24 October 2023

Let's talk about international law, Hamas and Israel

Who is Natasha Hausdorff?

After a law degree at Oxford University and an LL.M. specialising in public international law, Natasha clerked for the President of the Supreme Court of Israel in Jerusalem, acquiring a particular insight into the Court’s application of international law. In 2018, as a Pegasus Scholar, Natasha was a Fellow at Columbia Law School in the National Security Law Program. She frequently lectures around the world on aspects of public international law and national security policy.

Natasha Hausdorff schooling the BBC

13 October 2023

The tolerance for hatred from some MPs

Before I make my point I unfortunately feel it is important to make a few context points. I’m not a supporter of Netanyahu, I don’t believe in a greater Israel and I do hold the widespread view that there is only a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in peaceful co-existence, which necessitates two states on the land concerned.  Criticism of the Israeli government isn't anti-semitic, because millions of Israelis do it regularly. You might argue that believing Israel shouldn't exist is anti-semitic, and I don't hold that view, but it certainly rejects the idea that Jews are entitled to national self-determination, and for people who proclaim that this is a fundamental right, why should Jews be exempt from this, unless you think they are lesser? Israel is a thriving liberal democracy, it contains the full spectrum of views on the issues confronting it, from fundamentalists who are eliminationists about Palestinian Arabs, to radicals who question the very existence of Israel at all. This spectrum of opinion, assuming it exists, cannot be expressed in Gaza or the parts of the West Bank governed by the Palestinian Authority.  Not that this matters to purported supporters of Palestinians. This post is not about debating Israel vs. Palestine, it is about whether or not you can support Palestinian Arabs as a people, without supporting the fascist eliminationist theocratic death cult of Hamas at the same time.  I am fairly certain that most of those who believe the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wrong were not supporters of Japan's fascist imperial government.  However, it would appear that many Palestinian supporters find it difficult to separate them from Hamas.

What is important is the narrow band of opinion expressed by those who openly support the Palestinian Arabs in New Zealand and how silent they almost all have been since Hamas invaded Israel to murder and abduct hundreds of Israelis, who live peacefully on territory recognised by every New Zealand government as being justifiably Israel.

With the exception of the geriatric tankie John Minto, who has always been off to the far-left, the silence has been deafening.  Green list MP Golriz Ghahraman condemned the attack, but of course there is always a but… about how Israel responds. Apparently if citizens of a government are attacked, murdered and abducted, the key focus should be on “not overreacting”.  In itself it may seem fair, but it's immoral to not call for Hamas to cease glorifying killing and promoting Jew hatred, and comparing that to a military defending its citizens from attack.

Auckland Central Green MP Chloe Swarbrick and Green list MP Ricardo Menendez-March have kept silent, as has Wellington Central Green candidate Tamatha Paul.  Green list MP Teanau Tuiono and Labour Christchurch Central MP Duncan Webb, both members of a Palestinian solidarity Facebook group that, before it locked down, contained rabidly anti-semitic rhetoric including Holocaust denial. 

Then we have the absurdity of Green co-leader Marama Davidson, in The Press debate claiming that if Hamas is to be declared a terrorist group, so should the Israeli Defence Forces. She grants moral equivalence between Islamofascists who call for eliminationist genocide of Jews worldwide, and the national military of a recognised sovereign state and member of the United Nations.  Even accepting, as I do, that the Israeli Defence Forces are far from angelic, Davidson’s comparison is telling – telling of either how absolutely batshit stupid she is, or how odious is her outlook on the world, and how terrifyingly she may see political violence carried out in the name of what she supports. 

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, Te Pati Maori list MP has also engaged in “whataboutery” around all this. Again, there has been no statement from Te Pati Maori condemning Hamas, but this is a party which has a foreign policy of being “friends to all”, except apparently when one of its “friends” tries murdering another. It’s morally empty.

Bear in mind the Green Party and the Labour Party have both been vehement in their demands for tougher laws to ban “hate speech”, it’s curious how tolerant they are of their own MPs allying themselves with people who engage in expressions that would be caught by this.

I on the other hand am quite happy for them all to show who they ally themselves with and tolerate in their campaign for Palestinian rights, and who they don’t condemn, because it speaks volumes.

Contrast it to how the Green Party acted in response to Posie Parker and her rally in the debate on transgender rights.  No doubt her rallies attracted some people objectively from the “far-right”, but it was hardly dominated by it, but the approach of the Greens, and transgender rights lobbyists were to damn all of their critics as “Nazis” by association.  Curious how this doesn't, at all, apply when it comes to Green MPs associating with those backing Hamas.

Hamas, of course, has zero tolerance for transgender or anyone with sexual or gender diversity at all. Like all Islamists they are ultra-conservatives who treat women as chattels, who regard homosexuality as an aberration solved by death, but overall they are fascists. Hamas spreads wanton anti-semitic propaganda and teaches children in its schools to celebrate martyrdom and killing Jews. Nazis would find much of their literature to be familiar.

So when Green and Labour MPs who support Palestinian rights don’t simultaneously condemn, unreservedly, Hamas, its ideology and its actions, are they associating with Nazis too? Does parading their slogan (shared with Hezbollah from Lebanon, and shared with radical elements of Fatah on the West Bank) mean these Green MPs are Nazis? Or does the use of the term Nazis not apply when it is a cause you believe in, even though you share that cause with people who embrace and promote actual Nazi ideology.

You might wonder then why Palestinian supporters have not said what is actually a defensible position in favour of a better life for the Palestinians:

Hamas is an evil fascist racist organisation that will not help Palestinians to be free, and its actions and ideology are condemned unreservedly;

The only solution to the Palestinian conflict is for a peaceful settlement whereby there are two states that exist side-by-side with mutual respect for the existence of each other, and which promote tolerance and free exchange between peoples;

Israel has the right to defend itself, and it has the right to do what it takes to free hostages, apprehend terrorists and destroy Hamas’s means to kill its people;

Palestinians deserve a free homeland, and the civil and political rights we take for granted, and there should be international co-operation to promote this, to not support movements that desire to eliminate Israel and promote Jew hatred.

Israel deserves to live in peace, and to ensure all those within its borders have equal civil and political rights, and that does not mean settlements on occupied territory or to implement a Greater Israel on the occupied territories.

If any MPs or candidates support Hamas, then we all deserve to know and act accordingly.  If any of them refuse to condemn Hamas, then consider how it would be to refuse to condemn the Christchurch shooter, or to refuse to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine (and Te Pati Maori and the Greens are a bit weak on that too). 

It's been a dereliction of the duty of most of the media to not ask these questions. You might ask why? The Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand published a press statement which did not condemn the actions of Hamas at all, but actually condemned those who called out Hamas. This is an organisation that gained much sympathy and publicity for its demand for tolerance after the Christchurch shooting, and rightfully so. Now it has been shown to be disgraceful sympathisers with Hamas, and as a result, sympathisers of hatred towards Jews.  

So we can now see, clear as day, what the moral compass is of those who claim to have a moral compass about human rights, about tolerance, about combating hatred and even about rights for LGBT people, and women.

It’s broken. Whoever you vote for, don’t vote for individuals who can’t condemn the gleeful murder of people, who promote a theocratic fascist state with no tolerance for dissent from Islamism, no tolerance for Jews, no tolerance for political dissent, and no tolerance for gay, lesbian or the transgender people the empty vessels of the Green Party and Te Pati Maori claim to care about. Their tolerance and their opposition to hatred doesn’t apply to Jews, Israelis or EVEN Palestinians, because they are happy for Palestinians to be led by a fascist racist homophobic misogynistic death cult.  That also means don't vote Green or Te Pati Maori.  We can be grateful that Hipkins DID condemn Hamas, as did Luxon, Seymour and Peters.

My biggest hope is that tomorrow the Palestinian rallies are tiny, and the scenes from Sydney, where a group was not just celebrating the murder of Israelis, but calling for genocide, are not repeated.  If those who are keen on the cause could just not do that...

2023 General Election what you wont hear

What's the most tedious element of this year's general election is the complete failure of pretty much all politicians to admit to what they can't do.

Child poverty is not and cannot be eliminated by government. Because an element of child poverty is about the poor choices a small proportion of people make as parents. A small number of parents (the left pretends it is zero, some on the right try to conflate this with all on welfare) are at best useless, at worst malign and unfit to be parents. Oranga Tamariki exists because there are people who abuse their children and neglect them, but no quantity of money thrown at people in poverty will eliminate it.  I'd argue the best solution to poverty is to get out of the way of people finding ways out of poverty, through employment and entrepreneurship and most of all, allow more housing to be built.  The barriers to all of this are the fault of governments, central and local, and this is what politicians should focus on.

