Monday, 11 October 2021

Free Press, 11 October 2021


The Haps

Chaos fills the void between 2020’s COVID strategy, that no longer works, and 2022’s strategy, that isn’t ready. The Prime Minister went on the run and, while she was away, the Government made its first sensible decision of the pandemic. It put in an advanced order for molnupiravir, Merck’s promising COVID-19 treatment. ACT says it should be available as soon as it’s approved by the U.S. or Australia’s authorities. In line with the Party’s COVID 3.0 Plan, New Zealanders should have access to the best treatments no later than those in other developed countries.

25 Years of ACT in Parliament

ACT is now the third party in terms of polling and survival. Only three parties have won seats in every MMP election, and polling now shows ACT a clear third and closing in on second.

Whether you’ve been here through the long night or recently came to help switch on the lights, Free Press readers have been the core of ACT’s support, and our most reliable donors. Thank you for getting us this far. This week, we talk about why ACT is here and what happens next.

At the centre of ACT’s purpose is a paradox. The record of history is crystal clear. Personal and economic freedom is the only route to human flourishing. It’s also clear that eroding those freedoms, one promise at a time, is the surest way to win elections.

People who study these things, such as the Human Freedom Index, have put the facts beyond doubt. They’ve tested freedom in dozens of countries over nearly fifty years. To deny the benefits of human freedom requires a special kind of delusion.

Countries that let people live their way without harming others or their property unleash citizens’ creativity to solve problems and live better. They live longer, healthier, wealthier lives, and the benefits are more evenly spread. These are the facts.

It’s also true that the surest way to get elected is erode freedom. Promise other people’s money to the marginal voter or promise rules against people the Government doesn’t like. Labour has bought off students three times with interest free loans; while studying in 1999, for life in 2005, and then removed fees altogether in 2017. Then there are the bans. Plastic bags, oil and gas exploration, free speech. Vote winning measures that make everyone worse off in the long run.

Our support has remained strong because our supporters get it. Our mission passes the two tests for being worthwhile. Campaigning for votes without bribes of punitive regulations is (a) difficult, and (b) worthwhile. It’s a special cause that thinking people want to get behind.

Today, ACT’s message is needed more than ever. We have a Government that has gone into overdrive in the game of trading some people’s freedoms for other people’s votes. If you are in business, a landlord, in farming, a licensed firearm owner, or want a different education that suits your kids’ needs, Labour has a policy to limit your freedom.

The damage goes beyond the specific policies. Each regulatory assault, each rushed law, each increase in debt that must be paid back, each commodification of humans into identities does real damage to our society. Winning the election and changing the policies back won’t fix the erosion of trust and certainty.

Our job now is not only to win votes but to lead New Zealand back to a place where freedom is valued. We need to present the country with a vision more appealing that that embedded in the left, the civil service, the press, academia, and even the judiciary. It is a mammoth task, but a worthwhile one.

We need to show that in a free society, people who may not be born lucky will have a better chance. We know that the Ministry of Education does not have a monopoly on good ideas for learning, in fact the opposite. We know that they won’t get more homes built by a Government centralising power, as KiwiBuild proved. We know they won’t get a more interesting, higher paying job from government getting more involved in the economy. New Zealand has tried that before.

Even the stated goals of the left, a wealthier society with more equal opportunities, would be achieved better with the policies ACT proposed. We know this to be true, the record of history is crystal clear.

ACT is still here, no longer surviving but now thriving, because people who read the Free Press get it. Campaigning for the right to do as you please without hurting others is not the easiest way to win votes. You can’t promise other people’s money. But, it’s the only way to make New Zealand a better place.

If you’ve been thinking about making a contribution to ACT’s work for a freer and richer society with more equal opportunity, please do so as we celebrate 25 years in Parliament this week.