Whyte warns of Frankenstein monster

September 7, 2014

Act leader Jamie Whyte warns the parties of the left, including New Zealand First, could still get enough votes to form a government:

A Frankenstein Labour-Green-Internet-Mana-New Zealand First government may be unthinkable, but it is not impossible.  . .

If ACT succeeds, New Zealand will have three more years of stable center-right government. If we fail, New Zealand faces the prospect of a chaotic left-wing Frankenstein government.

It’s not pretty, but we should look at that monster.

Part of the monster – the crazy tangled mess of hair stitched onto the scalp – is the Internet-Mana party.

This is a party of hard-left socialists – Hone Harawera, Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto – funded by a convicted fraudster wanted for copyright violation in America.

Their lunatic policies include shutting down all the prisons (perhaps on the suggestion of their fugitive sponsor).

In a televised debate, Hone explained that prisons are unnecessary because if boys are sent on Kapa Haka courses, they commit no crimes.

If only they had Kapa Haka in Germany, Kim Dotcom would not be a wanted man!

As I said to Hone at the time, it’s a very nice idea. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Why don’t you send all the boys for Haka training and then, after the crime rate falls to zero, we will close the prisons. In the meantime, let’s keep them open – just in case you are wrong about the transformative power of Kapa Haka.

It’s not just Internet and Mana together or separately that’s the worry, it’s the puppet master Kim Dotcom who is funding them and pulling their strings.

The Greens are the monster’s face, grinning inanely below its swivel-eyes.

In the nicest possible way, they intend to force everyone to live as the Greens prefer. They will tax the things they don’t like, such dairy farming, and subsidize the things they do like, such as solar panel manufacturers.

The Greens are not so much a political party as a religious movement, worshipping snails and ferns and all that makes up Gaia, except us humans of course.

For the Greens, humans fall into two categories: the helpless, who smart green politicians must save, and the wicked, who smart green politicians must stop.

In virtue, and intellect, Russel Norman and Meteria Turei are so vastly superior to everyone else that it is their moral duty to subjugate us.

The lovely, soft green – with a small g – concern for the environment that many people find appealing camouflages a lot of hard red policies.

The big flabby torso of the monster is the Labour Party.

It was briefly a thing of beauty and strength. We have the Labour government of Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble to thank for the fact that New Zealand is not now a basket-case like Argentina.

But the Labour Party has gone horribly to seed.

Nothing reveals this more clearly than its finance spokesman, David Parker – the man who now occupies the position once held by the great Roger Douglas.

Mr Parker fancies himself the smartest boy in the fourth-form. But he has not even the weakest grip on basic economics.

At the recent Queenstown Chamber of Commerce political debate Mr Parker explained his party’s desire to reduce immigration to New Zealand. He claimed that economic output requires increasingly little labour to produce. So immigrants cause unemployment.

This nonsense has been peddled by economic fools since the invention of the weaving loom. In fact, I imagine it got started when someone first thought of killing animals with a sharp stick instead of bare hands.

For the sake of Mr Parker’s education, here is what really happens when workers become more productive. People produce and consume more.

And not just more of the same, but entirely new things. Even Mr Parker has surely noticed that, over the past 30 years, as worker productivity and the population have both risen, unemployment has not increased.

Instead, we are consuming more than we ever have. And we are consuming better goods and services than ever before.

Everyone, please, get your cell phones out and wave them in the air so that Mr Parker might understand.

That Parker is regarded as one of the more reasonable voices in Labour merely reflects the dearth of talent in its caucus.

Finally, we come to Winton Peters and his New Zealand First, the stumpy little legs of the monster. Little legs that remain idle for 2 years and 10 months out of every three years and then spend two months running around furiously kicking everyone in sight – foreigners, journalists, bankers, you name it: everyone except pensioners.

After all, it’s common sense.

That’s Winston’s slogan: it’s common sense.

I am not sure what “it” refers to but that doesn’t really matter. Because, as my old PhD supervisor used to say, “sense isn’t common”.

And there is no better example of this fact than Winston himself.

Winston’s big economic policy for this election is removing GST from food. That would reduce government revenue by 3 billion dollars.

But Winston has no plan to cut government spending by 3 billion dollars. On the contrary, he plans to increase government spending massively.

Where will he get all the money?

Winston’s answer: by cracking down on tax evasion.

Honestly. He claims that he can raise 7 billion by cracking down on tax evasion.

That’s not sense, common or otherwise. That’s bollocks.

When a politician tells you that he is going to fund his spending promises by cracking down on tax evasion, you know he is either a fool or a charlatan. And Winston ain’t no fool. . .

Labour is also trying convince us it would fund some of its expensive promises by cracking down on tax evasion.

