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Party like you matter

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 pm, October 18th, 2008 - 55 comments
Categories: act, humour - Tags:

There’s so much to comment on about the policies and parties that matter that we hardly ever get to time to mention ACT. But I couldn’t resist this brochure from the zero tolerance liberals:

(it says ‘not your typical party’ in the yellow box)

– did ACT think they were the first to see the pun potential in ‘party’?
– if you’re going to claim you’re not a typical party, why have a background colour scheme of blue fading to light blue with fading blue spots on it that rip off the colour scheme used by your nearest ally in their billboards?
– why does ACT’s vision of utopia look like Sandwiches at 3am?
– are any of these revellers taking acid and does ACT have zero tolerance for them?
– if you’re going to run on the slogan ‘ideas that make sense’ why put it against a background that doesn’t?

55 comments on “Party like you matter”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Do people still take acid?

  2. I, I don’t know… I was just trying to think of a drug that people take for clubbing that wasn’t BZP, since ACT didn’t want that banned…. maybe I should have chosen ecstasy but I have trouble spelling it

    what did you guys take back in the 60s? Ether wasn’t it?

  3. outofbed 4

    All though a lot Act supporters Electorate vote Act
    I believe a lot of the party vote goes to National and recent polls have suggested that National is the preferred coalition partner
    However the prospect of a Act / Labour coalition is on the cards 🙂

  4. randal 5

    oob…been on the acid then eh?

  5. Spider_Pig 6

    It’s interesting that instead of debating ACT’s policies, the Standard choose to critique some inconsequential pamphlet. One suspects it’s because they would struggle to debate the drawbacks of their tax policy, for example. Or their Taxpayers Rights policy. Or their Regulatory Responsibility proposal.

    At least ACT will be in parliament, unlike Labour’s lap poodle the Winston Peters Party.

  6. I thought the Labour front bench was on caustic acid.

  7. randal 8

    i imagine their policy on anything is as inconsequential as their pamphlet illustration which by the way seems to lack authorisation under the EFA

  8. rave 9

    Dad youd be murder in the cowshed

  9. Pascal's bookie 10

    Spidey, Its interesting that ACT mp’s seem to spend their time dancing and running the same ‘defender of parliaments integrity’ schtick than Winston Peters made famous. But that’s what permanent opposition means I guess. Never having to legislate.

    People mock the greens for being fringe artists, but as well as the fact that they out-poll ACT, they have had a tonne more influence. ACT’s policies are irrelevant, which is why their campaigns always look like gimmicks. Which is a shame, because their supporters are even more earnest than the Greens’.

    A lot of people assume that National ACT will be an easy coalition. I fricken doubt it.

    What are ACT’s bottom lines for a deal? Nobody knows, (presumably ACT people know, but they seem awfully shy about talking about this stuff, rather blather on about WP. meh). ACT have said they want Douglas as MoF. Key says na ga happen. But even that isn’t a policy, but a means to some policy ends. Which is why National will not allow it.

    A National Act govt will either mean the end of ACT, the castration of ACT’s ideology, or a one term right wing government. popcorn for the left anyhoo.

  10. outofbed 11

    There is know acid here sunshine
    But then why can I see John Key meeting a Polar bear tomorrow?

  11. outofbed 12

    BTW my post was a take on the Maori/National supposed deal in case it got missed

  12. Michael 13

    I’ll just mention quickly that this was a 2005 (or possibly 2002) brochure, so it’s neither based on the 2008 National ads nor a violation of the EFA as we are not distributing these now.

    I would be interested to know where Steve got a copy of this.

  13. JoshRV 14

    At least ACT will be in parliament, unlike Labour’s lap poodle the Winston Peters Party.

    Thanks to the stupidity of Slippery John and the over-eagerness of his puppet parakeet, I think our Winston is pretty much assured a seat. The question is whether his come back will be big enough to bite National in the arse.

  14. appleboy 15

    which one of the dancers in the ACT advert is Rodney? is he airbrushing again?

  15. Akldnut 16

    Looks like Rodneys arm on the right on that guys arse (or is in the front?)
    now theres an idea that makes sense

  16. JoshRV 17

    *Puppet canary, I think I meant to say.

