A message from Richard McGrath, Libertarianz Party Leader, in the latest Liberty newsletter.
To freedom lovers, the return of John Banks to Parliament as an ACT MP is as unwelcome as the rash that announces the resurgence of syphilis following healing of the primary ulcer. If ever it could be claimed that ‘the science is settled’, it is the political science that predicts annihilation of the ACT Party at or before the 2014 election. The demise of the liberal wing of this once proud political force creates an opportunity for a regrouping of New Zealanders committed to the idea that self-government is the best form of government.
For several months, in various forums including Facebook groups, disaffected current and former ACT members, along with Libertarianz members and others, are throwing around ideas and discussing how best to advance the cause of liberty in this country. One suggestion is that a coalition of political organisations that broadly promote the ideals of smaller government and more individual freedom – a Freedom Alliance – be formed, with candidates to contest the local body elections next year and possibly the general election scheduled for 2014. The individual parties forming such an alliance would most likely comprise the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, the Libertarianz Party, the liberal rump of ACT represented in part by the ‘True Liberals’ and others yet unknown.
The unifying principle of such a coalition would be a belief in the principle of self-determination; of New Zealanders having greater control over their lives, and taking greater responsibility for their actions. The various parties to such a grouping would not have to see eye to eye on every single issue, and would retain their individual identities and be able to withdraw from the Alliance at any time.
Aiming for success at local body level is, as I see it, far more realistic than hoping that an ALCP or Libertarianz candidate will upset their National or Labour counterparts in an electorate seat, or break the totally arbitrary 5% (six seat) party vote barrier that crushes the smaller parties (why couldn’t the threshold be 0.83%, which would result in one seat?). Although local government is, to a large extent, dominated by central government in terms of its funding, a Freedom Alliance could stand on the basis of (for example) opposing rates rises (instead, pushing for significant and sustained decreases), slashing compliance costs, balancing district council budgets, devolving services into the private sector where feasible and legalising cannabis for medical or other use.
Over the past week, I have had conversations with the ALCP, and the True Liberals. I have examined the ALCP list of policies and estimate about 90% (if not more) of the content of those policies is written from a pro-individual liberty stance. The True Liberals may as well be clones of Libertarianz in terms of underlying beliefs and principles, so I hold great hopes of being able to working constructively with these two fairly major players.
If you are reading this, and think you have a better name than ‘Freedom Alliance’ for a grouping of liberal-minded political activists, or a better strategy for advancing the cause of freedom, then please let me know. Meantime, aim to get yourself to Auckland on Saturday 6 October to attend the Libertarianz Party conference. We are organising some interesting speakers including, I am confident, representatives from some of the other political groups mentioned above and one or two special (and unexpected) guest speakers.
I am looking forward to capitalising on what appears to be a groundswell of discontent at the way the centre-right coalition led by John Key continue to over-borrow (still a third of a billion dollars a week – ouch!), over-spend and overgovern us in the same misguided and mindless manner as their predecessors.