Youth United

March 11th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Parliamentary youth reps unanimously back marriage equality

 In an unprecedented joint initiative youth reps from all eight parties in Parliament have combined together to demonstrate the overwhelming support amongst young New Zealanders for same sex couples to be able to marry.

Young Nats Vice President Shaun Wallis said that Young Nats were delighted the majority of National MPs voted in favour of marriage equality at first reading and hope they will continue to do at the second reading this week “Our members overwhelmingly supports marriage equality as we believe in freedom and equal opportunity for all Kiwis.”

Young Labour spokesperson Sam Thompson said that marriage equality and adoption reform are the number one policy priority for Young Labour. “We believe our representatives in Wellington really value equality and a fair go and will continue to support expanding the right to marry to everyone who has a partner they love and want to spend their life with.”

Young Greens spokesperson Izzy Lomax said that the Young Greens were delighted that all 14 Green MPs voted in favour of marriage equality as we believe in a society without discrimination, and look forward to an end to all discrimination against rainbow communities, starting with allowing loving same sex couples to marry”.

“NZ First Youth leader Curwen Rolinson said that NZ First Youth is united in supporting a referendum on this issue. While there is a large and vocal proportion of NZ First Youth who would vote in favour, it is by no means unanimous. We feel that the important thing is for progressive changes in legislation to come with the direct backing and support of the people – not filtered through layers of temporarily empowered politicians and political parties. A referendum is the fairest, most inclusive and democratic method of achieving this. It is our hope that MPs of other parties will realize this and join our call for a referendum.”

Maori Party kaikorero rangatahi Teaonui Mckenzie said that he is proud that all three Maori Party MPs support the right of same sex couples to marry and form a whanau. “This generation will not tolerate any form of discrimination, whether by race, gender or sexual orientation.”

MANA Rangatahi spokesperson Ian Anderson says that “MANA are fully behind the Bill and will work to reduce societal inequality wherever possible, in this case bringing New Zealand law into line to provide the opportunity for same-sex couples to enter marriage.”

Act on Campus President Taylor Warwood said that “Act on Campus have been long-time supporters of marriage equality, and were delighted that ACT MP John Banks voted for Louisa Wall’s bill at its first reading and believe its passage will be entirely consistent with ACT policy of one law for all.”

United Future spokesman Damian Light said that “allowing couples who love each other to marry is just common sense and we’re proud that Hon Peter Dunne, our Party Leader, has been a vocal supporter of this bill. Our support of this bill is consistent with our liberal belief in equality for all.”

“This show of support for marriage equality by every party’s youth wing sends a powerful message. Marriage equality is no longer a question of if, but of when. We can’t wait for Parliament to vote in favour of the Bill.” said Campaign for Marriage Equality Spokesperson Conrad Reyners.

The eight youth reps, representing youth members of parties comprising 120 of the 121 MPs in Parliament believe their combined show of support reflects the over-whelming support for marriage equality amongst younger New Zealanders (76% in favour in Colmar Brunton May 2012 poll).


Why it is wrong to raise the purchase age

August 6th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

An advertisement showing why it would be wrong to raise the purchase age, ny Keep It 18.

The release says:

Keep It 18 has released a video highlighting how ridiculous it will be if MPs vote to increase the purchase age for alcohol from 18 to 20.

The video, at, shows a 19 year old couple getting married, and then at the reception the happy couple having to drink chocolate milk for the wedding toast.  

“It is ridiculous that MPs could vote for a law which says a 19 year old is not mature enough to buy a bottle of wine from a supermarket, yet is old enough to get married” said Sean Topham, Spokesperson for the Keep It 18 campaign. “Our video shows how ludicrous such a situation would be”.

“The proposed increase in the purchase age will actually encourage greater supply of alcohol to those who can’t purchase it for themselves – contradicting one of the primary aims of the bill, which is to reduce supply to minors.”

“It is a myth that youth drinking has increased since the purchase age was lowered to 18. In fact, the prevalence rate of under 18s who drink has dropped 40% in the last five years, according to ALAC’s annual alcohol monitor surveys. The Auckland University’s Adolescent Health Research Group survey of 10,000 secondary school students in 2000 and 2007 also found that the prevalence rate of youth drinkers has dropped significantly since 2000.

