Armstrong on ACT

March 16th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

John Armstrong looks at ACT:

As one longstanding party insider attending ’s weekend conference put it, the party is no longer in need of life support. It is no longer even in intensive care. It is somewhere short of full recovery, however.

Though the two-day conference justifiably celebrated the party’s resurrection from near oblivion in 2005 to holding ministerial portfolios in 2009, there was no smugness.

Instead, the conference exhibited a healthy realism, knowing Act’s condition could easily slip backwards again just as quickly.

Sadly the track record of support parties is not good.

The sternest warning came from the party’s deputy leader, Heather Roy, who said as gratifying as it was to have made such progress, the party’s biggest challenges had just begun.

“We must re-establish our political relevance every single day,” she told Saturday’s session, referring to the party’s need to constantly lift its profile and maintain its separate identity and not be suffocated by National in the present governing arrangement.

Indeed. And John Key’s tilts to the centre give ACT lots of room on the right. Rodney’s portfolios also give ACT a real opportunity to score some wins.

Act’s entry into what Hide describes as the “death zone” consequently saw the conference focus heavily on political marketing and branding, with an analysis of post-election candidate interviews and voter focus-group research presented by Auckland University academic Jennifer Lees-Marshment.

Hmmn I’d like to see that presentation.

She emphasised the party needed to switch to “permanent campaign mode” now rather than waiting until election year.

Act needed a strategy that included effective communication of what it was delivering policy-wise and emphasising those achievements had been gained only because Act was part of the governing arrangement.

She said the party should revisit its pre-election 20-point plan and possibly launch an updated version. The party needed to be open and honest when it was unable to deliver on expectations.

Sensible.

There was talk of Act softening its image to broaden its appeal to women and younger voters, and appealing to voters’ hearts as much as their heads.

In short, Act needed to display “emotional appeal”, rather than just cold hard logic, to win over voters.

In essence, it was suggested Act should be somewhat akin to the Greens, such that people could empathise with the sentiment expressed through the party’s brand even if they did not agree with all of its policies.

Yeah the Greens do this well – most support is for their brand, not their policies. I mean after all surely 7% of NZers don’t really want to ban 86 different things on the Greens ban list.

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48 Responses to “Armstrong on ACT”

  1. philu (12,989 comments) says:

    so..act are allowing ‘free-votes’..?

    that’d be an attempt to staunch the growing wound/rift between the libertarians..

    ..and the repressers..(think that sensible sentencing guy..what’s his name..?)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  2. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    It really is an indictment on the state of our average intelligence, that even the ACT Party, which is really the only political party (along with the Libertarianz) for the thinking person and the “battle of ideas” person; is reduced to branding and sound-bite politics. It shows how far we have declined since the era a quarter of a century ago, where a Roger Douglas could actually get his honest but unpalatable message across to the extent that painful but necessary measures actually made it into policy.

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  3. tvb (4,553 comments) says:

    The Act Party thinks it can get branding by criticising National instead of building a constructive relationship and earning its share of the credit. As for Sir Roger Douglas all he can do is criticise nickel and dime projects, saying it is the road to ruin to invest in a cycleway. He has done nothing constructive since he returned to politics. I think he should go gently into the good night if that is all he can contribute.

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  4. goodgod (1,317 comments) says:

    …Act’s entry into what Hide describes as the “death zone” consequently saw the conference focus heavily on political marketing and branding…

    What exactly would the brand become if MPs voted against the Hide/Douglas view on economics given their new found freedom to vote?

    There was talk of Act softening its image to broaden its appeal to women and younger voters, and appealing to voters’ hearts as much as their heads.

    Oh, you mean going Left? Well I’ll have to take your word for it. Probably it was just too much cheese before your bedtime.

    There is adjusting your manner to be able to sell your policy to the people, and then there is diluting or eliminating key operational features of your policy to match the sentimental whims of the people. Rodney Hide was right when he said it was the death zone for ACT right now. If they get it wrong, not only will they fade away into irrelevency, NZ will have no right leaning option anymore.

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  5. goodgod (1,317 comments) says:

    tvb, if you like riding, go get on your bike and do it. The fact is that $50M spent in a wealth re-distribution money-go-round won’t make one jot of difference to any effects of the imaginary recession. The fact is that Douglas is right and he has an alternative, and what makes his view that much more useful is it is not only a solution to our immediate problem, but it is also a recipe for increased productivity and wealth.