Some people aren’t yet convinced to vote for a National-led government but these are compelling reasons to vote against a Labour-led one.


Peters scared of Craig

August 27, 2014

The Queenstown ASB debate between the finance spokespeople for five parties attracted a sell-out crowd last night.

debate

The photo shows, chair Duncan Garner, Finance Minister Bill English for National, Conservative leader Colin Craig, Labour’s David Parker, Act’s Jamie Whyte and Green Russel Norman.

Duncan Garner said that the Maori Party declined the invitation, Mana didn’t reply and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters refused to come if Craig was there.

The chair gave each speaker three minutes to give a pitch then gave them a few questions before taking questions from the floor.

Labour’s trying to campaign on being positive but its finance spokesman started by being negative about the economy and the outlook.

Jamie Whyte started by quoting Adam Smith:

Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.

He also asked who’s going to make better decisions – someone putting their own money at risk in search of profit of someone using other people’s money in search of votes?

Duncan Garner asked him to name one Green policy he agreed with and he said he couldn’t think of one.

The question Duncan Garner put to Russel Norman at the end of his three minutes was whether he could say something good about the Finance Minister and he said he’d been very responsible.

Colin Craig rattled through his policy which includes tax cuts at the lower end.

The chair asked him to say whether he’d go with National or Labour if he had the choice after the election. He said National because the party would have the most votes.

Clutha Southland MP Bill English got the biggest welcome from his home crowd.

He started by giving people the credit for their resilience, responsible and work and how important that was because the economy doesn’t just exist in an office in Wellington, it’s what people do.

That, in partnership with National-led government’s careful management of public finances, had put New Zealand back on the right track.

He said we now have a platform built on our resilience the positive encouragement from government and the most positive Prime Minister New Zealand has had that will allow us to have sustainable growth.

“You have set that direction and we can keep it,” he said.

There’s a video of the debate here.


One wrong more wrong than another?

August 11, 2014

A couple of weeks ago Act leader Jamie Whyte stated the party’s long-held position that there should be no race-based privilege.

The substance of his argument was lost in loud cries of racism which followed.

Yesterday New Zealand First leader Winston Peters repeated a very old line – two wongs don’t make a white.

He thought it was funny.

In another time and another place it might have been.

In the context of the xenophobia around Asian immigration in general and the purchase of properties by Chinese companies in particular it wasn’t.

It was a deliberate dog whistle designed to attention and it worked.

He got attention and the small demographic of the disenchanted to whom he appeals probably liked it.

But how will New Zealanders of Chinese descent be feeling?

New Zealand shamefully imposed a poll tax on Chinese immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Their descendents are part of the rich cultural fabric of our country, so too are more recent migrants.

They are generally over represented in positive statistics for education, health, income and crime and under represented in negative ones.

They are New Zealanders and don’t deserve to be singled out for political advantage.

That the only way Peters can get attention is with this stale word-play shows how little he has to offer.

He was wrong but contrasting the relatively mild reaction to his childish attempt at humour with the heated response to Whyte’s speech shows some wrongs are more wrong than others.

If reasoned arguments are wrong they should be met with reasonable counter arguments, not empty cries of racism.

Childish attempts at humour should be treated with the disdain they deserve.

UPDATE:

Race relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says we’ve got a lot of work to do:

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says “politicians making fun of an entire race of people isn’t new but it’s disappointing and shameful New Zealand political leaders are still doing it in 2014.”

“We’re better than this and our political leaders need to realise that.”

“We have come a long way as a nation in terms of people treating each other with respect but sadly we have some people who just don’t get it and who don’t want to get it,” said Dame Susan.

“Winston Peters needs to know he’s not funny. His outdated rhetoric belongs in New Zealand’s past: it has no place in New Zealand’s future.”

Dame Susan supported the comments made this morning by Chinese New Zealander and former Chinese Association chair, Stephen Young who said Mr Peters words belonged in the past.

Every year the Human Rights Commission fields thousands of complaints from people all over the country: approximately a third are complaints about racial discrimination. Nine out of ten complaints are resolved by our team of mediators said Dame Susan.

“We still have a lot of work to do in New Zealand when it comes to treating one another with respect. There is still, quite clearly, a lot of work to do,” said Dame Susan.

“All New Zealanders – including and especially those charged with the responsibility and honour of representing us in our parliament – need to treat one another with dignity, and respect: the foundations upon which human rights are found. Human rights begin at home.”

We all need to remember that a variety of creeds and races call New Zealand home.


CTG very bad idea

July 10, 2014

Act leader Jamie Whyte is not impressed by Labour’s proposal to introduce a Capital Gains Tax:

On TV1’s Q&A programme, David Cunliffe boasted that his proposed new capital gains tax would collect an extra $5 billion a year. That is the biggest tax hike in the history of New Zealand. Which is saying something.

