Monday, 24 February 2020

Free Press: Property Rights Under Threat


The basis of nearly everything

Planning a better tomorrow, and carrying your plans out - there’s not much meaning left in life if you can’t do these things. Unless you’re a nudist, your plan probably involves property, so it’s hard to carry out your plans without secure property rights. Q.E.D. Property rights are essential to the meaning of life.

Thankfully, we have government (really)

Luckily, government protects our property rights. It runs a system of policing, courts, prisons and property registers so we don’t have to worry about thieves and thugs taking our property. It’s the reason we can accumulate unimaginable wealth. For 100,000 years our ancestors fought each other over berries, now we just order them online.

One small problem

What do you do when you have a kleptocratic government that, instead of protecting your property rights, is the biggest threat to them? This week Free Press looks at why people are resigning from the Labour Party in Jacinda Ardern’s electorate, people in Dargaville are comparing the Government with Mugabe, the rural sector is in revolt, landlords are an endangered species, and many other property rights violations by the current Government.

Trouble in Mt Albert and beyond

Free Press has seen a resignation letter from a campaigner in the Mt Albert Labour Party who was there with Helen Clark from day dot. The issue? The Government’s Racing Reform Bill will effectively nationalise the Avondale Jockey Club. According to the resignee, Clark herself fought to keep the land for the community but Ardern’s Government is giving it away. Meanwhile, the Dargaville Racing Club has sent an open letter to the Racing Minister, comparing him with Mugabe.

Ihumātao

At Ihumātao, Jacinda Ardern buckled under the pressure created by a tiny ragtag group of protestors, including some communists and prison abolitionists. The Prime Minister took the side of people illegally occupying private property, rather than the owner of the property. Now the Government has been unable to come up with a solution and is dragging its feet. Understandably, Fletcher is frustrated that it can’t use its own property to develop 480 homes for Aucklanders.

Firearms

Licenced firearms owners have been identified as Bad People by this Government. Their crime was to have owned a gun. The Government’s firearms laws have scapegoated and targeted law-abiding people who have done nothing wrong. They’ve taken away the basic rights and freedoms of firearms owners in response to the actions of a single foreigner. LFOs have been hit the hardest by this kleptocratic government.

The Irony

New Zealand First may have done a deal over Ihumātao and guns. The Crown will pony up to buy Ihumātao back for iwi, in return for letting more people keep their guns. Seeing how much Māori land was originally traded for guns, we think this is kind of fair.

Significant Natural Areas

The ominous sounding “National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity” will require councils to identify significant natural areas on private property and will prevent landowners from being able to develop them. No compensation will be provided. It’s theft. This is a huge issue on the West Coast where 15 percent of land could be locked up by the council. Not only will it prevent economic development, but it’s dumb from a conservation point of view. Who would be a conservationist on their own land? If you do really well, the government will take it!

Oil and gas exploration

Without any analysis or consultation, the Government took away the right to explore for oil and gas. New Zealand is seen by the industry as a safe, democratic country where reserves aren’t great but at least you can trust people. Now they are shaking their head. And some people wonder why we struggle to attract investment and raise productivity in New Zealand.

Tax

Tax is a partial property confiscation. The more government takes, the lower the return citizens get from investing in the future. Here, government taxes 32.9 percent of all wealth created. This is more than any other Asia-Pacific government, and is one reason our productivity growth is in the tank.

Landlords

Landlords are also on the government’s hit list. We know they save and invest so renters don’t have to. They also maintain them, and pay rates, in exchange for a fee. This Government doesn’t understand win-win. So they put in place more regulations such as making it harder to evict bad tenants. Landlords lose the freedom to use their property, so they retaliate by putting up rents. Win-win becomes lose lose.

The campaign for property rights

This year’s election can be sliced and diced many ways. One big election issue will be property rights. This Government believes productive people who rely on property to make a better life are exploiters. ACT is standing up for their property rights, their ability to plan for a better tomorrow, and to carry their plans out. If you stand with us, please consider joining or donating.