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  6. Crusader (327 comments) says:

    “Yeah the Greens do this well – most support is for their brand, not their policies. I mean after all surely 7% of NZers don’t really want to ban 86 different things on the Greens ban list.”

    Yes. I think much of the Green’s support is simply brand recognition/support. The word “Green” gives a nice non-threatening feeling that few people are put off by. After all, they love the dolphins, they can’t be all bad can they?? I think there is a lot of “soft support” where people put a tick on the page and feel good about themselves doing their bit to save the planet just by ticking “Green” and on the way home buying the recycled toilet paper.

    But scratch that Green surface and you find that it’s only a thin shell overlying a deeply red core. I suspect that if the name of the party was “NZ Red Party” (and with the same policies) their support would be halved. I reckon many of their voters are responding in a gut way to the “Green” label, in the same way they respond to Nike or Starbucks brands (though they would strenuously deny their susceptibility to brands!!)

    The 3-4% core support will be the few greying hippies still left in Takaka and Coromandel, and idealistic first/second year university students who haven’t grown up yet and still imagine that universal free education for everyone for life is realistic. The question is, once Sue Bradford becomes “co-leader”, how many of the casual green voters will she turn off? It is not far from 7% to 4.9%, and without a safe electorate seat, the party is on thin ice.

    For ACT though, they have Epsom in the bag (assuming Rodney does not fall under a bus, or do a Rod Donald.) Their challenge for growing their base is indeed to broaden their appeal, especially to women I think. Heather Roy has the responsibility there. And the other way is to fight battles that matter to women. Obviously poll women about their concerns, but I suspect a good education for their kids, and safe streets to walk through would be high on the list. The other major challenge is to combat the media who constantly label ACT as “Hard Right” – which is a way of dismissing the party without even considering the policies. Simply turn back to the interviewer and say “What’s so hard-right about….” and speak to the policy. Keep the discussion on the policy rather than labels.

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  7. bwooce (8 comments) says:

    I’m not sure if ACT can emulate the Greens. The Green brand is strong not because of the party but because of the Environmental feel good-ness that surrounds it.

    I have encountered several expats, and a few inpats, who equate the Green party with something akin to a “Keep NZ Green” policy. So they vote for them and feel like they’re doing good. I have encouraged them to lift their level of literacy in this regard — that the Green party is, ahem, not really about that at all and returning to/living in a NZ controlled by them would not be what they wanted. They do discover this, to their credit.

    Perhaps ACT could rebrand themselves as the “Small Government that stays out of your way” party. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it though.

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  8. stephen (3,981 comments) says:

    …I mean after all surely 7% of NZers don’t really want to ban 86 different things on the Greens ban list.

    Seems to be implying that you have to agree with 100% of a party’s policy in order to vote for them, which is of course silly.

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  9. Whafe (650 comments) says:

    stephen, but in all honesty, if 95% of the 7% of NZers whom vote Green read even 50% of the 86 different things on the greens ban list they would not vote for them… There is many in NZ that dare I say seem like the first living brain donors, i digress, that only see what they want to see…. Scary really…

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  10. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    DPF’s “86 different things on the Greens ban list.” is pure, unadulterated highly spun shite and he knows it! However, his insistance on repeating the ‘catchy little phrase’ over and over to his dim-witted audience of fearful anti-environmentalists will no doubt result in it being cemented into a few brains at least, as verifiable fact, as evidenced so clearly here.
    Act has no hope at all of ‘emulating the Greens’ and commenters here have not the slightest clue as to why it really is that people vote Green. Demeaning those voters, calling them insane etc. shows only how little you understand. Heather Roy’s comment, that Act ‘must re-establish (its) political relevance every single day’ is right on the button. They do, because their position is so tenuous that without constant work, it will dissapear like a puff of coal smoke on a warm, warm day.

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  11. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    I hope ACT has the good sense to stick to not only policy, but relevant policy. Getting side tracked by the pseudo liberals who contaminate its ranks and who want to focus on low priority issues like drug liberalisation would be a major mistake.

    ACT needs to market itself as a small government low taxes tough on (real) crime party.

    Talking about homosexual marriage and marijuana legalisation and all that other side issue shit is just a waste of time. NZ needs its gang and other crime problems fixed and its government problem fixed. Once these major issues are dealt with, then we can perhaps focus on the pissant concerns of incessantly whining single issue nut jobs who don’t even really belong in ACT. In the meantime, I’d tell the over-critical over-loud strategically barren wankers to shut the fuck up or shoot through.