Poverty doesn't exist because some people are wealth or on high incomes. As with parents, a very small number of wealthy people are so because they cheated or defrauded people, but by and large it is a mixture of hard work, entrepreneurship, opportunity and chance, and more than a few people have been wealthy and lost most or all of it.  The narrative from the left that because some people are rich, that means they took it from the poor is nonsense.  However, government can unjustly enrich people through protecting their businesses from competition, from printing money to inflate asset prices that government then constrains the supply of (see housing), from paying contractors or staff to undertake government work at taxpayers' expense, regardless of the cost.  Removing barriers to competition, ending monetary incontinence and reducing the role of the state generally will reduce all of this.  

Tax cuts don't take money from anyone, they take money from the capacity of politicians to spend other people's money.  You can make assumptions about what they wont spend the money on, but whoever or whatever it was meant to be for, is not taking money from people "in the future". It wasn't their money in the first place, and for more and more people, if their taxes are too high, they'll just go somewhere else.  That's when you get to the Berlin Wall theory of taking from the People - that successful people emigrating is stealing from the people you wanted to give their taxes to.  It's just nonsense.

There is always going to be a crisis in healthcare as it gets rationed by queuing and political/bureaucratic decisions. This is a feature of public healthcare systems that are taxpayer funded. Politicians can pretend they can "fix" this, but as long as the health professionals know they can get public sympathy for politicians to force people to pay them more, to deliver the same, and there is no discipline on what is and is not delivered by those who pay, it will continuously fail to deliver. What can be done is to more closely link what consumers want with what they get, including services tailored for them. This is why Maori health providers can be critically important if they deliver what consumers want, but it is also why this shouldn't be determined by a single Wellington based bureaucracy (or two in fact).  If you want universal healthcare, you're not going to deliver everything everyone needs when they need it, there are going to be compromises, and those compromises better be based on need.

Education of children isn't "one size fits all" and a Minister and a Wellington bureaucracy cannot know what is best in terms of techniques and content to teach all children everywhere. Education fails, in part, because of failing parents, some because of neglect some because they don't know what to do, so linking education to what parents want is critical to improving it for children.  Teaching unions, which primarily exist to benefit themselves and their members, have no monopoly on what is best for children, because their first interest, as in all lobby groups, is what is best for their members. Education needs to break out of being captured by producers and by bureaucratic conceit.  One side of politics thinks the producers should decide, the other side thinks it can decide, both are wrong.

Housing is a disaster and they are all to blame, but local government is to blame the most.  Look internationally (not Australia and the UK which have the same disease) and NZ's housing costs are insane. Nobody is willing to embrace the fundamental reform needed to fix this long-term problem, which requires treating planning on a property rights approach, liberalising building laws and liberalising immigration of those who will build.  It requires local government to get out of the way, and although the state can build more homes, it's simply nonsense to claim that this is the dominant answer.  ACT is closest to the right answer, but ACT is compromised because David Seymour wants to appease NIMBYs in Epsom (and likely Tamaki too).

Finally, the economy matters and it is economic growth (which some of the Greens reject as a concept) that enables more of everything. It enables more housing, better infrastructure, access to more technology and pharmaceuticals and expertise in healthcare, wider education and a better standard of living.  Government is an enabler of this only to the extent it provides a safe, secure and confident environment to invest, whether it be through law and order, property rights and a low, simple, easy to understand tax system.  

If you think politicians know best how to spend your money, then you're either admitting your own lack of intelligence or you're imbuing them with knowledge (and knowledge from public servants) to do this.  Few politicians have been great successes in their own lives in creating wealth for them and their families and others, and even fewer public servants have been. If politicians allow you to keep more of your money through tax cuts, then you too have choices how you spend that. If you are worried about poverty, then don't wait for a politician to tax you more and hope it will get to someone in need, donate your own money, property and time to helping people directly through a charity or even personally.

So if you choose to vote,  think about what most politicians aren't telling you. Many aren't admitting that they don't generate most of the wealth in the economy, that they money they spend is actually yours and that of millions of others, and that the more they spend, the more they have to take from you or (in many cases) your children and their children. You can pick politicians who say they'll make things better with more of your or other people's money, or give you something "free" which involves taking it from you or other people in the first place.  Most politicians are in this group.  Or you can pick those who want to get out of your way, and will focus on what government ought to focus on. Law and order, protecting individual and property right, and enabling others to maintain, upgrade and develop the infrastructure, services and economy that makes people better off.

New Zealand remains relatively poor per capita compared to most developed countries, and is only just above former eastern European communist dictatorships.  Those trying to sell you Scandinavian standards of living and public service without commensurate economies are lying to you.  

Hardly anyone talks about productivity, that to pay people more to do the same, means there is less money to invest, less money for producing or consuming other goods and services. Nothing is for free. If the government changes it wont be 1984-1993 Douglas/Caygill/Richardson redux, as if half the population even know what that was anymore. It might tinker a little to stop the slide getting worse. However if it stays the same with a lurch to the hard-left, it will just worsen a bit faster.  What might worsen more is the growing culture of entitlement and belief that society is made up of the oppressors and the oppressed, and the only solution to this is to do the same, in reverse.  For that is the underlying philosophy of the Greens and Te Pati Maori (and the bulk of Labour), who only see people through the eyes of Orwellian intersectionalism. 

Unfortunately, the record of National, for almost every time it has ever been in government, is not to reverse anything philosophically, but to say it is better at "delivering".  The reason being is that too many of you keep wanting a government to deliver, rather than letting you take more charge of your own life and charge of what you want to do for your family, community and society.  I can only hope that maybe some semblance of a different approach might come out after Saturday, but I'm not holding my breath.

11 October 2023

2023 General Election: Electorate voting guide Part One: Auckland Central to Northland... and now Part Two: Northland to Wigram

For some time now, I've tried to put together an electorate voting guide for those with a libertarian bent. Whether you vote ACT, National or any other party you think will advance more freedom and less government, you know that with a few exceptions, it is the Party vote that is critical in determining the numbers in Parliament.  Electorate votes are either in safe Labour, safe National or marginal seats, or in a few cases seats that are or might be won by a minor party (Greens, Te Pati Maori, NZ First, ACT or now TOP).

You can choose to not bother if you don't like any of them, but I'm suggesting that in most cases it is worth making a selection.  A general rule of thumb is if it is a safe Labour or National seat, you ought to vote for a minor party candidate who is promising, or if the Nat is of a more classically liberal bent, then maybe vote for him or her.  However, the seats where the Greens or Te Pati Maori hold or are likely to win, keep them out. Both parties are antithetical to values of individual freedom, less government, free market capitalism and Enlightenment values around freedom of speech and private property rights. 

Auckland Central:
Chloe Swarbrick took this in 2020 and she will be confident she’ll keep it, but Chloe is a rabid socialist with a penchant for cheering on Palestinians who want to wipe out Israel.  She’s also a complete control freak on alcohol, so we don’t need a neo-puritanical moral equivocator here. Removing the Greens from having an electorate is the most important goal here, so given it was a National seat for so long, give Mahesh Muralidhar from National a tick, to evict Chloe. He’s an entrepreneur, although he has a MBA, don’t hold it against him, as he’ll be better than Oscar Sims from Labour.   Mahesh Muralidhar, National

Banks Peninsula:
Held by Tracey McLellan of Labour, there’s no point voting for a former union organiser and expecting less government.  However her main opponent is National candidate Dr Vanessa Weenink who is a GP who has had roles in the doctors’ union. She seems better and has a chance, but if you want to give a libertarian a tick, vote for Laura Trask of ACT, who declares herself to be a libertarian.  Laura Trash, ACT

Bay of Plenty:
Todd Muller is standing down, but this is a safe National seat and Tom Rutherford is likely to win. He seems like a nice enough chap but his background is experience in communications, media and local government. Haven’t we had enough of that sort of thing? Cameron Luxton is the ACT candidate, but he is number 11, so has a high chance of getting elected anyway and he’s a tradesman, so he’s of better use outside Parliament. Meh, give Luxton a tick so the Nats pick someone who isn’t a spin doctor.  Cameron Luxton, ACT