This isn’t replacing other taxes, it’s in addition to them.

It is a dreadful boast. Taxes are always paid by people, whatever the taxes are levied on. Income taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, GST: they are all the same in this respect. They are all paid by people.

Nor are the people who bear the cost necessarily the people who write the cheques to the government. For example, if a capital gains tax means that landlords get a lower return on the capital appreciation of their properties, it will increase the rents they charge their tenants. Or landlords may sell their properties to owner-occupants. The supply of rental properties will then fall and, again, tenants will end up paying more.

Actions have consequences. If the cost of property rises or the return on investment falls, landlords will put up rents or sell and invest elsewhere.

This won’t just affect domestic rentals, it will affect commercial properties too which will add to the costs of businesses.

Where the cost of a capital gains tax will fall is a complex matter and extraordinarily difficult to predict. All Cunliffe knows is that the $5 billion will somehow be extracted from the people of New Zealand so that it can be spent in ways that he figures will buy him the most votes.

At least, that is what Cunliffe thinks he knows. In fact, he has almost certainly over-estimated the amount he will be able to squeeze out of tenants, consumers and entrepreneurs because taxes can be avoided.

Our observation of CGT in Argentina is that it prompts people to hold on to property, especially farms, rather than selling them.

This has led to a lot of absentee ownership, boosted the price of land and made it harder for people to get into farming.

When it comes to income tax, people can divert their activities from highly taxed activities, such as working in productive jobs, to low taxed activities, such as playing golf. When it comes to a capital gains tax, they can divert their investments from rental properties to bigger homes for themselves (which will not incur capital gains tax at sale). They can invest overseas rather than in New Zealand. They can delay selling assets to avoid realising a gain and paying the tax. And they can spend money on accountants and tax lawyers to devise all sorts of other ingenious schemes

Such avoidance activities will reduce the loot Cunliffe can get his hands on. That’s good. But they will also reduce the growth of the New Zealand economy. Resources will not flow to their most valuable uses. They will instead flow to the uses that are farthest from Cunliffe’s grasp.

A capital gains tax is a very bad idea.

I’m not opposed to a CGT per se.

There could be merit in it if it was comprehensive and replaced other taxes so it was cost-neutral.

Labour’s is neither of those and is, as Whyte says a very bad idea.


Politics Daily

June 9, 2014

This is an attempt to replace Dr Bryce Edwards’ daily political round-up while he’s taking a break.

I’m not pretending to be balanced.

While I link to a range of news stories, the blogs I link to are usually from the centre to the bluer end of the political spectrum or the more reasonable or witty bits of the pink to red end.

You’re welcome to leave links to other news and blogs in comments.

Electoral Act breaches

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Some thoughts on Electoral Act breaches

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Why won’t the Police act with complaints from the Electoral Commission?

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Andrew Little just drew a great big target on the backs of his Labour pals

Beehive

Steven Joyce, Tony Ryall – $78m in health research funding announced

Murray McCully – NZ support for new Pacific eye care centre

Tim Groser – Address to business chambers event – Philippines

Act

Dan Satherley @ TV3 – ACT ‘determined to play straight’ – Whyte

Pete George @ Your NZ – Different impressions of Jamie Whyte

John Banks

TV3 – Sympathy for Banks despite differences

Rob Hosking @ NBR Banks’ departure will clear the air

Michael Fox and Hamish Rutherford @ Stuff –  John Banks’ votes would’ve been rejected

Audrey Young – Conviction delay blindsided Act MP

Tracy Watkins @ Stuff – Banks departure a less messy solution

Danyl Mclauchlan @ Dim Post – Silly Laws

TV3 – IPCA considers John Banks inquiry

Labour

Gerry Brownlee – A lawyer’s field day at the taxpayers’ expense

Insurance Council of NZ – Earthquake Court approach misguided

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Labour’s insurance court

Pete George @ Your NZ – Labour soul searching

No right Turn – A paucity of vision

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Labour has lost their lost their raison d’etre

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Comment of the Day – 9 June 2014

IMP

Pete George @ Your NZ – Dotcom and citizenship

Russel Brown @ Public Address – Meanwhile back at the polls

Green Party

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – The Greens want 3D printing for NZ

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Green Taliban’s “3D blueprint” for the future nothing but hype

Other

Education

Hekia Parata – Teachers take role in leadership plan

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Parata on the IES programme

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – The “Tea Party” left

Matthew Beveridge – Leaving on a jet plane 2

Matthew Beveridge – A blast from the past

Stacey Kirk @ Stuff –  Civilian Party ‘a joke on taxpayers’

Eric Crampton @ Offsetting Behaviour – Value for Money election broadcasting edition

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Joyce rated more valuable than Cunliffe

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Why readers are turned off by main stream media and voting with their dollars


Banks considering options

June 7, 2014

A media release from Act leader Jamie Whyte:

 On Thursday, Judge Wylie found John Banks guilty of knowingly filing a false electoral return.