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  12. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    “DPF’s “86 different things on the Greens ban list.” is pure, unadulterated highly spun shite”

    So how else would you describe the 86 things that the Greens have said they want to ban Greenfly?

    You fucking Greens really hate being called to account don’t you, you bristle and acted offended when we (the public) ask for simple explanations or costed policy , I suspect it is more to do with a fear that the public will expose you guys for the sham that you really are than any real indignation on your part.

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  13. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Big Bruv – the ‘list’ is shite, manufactured to serve as a club to brainlessly bludgeon the Greens. You’ve accepted it as real. No surprises there. The rest of your comment reveals that you’ve been soaking that kind of propaganda for years and have no hope of ever seeing clearly. Did love how you say the Greens ‘bristle’ when asked for simple explanations. You always say that I never answer questions, when to reverse is true. You’re a funny kinda bloke.

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  14. Manolo (14,166 comments) says:

    “DPF’s “86 different things on the Greens ban list.” is pure, unadulterated highly spun shite and he knows it! ”

    There may not be eighty six things on that list, but the Green Party is definitely on the authoritarian side, wouldn’t you agree?

    Look at the stance taken by the Greens on genetic modification, on transport policies, on trade and globalisation, on Section 59, on overseas investment, on the school’s tuckshop issue, and you will see the authoritarian, if not backward, streak I’m talking about.

    As another contributor to this blog said before: the word “green’ can be associated with nature, goodness, and cleanliness, and the Party has used this adjective to attract a number of naive youngsters, while cunningly hiding the socialist, if not communist, traits of many of its leaders. Do I need to mention Norman, Locke, Bradford?

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  15. MikeE (439 comments) says:

    Redbaiter – the easiest way to kill gangs, is by bankrupting them. Easiest ways to do that are welfare reform and cannabis law liberalisation.

    They are interconnected issues.

    A gang batch ban won’t stop criminal gangs, removing their ability to make money will.

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  16. James (1,299 comments) says:

    Yes….if ACT really wanted to drop a bomb on crime in this country they would advocate loudly for the complete legalisation of all drugs….that one thing would do more to reduce crime and costs associated with it than all other measures combined.

    Sadly they won’t and really can’t as the ignorance of the populace would drown out the message in hystrical outrage and the restructuring of so many State props that would be affected,health etc,means its not conciveable to attempt at this time no matter how beneficial it would be to everyone ande NZ as a whole.

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  17. getstaffed (8,040 comments) says:

    Perhaps ACT could rebrand themselves as the “Small Government that stays out of your way” party.

    Or “Grow New Zealand”. That might attract some Greens :)

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  18. petal (706 comments) says:

    greenfly – “pure, unadulterated highly spun shite”

    Ah, but it’s organic!

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  19. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    Yes….if ACT really wanted to drop a bomb on crime in this country they would advocate loudly for the complete legalisation of all drugs….that one thing would do more to reduce crime and costs associated with it than all other measures combined.

    If anyone actually pays any attention to me, which they probably don’t, they may have noticed that I’ve mentioned a few times that liberal (in the classical sense) policies are great, but they all have to hang together.

    Legalising drugs is an awesome example.

    Personally, I think that anybody should be able to take whatever they like, but you can’t just introduce that to the present system for several reasons:

    1. We end up paying for their drugs through welfare benefits
    2. We end up paying for their drug recovery treatment through the public health system
    3. We end up being killed and maimed by p-crazed criminals because we have no effective right of self defence and no right to possess the means to self defence

    So unless you are going to remove welfare, public health and bans on our basic right to defend ourselves, legalising drugs will cause more problems than it will solve. That’s just a short list too; you could easily include other things like legal aid and low prisoner productivity / high cost of imprisonment etc etc

    Of course, I am in favour of doing all of those things. liberalism is internally consistent – the only system I have yet encountered that is totally internally logical and fair. This is both its greatest strength and its greatest barrier to implementation, because without changing it all, individual changes do, as their critics maintain, look crazy.