Luxon’s seat, used to elect Jamie-Lee Ross.  Now Luxon is no libertarian, but if you’d rather not vote for a future PM, your choices are not great. Bo Burns from ACT says nothing to convince me she believes in less government, indeed being on the Howick Local Board is a bit of a red flag. Sure social conservatives could support Dieuwe de Boer from the New Conservatives, but he’s no libertarian. No enthusiasm here at all, but I’d probably default to Luxon, as he’s done nothing seriously wrong, yet.  Christopher Luxon, National

Christchurch Central:
The sitting MP Duncan Webb (Labour) is an odious little creep who is well known for being a member of a Palestinian solidary Facebook group that tolerates rabid anti-semitism and Holocaust denial. It’s not always been a Labour seat, but it is morally compelling to vote for the candidate most likely to evict this socialist who is National candidate Dale Stephens. Yes he was a cop, and there is little sign he holds much belief in free enterprise and reducing the size of the state, but the imperative here is to remove Webb.  Dale Stephens, National

Christchurch East
Labour’s Poto Williams is thankfully standing down, with the new candidate for Labour being Reuben Davidson who seems tedious and uninteresting.  National is offering Matt Stock, a teacher who seems nice enough, but Toni Severin from ACT, who is currently a list MP, is a better bet as she talks about freedom, school choice and less government.  Toni Severin, ACT

National’s Scott Simpson holds this seat and is almost certain to win again.  He is a social liberal, but Joanna Verburg from ACT seems a better bet being more committed to freedom.  Joanna Verburg, ACT

With David Clark retiring, Labour is punting up List MP Rachel Brooking in this safe seat.  She’s a former lawyer with a specialty in resource management law, so don’t expect a lot of belief in private property rights. Michael Woodhouse is the perennial National candidate who has only really a tinge of supporting more freedom and less government. However, ACT candidate Tim Newman is pushing for a tram through Dunedin, which isn’t going to come from private investment is it?  So go for Adrian McDermott from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party because well, he believes in something.  Adrian McDermott, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

East Coast:
With Kiri Allan bowing out, Tamati Coffey as Labour list MP is having another shot at winning an electorate. He’s out of his depth and Rawiri Waititi beat him in Waiariki during a Labour landslide, so he’s useless as a campaigner and let’s not forget he sponsored the racist draft Bill (Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill) to give Rotorua District Counci Maori seats that required far fewer voters to elect Councillors than general seats. This himbo needs to be defeated, so although Dana Kirkpatrick from National is not compelling, it is worth to vote for her to kick this carpetbagger out of Parliament.  Dana Kirkpatrick, National

East Coast Bays:
Erica Stanford for National is safe here, and whilst she has some passion for change that is positive, having been on the record that National could work with the Greens and being supportive of a School Strike 4 Climate, you would think you could better than her. Michael McCook of ACT might be promising, but he’s a tax accountant who wants more representation of small business at the government level. How’s that consistent with free enterprise and less government? Paul Adams of New Zeal looks no better, and Bill Dyet from New Zealand Loyal seems like a nut. Labour list MP Naisi Chen is likely to just be worse than Stanford.  Honestly, I’d just not bother.   

David Seymour is a shoo-in here nowadays but given his efforts to dilute measures to enhance the property rights of local property owners, there should be a review of the other options. Labour list MP Camilla Belich is a union lawyer, so forget her. National’s Paul Goldsmith isn’t inspiring either, being opposed to cannabis legalisation, even though he was brave in saying he thought colonisation was, on balance, good for Maori. There’s nothing inspiring in the NZ First and TOP candidates to support freedom (and NZ Loyal are lunatics), so you might give Seymour a tick for his efforts in standing up to a lot of abuse for having some very defensible positions.  David Seymour, ACT

Hamilton East:
Hamilton East is a marginal and tends to vote National more often than not, although it is held by Jamie Strange of Labour, as a rare social conservative in Labour, he’s not standing again. Georgie Dansey is standing, she is a union chief executive, so there is nothing here about less government. Ryan Hamilton, the National candidate has the best chance, who is a city councillor (sigh) and a small business owner. That’s not particularly inspiring, but bear in mind this is a marginal seat, you may just want to keep Labour out, which is a worthy goal. If you want someone a bit more interesting, Himanshu Parma, who has a real passion for whisky, is the ACT candidate and is much more promising.  We need more MPs with passion for alcohol.  Himanshu Parma, ACT

Hamilton West:
Remember Guarav Sharma? Well he’s not wasting time and money standing against Labour again. This seat is held by National’s Tama Potaka who ought to hold it and has a fairly impressive business background. Voting for him to keep Myra Williamson from Labour (who has a Ph.D from the University of Waikato) is reasonable, given Susan Stevenson from ACT says nothing about freedom on her profile. Tama Potaka, National

One of the Maori electorates, you would think Nanaia Mahuta should be safe here given the tendency to vote for the family name. Mahuta is behind the push for co-governance and eroding liberal democracy at local government with unelected Iwi members, and she is uninspiring as Foreign Minister, having “both-sided” Israel and Hamas with her first comment on the recent brutal attacks. The excuse of it being drafted by MFAT is not being accountable. So I’d be happy if Mahuta lost, but look at the alternatives. The main challenge is Te Pati Maori’s Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke. Leaving aside the threats and home invasion story, Maipi-Clarke is notable for blaming other people’s ideas for the threats and she wrote a book on astrology. There’s no point voting for a young communist to replace one of the old guard who whilst flawed is much less dangerous.  The third option may be tempting but Donna Pokere-Philips stood for Te Pati Maori in 2020 and stood for TOP in 2017 (and was number 6 on the list, which tells you a LOT about how useless TOP was in screening candidates) and in 1999 stood for the hard-left Alliance.  She may lead the Outdoors & Freedom Party now, but who knows what she believes in other than opposing the Covid vaccine (which she apparently described as a bio-weapon)? Pokere-Philips might be tempting to be disruptive, but since she hops all over the political spectrum she can hardly be trusted. Just hold out and pick Nanaia Mahuta, Labour if at all to keep TPM out.

Hutt South:
This never really was a marginal, as it used to be considered safe Labour, but Chris Bishop changed all that.  Ginny Andersen took it from him in 2020, and she’s hardly the worst Labour MP, but she’s been hopeless as a Cabinet Minister, and so it is right to vote to remove her. Your choice is Chris Bishop for National, who is indefatigable locally, or Andy Parkins for ACT, who claims to be in favour of freedom and personal responsibility. Bishop is passionate about enabling more housing to be built, even if he doesn’t have quite the right solution yet (there needs to be mandatory liberalisation of planning laws to build up and out, not leaving it to Councils who are the problem). He is a social liberal. Take it off Labour and pick Chris Bishop, National

Meka Whaitiri’s seat which she has left to join Te Pati Maori, so she shouldn’t be rewarded for joining the socialist ethno-nationalists. To stop her you have to vote for Cushla Tangaere‑Manuel of Labour. Ata Tuhakaraina of Vision NZ (Destiny Church) has his own story of turning his life around, and isn’t a bad choice, but let’s be serious. None of these candidates will be advocating for more freedom and less government.  The priority here is keeping Te Pati Maori’s ethno-nationalism away from Parliament, so it is Cushla Tangaere-Manuel, Labour

Feel relieved that Gerry Brownlee isn’t standing, but Sarah Pallett from Labour has to go. She’s just another unionist.  Of course Raf Manji from TOP is standing here as well, but TOP believes in more state, more welfare and he is campaigning for pork-barrel funding for Christchurch. It’s like the public service has its own party.  Enough of that, it is important to block TOP and Pallett, so give Hamish Campbell from National your vote, just to clear them out of the way.

On paper this looks marginal as National’s Penny Simmonds won it by a small margin in 2020, but this is usually a safe National seat. Simmonds opposed vaccine mandates and opposed suppression of the speech of abortion opponents near hospitals, which might gain her more support than she would get otherwise.  Scott Donaldson of ACT talks vaguely about freedoms.  There’s no strong reason to oppose Simmonds, but her willingness to speak up on vaccine mandates is rare in the National Party, so I’d say Penny Simmonds, National

Another safe mostly rural National seat, held by Stuart Smith. Having been Chair of the Winegrowers’ Association wins credit in my book, but given this is a safe seat it is worth looking around for better options. Keith Griffiths of ACT is not inspiring, and David Greenslade from the New Conservatives is into binding citizens’ initiated referenda, so that’s out. The independents are either unknown or weird. On balance, vote for the wine man. Stuart Smith, National

Kaipara ki Mahurangi:
Chris Penk is National MP in this fairly safe seat, he is interesting because he actually speaks his mind. He is a bit of a social conservative given voting on euthanasia and abortion and transgenderism, but I’m not holding all that against him as the guy has a sense of humour. A lawyer who spent time in the navy is interesting sure. Brent Bailey from ACT is better than some ACT candidates in talking about excessive government intervention, but on balance Penk seems to deserve another shot. Chris Penk, National

This safe Labour seat is held by Carmel Sepuloni and she is currently Deputy PM.  You absolutely wont want a prospective future leader of the party of democratic socialism, but you’re unlikely to unseat her, but Dr Ruby Shaumkel from National is smart and better than Jake Curran from ACT who says “public service is his calling”. We don’t need more ACT MPs who think that. Alister Hood from the New Conservatives talks explicitly about tax cuts, the doubling in the size of government, although localism is not individualism.  You might consider Hood if you’re not worried about social conservatism, or if you want to narrow Sepuloni’s majority, vote for Shaumkel, but I wouldn’t bother.

