Last night, Chester Burrows’ bill allowing the council of Wanganui to ban people from wearing the insignia or symbols of any organisation they decide to call a gang was passed. No-one seriously believes banning patches will hurt gangs so we’ve just given a council tremendous unchecked power for no good reason. As Idiot Savant puts it: “Michael Laws will be able to dictate what people wear in Wanganui, and fine them $2,000 if they refuse to conform to his fashion sense”.
The law only passed because John Boscawen, David Garrett, and Rodney Hide (who in an eariler moment of anger revealed that supporting this law is a trade for National’s support on the 3 Strikes Bill) voted for it. More principled libertarians Sir Roger Douglas and Heather Roy voted against it (it was Douglas’s refusal to back this bill that led to ACT announcing their MPs would be allowed to vote against the party line). Locco Burro picks up the issue:
So the party leader, the millionaire, and the â€˜tough on crime’ nut tell the personal freedom wing of their party to get stuffed. Whoops, did I say wing? I mean the very thing the ACT party stands for, libertarianism, personal choice and freedom. The question is what do ACT actually stand for anymore? Roger Douglas has in the past publicly attacked the desperate vote scrounging tactics of Hide and now he gets to watch it first hand in parliament.
The National Party needed ACT for this bill, it could have been an amazing opportunity for ACT to take a stand and show their independence , as well as adhere to their party’s platforms. Instead they prefer to be slowly absorbed as the political wing of the Sensible Sentencing Trust and the private prison lobby and cosy up to National in order to keep the Three Strikes Bill alive.
Locco Burro also gives some key quotes:
Hide: ACT leader Rodney Hide told Parliament he was aware his vote was crucial. He remained a libertarian and believed in personal freedoms but that did not mean people could intimidate each other’. Does he listen to himself when he speaks? I hope ACT voters do, I hope they remember and think again about voting for this man and this party.
‘Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove used the debate to remind Mr Hide of his pledge not to vote for the bill.’It appears that the old values in the ACT Party they are for sale at whatever cost â€” it’s the free market isn’t it’ Ha, well said.
Green MP Keith Locke: ‘his party was ‘strongly opposed’ to the ‘oppressive’ bill and he was unhappy that a local council would be able to decide which groups would be considered gangs.’
Maori Party Rahui Katene: ‘We do not support solutions that are predicated on exclusion and hate.’ There were other strategies to address violence and she did not think prohibitions would work.’