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  20. Murray M (430 comments) says:

    Redbaiter @ 12.57pm you are spot on. I would vote for ACT if it wasn’t for some of the members views on drug liberalisation. Notice how Nandor in his last few terms went strangely silent on the cannabus legalisation issue. The reason, liberalisation of yet more harmful substances is not popular with a large % of the population. It’s bad enough with the legal ones we have now. I really like the people in ACT although I find Lindsay Mitchell’s attitude to liberalisation strange. On one hand she promotes a toughening up on welfare and on the other thinks what people choose to put in thier own bodies is their own business. From my experience nothing leads to paracitism quicker than the abuse/addiction of substances, legal or otherwise. Peoples actions impact on others, no man is an island.
    MikeE & James – “yer dreamin” If you think the crims who make a living out of drugs now will resort to legitimate employment once drugs are legalised, you are absolutely and totally wrong. These people are criminals, now and quite probably forever. Any crime will do as long as it pays.

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  21. Murray M (430 comments) says:

    Spot on Chris – I have witnessed the points you have raised with my own eyes. I was dishing out methadone to some guys 20 years ago, they were unemployed then and apart from the odd lag inside, are still unemployed now, and still on methadone. Great fucking triumph for the A&D services.

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  22. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    True petal and how refreshing it is to see that word here on this hydrocarbon powered blog!

    Manolo – it’s all in the spin, isn’t it. Anti-GE could be viewed as ‘pro – status quo foods’ that is, the Green’s view is to keep what we have (very conservative) rather than leap to new technologies (liberal view). Those favouring GE/GM should be viewed as opposing conservatism and yet it’s generally the ‘conservatives’ clamouring for GE.The whole issue is simply spun by whoever wants to diminish the other.

    The Green call to have healthy food in school canteens can just as easily be expressed as wanting to keep the canteens full of good food (as they were before unhealthy choices became common) rather than wanting to ban unhealthy foods. It could just as easily be said that the right-wingers want to ban so many things! BAN State involvement in prisons, BAN the freedom to drive your car in the way that you want (boy racers) BAN increases to the Minimum Wage. The more I think about it, the more I see this government as one that wants to BAN EVERYTHING. Interestingly, there have been many calls to ban me from commenting on this blog. David Farrar even went as far as to threaten to by pass his own demerit system and BAN me outright! What does this tell you about the desire of rightwingers (Actoids are the worst) to BAN things? Eh Manolo?

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  23. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    The whole issue is simply spun by whoever wants to diminish the other.

    BAN State involvement in prisons, BAN the freedom to drive your car in the way that you want (boy racers) BAN increases to the Minimum Wage.

    The point you are trying to make, I believe, is that one side wants to “ban” something while the other wants to “promote” it, and that these two terms can be used interchangably depending on which side of the fence you sit.

    Let us put aside our political differences for the moment, and talk in purely technical and abstract terms.

    Completely regardless of the fact that you support the left and I support the right, you are wrong in your analysis of “banning” and not only will I show why you are wrong, I will prove it conclusively.

    “Banning”, in this sense, is the use of legal power to prevent private citizens from conducting their business.

    Thus, when companies wish to develop GE foods but the Government prevents them, that is a ban.

    Preventing increases in the minimum wage is not a ban. In fact, since the minimum wage uses legal power to prevent private citizens from contracting in mutually beneficial ways, the minimum wage is a ban and increasing the minimum wage increases the strength of the ban, or bans an increasing number of contracts.

    Now, you can be for or against banning things. You and I can argue at length about the virtues of banning unhealthy foods. But what we cannot do is refer to it as anything other than a ban. It is a legal rule which prevents private citizens from purchasing unhealthy food in schools. it is therefore a ban.

    Being cynical, it would seem that you are trying to change the terms of reference to suit your position in order to gain a moral advantage which does not exist. This is disingenuous and pointless at best, and extremely immoral at worst. I suggest you desist if you wish to have any kind of debate.

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  24. Manolo (14,166 comments) says:

    “David Farrar even went as far as to threaten to by pass his own demerit system and BAN me outright! What does this tell you about the desire of rightwingers (Actoids are the worst) to BAN things?”

    This is DPF’s blog, his property, so he can do whatever he wants and ban whoever he pleases. :-)

    But you failed to deflect the question. We’re not talking the actions of an individual but of a political party, and the Green Party has shown its authoritarian traits several times in the past.

    Your distate of the current government should not let your opinion run away from the truth:
    Ban state involvement in prisons?. No, just open the door to private enterprise.
    Ban increases to the minimum wage? No, let the market determine the right price, otherwise the people you claim to defend wil suffer even more.