“The number of young people caught drink driving has also dramatically dropped, by 50% from 2007 to 2009 and a further 50% in the last year.”

“This shows there is no sound reason to discriminate against 18 and 19 year olds and treat them as minors. We urge MPs to vote for sensible measures to reduce harm caused by alcohol, and to resist the populist temptation to scape-goat 18 and 19 year olds.” concluded Sean Topham.

Also a good read is this op ed in the ODT by ACT on Campus President Hayden Fitzgerald:

Thirty years ago, a four-pack of New Zealand-made beer for $20 would have been unsaleable.

Who would have chosen such poor value over a swap-a-crate of draught beer or a cask of wine?

Today, such boutique offerings are not unusual.

If the products people purchase are any indication of where our drinking culture is headed, the role of alcohol advertising has been misunderstood.

The volume of alcohol sold per capita has actually decreased since the 1989 reforms.

For a start, alcohol advertisers do not necessarily want consumers to drink more alcohol.

What they really want is to increase their own profits.

It is this dynamic which explains why the amount drunk per capita has declined, the amount of advertising has increased, and the sophistication of alcohol offerings has grown during the past 30 years.


It is no coincidence drinking culture has become more sophisticated while advertising has been liberalised.

How do you introduce a classier European equivalent to the New Zealand market if you cannot sing its praises to the punters?

What local brewer or vintner will respond by innovating if they are not able to tell consumers what they have done?

Alcohol advertising restrictions will make it that much harder for the boutique start-ups to enter the market.

Those who remain will find the profits are back at the lowest common denominators of price and volume.

A good warning.

Cheeky Act on Campus

October 8th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Act on Campus blog:

New Zealand Herald Political Editor Audrey Young said late last night that she was confident she would lead the New Zealand Herald political team into the election on November 26.

She was responding to questions from ACT on Campus put to her after talk that the APN board could move to replace her with Derek Cheng, a current Herald press gallery reporter.

She has fallen well short in recent Neilsen Research polls of her targeted readership figures and appalled some readers recently by airing her own views on liberalising heroin laws.

“I’ve got no doubt that the APN board supports me,”‘ Audrey Young said.

The all-powerful APN board could stage a coup simply by changing the rankings of the press gallery list.

It is scheduled to meet next on October 15.

This is a cheeky poke at the bullshit story in the Herald about Brash denying Banks is about to roll him as leader.

NZ Political Compass

December 22nd, 2010 at 1:50 pm by David Farrar

Act on Campus have been trying to place NZ political parties and their youth sections on the Political Compass.

They want to crowd source it and have as many people as possible answer the survey on behalf of a political party – the idea being that you don’t answer with your personal views, but with how you perceive that party would answer. Then post the party name and their two scores in the comments.

This is not a parody – it is a real ad

October 1st, 2010 at 2:38 pm by David Farrar

Oh my God. What sick little fuckers. The 10:10 campaign ha produced this campaign ad. They are campaigning for people to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010, and by every year thereafter.

Watch the video as the school kids get blown up, for not taking part in the campaign.

What an insight into the mentality of the zealots.

Hat Tip: Act on Campus

Good spotting

August 27th, 2010 at 9:03 am by David Farrar

Act on Campus blog:

Don’t you love when two people contradict each other in the same news article?

Even more so when the journalist writing the story doesn’t seem to notice!

“Parents were meant to have been told about the illusion before the exercise.” – Justin Reid, Otatara Primary School Board Of Trustees Chairman

“Yesterday, school principal Sharon Livingstone said the letter was a “mistake” and was not meant to go home to parents.”

Good spotting. It does make it look more likely that they are inventing excuses, after the event, and that it was in fact politically motivated.

Why Peter won’t get a haircut

May 9th, 2010 at 6:56 pm by David Farrar

A reader suggests they have found the reason ACT on Campus President Peter McCaffrey won’t cut his hair. He is trying to replicate Heather’s look.

An Act on Campus coup d’état

April 30th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Was amused to read in Salient this interview with Rick Giles:

You have since been stood down as President of Act on Campus. Is that right?