  17. Mike Collins 18

    Gee you’ve outdone yourself with your criticisms SP.

    “if you?re going to claim you?re not a typical party, why have a background colour scheme of blue fading to light blue with fading blue spots on it that rip off the colour scheme used by your nearest ally in their billboards?”

    This pamphlet came out last year. Certainly well before the Nat’s billboards. So kinda makes your statement seem a bit silly.

    Zero Tolerance policing relates to the government’s priority of keeping its citizens safe from the malintent (if that’s a word) of others. If people want to take drugs it’s their problem, so long as they cause no harm to anyone else from their actions.

  18. JoshRV 19

    Sounds perfect.

  19. Mike Collins, Michael. This pamphlet is authorised, a sticker has been stuck on the back… it had been dropped off at the girlfriend’s place.. apparently ACT is using old material again… bereft of ideas?

    spider_pig. why would i waste my time on ACT? Next you’l be saying I should give a comprehensive critique of Libertarianz policy

  20. Spider_Pig:
    “Regulatory Responsibility proposal”

    Probably one of the most harmful and damaging bills ever written

  21. Felix 22

    Mike Collins:

    Sorry to burst your wittle bubble but a “Zero Tolerance On Crime But Only For Crimes We Really Don’t Like” policy is not a “Zero Tolerance” policy at all.

    It’s just an “ordinary old run-o-the-mill” crime policy.

  22. SeaJay 23

    Conclusion; The National Putty are using old ACT material for their creative ideas.

  23. Pascal's bookie 24

    “Conclusion; The National Putty are using old ACT material for their creative ideas”

    Ha. Their only policy idea is “Me too” too, and also.

    They really are made of suck. What a cornucopia of fail that party is.

  24. If people want to take drugs it’s their problem, so long as they cause no harm to anyone else from their actions.

    If that’s true then what do the Sensible Sentencing Trust make of that?

  25. Robinsod – Sensible and sane people know not to take drugs, pass the pill bottle Heather. H was on 24 different meds just before his demise.

  26. Chris 27

    Gosh robinsod, don’t you know the sensible sentencing trust believe in freedom AND safety and are just doin it for your own good! They love freedom so much they’re prepared to spend govt. money on enforcing it, that’s how generous they are!

  27. Chris 28


    captcha: smashed given

    [lprent: try &_lt_; and &_gt_; (remove the underscores) to give the angle brackets. The # octal syntax doesn’t work here.]

  28. Michael 29


    Our policy is for Zero Tolerance on all crime.

    Many ACT candidates and members do believe that drug use should not be illegal, however as long as it is illegal, the law needs to be enforced.

    Hopefully that clarifies things for you.

    Disclaimer: Mike Collins and I are both ACT candidates.

  29. Ianmac 30

    Dave Brown suggests that we are in for “Rogernomics Mark 2 or trickle up by stealth.”
    If Act hold the balance of power with 3 MPs (possible) then wouldn’t a condition be for Roger the Dodger to be Min Finance or – no deal. (Is John a good negotiator?)

  30. dad4just-ice,
    caustic is caustic, acid is acid, like the one is -OH, the other -COOH. Never the twain shall meet save explosively and thence into salts (which are not always NaCl = sodium chloride).. explanation offered you understand in the hope that you would want not to make a fool of yourself in this forum.. or subsequently any other. Actually, from what I’ve gathered the liberal-zero-tolerance party mentioned earlier could well award you an LZT doctorate just on what little you do or don’t know. Though I take it you’d have more sense than accept it now…

    Spider_Pig, when tax = 0, what would the Taxpayers Rights Policy look like..?

    Appleboy, “airbrushing” – nice. I’d add are they old enough..?

  31. Felix 32

    Not really Micheal.

    Your slogan is “Zero Tolerance for all crime”.

    It’s not a policy, it’s a meaningless catchphrase.

  32. Michael 33


    It’s an integral part of our Law and Order policy, and it means that we will prosecute all crime, with reparations suitable to the crime committed (extensive use of community service for minor crimes).

    We intend to do this with more police officers, private security firms hired to take over some of the more routine tasks of police officers, and, yes, more prisons.