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  25. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    Well said, Christopher. Glenn Beck said something very like that in a recent show; it makes no sense to decriminalise drugs while we have socialised health and politicians endeavouring to dictate what foods we eat so as to lower public health costs. The only consistent stance on drug decriminalisation, is the one taken by Libertarians; you are free to screw your own life, everyone else is free not to pay for it.

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  26. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    Decriminalisation of drugs is not an issue.

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  27. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    Christopher,

    Concisely put.

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  28. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    DPF said:’ I mean after all surely 7% of NZers don’t really want to ban 86 different things on the Greens ban list.

    David Farrar – do the Greens have a ban list as you state, or are you being untruthful?

    [DPF: The list can be found in all the policies they have on their website. It doesn’t even include speeches and press releases – only formal approved policies. I’ve merely made it more user friendly by summarising them into one document]

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  29. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Manolo – your ‘rebranding’ of the National Parties ‘bans’ is the perfect example of how the spin works. Have you ever considered that you might have been on the receiving end of some? As for Farrar’s right to ban whomsoever he wishes, of course, but he has also laid out procedures for managing commenters. Curious that he would ‘short-circuit’ that. Smells like a dictator in the making to me.

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  30. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    greenfly,

    Who’s been banned outside of the procedures?

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  31. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Christopher – nicely put (if a little precious). Are you arguing also, that the present government isn’t ‘banning’?
    I’m thinking of the ‘gang patch’ issue and the proposals for boy racer control as just two examples.
    Ryan – I don’t know. I’ve had the threat. I suppose it’s because I’m so abusive and my language so foul. Perhaps also it was the over-use of ‘smiley faces’.

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  32. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Christopher – to clarify
    “Banning”, in this sense, is the use of legal power to prevent private citizens from conducting their business.”

    Does this include situations like the mandatory wearing of seatbelts – that is, legal power that prevents private citizens from going about their business (travelling unresrained in their own vehicle?

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  33. James (1,299 comments) says:

    “Redbaiter @ 12.57pm you are spot on. I would vote for ACT if it wasn’t for some of the members views on drug liberalisation.”

    Then you are not wanted Murray… The drive to legalise is perfectly consistent with ACT’s liberal principles…any other position would contradict them.Freedom choice and personal responsibility….got a problem with that?

    “Notice how Nandor in his last few terms went strangely silent on the cannabus legalisation issue. The reason, liberalisation of yet more harmful substances is not popular with a large % of the population.”

    Thats because they haven’t thought about it nor the consequences.Its the same reason Labour gets voted in …people are ignorant of reality.If they realised how much more threatened their kids are now in a prohibited enviroment from drug crime than they would be in a liberalised enviroment they would end prohobition over night.

    “It’s bad enough with the legal ones we have now. I really like the people in ACT although I find Lindsay Mitchell’s attitude to liberalisation strange. On one hand she promotes a toughening up on welfare and on the other thinks what people choose to put in thier own bodies is their own business.”

    Whats strange…? Thats perfectly consistent and not in conflict.State Welfare requires stealing other peoples money to fund it…that violates the rights of the ones stolen from.Drug use does not….its a consentual use of ones own most personal property, ones body, as one chooses…thats the crux of Liberalism.Lindsay understands this …you don’t.

    “From my experience nothing leads to paracitism quicker than the abuse/addiction of substances, legal or otherwise. Peoples actions impact on others, no man is an island.”

    And no man is a collective….all humans are individuals with their own thinking minds…that requires freedom and private property rights to realise fully.Liberalism realises that man has the right to be wrong…and make poor choices for himself with whats his.

    “MikeE & James – “yer dreamin” If you think the crims who make a living out of drugs now will resort to legitimate employment once drugs are legalised, you are absolutely and totally wrong.”

    I never said they would…but they would be denied from making huge fortunes and harming so many others as they do now.You do realise that most of the harm,carnage and death that are associated with drugs is due to the attempt to prohibit them…not the drugs themselves or use and supply of them between consenting adults?Go have a look at Mexico sometime to see what a wonderful place that is with the war on drugs.

    “These people are criminals, now and quite probably forever. Any crime will do as long as it pays.

    “As long as it pays”…exactly! Prohibition pays out to dealers big time…Drug use and consentual supply is not criminal….there is no external victim having their rights violated.They are vices….activities that may be self harming and irrational for a living being to engage in but they ARE NOT crimes…actions which violate the rights of unconsenting others.That is the difference.Trying to restrict vices is criminal itself…its a violation of human rights.

