Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Candidate Survey: Ninth Response

From Peter Cresswell of the LibertariaNZ. Peter is ranked 6th on the Libz list; he may also be standing in Epsom.

If you could ensure the passage of one act on one issue in the next Parliament, what would it be?

Putting a stake through the heart of the Resource Management Act, and resurrecting the common law protection of property rights and environment that planning legislation has buried for half-a-century.

The common law has over seven-hundred years of sophistication in protecting property rights and associated environmental values. The RMA has a failed dozen. Time to kill it.

What three other electoral candidates or sitting MPs do you think are most similar to you in their political views?

Bernard Darnton, Libertarianz leader and Wellington Central candidate. The cancellation of the Wellington Street Race has made this electorate a battleground over the RMA. As Minister for the RMA Marian Hobbs is presently holding Wellington Central. Presently.

Russell Watkins, Libertarianz Tauranga candidate. Like me he is against the easy bigotry of Winston's followers and in favour of immigration policies in which peaceful people are allowed to move freely, but not at the expense - as long as it is extant -- of State Welfare.

Tim Wikiriwhi, Libertarianz Hamilton West candidate. Tim is vocal in opposing the practice of passing laws and granting largesse or special government favours to anyone or any group, particularly if the favours or largesse are granted on the basis of race. To say that Maori need special favours such as special race-based electoral seats is patronising; to have special race-based clauses in legislation, or to give away taxpayers'money on the basis of race is apartheid. "One law for all, regardless of race," sys Tim, "and without fear nor favour."

MMP is about coalitions: What sitting MP who is NOT in your party do you think is most similar to you in their political views?


Some MPs have a similar commitment to freedom in particular areas in particular areas, but they let themselves down in most others. Nandor Tanczos for instance is a good advocate for drug law reform but is appalling in most other areas -- and even in this area his imperfect commitment to real freedom undercuts him and leads him to advocate only partial decriminalisation rather than full and immediate legalisation.

When it comes to coalitions, Libertarianz recognises that no MMP coalition has yet been successful, and each has ended with the destruction or near-destruction of the minor coalition partner.

How would Libertarianz function in parliament then? Libertarianz wants to drastically roll back the coercive state. We would therefore and as a binding principle commit to supporting every measure in parliament that advances freedom in any measure and - crucially - introduces no new coercion.

On that basis, any party would have our firm and unswerving support for any measure that fits those two criteria.

Do you support or oppose:

...raising the drinking age?

Oppose. Adulthood brings with it responsibility. Raising the drinking age just raises the age at which responsibility is expected, and encourages illegal drinking without the usual social restraints that are in place when drinking is legal.

...legalising marijuana (or pharmaceuticals based on it) for medical use?

Support. And not just for medicinal use. In order to get criminals and corrupt policemen out of the business of supplying and profiteering from the illegality of drugs, and in order to remove these lowlifes from being the ones who have carte blanche over the quality of recreational drugs, we say that as a matter of urgency consensual drug use should be legalised for adults.

Legalising with an accompanying amnesty would overnight effectively double police numbers and get them on to real crimes, ie., crimes with victims, and would effectively half the prison population.

...decriminalising or legalising marijuana for recreational use?

Support. As above

...allowing same-sex couples to adopt children?

Support. This is not the business of the government. Provided the rights of the children are protected, then whatever agreements adoption agencies and responsible adults choose to make is their own business.

...amending the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry?

Support. The business of government in this respect is simply recognising agreements that adults voluntarily agree to. Whatever agreements adult couples choose to make is their own business. Government's job is simply recognising and protecting their agreement as they should with any contract.

...allowing voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?

I support voluntary euthanasia. If you own your own life then you have the right to end it at the time of your own choosing, should you wish to do so. Others assisting with your choice should have the protection of the law. I would expect that should the courts be asked to do so, they could quite easily set some basic legal tests in place to ensure that if these are followed, then it is clear that the process has been a voluntary one and help has been offered on that basis.

I would prefer this form of court-based precedent as a protection than any legislation drawn up by a government, but provided the necessary protections are in place the latter would be an improvement on the present situation.

...state funding of integrated schools?

Don't support. I don't support state funding of schools. I advocate all schools be given back to taxpayers; the Ministry of Education be disbanded and NZQA closed down, and keys and shares to schools given to existing parents, teachers and trustees to do with as they see fit.

Taxes should of course be cut to reflect education being free of the state's shackles.

...the retention of sedition as a crime in the Crimes Act?

Oppose. As John Locke argued, government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. As such, the present laws against acts of violence are sufficient to protect against violence against the government.

...the retention of blasphemous libel as a crime in the Crimes Act?

Blasphemous libel? I would strongly support its removal. No argument for it, for God's sake.

...further restrictions on hate speech?

Oppose. I would oppose all restrictions on free speech. Free speech is the 'safety fuse' of liberty. 'Hate Speech' is a nonsense. Let people open their mouths and be shown to be a fool.

...the use of indefinite detention without trial for those subject to a security risk certificate?

Oppose. Charge or release. Or in the topical case, charge or deport.

...restoring the death penalty for serious crime?