Barbara Edmonds of Labour holds this safe Labour seat, she was a tax lawyer and political advisor to Stuart Nash, so you’ll want to vote against her. Dr Frances Hughes is the National candidate, but there is nothing in her profile that suggests any belief in less government. Lily Brown from ACT is better, but you can’t go past Richard Goode from NAP (Not a Party) as someone who actually believes in individual freedom.  Richard Goode, NAP

Another solidly Labour seat with William Sio standing down, so Lemauga Lydia Sosene is standing for Labour. She has a diploma in business administration and has been a local councillor, so is more interesting than most Labour candidates. You’ll want to take a stand against Labour though, so Pothen Joseph from ACT, who is loudly in favour of individualism is your best bet. Rosemary Bourke from National seems reasonable enough, but Joseph would be a vote for freedom. Pothen Joseph, ACT

Arena Williams is Labour MP for this safe seat and she advances a greater welfare state. She will win again, but your choices here are slim. National’s Siva Kilari has a rags to moderate riches story that is worth endorsing to try to demonstrate that entrepreneurship not welfarism is the answer to advancing people’s lives. Siva Kilari, National

Priyanca Radhakrishnan from Labour holds this marginal seat, which could easily switch to National. You wont want her to remain MP, so you might consider Greg Fleming, the National candidate who is notable for being a founder of the Maxim Institute, a conservative think tank.  You’ll pick Fleming to pick up a win from Labour, and at that moment that’s a positive, but if personal liberty matters to you, you’ll struggle to vote for him. On balance I’d probably prefer to give Labour a bloody nose here than miss the chance, but if you can’t stomach Fleming, Margo Onishchenko from ACT would be your better choice.  Margo Onishchenko, ACT

Mount Albert:
Jacinda Ardern is the MP not standing again, so you’ll feel less concerned about voting out Helen White who will win the seat for Labour (she is a union lawyer whose main redeeming feature is owning a dachshund).  Melissa Lee is standing for National, and she’s been around for a while, but doesn’t even have a functioning profile on the National website. Ollie Murphy from ACT leads Young ACT and seems to support less government.  Murphy if you want to bother.  Ollie Murphy, ACT

Mount Roskill:
Little Michael Wood is safe here, but he’s such a little socialist that you’ll want to put this tiresome union hack in his place. Carlos Cheung for National was born in Hong Kong and is both a businessman and a medical professional.. Rahul Chopra of ACT says on his profile he is a board member for the Department of Conservation, which must be a typo. I’d be tempted to give Carlos Cheung the vote, because someone from Hong Kong is likely to be more free market oriented than most in the National Party.  Carlos Cheung, National

With Stuart Nash retiring in some disgrace, Labour is punting Mark Hutchinson, a management consultant, to replace him.  On paper the seat is usually Labour, but this can be stopped, and Hutchinson’s weak class rhetoric is worth opposing. You should pick Katie Nimon from National who actually says “I have always believed that a limited government, and competitive enterprise, sees the most positive impact on communities”.  Give National this woman for its caucus, it needs more of this.  Katie Nimon, National.

Last election you followed me in ejecting Nick Smith, an enemy of private property rights, from this seat. Now it’s time to eject union organiser and big government advocate Rachel Boyack of Labour. Blair Cameron of National is uninspiring, but although Chris Baillie of ACT is better, the goal to get Labour out seems worth pursuing.  Blair Cameron, National

New Lynn:
Another Labour safe seat held by Deborah Russell of Labour who was wholly unsympathetic towards small businesses facing ruin during the pandemic. She’s been hopeless as a Minister, although is moderately socially conservative. You want this tax expert who seems to love tax far too much to be out. National’s Paulo Garcia seems a nice enough chap, but ACT’s Juan Alvarez De Lugo is from Venezuela and is much more likely to be committed to freedom and free markets, so give him your vote. Juan Alvarez De Lugo, ACT

New Plymouth:
Labour holds this swing seat with Glen Bennett who seems reasonable enough, but Labour needs to lose. David MacLeod from National will do it, but Bruce McGechan of ACT is a far better candidate, openly classical liberal who believes in education reform.  Bruce McGechan, ACT

North Shore:
This safe National seat is held by Simon Watts who is benign enough, but ACT’s Anna Yallop doesn’t inspire any better.  Take your pick or don’t bother

Labour’s Shanan Halbert holds this relatively marginal seat, and whether or not you believe or care about the bullying allegations, he’s unimpressive, so needs to be defeated. Dan Bidois of National is seeking to win the seat back, and ought to be given the chance even though he is an economist.  Dan Bidois, National

This seat is usually National, so it is unusual that Willow-Jean Prime from Labour won it in 2020. She’ll probably get in on the list, but she’s a Te Tiriti focused lawyer, so is not going to be a friend of property rights and individual freedom. Grant McCallum for National is a better bet.  You’ll want to avoid grifter Shane Jones, and Matt King (DemocracyNZ) has no chance and isn’t strong enough on freedom to counter that. Mark Cameron from ACT will get in on the list, and doesn’t say enough to differentiate himself from McCallum.  So Grant McCallum, National.

Peter Dunne is almost forgotten here, as Labour’s Greg O’Connor tries to hang on here in a seat that is probably the most centre-right of any in Wellington City. No-one who headed the cop union is going to be in favour of less government, so you’ll want him out. Nicola Willis of National has the best chance of doing this. I’ll give note to Jessica Hammond from TOP, because I know her and she’s smart, but if she wins she brings more TOP people with her, and that wont help the cause of more freedom and less government.  I’d reluctantly back Nicola Willis here because she seems to have put her job on the line for tax cuts, so let’s hold her to that. Nicola Willis, National

Terisa Ngobi of Labour took this belweather seat in 2020, but it seems likely to switch to National’s Tim Costley. Sure he’ll be better, but ACT’s Sean Rush who was a Wellington City Councillor who did push back against a leftwing agenda there, so he would have been a better bet if he didn’t engage in shenanigans to promote himself whilst he was a Councillor. He made too many screw-ups to support, so you could vote for Bob Wessex, NAP if you want to be fully libertarian, or if you just want Labour out, vote for Costley.

National’s Simeon Brown is a shoo-in, as this is a safe National seat. He’s a social conservative for those who find that appealing or not, but what I like is how much he upsets so many people on the left.  Parmjeet Parmar, who was a National MP, is now the ACT candidate, and while she is clever, there is little evidence she would be better than Brown. John Alcock from Rock the Vote NZ actually does seem to be more committed to liberty, but I’m always wary of people who want more local decisionmaking, because it just replaces central bureaucracy with local finger-waggers. I’d give Simeon Brown, National the tick to upset lefties, but you wouldn’t be wrong to give Alcock a tick for at least talking a lot about freedom.

Palmerston North:
This is typically a safe Labour seat, and the largely unknown Tangi Utikere is standing again for Labour. You wont want to bother with this ex.teacher, so Ankit Bansal from National (although he has a MBA) is worth looking at, given his profile is explicit about stopping wasteful spending. Michael Harnett of ACT isn’t inspiring, and there is no one else worth voting for.  So maybe give Ankit Bansal, National your vote

This relatively new seat is a very safe Labour seat, but the holder of it is the odious Jenny Salesa. There are sound reasons why she didn’t become a Minister after the 2020 election when Labour had an absolute majority, so you absolutely should vote for whoever can send her out of Parliament, as she should not be anywhere near power. National’s Navtej Singh Randhawa is the best bet, he is a businessman who offers the best chance to remove Salesa.  Navtej Singh Randhawa, National

This has long been a safe National seat and Judith Collins is standing again. Mike McCormick of ACT talks explicitly about free speech and private property rights, so you should vote for him.  Mike McCormick, ACT

Port Waikato:
Your electorate vote wont count this time, so just the party vote until the by-election.