    Yes a lot of other dominos will have to fall at the same time drugs are legalised but they should anyway…they are State monopolies funded by taxation that should be swept away and a free market put it their place…

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  34. kiki (408 comments) says:

    Go James

    There are some that talk about freedom but really mean free trade between companies, countries and of people but when it comes to true freedom of the individual they recoil. The idea of a company hiring and firing at will because that is their right seems acceptable as is the idea that an unemployed man is responsible for his situation.

    Introduce real ideas of freedom though and these free-marketers leap back virtually to the bible which makes me wonder if they truly believe in freedom or dream of a different time.

    The freedom of the individual is the most powerful idea that exists because it can destroy most other ideas we have. If an individual is truly free states could not exist and religions would become powerless.

    Most people who talk about freedom really mean a longer chain.

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  35. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    Copied from my post at Barnsley Bill’s blog-

    Why the fuck are we talking about what the Libertarians want?? ACT is a separate party. The Libertarians have their own party.

    I say to the so called Libertarians who want to shape ACT policy- please fuck off. Make your own way in politics. What ACT do is nothing to do with the damn incessantly whining whinging small minded dipshits calling themselves Libertarians.

    Here’s a message Libs.

    Shut the fuck up about ACT. Get your own party elected.

    Its that simple.

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  36. kiki (408 comments) says:

    Fine but Rodneys coming with us.

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  37. James (1,299 comments) says:

    Heads up Red….ACT was founded as a Libertarian party! Its founding document was written by Liberatrian Ian Fraser.He left when ACT starting shifting away from those principles. There are aslo Libertarians across ACT,National and Libz.

    Just what sort of party should ACT be if its no longer Libertarian in its priciples Red……another control freak one? Don’t we have enough of those now?Its the non libs in ACT that should consider fucking off to somewhere that suits them better….its they who are misplaced.

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  38. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    ACT stands for Association of Citizens and Taxpayers. It has achieved electoral success where the Libs have achieved nothing other than a massive collapse of support. This suggests the Libs should be the ones to fuck off. Rodney once said to me (talking of the Libs) “The enemy of better is best”. He would never leave ACT and go to the Libertarians, that telephone box sized gathering of navel gazing non achievers who will never see the big picture.

    How much voluntary funding do they attract???

    What percentage of the votes did they win???

    There’s your answer.

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  39. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    BTW, its the Libertarians that have shifted ground. I supported them (like a lot of people) when I thought they were simply a “leave people alone small government party”.

    Since then they’ve been taken over by Ayn Rand religionists who spend most of their time debating doctrine amongst themselves instead of planning strategies that will see them become an electoral force.

    Fucking about with queers and drugs when there are so many more tangible and relevant issues they could be focused on.

    One has to jump through more hoops than a circus pony to understand where they’re coming from. Fuck that. Too complex for me and too complex for most people I’d guess, and that’s the reason their support has plunged to about a quarter of what it was when Perigo first started promoting them.

    Get rid of the religionists. Get down to earth. Get funding. Get electoral strength. Get power.

    Or fuck off.

    (Any other party leaders would have resigned in shame after such pathetic non-performance.)

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  40. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    As an ACT voter I am concerned about the trend toward liberal ideals and policy, I also see the party heading down the path marked “irrelevant” due to their love affair with National.

    Rodney has changed, he has become soft on most issues (Winston Peters aside) and I get the horrible feeling he used Sir Roger simply to get himself returned to Parliament.
    Rodney did not fight hard enough to get Sir Roger around the cabinet table, he (like Peters) caved in at the first sight of a Ministerial BMW and the baubles of office.

    Sir Roger is not a young man, it is bloody criminal to have him in the house and not use his considerable talents, I hope that Sir Roger produces another of his alternative budgets soon, this at least will get the public asking questions of Key and that idiot English. If Rodney does not make use of Sir Roger I fear he may well find he has better things to do with his remaining years, we simply cannot let him go to waste as a back bencher, it is time for Rodney to rediscover his old self or piss off and let Sir Roger run the show.

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  41. AG (1,833 comments) says:

    BB:
    “I hope that Sir Roger produces another of his alternative budgets soon, this at least will get the public asking questions of Key and that idiot English.”