    We intend to spend an extra $1 billion on this, and, along with clearing the hospital waiting lists, it is one of the two exceptions to our policy on capping government expenditure.

    Also, you could at least take the courtesy of spelling my name correctly.

  33. Pascal's bookie 34

    “We intend to do this with more police officers, private security firms hired to take over some of the more routine tasks of police officers, and, yes, more prisons.”

    Sounds ever so liberal when you put it like that. Lucky it costed out to a nice round billion dollars too, which makes the marketing easier.

  34. Felix 35

    Sorry about misspelling your name Michael.

    The point you seem to be avoiding is how does your intention to “prosecute all crime” differ from any other approach to crime?

    Without the slogans, if you would.

  35. Michael 36

    Not sure why I’m bothering to respond to this, but I suppose it’s a nice break from speech-writing.

    That $1 billion is a maximum figure. It’s the sum we’ve set out in our budget as the maximum we can spend. We expect the sum that we will spend will be considerably less than this, and ACT is quite probably the only party you can trust to keep to that promise.

    As for being ‘liberal’, we adhere to classical liberalism. Government should strive to ensure the utmost freedom and choice for all citizens, as long as they do not infringe on the freedoms of others. The number one duty of government is to ensure that those that do infringe on the freedoms of others are prevented from doing so repeatedly. It’s a much more genuine liberalism than the bureaucratic and controlling ideas that many of you seem to have (I’m trying to avoid using most of the terms that spring to mind while writing this sentence).

    Felix, the difference is that currently, most minor crime is ignored by the police. Graffiti, shoplifting, even burglaries and car theft are no longer routinely investigated or prosecuted by the police. Talk to 10 shopkeepers, and most don’t even bother reporting breakins any more. The simple fact is, very few criminals start off with assault or rape or murder. They begin with graffiti, shoplifting, et al. ‘Broken Windows’ if you will. If you catch them there, and make it clear that that behaviour will not pay off, you will deter 90% of them from continuing down that path.

    We intend to abolish the ability of police to set their own policy. Police will be there to enforce the law. If they are unable to do so, then it is the law at fault and the law needs to be changed. It is in the interests of noone to have unenforceable laws and police that can charge almost anyone at their discretion.

  36. Lew 37

    In principle, the justice problem is seen by many libertarians and classical liberals as being the fault of law enforcement agencies having to spend so much time policing and prosecuting irrelevant crimes (ie, those which don’t result in loss of or damage to property, person or public tranquility). A big part of the solution advocated by many of these groups (the Libertarianz, for instance) is to make a whole lot of stuff legal – thereby removing the need for police to care about things like, say, recreational drug use, speeding which doesn’t result in an accident, etc. and giving them more time to worry about violent and organised crime and the sort of things which, although extremely rare in actuality, make people feel unsafe,

    So Michael out of curiosity – does ACT plan on making a bunch of stuff legal to go along with its billion dollars?


  37. Chris 38

    For the record: I do agree some people need to be locked away from society for a long time. However. Michael, or suckers who love the phrase of ‘Getting tuff on them bloody crims!’ or ‘send the kids to boot camps!’ Honestly answer me this:

    Can you agree that typical crime policies which admittedly get a lot of support and probably win votes (eg. the aforementioned catch phrases) are Reactionary policies rather than pro-active ones in that they dont tackle the issue of WHY crime occurs in anyway whatsoever? Therefore why should we expect to see a decrease in crime?

    Why dont you actually create some policy that tackles the issues of: Social dislocation, inequality, poverty etc. that are obviously huge contributing factors to why crime occurs? And no I dont think giving someone $7 more a week in tax cuts will solve the problem and dont lie and tell me you think it will.

  38. Michael 39

    Lew, that’s part of the philosophy that the vast majority of ACT members subscribe to, however the party’s overriding view is that unless the law is blatantly unjust, it needs to be enforced, even if we disagree with (significant) parts of it.

    I personally agree that a ‘whole bunch of stuff’ that’s currently illegal should be legal, and am currently seriously contemplating organising some campaigns to raise those issues after the election. Recreational drug use is a good example, so are some of the traffic laws. Another one is the right to self-defence, which, although encoded in law, the police are doing their best to chip away at.

