law principles, but it doesn’t mention private property rights, except in terms of “where private property is taken or regulated for public good purposes.” So where are private property rights again? Why is it afraid of saying it?
6. Victimless crimes? ACT never discusses them, never touches them. It is tough on crime, but that doesn’t include reviewing criminal law. It has a “national security policy”

So with ACT I get something positive on health, education and welfare, I get the government of the same size as what Labour has left us with, and no tax cut for two years (but might get a carbon tax). I get the RMA reformed, but with no mention of private property rights, and of course ACT is silent on victimless crimes.

How, honestly, can a libertarian say that is worth voting for? I want tax cuts, I want the state to shrink. I don’t believe New Zealanders should have to put up with government as big as Labour has left us with and no tax cuts for two years. I want private property rights protected, I want a government that knows the difference between real crimes, like murder and theft, and victimless crimes, like bans on cigar magazines, smoking cannabis and allowing smoking inside your bar.

A vote for ACT is saying none of those things matter enough. To me they do. So vote ACT if you wish, but to do so you are accepting compromises with those who don’t want tax cuts, those who don’t want to protect private property rights from the RMA, those who believe zero tolerance should apply to all crimes, whether there is a victim or not.

I voted some days ago for Libertarianz, because I want to make a statement with my single vote, that the government shouldn’t own my life. Some Al Gore supporters in 2000 complained that those Americans who voted for Ralph Nader took Democrat votes off of Gore. They didn’t, they voted for what they wanted.

Your vote is a tiny indicator of what YOU believe in. It is nothing more than that. It isn't a veto - after all, it takes tens of thousands of votes to shift a single MP from one party to another.

So I am not “robbing ACT or National” of “their” vote. It is my vote. I voted for more freedom, less government – I invite you to do the same.


Anonymous said...

New Zealand's culture being the way it is, Hell will freeze over before Libertarianz ever have the chance to implement any policies. In fact it's extremely unlikely they will win even one seat in the near future.

On the other hand, ACT will have a voice in Parliament. In combination with National, they have a chance of making gradual, incremental change in the direction Libertarianz voters would prefer. If they are successful and win sufficient trust and respect from Joe Public, the cultural landscape may become more favourable to Libertarianz in the future.

I would suggest, if you want to see Libertarianz in parliament in the future your best hope is to support ACT and National now.

StephenR said...

4) I believe they PREFER a carbon tax if measures HAD to be taken - when you read what Hide 'the environmental scientist' has to say about climate change, it's pretty bleeding obvious he think's it's all a hoax, therefore no action really needed.

6) Yes, very disappointing.