Scoop has an in depth interview with Rodney Hide. This is what I like about online media – one can see a full transcript. Some interesting extracts:
Campbell : So you consider yourself a libertarian?
Hide : Yeah.
Campbell : But you don’t regard taxation, in principle, as theft ?
Hide : I don’t see that argument helps. Saying that something is theft. Because technically. it isn’t. I understand that taxation is a compulsory taking – but its not theft in the sense that…however you look at it, Parliament has made it legal. It doesn’t make it right.
Campbell : So it is wrong in principle, but OK in law?
Hide : Having excessive tax of course is wrong in principle. But I don’t think saying that taxation is theft is correct. Our definition in New Zealand of what is theft is : what is against the law. And amazingly, our Parliament makes…you know, tax legal. I don’t think its on the cards that we could live in a totally voluntary society, where there is no tax.
Don’t tell Lindsay Perigo that Rodney called himself a libertarian, but I think he gets it right when he says some tax is okay, but excessive taxation is wrong. Taxation is a privilege, not a right!
Campbell : I’ll re-phrase. Do you see human beings as being responsible for the global warming that the IPCC sees as occurring right now ?
Hide : OK, that’s a better question. Um… whether its anthropogenic. I think there is an influence. I think its arguable how much. And that’s not clear. We do not know the exact influence that humans have had on the world’s climate. It requires a theoretical understanding largely based on models. If we accept the IPCC – which isn’t a bad starting point, right? The political question is what then do we do? I think that has two components. The first is that we have to worry seriously about our trade, and our international standing because we could find ourselves very easily shut out of the world. Which would be horrific. So we’ve got to be, to use the phrase, ‘ global citizens’ on this one. I think Kyoto One was a mistake.
It is worth reading the full exchange. Like the religion it has become, Rodney was asked if he “believes” in global warming. He refused to play ball and kept pointing out the wrong questions were being asked until a sensible question was asked.
Campbell : Some people use private schools and healthcare. Would Act give them a tax break for doing so, and why?
Hide : Better than that, we would actually provide the full amount for everyone. So we think the state shouldn’t have a preference for state schools over private schools. So we think we should fund every child and that means essentially a scholarship for every child. So those who are already sending their child to an independent school would basically receive the money they are saving today, by sending their children there. Parents currently sending their children to a state school would have the option of sending their child to an independent school, without the financial burden that’s there at present.
Campbell : Isn’t that just education vouchers by another name?
Hide : Sure.
Nice to see an MP not try and do an Orwellian spin.
Campbell : Can you tell me exactly how educational vouchers would lift everyone’s boat, and raise educational outcomes nationwide?
Hide : Sure. This is the experience since 1992 in Sweden. Which is hardly a shining bastion of libertarianism. Or freedom. But they adopted Act’s policy in 1992. To show you how effective its been, all the political parties in their Parliament now support it. The only party to oppose it are the former Communists. Why they found was…only a small percentage, and I forget the number of students, took advantage of the opportunity to shift schools, But as soon as schools were in danger of losing their roll, they actually lifted their game and they took parents seriously.
Where new schools most appeared were in the disadvantaged areas – most obviously amongst the new immigrant areas. Which is quite logical. Where people are sort of well off, well heeled and well incomed even within the state school system they get schools that are, you know, good. Where you find poor areas you find it harder to maintain even a decent state school, And where you have minority cultural groups that don’t necessarily reflect their requirements for education….and so, that’s what happened in Sweden.
This hits the nail on the road. When you get stronger incentives to perform, then performance lifts. Anyone who argues that incentives don’t influence behaviour, has little experience outside a textbook.
Campbell : Could you clarify for me – is Sir Roger intimating to you that he’d like to be in an electable position on the party list?
Hide : Yes.
Campbell : So one could expect him to be two or three – not nine or ten?
Hide :Well, I’m thinking and not because I disrespect Roger…but I’m thinking five or six. Because I want people…if they want Roger in Parliament, to vote for the party. And I also want Roger to come back into Parliament and have some influence. And that requires we get more MPs. But that will be a decision for Sir Roger, and for other members in the board, not for the leader to dictate the list.
I have long suspected he would be placed at around No 6, to encourage people to give ACT 5%. Whether they will, is quite another matter.