John will be sentenced on the 1st August, and has applied for a discharge without conviction.

Until then he is legally entitled to remain as a Member of Parliament but he could also choose to step down as an MP prior to sentencing.

John and I discussed this option earlier today and we have agreed that he will take the weekend to consider his alternatives.

Act campaign manager Richard Prebble says resigning before the verdict could damage the Act brand.

. . . Mr Prebble said the affair had “probably” had an effect on Act, but in a recent Roy Morgan poll taken while Mr Banks’ trial was proceeding, the party’s support rose while that for Labour and the Greens went down.

“If he was to quit as a member of Parliament when he hasn’t been convicted, that might damage Act’s brand.” . .

I think he’s wrong about that. Banks is the party’s past and it should be looking to the future.

 . . . When asked whether Mr Banks should resign, Dr Whyte yesterday told National Radio he wanted his sole MP “to follow due process”.

Dr Whyte said he hadn’t been in touch with Mr Banks since the verdict and “I’m not quite sure what his intentions are on this”.

He hadn’t spoken with Mr Banks because “these events don’t really concern the Act Party”.

“John isn’t involved in our campaign, he isn’t going to be an MP after the next election and this is as far as we’re concerned because this was to do with his mayoral campaign.

“This is not an Act Party issue,” Dr Whyte said.

It’s not an Act Party issue but it will be a distraction for the party, and for the government if Banks stays in parliament.

Even if he wants to appeal the decision or apply for a discharge without conviction, resigning would be the best thing to thing to do.


Three strikes and you’re in

April 23, 2014

Act leader Jamie Whyte is proposing that three strikes for burglary will put offenders in jail.

Over two thousand families will come home after this Easter Weekend to discover that burglars have robbed their homes.

If they are lucky they will just have lost their TVs, computers, cell phones, jewelry and cash. If they are unlucky the burglars will have trashed the home.

If they have insurance then the victims can claim. But they will discover the insurance company requires new locks, security screens, burglar alarms and, for commercial clients, possibly even the hiring of security guards.

Because successive governments have failed to do their primary job of providing for the secure use of our property, we must pay private firms to protect us against thieves. First we pay with our taxes and then we pay again because our taxes have been poorly spent.

Half of those who are robbed this Easter Weekend have no insurance. There will be students, beneficiaries, pensioners and other families who will lose everything they own. It happens every day.

Many will be traumatized. I know of people who, having been burgled, never feel safe again. No dead locks, sensor lights or alarms let them sleep well. The emotional cost of burglary is incalculable, but it is real.

When I was elected Leader of the ACT Party I said at our conference that we were considering a three-strikes policy for burglary, similar to our three-strikes policy for violent crime. I was attacked by commentators who said the idea was half-baked.

ACT has carefully researched the policy.

Three strikes for burglary was introduced to England and Wales in 1999. As in New Zealand, burglary was out of control and given a low priority by the police and the courts. A Labour government passed a three strikes law whereby a third conviction for burglaries earned a mandatory three years in prison.

Burglary in England has fallen by 35 percent.

There are reasons to believe the law will work even better here. In England there are professional criminals who come across from Europe to conduct crimes and their previous convictions are often unknown to authorities. And the English law allows parole for third strike offences.

ACT has consulted with experts on the likely cost to the taxpayer. Our view is that any increase in prison population will be moderate. Indeed, if it has the deterrent effect we expect, it may ultimately decrease the prison population. Four years after becoming law, that seems to be the effect of our policy of three strikes for violent crime.

Unlike violent crimes, which are sometimes spontaneous, burglary is a calculated crime.

Burglaries happen when burglars figure the rewards outweigh the risk of detection or likely punishment. Three strikes for burglary will change the calculation.  . . .

Burglary is regarded as property crime but it is traumatic for the victims.

People who’ve been burgled say that even if nothing irreplaceable has been stolen, no mess was made and no damage done, the feeling that their home has been invaded is devastating.

It’s even worse if irreplaceable items of great personal value are taken, the burglars leave a mess and/or leave damage in their wake.

But will a three strikes and you’re in jail law act as a deterrent and help reduce burglaries?

Anyone who is charged with a crime after two previous convictions hasn’t learned, but will prison teach the lesson that’s needed?

It will keep the criminal off the streets, but it can be a nursery which teaches worse crimes.

Crime rates are dropping, but is the three strikes law for violent crimes one of the contributing factors or just a coincidence?

Even if it is a contributing factor to the drop in crime, would a similar three strikes and you’re in law work as well for burglary?


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