    As a more specific answer, ACT tends to treat such issues as conscience votes. The question of what should and shouldn’t be legal needs careful consideration in most circumstances, and even people with a mostly shared philosophical view can disagree. I do believe that most ACT MP’s and candidates would support legalising recreation drug use, removing some speeding offences, etc if it came to a vote. That said, we realise we will not be in power by ourselves (not for a few elections yet), and these issues are currently a low priority in coalition negotiations.

    Hope that’s answered your question.

  39. Felix 40

    Broken windows? No serious people in the field believe that one anymore – it’s strictly the domain of rent-a-quotes like your mate McVicar. Failed nonsense from the 80s.

    Murderers and rapists do not start with graffiti, which is not even a contention of the broken windows theory by the way. Do you actually know what the broken windows theory is?

    Your contention that “most minor crime is ignored by police” is frightening rhetoric but rather dubious statistically. I know a lot of retailers and none of them would ever fail to report a break-in. Maybe you’re only talking about retailers who don’t have insurance?

  40. Michael 41

    Chris, I agree with most of what you’ve said.

    Simply put, crime needs to be tackled at three points.

    (1) Preventing it from occurring
    (2) Preventing repeat offending
    (3) Locking away those that we can’t stop.

    We’ve focused a bit on (3) as the problem has got out of hand and fixing the social issues will not help those that are already career criminals, however we do agree that (1) and (2) are extremely important.

    We have a number of policies designed, specifically, for (1).

    The first of these is our Families at Risk policy. Number 20 in our 20 point plan, however near the top in terms of it’s importance to NZ.

    Basically, for families that are struggling to get by with everyday life in NZ, we intend to work with charitable organisations and other individuals to employ people (mentors) to assist them with learning the everyday tasks many of us take for granted and getting by in times of difficulty. As an example, this may mean a retired grandmother helping a solo mother with some issues. This person will be responsible for managing any social services that may deal with the family so that the family has one point of contact that is familiar with their situation.

    At the more extreme end of the scale, for seriously dysfunctional families, we intend to hire trained professionals who will spend considerable time with the family, and, where necessary, take over control of any government aid they receive. ie. if the parents spend all their welfare money on alcohol and gambling, the mentor will spend that money on the families behalf.

    We also believe that one of the major causes of crime is unemployment and welfarism. People on welfare are more likely to commit to commit crime, and in particular, their children are likely to follow down their path. We believe parents in particular should work, at least a minimal amount, even if they’re also receiving state assistance.

    The third point I will make, is that the punishment of crime also serves very effectively as a deterrent. The experience overseas has been that harsher sentences and ‘zero tolerance’ policing do not reduce the recidivism rate, however they do reduce the numbers of inmates. Basically the effective justice system deters people from attempting crime at all, and those that do end up in prison are the hardened criminals only.


  41. Lew 42

    Michael: Thank you, a very frank and complete answer.

    Chris: Careful with that word `reactionary’ – I think in this case you mean `reactive’, rather than what the French revolutionaries termed the stealth-monarchists and their ideas.


  42. Michael 43


    The ‘broken windows’ theory states that if there are broken windows and visible vandalism, they will attract more vandalism.

    Yes, my contention was a bit of an expansion of that into the general zero tolerance policing.

    People like to claim that it’s ‘discredited’ or ‘failed’, however that’s a clear misuse of statistics. In particular people like to point out the fact that recidivism rates often stay roughly the same or rise, ignoring the fact that the prison population decreases (which is a more relevant indicator).

    I can tell you that, as the ACT candidate for Mangere, I have spoken to a number of retailers and all those that I have asked have experienced regular theft, with most experiencing at least a few violent burglaries. I fail to see why a retailer without insurance would have any reason not to report a breakin, unless you’re suggesting breakins are only reported to get insurance money. In that case, I agree with you entirely, as the retailers realise there’s no other reason to report them, as the police won’t do anything about them (unless, of course, someone has been stabbed or shot, in which case they’ll wait outside for an hour).