No, I’m still president, but unfortunately my vice-president, and a couple of guys on my executive, mid-week from the first week decided this was embarrassing, and they set up their own version of Act on Campus. So we’ve got some nasty in fighting going on, but I am still recognised by the Act Party as the president, and I’ve got more members than they do. There are lots of arguments that can be had, but we’re trying to figure that one out. Unfortunately, they’ve got the keys to the website, but I still consider myself president and I’m doing my best to work that one out.

This is great – just like a South American stand off – two rival Presidents both claiming to be the legitimate President. Will the UN get involved?

Even funnier, is Rick has blogged a chat transcript between himself and rival President Peter McCaffrey:

[4/2/2010 12:22:36 PM] Peter McCaffrey: if i hadn’t have done that, you would have been kicked out yesterday, no question
[4/2/2010 12:22:51 PM] Rick: Using force is against our philosophy, isn’t it?
[4/2/2010 12:23:01 PM] Rick: The free-market ideal is to voluntarily discuss
[4/2/2010 12:23:05 PM] Peter McCaffrey: democratically voting to remove someone isn’t using force rick
[4/2/2010 12:23:15 PM] Rick: To get people to change their minds through reason, not force them to make changes to behaviour.

Oh I love it when libertarians argue 🙂

For what is worth, I understand the ACT Party Leader and President recognise Peter is now the President of Act on Campus.

The powerful Rick Giles

April 2nd, 2010 at 11:51 am by David Farrar

Heh, I have just caught up with this. Act on Campus President Rick Giles has become a media sensation.

It started with this interview on Sunrise with Oliver Driver where he was advocating Edison Hour over Earth Hour.

The talk turned to climate change, and Rick was trying to say that his arguments against Earth Hour stood up, regardless of whether or not you thought man-made climate change was happening. However his exact use of words was:

I think my argument is so powerful, it’s not necessary to talk about it

He meant of course that you don’t need to debate whether climate change is happening to talk about whether Earth Hour is a good thing or not, but the phrase has become one of legend.

The “I think my argument is so powerful that it’s not necessary to talk about it” Facebook page was born shortly thereafter and is now up to an impressive 3,400 members.

TV3, knowing when they are onto a good thing, gave Rick the opportunity to submit a home video where he makes his case without interjection.

I especially like the part about the communists, the Islamists and all of Ghengis Khan’s hoardes.

I understand there is already a competition between certain MPs for who can be the first in the House to use the phrase “I think my argument is so powerful that it’s not necessary to talk about it” 🙂

ACT Board Survey

January 26th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

ACT on Campus had a great idea – they surveyed the candidates for the ACT Board on various issues.

The full responses from the candidates is here as a 39 page pdf.

They have also done a summary of the responses here. They asked questions on:

  1. Role of the Board
  2. What ACT is most lacking
  3. Should Board or members determine final list
  4. Who from history you would most want to meet
  5. Which two laws you most want to repeal
  6. MMP vs FPP
  7. Should NZ become a republic
  8. Views on Wanganui gang patch laws
  9. What is your conception of equality
  10. Penal policy
  11. Death penalty support
  12. Alcohol purchase age and sale restrictions
  13. Drugs policy
  14. Internet censorship views
  15. Prostitution legalisation
  16. Student loans policy
  17. Main three policies ACT should campaign on

If I was an ACT member, I would find the survey results invaluable in helping me decide who I want to run my party.

Maybe the Young Nationals could do the same for the next National Board elections?

A very interesting meeting

October 7th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

On Monday night, we had a rare meeting of Presidents and leading representatives from Young Labour, Young Nationals, Young Greens and Act on Campus.

It was to discuss some of the options canvassed in the Law Commission’s review of alcohol law, and on top of 15 or so youth reps, we also had executives from the Drug Foundation, Hospitality Association, Lion Nathan and the Law Commission (to observe and provide info).

The four youth sections came together three years ago to (successfully) fight against Parliament’s move to raise the purchase age of alcohol to 20. The idea of the meeting was not just to focus on the purchase age, but consider many of the wider issues and see if there was a consensus on what options they agreed with, and what options they did not think would be effective.