This usually National seat went insane and voted Jo Luxton for Labour in 2020. She’s a yawn and a half, so what else is there? James Meager of National will probably win, he’s a lawyer who seems to be keen on “drafting laws to make every day New Zealanders' lives better and more prosperous”.  We don’t need that, but ACT is standing nobody here, and the only other candidate talking much about freedom is Michael Clarkson of Rock The Vote, but he is also keen on government not controlling what local authorities do. Karl Thomas, who is number three on the New Conservatives list doesn’t say much either.  You might vote James Meager, National to give Labour a thrashing, but I don’t know if I’d bother.

A streak of insanity used to run through this electorate when it was smaller in the FPP days and Social Credit’s leader Bruce Beetham would win it in the 70s and early 80s.  Under MMP it has been solidly National, but Ian McElvie is not standing again, so it is really whether Suze Redmayne for National is worth your vote. She’s a farmer so very much a traditional rural National MP. Former Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard is having a shot with ACT, and although he is a shoo in on the party list, I’d give him a go.  Andrew Hoggard, ACT

Chippy’s seat has been solidly labour since MMP formed it, although it came close in 2008. The only real point here is to give Chippy a bit of a fright, so vote Emma Chatterton, National. 

I live here now, and it is usually a safe Labour seat with former Wellington City Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons failing up to try to represent this electorate. Anti “car-fascists” Julie-Anne Genter from the Greens reckons she has a shot, and she might as the Greens scraped into second in 2020. Stopping Fitzsimons failing up is tempting, but Genter wants more government, more taxes and who can support the Greens when led by the odious Marama Davidson who equate Hamas with the IDF? Karuna Muthu from National is not very good at specific, besides a second Mt Victoria Tunnel (which Genter only supports for walking and cycling, in effect).  I’d give Karuna Muthu, National a shot if only to frustrate the other two.

Todd McClay of National held onto this seat barely in 2020. Besides a try at liberalising trading on Easter Sunday, there isn’t a lot of freedom advocacy here, he is moderately social conservative. Marten Rozeboom of ACT isn’t compelling either. Otherwise it is curious that Merepeka Raukawa-Tait is standing for Te Pati Maori, when she used to stand for Christian Heritage, but you shouldn’t vote for her.  Meh, if you can bothered with Todd McClay you might give him a tick to ensure Labour stays out, but I wouldn’t bother.

Safe National seat held by Nicola Grigg. She’s ok, but Ben Harvey from ACT says the “l” word (but not much else to back it up).  You might give Ben a chance if you like, but there’s not much in it.  Ben Harvey, ACT

Another solidly National seat held by Joseph Mooney. He got into trouble for saying Te Tiriti promises Tino Rangatiratanga to everyone, which is an entirely defensible libertarian position. Todd Stephenson from ACT talks of being a classical liberal, so a vote for him would be fair too, but you could also vote for Anntwinette Grumball for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party instead.  Honestly, you might feel a bit spoilt for choice here. Stephenson will get in on the list anyway, Mooney probably wont, so you might give Mooney a go, or just go out there and vote Anntwinette Grumball, ALCP 

Labour’s Ingrid Leary won this new seat in 2020 and it is a safe seat. She seems to favour a wealth tax and although she is quite good on China, you’re not going to get less government with her. The rivals aren’t greatly inspiring, Matthew French from National seems benign, and Burty Meffan from ACT says nothing about freedom so why bother with him? I’d probably just tick Matthew French, National just to cut Leary’s majority.

This new seat in 2020 is a safe Labour seat held by Neru Leavasa. He’s a doctor and a rare social conservative in Labour. National’s challenger is Rima Nakhle, a business manager for an organisation providing community and transitional housing.  You might choose to vote for her as she does mention wasteful government spending, but that’s the extent of it. Rae Ah Chee from ACT Is more committed to law and order.  So maybe vote for Rima Nakhle, National although social conservatives could fairly vote for Leavasa given his views on abortion.

A rare real battle between National and ACT, which is really a question of social conservative vs. social liberal. Simon O'Connor is the social conservative candidate, but Brooke van der Valden from ACT is the better choice. She ought to be the next ACT leader, and so give Brooke van Velden, ACT your tick

Tamaki Makaurau:
Auckland’s Maori seat is a bit of a battle. Peeni Henare held onto it against John Tamihere in 2020. Henare is far from ideal, but as in most of the Maori seats, this is about resisting the anti-capitalist, anti-liberal democracy, Russia and Hamas sympathisers in Te Pati Maori.  Hold your nose, vote for Peeni Henare, Labour

Taranaki-King Country:
Solid National country with Barbara Kuriger.  Given her history and the lack of other candidates worth supporting, I’d just not bother.

A fairly safe National seat held by Louise Upston. She is socially conservative given her voting record and unfortunately has a MBA.  The other choice is Zane Cozens who is an entrepreneur standing for ACT. Like others, there isn’t a lot of enthusiasm for either, but you might choose Louise Upston just to keep a distance from Labour.

One time bulwark of Winston Peters, Tauranga is now a National stronghold. Sam Uffindell we all know, and he’ll win again.  You might feel strongly about NOT voting for him, so I’d choose Christine Young from ACT who has a more compelling background and story around being a self-starter. 

Te Atatu:
This safe Labour seat is held by Phil Twyford, who will win again, though heaven knows why.  The Minister for Disarmament finger wags to powers about how they should disarm, so you should send a message that Twyford should just go get a real job.  Angee Nicholas is National’s candidate and she seems far more interesting than Twyford (how hard is that though, to be fair?).  Simon Court from ACT would be a better choice, but narrowing the gap with Twyford is a worthwhile goal, so give Angee Nicholas, National your tick (and also to avoid the risk John Tamihere comes second, as the grifting political slut that he is).

Te Tai Hauauru:
Adrian Rurawhe of Labour isn’t standing again, and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer of Te Pati Maori rates her chances of taking this seat. If you don’t think the population should be split into Tangata Tiriti, Tangata Whenua and racists, then you’ll want this odious racist kept out of this seat. Soraya Peke-Mason of Labour is your best bet here. 

Te Tai Tokerau:
Kelvin Davis is safe here, but it remains a quiet mystery as to why the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party was never entrusted to be Deputy Prime Minister by the Labour Party.  As someone who accused ACT MP Karen Chhour of effectively not being Maori enough for having different political views, he deserves to be opposed. Maki Herbert of ALCP is your best bet (he came third in 2020).

Te Tai Tonga:
The Tirikatene clan will hold this whenever they stand, but you wont want to support Takuta Ferris of Te Pati Maori, or the highly questionable independent candidate.  You could vote Rebecca Robin of ALCP though.

The seat that is Hastings and the rural surrounds was won by Anna Lorck of Labour in 2020, but she seems unlikely to win again which is good. Catherine Wedd is the National candidate and is a former journalist and business director. Rob Douglas of ACT is more convincingly in favour of less government. 

Upper Harbour:
Labour’s Vanushi Walters won this off National in 2020, but will likely lose it. You’ll want her out of Parliament. Cameron Brewer is the National candidate, but do you really want another communications consultant, ex. City councillor and lobbyist as your MP? Karen Chhour from ACT would be moderately preferable. Don’t be tempted by Shai Navot from TOP though.  Karen Chhour, ACT

The anti-democratic, outspoken Rawiri Waititi, who thinks the reason Maori have problems is everything is racist, deserves to be ousted here.  Your only option is Labour’s Toni Boynton

This safe National seat held by Tim van de Molen, who is fairly centrist. You don’t have any other choices, but he’s ok, he’s socially centrist. Up to you.

On paper this was a marginal National seat in 2020, held by Matt Doocey, but he’ll be pretty safe here. Ross Campbell from ACT is not inspiring and no, you shouldn’t vote for Leighton Baker. Matt Doocey, National

Labour’s Kieran McAnulty picked this seat up convincingly in 2020, but he should be evicted from this seat given his senior role in increasing the size of this government. Mike Butterick of National is best placed to do this. 

National’s Jacqui Dean held this fairly safe seat, but that moron is retiring, so National is putting Miles Anderson forward, who seems like a very standard National Party candidate. Sean Beamish of ACT talks of freedom, so on balance give him a tick.