  43. Ianmac 44

    Michael, Lew, Felix. Great to read your ideas without the meaningless rhetoric. Interesting to read. Thanks

  44. Felix 45

    Michael it was you who said that retailers don’t report break-ins, not me. Actually I suspect you’ve made a typo somewhere as you seem to be contradicting yourself in the same paragraph and I can’t get it to read so it makes sense, I’m sure that’s not what you intended too write.

    But yeah, broken windows theory is based on the idea that petty crime such as vandalism, left unchecked will encourage an environment where more serious crime is tolerated. The zero tolerance programs which were based on it centered on the idea that if you refuse to tolerate petty crime you will eliminate the breeding grounds for more serious crime.

    The trouble with advocating zero tolerance to petty crime as a strategy for stemming the rise of more serious crime – and the reason I say it’s a failed policy – is that there are no examples of it ever working. These are not bold new ideas – they’re ideas which have been tried in quite a few American cities and none were found to have any significant shift in crime rates compared to other cities which were not following these policies.

    It’s good rhetoric, but it’s been tested and found ineffective.

    Please note that you are the first person I have ever heard suggest it’s actually petty criminals who become violent criminals because of unchecked “broken windows”. It’s a rather strange statement to make, I’d like to see what you base that idea on. Is that idea behind the official ACT policy formation?

  45. Michael 46


    I was responding to your statement that ‘Maybe you’re only talking about retailers who don’t have insurance?’. The implied suggestion was that retailers that don’t have insurance don’t report crimes. The logical reason for this that springs to my mind is that those with insurance only report them for the reason of getting the payout. They don’t expect any justice from the police themselves. (yes, this is a big of an exaggeration, but I’m trying to be clear).

    Second, I disagree with your statement that ‘they’re ideas which have been tried in quite a few American cities and none were found to have any significant shift in crime rates compared to other cities which were not following these policies’.

    Again, this is a misuse of statistics. In most cases, a closer look at the data (either convictions or reported, they’ll usually both reveal this) will in most cases reveal violent crime going down while crime in general going up. The reason for this is that violent crime tends to be reported regardless, whereas more minor crime ceases to be reported if there is no action taken from it being reported.

    Yes, using the word ‘criminals’ was unwise. I’ll be more general and state that I believe that minor offending, if unchecked, leads to more serious offending. Not necessarily that it leads to minor offending, although I do believe that if there was an inclination in that direction anyway, it encourages that inclination to be acted on.

    Finally, I was not involved with the people that wrote the official ACT policy on Law & Order and am therefore not the person to ask. I have simply been stating my views.

  46. Chris 47


    Although you couldn’t pay me to vote ACT (No offence) I respect you a lot just by looking at your responses, an honest talking right-winger, keep that up please. As a side point I like that ACT are anti-war on drugs (No I am not a druggie) and I do sympathise with the idealism of libertarianism, so to speak, however I just cant quite be as optimistic as you lot often sound – I can go in to what I mean later.

    Ill make my response quick cos I REALLY should be studying.

    My main concern with your first two solutions is Funding. Relying on charitable organisations is all very well, but at present surely they are far too under-resourced to offer more support than at present, I think that is unrealistic to expect that of them.. Same issue of funding for mentoring programme, coinciding with ACTs reduce govt revenue from much less tax, plus it is Tough to get good people who want to mentor at the usual appalling wages offered for such jobs eg. social workers at present. Im not saying they are Bad ideas, quite the opposite, I just question how you could possibly work them?

    Secondly, I Wholeheartedly disagree with your third point. If we are talking career criminals or serious/violent crime, they aren’t going to give a second thought that they could get locked up for the rest of their life, Thats unrealistic Michael, come on. I simply cannot buy that argument that harsh penalties stop people committing crimes. Just look at China or the US! world leaders in executing their own people, death penalties for a number of crimes, yet does crime drop in those countries? has the homicide rate ever seriously declined in the US?

    People who are going to committ crime are tragic products of the system from which we have benefited and flourished.. a number of cause and effects have lead them to a point where the only way to change their life or better themselves is when they go: I am going to have to steal/hurt/kill etc. A consequence of a life sentence or a shitty prison cell is a non-issue, they dont care about that because it is worth risking getting caught because it is the only way to better themselves. A lot of them are caught backs to the wall in a dead end street Michael, they dont care that your gonna lock em up for a long time.

