Friday, 17 May 2019

17 May 2019

Bravo to David on this opinion piece. It seems that only ACT has the courage to stand up for freedom.

Freedom of expression has an inherent value. We each experience life in our own unique way, but what's the point if we can't tell anyone about it? Respecting the autonomy of rational, moral beings requires that we allow them to express themselves freely.

From this inherent value comes a practical value. Would suffragettes or anti-Springbok tour protesters have been successful if they hadn't been allowed to make statements that were considered hateful by others?

Usually opinions are met by other opinions, but under hate speech laws they are met by the power of the state. Citizens can only hope their opinions are in favour with the government.

Where is the opposition on this? Once again David is a lone voice. Listen to him talk to Sean Plunket on Magic Talk on Thursday.
The Christchurch terrorist originally used a little known platform called 4Chan to spread his hate. Censorship of mainstream social media just means people will be driven underground. As I’ve said before, I’d rather they had a more public platform, so that we can identify them, call them out, and throw rotten tomatoes when we disagree with them, or in serious cases, have them reported swiftly to authorities.
ACT has always stood for freedom of expression and association, so if you’re not already a member and you want to support us to continue upholding these freedoms, please do so by signing up here. Our updated party objects and powers, to be adopted at the upcoming AGM, include:

Freedom of expression is essential to a free society and must be promoted, protected and preserved without restriction other than for incitement, criminal nuisance, or defamation.

You’ll also not want to miss our re-launch event on 16 June. Get your tickets now.

I live in a rapidly developing area and live in a relatively new subdivision myself, in a house less than five years old. All around me new sections are being shaped by large machines and the activity is changing the landscape. Local community Facebook groups are often filled with complaints about this, referencing “greedy developers” and bemoaning former pasture land being somehow spoiled, and the lack of trees. The same commenters are often the ones who complain about the cost of housing.
To this I say: We all live where we do by virtue of the fact that someone before us was able to subdivide and develop their land at some point in time. It’s not okay to say “I’m alright, Jack. Pull up the ladder.” You already have your home. It was probably farm land too at one stage. Why deny others the same opportunity? That’s greedy.
On Thursday, my local board was asked to endorse Auckland Council’s draft submission on the Remuneration Authority’s proposal to pay childcare allowances to qualifying elected representatives in local government. My immediate thought was that being an elected representative is a community service, not a “job”, and therefore the payment is an honorarium, not a salary. There are no leave entitlements, KiwiSaver contributions, etc. We are considered self-employed for tax purposes, pay our own ACC, and can claim our expenses including a portion of childcare (for which 20 hours per week is already paid for over 2s) through our annual tax returns. My Board voted unanimously not to endorse the proposal for these reasons. I’m interested to see how many others did.
I’m starting to think there will be a stigma attached to buying a KiwiBuild home. The policy is clearly failing when a builder wants the option of withdrawing his from sale to the government after a period of failing to find buyers, because he believes he can get a better price on the open market. I doubt he’ll be back to do more.

I’d be more than happy living in one of these low cost flat-pack homes, but the bigger cost will still be the price of a section due to the high charges, red tape, and length of processing that is the consenting process for every subdivision, and the length of time it takes to go from land purchase to being ready to build where time is money through extended rent payments and opportunity costs. Glad to see they’ve got some kind of pre-approval for building consent.
Have a great weekend!



Beth Houlbrooke

Deputy Leader / Vice President  

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