Wellington Central:
Grant Robertson giving up Wokington Central was meant to leave it to former refugee Ibrahim Omer for Labour.  He’s a nice enough chap, but no one supporting freedom can support Labour when there is a better alternatives. This race also includes the odious Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul for the Greens, she’s on the far-left. She loudly advocates for Palestine, but has been silent since the recent Hamas attack. I guess she thinks her real views might cost her votes. While Wellingtonians might be better off removing Tamatha Paul from voting on Council, she ought not to get promoted for being such a coward for her likely hideous views. We don’t need more commie kids in Parliament. Scott Sheeran is hardly a great promoter of individual freedom, but he’s better than Paul and Omer, so tick Scott Sheeran, National

West-Coast Tasman:
Damien O’Connor is a moron, who at one point thought New Zealand could mediate between China and its enemies. You’ll want rid of him, but heaven help us that Maureen Pugh is National’s candidate. She’s a moron too who doesn’t “believe” in pharmaceuticals. Kelly Lilley from ACT isn’t a moron in a field with a lot of morons.  Pick Kelly Lilley, ACT

Steph Lewis from Labour took this seat convincingly in 2020 and is just another former union rep. Carl Bates from National is better, but Craig Dredge from ACT is better still.  You might vote Bates to take it off Labour, but not with enthusiasm. 

This new seat is safe for National’s Mark Mitchell, but you’re better off picking Simon Angelo for ACT, given Mitchell is hardly going to be helpful on personal freedoms.

Emily Henderson of Labour took this off National in 2020 but isn’t standing again, so Labour is putting forward Angie-Warren Clark, who is a lawyer and list MP.  Shane Reti of National is likely to win, so your best alternative bet is Jeni de Jong of the ALCP

Former Jim Anderton acolyte Megan Woods thoroughly deserves to be defeated here. She’s almost certainly going to win in this seat, so you’d be right to think seriously about voting for Tracy Summerfield of National.

09 October 2023

The Islamofascist death cult of Hamas

The Palestinian Arabs got a raw deal from their leaders in 1948 when their neighbours decided the right response to the UK decolonising the Palestinian mandate by enabling the creation of Israel and a parallel Arab state was to oppose it.  You may or may not agree with the creation of the state of Israel, as an act of Jewish self-determination, but it was endorsed by the United Nations and has never been revoked.  For nearly twenty years neither Jordan nor Egypt, which held the Arab lands of Palestine enabled creation of a Palestinian state, indeed the concept of a "Palestinian homeland" was invented after 1967 - after the Six Day War when Jordan, Egypt and Syria tried to wipe Israel off the map - and each ended up losing territory to Israel.

It has all come a long way, in that Israel accepted Palestinian sovereignty over Gaza, albeit with power over airspace, marine and land access, by removing Israeli settlements in Gaza and withdrawing completely in 2005.  This gave the Palestinian Authority a chance to choose peace, build trust with Israel, and as a first step towards Israeli withdrawal from much of the West Bank, with the prospect of a land for peace deal, whereby Israel and the Palestinian State would exchange land to provide Israel with easily defensible borders. Of course the issue of Jerusalem remained most difficult.

However Palestinians in Gaza did not choose peace, they chose to break away from the Palestinian Authority and give power to Hamas - an Islamist death cult that by any objective measure of standards on the political spectrum would be deemed to be ultra-nationalist far-right fascist ultra-traditionalists. 

Hamas wants an Islamist theocracy, with no tolerance for other or no religion, no tolerance for political plurality. It promotes martyrdom to children, it promotes traditional submisive roles for women, it promotes death to homosexuals and lesbians and it promotes death to Jews. Its ideal is a totalitarian state of obedience to radical Islamism. It is a death cult, that celebrates the death of innocent people.  They are nihilists who are antithetical to any sense of life, to any belief that individuals exist to pursue their own purposes, their own lives, their loves, passions, interests and joy.  Hamas is in opposition to the values of the Enlightenment and the values of any liberal open modern society, let along liberal democracy. 

Hamas are enemies of Palestinians, they don't want peace for Palestinians and certainly don't want peace for Israel, they want it destroyed. They don't want "Palestine to be free" anymore than Beijing wants Taiwan to be free, or Moscow wants Ukraine to be free. 

There is plenty of room for criticism of Israel's treatment of the Palestinian occupied territories, and ultimately it will be right only when the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza can govern themselves in secular states with liberal democracy and no ability to wage war against their neighbours - and Israel respects their right to do so.  However, there will be no peace whilst Hamas thinks it is better to kill Israelis than to build an economy and society based on Palestinians producing, trading, living and thriving.  The most recent attack by Hamas was unprovoked, it has shown the vile horror of people who celebrate death and torture, of people who are the most vulnerable. By contrast you wont see the streets of Tel Aviv filled with people dragging women abducted from Gaza in horror.  That's the moral difference between a death cult and a society that has as base of human values. 

In the coming days we'll see who are the useful idiots to this death cult in New Zealand. John Minto is an obvious tan, but it was a surprise that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta issued her first statement which effectively called for both sides to stop:

"Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply concerned at the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Gaza. We call for the immediate cessation of violence. The protection of all civilians, and upholding of international humanitarian law is essential."

It blamed both sides. This was followed by a statement by PM Hipkins which condemned Hamas, followed by a similar statement by Mahuta. Does Nanaia Mahuta lack sympathy for Israel or have sympathy for Hamas? Or is she inept or does he just have a partisan advisor? We will probably never know. Both Christopher Luxon and David Seymour damned Hamas quite rightly alongside most of our allies, whereas the Greens condemned attacks on civilians, there are plenty of Green MPs who explicitly called out the slogan "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" - which is used by Hamas to mean wiping Israel off the map.  Meanwhile the clown show called the Wellington City Council voted recently for the city of broken sewers, crumbling library and town hall to become a sister city of Ramallah, which although under the authority of Fatah in the Palestinian Authority one-party state (not Hamas), is full of individuals cheering on attacks on Israel and the abduction of women and children.  That majority on Council includes the former Green Party Chief of Staff Tory Whanau - the Mayor - and the Green Party candidate for Wellington Central Tamatha Paul, who on recent polling stands a good chance of getting elected to Parliament by the Marxist morons in that electorate.

If you sympathise with Palestinians you will oppose Hamas. If you believe in individual freedom and human rights you'll oppose Hamas.  However, frankly, I have yet to see any semblance of an organisation set up by Palestinians that is actually about a relatively free open liberal democracy that resembles anything remotely like what exists in either Israel or other former dictatorships like Bulgaria or Georgia.

It would be wonderful for Palestine to be free, for there to be a Palestinian Arab state alongside Israel, that shares trade, investment, employment and lives in peace side by side. Some Israelis don't want that, they want the Greater Israel of the full occupation. A lot more Palestinians don't want that, they want the Jews pushed into the sea.  

Golda Meir once said "We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us", unfortunately too many of them want their children to be martyrs, and too many useful idiots in the West are happy to support them doing it.

UPDATE:  By the way, those voting in Christchurch Central, Auckland Central, Palmerston North and Mt Albert might ask why their Labour (for Christchurch Central) and Greens (for the rest) candidates who are all so vocal about the Palestinian issue previously are keeping quiet now?  

Of course it isn't just voters in those electorates it is ALL electorates, who might ask why Labour tolerates Duncan Webb belonging to a Facebook group that openly cheers on Hamas and anti-semitic rhetoric, and the Greens tolerate Teanau Tuiono doing the same, and then Chloe Swarbrick, Ricardo Menendez-March and Golriz Ghahraman who all cheer on Palestinian liberation.  

But you should ask more loudly what each of them think of Hamas's actions.  What they think of Hamas? What they think Israel should do when Hamas invades Israeli territory, invades civilians' homes and abduct women and children? What should Israel do when Hamas mows down young people attending a concert in Israel?  Remember this is Israeli land, recognised internationally, not occupied territory, it isn't land that anyone other than Hamas, Iran and other radicals who oppose the existence of Israel think should become part of a Palestinian state.

So go on? Ask those candidates.  Ask ALL Labour and Green candidates what they think. Marama Davidson went on a flotilla to Gaza after all. 

Oh and if you think that some of them aren't sympathetic, then do wonder why several Australian Green MPs have explicitly shown their support for Hamas - and of course the Green Party of Aotearoa always cheers on its colleagues over the Tasman.

08 October 2023

Which party to vote for? New Zealand General Election 2023

I’ve been remiss in not offering my opinions on the political parties registered for this general election sooner, but I thought it was about time to do so.  I tend to spend a bit of time thinking about it, but basically it comes down to two sets of choices:

Parties that will on balance take away more freedoms, tax and regulate you more, and overall increase the role of state in people’s lives, and demote the role of the individual over politically-defined collectives vs;

Parties that will on balance increase freedoms, reduce tax and regulation, and overall reduce the role of the state in people’s lives, and increase the role of the individual over politically-defined collectives.


