Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Politics in Full Sentences - 29 July 2019

The Podcast

In Thursday’s edition of Politics in Full Sentences, Ruwan and David hosted Waikato Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Chris Simpson. Simpson and Seymour clashed over ACT’s proposed 17.5 per cent flat tax. ‘Yes, we can’ said Seymour, pointing out that the Government would have to make do with $71 billion in tax revenue instead of last year’s $80 billion. You can subscribe to Politics in Full Sentences here or watch on Facebook here.

Ardern’s actions at Ihumātao

Modern Treaty settlements are one of New Zealand’s greatest achievements. It’s no exaggeration to say they are world-leading policy. While the rest of the world is marred by terrorism, corruption, and violence, New Zealand has quietly gone about settling 180 years of disputes peacefully under the rule of law. The Prime Minister has just put all of that in jeopardy by intervening at Ihumātao. She has effectively said ‘if a few thousand people break the law, we’ll reopen a settlement.’ We are not sure how to explain the significance of this.

The grievance mentality

We are huge fans of Alan Duff. His latest book ‘A Conversation with My Country’ should be essential reading for thinking New Zealanders. His bottom line is that the individuals have to choose to make a difference in their own lives. Blaming events that happened 100 years before you were born serves nobody. Protestors from all over the country illegally occupying private property is a great example of this.

We could all grieve

Duff points out that there has been a Māori cultural renaissance under way. It is a conscious choice to make the most of our time on Earth instead of complain about the past. Duff points out New Zealand’s long-term Chinese population has many legitimate grievances, starting with the poll tax. By and large they are not focused on it. We have a Jewish population whose grievances need no introduction. Many New Zealanders of Scottish ancestry could choose to complain about the Highland Clearances, but none do.

Was the law broken?

The law may have been broken in 1863, when the Ihumātao land was taken. Since then there has been an acceptance in Maoridom that private property is not in jeopardy in regard to Treaty disputes. Over the last week, that principle has been thrown into jeopardy. Māori leaders who have settled are asking, ‘Does this mean if some rabble from all over the country squats on our land, the Crown may reopen our settlement?

Ardern makes two errors on gun buyback

On Monday last week, the PM incorrectly claimed her Government’s proposed gun laws would preclude non-citizens from holding a firearms licence. She had to immediately admit she got it wrong. She then claimed nine per cent of crime committed with firearms is committed by people with a firearms licence. But Police data show the figure is closer to one per cent. Information released by Police in 2017 shows that, of 100 cases in which a firearm was used in a serious crime, only one offender held a firearms licence. If Ardern is desperate and determined to rush complex legislation through Parliament, she needs to understand basic details. Otherwise, how can she expect to make good public policy?

Free capital

Milton Friedman famously said there is no such thing as a free lunch. TVNZ have just told their shareholder they don’t intend to pay a dividend, ever. There are five national newsrooms in New Zealand. Stuff, NZME, RNZ, TVNZ and Newshub. The only two that don’t have to pay for the cost of their capital are RNZ and TVNZ, both owned by the Government. NZME and Stuff have been hemorrhaging in recent years but the Commerce Commission won’t let them merge. Mediaworks can’t make a profit and their head of content resigned suddenly last week. There is a risk we end up with no private newsrooms. The state will have a monopoly on news. Who needs to visit Pyongyang?

Freedom to Speak Tour

David is heading out on the road to explain the importance of free speech and how we can defeat the Government’s new hate speech laws. He’ll be at Auckland University on 19 August. Hamilton, Palmerston North, Victoria and Otago University, Invercargill, and (more) Auckland dates are in the works. Keep an eye out on Facebook and the ACT website.