    Or not. Alternatively, Rog D. might once again be reduced to prowling these message threads, seeking a modicum of the attention he get find elsewhere (a bit like Trev M.) Must be hard when you’ve been a minister of the Crown, with your every word being law to a bevy of public servants, to then suddenly be a back-bench irrelevance (and even worse, the poster-boy for an era that, frankly, very few voters care to remember).

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  42. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    “and even worse, the poster-boy for an era that, frankly, very few voters care to remember”

    Says who?, those same voters should pray at the alter of Rogernomics every day of their miserable lives.

    You cannot rewrite history AG, Douglas is one man who has earned his knighthood, he and one or two other brave souls took the tough decisions that saved this irrelevant little nation from bankruptcy and forged the economic conditions that enabled Labour to squander the best economy in living memory.

    You seem to overlook the fact that while the left like to demonise Sir Roger the voters of NZ elected him for a second term, they sure as hell did not vote for Lange the second time around.
    Sir Roger is a once in a lifetime gift and it annoys the hell out of me to see selfish politicians ignore his skills for political reasons.

    No matter how hard the left try they cannot take away the fact that he is the architect of the recent golden run and the reason this nation is still grimly able to hold onto first world status despite the best efforts of Cullen and Clark.

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  43. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    Well said BB.

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  44. reid (16,683 comments) says:

    Yes BB, very well said.

    Too bad most didn’t understand at the time the damage Lange’s “cup of tea” did. Too bad most didn’t realise at the time, the effects of the failure to carry through the reforms during the Bolger years, notwithstanding Ruth’s and Don’s combined attempts.

    Idiocy, fantasy and hatred for one’s fellow traveler are evident when assessing the disdain of the politicians of the 80’s/90’s in preventing those attempts to restart what was in its day a world-leading reform program. If only it had been finished, if only it had been re-started when the opportunity was rife. If only it had been, NZ would be riding an unbelievable wave of national pride, optimism, satisfaction and security in 2009.

    Instead, we contemplate the burning remnants of Liabore’s envy, self-interest, ignorance and ideology as the dashed legacy of an ideal that once held so much promise hope and freedom. It’s not too late, but it will take steely resolve to carry it through, and I don’t think Mr Pragmatic has it in him, neither spiritually nor intellectually.

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  45. James (1,299 comments) says:

    Redbaiter….you are confusing Libz the party with Libertarians in general.I basically agree with what you said about the religionists taking it over…..they scare potential allies away with purist talk and are nothing more than a septic little bunch sitting in irrelavancy.

    Without a concrete philosophy ACT will die off…..the reason Douglas’s remedy was eventually rejected by the people was they never got the people onside by changing minds and turning on the light in their minds….and for that you need principles to base yourself on.Early ACT disregared that and have struggled ever since to remain afloat.

    Yes Libz the party are arseholes….but the ideas are eternal and right….and ACT can’t disregard them without consequence.

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  46. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    “I basically agree with what you said about the religionists taking it over…”

    Are you the same Libertarian James that usually posts here?? The new charm offensive is really putting me off balance.

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  47. James (1,299 comments) says:

    +-Awwww Red! Smooch! ;-)

    Yes same one…..I am a Libertarian whos no longer a member of Libz…..there are many of us out there…Lindsay Mitchell is one….Rick Giles another….and for the same reason….the cult of Perigo sickened us so we moved on. I remember when Libz got 6,ooo votes and the only way was up….sadly the rot set in and now they get less votes than some really odd little parties do.

    Im still a fan of Rands Objectivism but not the purist way its used by the Libz cult to beat people over the head who are not “quite pure enough:

    I still argue on the same principles but not as a Libz man…..Im in ACT and haven’t really got another option.

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  48. AG (1,833 comments) says:

    BB:

    “You cannot rewrite history AG, Douglas is one man who has earned his knighthood, he and one or two other brave souls took the tough decisions that saved this irrelevant little nation from bankruptcy and forged the economic conditions that enabled Labour to squander the best economy in living memory.”

    I agree that Rog. D. et al have reconfigured NZ’s economic environment. Some of this was good, some wasn’t, and the methods used were dubious (in terms of their democratic mandate). Nevertheless, irrespective of the merits of Rog. D.’s actions, I think that the great majority of NZers remember that process and his role in it with distaste, and have no wish to revisit it. There may well be a degree of cognitive dissonance in that fact, but welcome to the world of political reality. Or, to give it a biblical tone, a prophet is without honour in his own country.

    You want to know the quickest way to get Labour back in 2011? Put Rog. D. in cabinet. Seriously …

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