Parties certainly or likely to be elected to Parliament vs;

Parties that certainly or almost certainly will not be elected to Parliament.

So below I have written an alphabetical review of each of the parties seeking to be elected under the party list, with a ranking of their likelihood to be elected to Parliament. My basis for review is whether the policies are libertarian, rational and whether the people behind it are to be trusted or ooze more turpitude than usual for politicians.

For those who can't be bothered reading so far, gere's my overall conclusion. 

Of the parties that are likely to get elected, ACT is the best of a fairly woeful bunch, and it’s primarily because of education policy and what looks like a bias towards less government. It’s far from consistent, and so much rhetoric is populist pablum, but it’s worth giving ACT its first chance to be the main supporting partner of National (which it didn’t achieve under John Key, as he could use TPM and United Future to get a majority). So, I’m reluctantly giving it a tick. Sure you could give National a tick instead, but it’s not a party that will move much towards less government and more individual choice and responsibility. It’s better than Labour, but that’s a low bar to cross. You could gamble with NZ First, but the idea Winston would pull National towards less government spending, less regulation and do anything substantial about pushing back against Maori nationalism is almost laughable.

If you don’t really care about a change in government you could vote for one of a few micro parties. Of them, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party is the most consistently libertarian because it has one policy, although it can’t organise itself to get close to being elected or indeed anything else. Of the rest, the New Conservatives might appeal to socially conservative classical liberals, but not libertarians. The other micro-parties are either blends of socialism with claims about freedom (primarily linked to the Covid vaccine, but also climate change and freedom of speech), or led by lunatics (Liz Gunn) or grifting shysters (Tamaki/Grey).

I will be hoping for a National/ACT government without NZ First, because it gives ACT its best chance to prove it can move the dial and make some substantial steps to implement reforms that are needed. 

In short:

ACT: Hold your nose and give a little less government a chance.

Animal Justice Party: Vegan fundamentalist nutters

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party: Free the weed, but nothing else.

Democracy NZ: Conservative breakaway with an odd blend of anti-vax and anti-GMO, but it will fade away.

Freedoms NZ: Grifters Tamaki and Grey on their latest con.

Green: Blend of eco-authoritarians and commie post-modernists keen to sacrifice us all for the greater good, and if you don't like it why are you so full of hate and want the planet to burn and children to die?

Labour:  Union-tempered version of the above with a focus on much more gradualism.

Leighton Baker Party:  Pointless breakaway from the New Conservatives that is worse organised and is for social conservatives.

National: The anti-Labour party that primarily exists to obtain and hang onto power when Labour frightens or angers the public too much to stay in power, but only rarely and erratically reverses anything Labour does.

New Conservative: Social conservatism with some economic liberalism, yet with little to say about cutting state spending. A shadow of its former self having been decimated by the rise of multiple conservative micro-parties led by egos.

New Nation Party: Inconsistent unhinged blend of conspiracy, localism, lower taxes but more government spending. 

NewZeal:  Alfred Ngaro's conservatives for lower taxes but no plans for less spending. Why bother?

New Zealand First: Like dejavu Winston rises from obscurity to find new causes to advance, this time it's back to opposing racial separatism, transgender activism and to be tough on crime.  

New Zealand Loyal: Liz Gunn's mix of quackery and communism.

Te Pati Maori: Maori nationalist socialists

TOP: The party of clever leftwing policy wonks who aren't clever enough to work out how to get elected

Womens' Rights Party:  Feminist socialists against transgender post-modernism

The parties

ACT: Certain to get elected. Not at all a libertarian party, but the prime contender to pull a National-led government towards more freedom and less government. In its favour is a revolutionary approach to education, including decentralising roles and responsibilities, including what are in essence vouchers and charter schools for all. There is a tougher approach to welfare promoting individual responsibility, and what looks like a belief in significantly liberalising planning laws and a more rational approach to climate change policy. David Seymour’s rhetoric on reducing government waste ought to instinctively mean a reduction in spending, and a plan to lower and simplify income tax rates, although it is mild indeed compared with previous years. ACT is willing to take on the thorny issues of identity and governance around Te Tiriti, which has been ignored for too long. 

However, it is far from being all positive, the policies that are published are weak on some elements of economic liberalising. Water policy can’t suggest corporatisation, privatisation and user pays, but in fact is some bizarre blend of Muldoonism and its over-enthusiastic belief in PPPs (across far too many sectors). Sharing GST revenue with local government is also remarkably wasteful unless local government’s roles and responsibilities are pared back, otherwise the likes of Wellington City Council will just keep building or subsidising more entertainment and convention complexes. Those who rejected Covid vaccines, and the mandates and restrictions placed on people during the pandemic have fair reason to be disappointed in David Seymour’s comments during that period. Finally, it’s approach to personal freedom issues appears largely limited to legalising pseudoephedrine. It would be nice if it campaigned to reverse the absurd tobacco ban.  

There is a reason to support ACT, because no other party likely to be elected to Parliament will have MPs who, mostly, have instincts to put the state sector on a diet and to oppose Nanny State moves that National may just continue with.  However, it is entirely understandable why some might just find it too hard to swallow David Seymour’s pivoting on issues like housing intensification or vaccine mandates. For me, the number one reason to vote ACT is its education policy.  Education more than just about any other policy, is in crisis due to capture by bureaucracy and professional unions who want to take a monopolistic approach to how children should be educated. No other party can do something about this. I might be hopeful about reform of planning laws that could enable more housing, but I’m not optimistic about ACT on this. The cycle of politics in NZ is that ACT will likely peak at this election, especially if National is seen to do well by 2026, in which case this is the peak chance for ACT to effect real change. So on balance, a vote for ACT is defensible as a vote to give National a backbone on some issues.  8/10

Animal Justice Party: Certain to not get elected. Misanthropic lunatics with no chance of getting into Parliament. The party of mandatory veganism and those who want to equate domestic abuse between humans as the same applying to animals (including the emotional abuse of denying your dog its favourite toy – by the way you wouldn’t have property rights over any animal either). With policies to end animals in agriculture, it is fundamentally authoritarian post-modernist nonsense blending a benign hippie-level kindness with economic catastrophe and anti-scientific hatred of humans. The only good thing about the Animal Justice Party is it no doubt take votes away from the Greens, so go on and promote it among your more dull-witted Green supporters. 1/10

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party: Certain to not get elected. The ALCP is just about legalising cannabis, so you could argue having one libertarian policy (and not wanting to increase the state’s role in anything else) means it is the purest libertarian party. You can’t be said to have “sold out” for voting for the ALCP, and for some legalising cannabis means more than anything.  A vote for the ALCP is making a statement about an issue most parties have chosen to ignore since the ill drafted referendum. However, it is just that one issue, and ALCP have little chance of getting in Parliament. Voting for ALCP indicates you rather don’t care about education, taxes, housing, environmental, economic or other policies.  These things matter so 6/10

DemocracyNZ: Certain to not get elected. Matt King’s breakaway party is a breakaway rural oriented conservative party. It prefers climate change adaptation to mitigation and looks to do little about reducing agricultural emissions beyond supporting scientific approaches towards doing so. It does seem to have a preference towards less regulation generally. It is in favour of more education choice and devolving some power. Otherwise, it is primarily about vaccine mandates, and parallels ACT and NZF on race issues. However, it does have an unscientific attitude to GMOs. The latter is irrational and odd. Still, it is likely to be relatively benign, except of course there is no plausible path to Parliament or even influencing it. It gets a 4/10.

Freedoms NZ: Certain to not get elected. Grifting megalomaniac Brian Tamaki and fellow grifter Sue Grey uses the word freedom, but freedoms are selective indeed.  Radical on lower taxes (but next to nothing on how to cut government spending), the big pushes are on compensating the vaccine injured. It claims to want to reject Nanny State but has very general statements about “better health and education. There is the touch of the conspiratorial here too, and it wholly rejects climate change and wants to significantly deregulate almost all regulation affecting the rural sector. Prosperity theology is grand-scale grift against the vulnerable and needy, and from a values point of view, someone who promotes this doctrine is not someone who believes in smaller government. Sue Grey in a different manner is a grifter of pseudoscientific nonsense, such as fear over 5G, and although I have respect for those who choose not to take the Covid vaccine, to talk of it being distributed as “genocide” says a lot about who is she and what she is about. This isn’t a party of freedom, it is a party led by confidence-tricksters who target the vulnerable.  It gets a 1/10.