Oppose. While a murderer morally deserves death themselves, the possibility of judicial error and killing an innocent person outweighs out the argument for the death penalty for murder. You can't sew back on a head once the innocent party's lawyers have won their case on appeal.

Arthur Allan Thomas would be the poster boy for opposition to the death penalty.

...Georgina Beyer's Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill?

Oppose. People should be entitled to discriminate as they choose. Moral persuasion is the way to change opinions, not the big stick of the law.

...Gordon Copeland's New Zealand Bill of Rights (Private Property Rights) Amendment Bill?

Support. And would also support making the New Zealand Bill of Rights supreme law, superseding all other legislation and allowing law that violates the Bill of Rights to be struck out. This would be the death knell for the Resource Management Act.

As I blogged at the time, it was a pleasant surprise to find that a United MP had enough gumption to introduce such a bill.

...entrenching the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act as supreme law?

Strongly support, but would want to amend it severely first. For a model of what I would support see the Bill of Rights in the Libertarianz' proposed Constitution For New Freeland. http://www.freeradical.co.nz/content/constitution/index.php

...New Zealand's participation in the International Criminal Court?

No opinion.

...lowering MMP's threshold from the present 5%?

No opinion.


With the benefit of hindsight, how should the government have handled the Ahmed Zaoui case?

Charge, deport or release.

As usual, Peter's views are his own, and may or may not represent the opinion of the LibertariaNZ.


What touching faith some people have in the common law. I would recommend a course of reading Jeremy Bentham on the common law and some decisions by Lord Denning (the one on the supreme importance of cricket over property rights would be a good place to start)

The RMA may well have its faults but personally I would not want the disposition of my property rights to lie in the hands of potentially biased judges arbitrarily applying an archaic, arcane and frequently muddled system of thought.

Posted by Amanda : 5/17/2005 09:39:00 AM

Make Tea Not War you said..."I would recommend a course of reading Jeremy Bentham on the common law and some decisions by Lord Denning (the one on the supreme importance of cricket over property rights would be a good place to start)."

Actually, I agree with Lord Denning on the issue of Coming to the Nuisance. It's a great way to solve most property disputes.

Western Springs would benefit from a good dose of the Coming to the Nuisance doctrine.

Icehawk you said ... "the "Great Stink" of London ... is an example of just where libertarian urban growth leads you."

Quite the contrary Icehawk.

The problem with sewage polluting the Thames had been evident for quite some years before the politicians bothered themselves, and was also evident elsewhere, such as Birmingham's Tame River where a respondent won an action against the council for pouring sewage into the river he used.

The problem was not lack of law, it was lack of infrastructure, or lack really of any realisation that sewage infrastructure was necessary.

London's enormous growth made it necessary, but remember London was at that time sui generis, with many new problems unique to such a large city in the post-industrial-revolution world, and the realisation that a decent sewage infrastructure was necessary was slow to come.

The problem in London that wasn't present on the Tame was simply a lack of real interest in the problem, not a lack of legal tools available.

One such legal tool available was Relator action by the Attorney General taken on behalf of the general public. Another was a private action taken by a respondent such as took place in Birmighman. What was missing in London was any real will from anybody to bother with the problem until large volumes of sewage and a hot summer made it necessary.

Problems certainly existed with the rapid urban growth of cities such as London. But we can be the beneficiaries in our own complex urban environment of the successes that common law did have in dealing with many of these complex issues in the past; our own difficult problems are frequently able to be solved by the same simple principles devised in the crucible of a country coming to terms with the implicateions of its Industrial Revolution.

Posted by Peter Cresswell : 5/17/2005 12:14:00 PM

Make Tea Not War said ..."personally I would not want the disposition of my property rights to lie in the hands of potentially biased judges arbitrarily applying an archaic, arcane and frequently muddled system of thought."

Sounds like you're describing the RMA to me!

The principles of common law are precisely the opposite of what you describe -- they are clear, objective, understandable, predictable, and based explicitly on the principle of property rights.

As I say, quite the opposite of dealing with the RMA. Remind me again what 'kaitiakitanga' means?

Furthermore, the power of precedent means the principles can be relied upon, and unlike RMA decisions not open to judge's whim.

Posted by Peter Cresswell : 5/17/2005 12:19:00 PM

The problem with the RMA is that it seems to resist acts in the public good.
think people hate it when it prevents/ or potentially prevents widely supported sporting events like the rugby world cup or the buildign of hydro dams, eastern bypass etc.
these things involve the potential to devalue others property nearby for the greater good - ie to act against their "property rights".

Posted by Genius : 5/17/2005 08:35:00 PM

I'm sure the idealogically beautiful views of Peter/PC would be found as wanting in practice as the economically-pure views of the 80's.
Messy reality is somehow never amenable to simplistic idealogical notions.
That said, I'd welcome a small contingent of Libertarians to parliament as a foil against the persistant devaluing of personal liberties brought by the well-intentioned who seek to remove all trace of personal risk from everyday life.
Just so long as they never get their hands on real power..

Posted by Anonymous : 5/19/2005 04:40:00 PM