I was involved with the original Keep It 18 campaign, so facilitated the meeting and to a certain degree played Devil’s Advocate on some of the issues. Issues discussed included the purchase age, should there be a drinking age, a split purchase age for on and off licenses, supply of alcohol to minors, restricted hours for off and on licenses, other access issues, excise tax levels, price issues, advertising restrictions, loss leading, blood alcohol limits for driving, open alcohol in cars, should cars have mandatory alcohol ignition locking devices, fake IDs, should drinking or being drunk in public be an offence etc.

I thought the meeting was really good, Not that I agreed with them on all issues, and not that they agreed with each other all the time. But it was a very practical discussion from a group of young people with first hand experience of youth drinking. It was around 50/50 guys and gals, but I didn’t pick up any huge difference in perspectives between the genders. There were some issues where there were differences between “left” and “right” but a surprisingly large number of issues where there was widespread agreement. The result is the four youth sections are going to do a joint submission (which may be a first) on the stuff they agree on, and individual submissions (or minority reports to the main submission) on the issues they have different perspectives on.

Not going to get into details of all the discussion, but there were three parts that stood out to me. They were:

  1. When the current code of practice for alcohol advertising was summarised as banning ads that imply drinking can lead to sexual, sporting or social sucess, there was fairly widespread laughter as an automatic reaction. That was a very instinctive judgement that the current code is not working, or not being rigorously applied by all players. In fact many in the room cited ads that seem to quite specifically imply sexual, sporting or social sucess from drinking.
  2. The discussion on the excise tax and price levels was very economically literate. There was a reasonable consensus that if alcohol use generates external costs (which it does), then there should be an excise tax set to cover the cost of that externality. However they rejected the notion that the tax be increased beyond covering the externality as a way to decrease demand, pointing out that would probably just send people into buying cheaper alcohol per volume (such as spirits). There was of course also reference to the considerable divergence in economists views of what the external costs of alcohol are, and the point was made that any figure used as justification for an increase should be very robust or bulletproof.
  3. Very amusing in the discussion on price and excise tax was the points made by AoC that the real problem is people don’t pay for their own health care and a no faults ACC scheme which caused much merriment. Now to be fair to AoC their points are absolutely valid, but I did have to say I think we can assume that the Government is unlikely to privatise the health system and abolish ACC, so if we taken these as a given, then what is the best way to cover the externalities.

As I said, despite differences on a fair number of issues, it was a very mature and constructive discussion. I was really impressed with those who took part.

Also thanks are due to Labour’s Trevor Mallard (and his secretary) and Iain Lees-Galloway for providing a meeting room at Parliament, and attending (with useful contributions). When it became clear Parliament would be the best place to hold the meeting I considered the easiest way to get an MP to sponsor the meeting. I figured if I approached a National MP they might get worried about any perception of doing me a favour so I e-mailed Trevor on the rationale that no one could ever criticise him for helping me secure a room 🙂

As I said, was a really good meeting, and who knows there might be other issues in future they come together on.

VSM on the agenda

August 20th, 2009 at 5:37 pm by David Farrar

Superb news. Heather Roy’s voluntary student association membership bill (now in the name of Roger Douglas) got drawn from the ballot today.

I’ll be doing a lot of posts on this topic as I have 15 – 20 years worth of research on the pros and cons of VSM.

The Young Nationals and ACT on Campus are excited about the bill being drawn, and no doubt will be campaigning hard for it to be passed.

Very appropriate that the man who gave New Zealand so many of our economic freedoms, may end up also being the person who give students the freedom to choose as individuals whether or not to join a student association.

Anderton annoyed at ACT on Campus

March 20th, 2008 at 3:15 pm by David Farrar

Heh heh. NZPA reports:

Wellington, March 20 NZPA – Moves by young ACT supporters to boost membership by selling cut-price party pills are “grossly irresponsible”, Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton says.

The group ACT on Campus sold the pills last month for $1 each to Auckland University students who joined their organisation.

Party pills will be illegal from April 1, after legislation classifying them as a class C1 drug was passed this month. ACT, the Green and Maori parties voted against the legislation.

But ACT on Campus Auckland president Ben Smith said the pills were still legal and there was nothing wrong with the successful promotion, which had signed up 500 people.

But Mr Anderton, who is the minister in charge of the Government’s drugs policy, told NZPA the promotion was grossly irresponsible and ACT needed to rein in its youth wing.

Very innovative thinking by ACT on Campus.