Green: Certain to get elected. New Zealand’s party of socialism is the anti-thesis of more freedom, capitalism, belief in the human individual and less government. The Greens want more government, more tax (now targeting not just when you earn or spend money, but also just owning property), more regulation, more government departments, and with the exception of a less punitive approach to drugs (except alcohol), there is almost nothing for anyone who believe in freedom with the Greens.  The Greens are also in the frontline of promoting post-modernist concepts of identity defining people as privileged or victims based on immutable characteristics, and of course have little interest in private property rights. Note the Greens want Treaty settlements to include private land, wanting the state to decide that your home has to be bought by the state when you decide to sell.  This is also the party that is uninterested in helping Ukraine fight Russia, but happily puts front and centre candidates that chant slogans about wiping Israel off the map. The Greens after all carry the foreign affairs stance of self-styled “anti-imperialists” who don’t care about wars waged by anyone anti-Western including terrorists. Moreover, the Greens are at the forefront of wanting legislation on “hate speech” and are keen to define that based on who is speaking not just what they say.  A vote for the Greens is a vote to pass more power over your life, property and the community to the state.  It gets a 1/10

Labour: Certain to get elected. Green lite, full of people who wish they could go more socialist, go more identitarian, go more government, more taxes, more regulation, more bureaucracy, but know it wont win them power to do too much.  I mean why would you bother? It gets a 2/10. 

Leighton Baker Party: Certain to not get elected. If you’re going to have a personality led party, it needs to be a personality that enough people like and know. In Australia, Pauline Hanson and Bob Katter have done it, with constituencies big enough to justify it. For a start, it has three party list candidates. If it crossed the 5% threshold, it wouldn’t have enough candidates.  It’s a fairly standard conservative platform, with a few good points, like wanting charter schools, one law for all, enshrining freedom of speech and to ignore climate change mitigation. Yet it also wants direct democracy for decisions like tunnels? Baker is a conservative in the bedroom, and if you can’t rustle up six candidates on the tiny chance you get 5%, then why bother? It gets 3/10.

National: Certain to get elected. The party of free enterprise and individual freedom is generally very poor at advancing policies that reverse the statist policies of a Labour Government, let alone shrinking the role of the state even incrementally, when in power. At this election National’s big pushes are around minor tax cuts, some spending cuts, but a lot of new spending. It’s difficult to see its education policy breaking the bureaucratic/professional union monopoly on delivery and avoiding performance measurement, and likewise for its policy on planning to gut the post-RMA regulation of land use that hinders housing, supermarkets and other development. There does appear to be willingness to turn back race-based bureaucratic and funding measures, towards need, and to place more personal responsibility alongside welfare, as well as repealing the productivity-sapping “Fair Pay” measures. It would be generous to think National would turn the clock back to the spending and regulatory environment of 2017, let alone 1999. Yes voting National stops Labour getting in power, but it primarily stops the march to the left rather than reverses it much at all. You could do worse, but a libertarian would want a lot better.  6/10.

New Conservative: Certain to not get elected. The New Conservatives have clearly been gutted by the plethora of micro-conservative parties. There’s not really a lot here in economic freedom, some useful principles around property rights, but a bigger focus on family.  Although I’m more conservative on abortion than many, granting personhood to fertilised cells is not compatible with individual freedom.  There is a space for this party to represent socially conservative economic liberals, but there isn’t a lot that shows them to be economic liberals, especially a big pledge of lower taxes with nothing substantial on cutting spending. 5/10.

New Nation Party: Certain to not get elected. Starting with anti-privatisation rhetoric, there is an interesting range of positions. It wants a written constitution to protect freedoms, which is fine. Leaving the UN is conspiratorial nonsense (you don’t need to leave the UN to ignore what you don’t like).  It wants a $25,000 income tax free threshold, and no tax on benefits, superannuation or student allowances, but again no policies to cut spending except a generic “reduce powers of central government”. Sure, reinstating oil and gas exploration is fine, but more “provincial” powers is not compatible with more freedom. Then it wants to investigate decriminalising cannabis. It’s quite a mix of opposing He Puapua, more health spending, more funding for tertiary students and effectively defunding RNZ and the media generally.  I’m generous giving it 3/10

NewZeal: Certain to not get elected. Alfred Ngaro’s personal project. Another conservative party, but with a few weird policies like enabling housing deposits of only 2.5% for first home buyers. There is little interest in lower taxes and shrinking government, so the real question is why would you bother? 3/10

New Zealand First: On balance likely to get elected. Yes we do all know Winston, the indefatigable face of next generation Muldoonism. Winston put National in power once, Labour twice. He pivots between economic nationalism, anti-immigration and toughness on crime, and this time is opposing Maori nationalism and separatism in the way only Winston can. He is also waging war on “wokeness” which he discovered a few months ago, just under six years after he chose to govern with the blatantly woke Jacinda Ardern and the woke-ultras of the Green Party. The problem is this, I can believe Winston didn’t know He Puapua was being developed when he was a Cabinet Minister because he is fundamentally lazy.  He spends two years out of Parliament barely saying boo, and when he IS a Minister he’s happy travelling and having his name linked to a handful of policies. If you think Winston is going to change policies, then I have a bridge to sell you.  Winston is a populist opportunist who has three times in 27 years been given senior Cabinet positions (and his floxham and jetsam of followers) and there is no evidence it has made any substantial difference to economic or personal freedom.  Yes he might get in, but he is likely to slow down reforms than accelerate them, so 3/10.

New Zealand Loyal: Certain to not get elected. Liz Gunn’s unhinged party that is also incapable of getting enough candidates to be represented adequately if it reached 5%. It’s easily the most conspiratorial party of all, not only is it anti globalism, but it is hysterically environmentalist. It is keen on quack remedies and a financial transactions tax. Anyone talking about Covid response as a “mini-Holocaust” is not just hysterical but vile. It wants to nationalise all communications and energy, so this is no party of individual freedom, but a party of a deranged mix of authoritarian mysticism and hysteria. It’s frankly very sad.  0/10

Te Pati Maori: Almost certain to get elected. TPM has morphed in the past few years into Hone Harawira’s Mana Party, led in the background by a grifter only surpassed by Winston Peters, John Tamihere. The “genetically superior” Rawiri Waititi and the “Tangata Whenua, Tangata Tiriti or the racists” classifying Debbie Ngarewa-Packer have made the party into a radical Marxist nationalist party. On the bright side, there are elements of its belief in self-determination that would be compatible with a small state, it is also the only party that would decriminalise drug use and possession, but on the other side is a strong belief that NZers need to judged based on their classification. You’re either people of the land (Maori), people that are allowed to remain because of Te Tiriti (forget if you are born here and have no other citizenship), and everyone else who is “dying off” and doesn’t matter. TPM wants more tax, wants private land subject to Te Tiriti claims and Mana Whenua would have first right to buy private land up for sale. This is also the party that thinks all countries should be friends with Aotearoa, including the one attacking Ukraine and including the ones that operate literal Orwellian police states (e.g., DPRK and Eritrea). Neither Marxism nor nationalist identitarianism is good for individual freedom, nor can you expect tired old “anti-imperialist” apathy towards leftwing imperialism. TPM offers little for freedom lovers, but a lot for people who think Zimbabwe offers lessons to follow. 1/10

TOP – The Opportunities Party: Almost certain to not get elected.  TOP’s priorities are a greater welfare state (putting everyone on welfare), a broader tax base, more taxpayer funded healthcare and public transport, and the reinstatement of the Southerner train from Christchurch to Invercargill.  A party of clever people who think they know what’s best. The highlight is wanting to treat cannabis like alcohol, but you could vote for the ALCP and not have the universal basic income policy for people who don’t want to work. It has no interest in liberalising education and of course like the other leftwing parties, wants schoolchildren to be able to vote. It’s main value to freedom lovers is in denying Labour 1 or 2 seats, so go on get your leftie friends to vote TOP.  3/10

Women’s Rights Party: Certain to not get elected. Feminism that is now driven by being gender-critical around trans-genderism. There’s a place for that debate, and the Greens and Labour don't seem to want it, but everything else is just another socialist party for more welfare and more regulation. 2/10. 

Footnote:  I'll be interested to see how leaders of all of the parties respond to the war against Israel from the Islamofascist Hamas. Labour has already disgraced itself and National has shown backbone.