  47. Michael 48

    Again, I seem to be making a lot of typos today.

    ‘Not necessarily that it leads to minor offending’ should be ‘Not necessarily that it leads to violent offending’.

  48. Michael 49


    Regarding funding, we do not intend to rely solely on charitable organisations. We do intend to work with them where practical and fund some of their activities where practical (the main issue with this is that such funding tends to come with conditions, and we don’t want to tell charities how to operate). However, we also intend to hire other people that want to help directly. The wages for will quite likely be modest, however we believe there are considerably people that would be willing to help in such a way. We may also use existing social workers. Our main view is that it’s more effective to have one person coordinating with a family, than 10 separate institutions.

    In your second point, I’ll agree that few career criminals will give up that path due to harsher penalties. However, they do deter people from starting on that path. Yes, China and the USA have lower crime rates than NZ. A statistics I was shown recently shows that the violent crime rate in NZ per head of population is three times that of the US. Also, we do not advocate the death penalty, so please don’t associate us with that. Yes, the homicide rate has declined in the US.

    There are very, very few people in NZ that need to commit crime to live. Can you give me even a single example? They commit crime because either it’s what they’re used to or they see no negative consequences to it or simple boredom or to fuel an addiction of some sort. I’m afraid I have to disagree with a significant part of your last paragraph.


  49. Pascal's bookie 50

    Michael, thanks for your honest engagement. I understand classical liberalism quite well. It’s an appealing idea, though not one that maximises liberty in my view,(but that’s another debate).

    What I was getting at is that there is a tendency when railing against ‘nanny state’ to replace it with ‘daddy state’. Some of this crime policy reminds me of that idea.

    ‘Zero tolerance for crime’ is a slogan that could easily lead to all sorts of illiberal things. Should we for example go the CCTV route and have cameras everywhere?. Why not? Zero tolerance requires as much evidence as possible. What about paid informers? Stronger RICO style laws?

    If Zero tolerance means anything, it means do whatever it takes. That’s not liberalism, classic or 2.0. Some crime is a cost we pay for civil liberty. It is the price we pay to not live in a police state. I know you know this, and that I’m taking the slogan too literally and so on, but that’s what the slogan means and that’s the voters ACT is trying to catch, is it not?

    There are echos at least of the old cry of “Only criminals need fear this, if you’re not doing anything wrong, why should you be bothered by this.”

    My billion dollars comment was sort of a joke. I know what you mean by it, but I think it’s a bit silly to say it would in reality be a cap. Things like this always get out of hand spending wise, even if the don’t get out of hand in other ways.

  50. Felix 51


    “In most cases, a closer look at the data (either convictions or reported, they’ll usually both reveal this) will in most cases reveal violent crime going down while crime in general going up”

    Do you have any data to indicate that this happens in cities with “zero tolerance” policies while other cities are trending in the opposite direction?

    So far I’ve not seen anything to indicate that zero tolerance leads to any great divergence from general trends.

    In a very general sense, I don’t believe using the U.S. as any sort of model for crime policies is a healthy direction for NZ. They seem to get so much of it so wrong.

    Also, as Chris said above, it’s good to see you here with your honest straight talk. I may disagree with many of ACT’s policies but I do appreciate that you’re one of the few parties who’s policies are actually based on principles which you believe in.

  51. Michael 52

    Pascal’s bookie, I agree that we can go overboard with policing and ACT is firmly opposed to that. Well, at least the board and most candidates are, we have a few extreme views among our members (some of them scare me, but we’ll leave that for another discussion). I am opposed to having cameras everywhere (although, I support the right for people to have them on their property, and they are suitable for a few public locations). I’m opposed to paid informers as I believe that’ll lead to false testimony. I think some form of RICO like laws need to exist, but they can’t be of such form that they can be used as a pretence or generic offence under which to target everything you can’t honestly prosecute.

    I have spoken to a number of current and former police officers (some ACT candidates, some ACT members and some with no affiliation to ACT) and a common these they talk about is that they are instructed to ignore many forms of crime, or simply choose to as they don’t have support in prosecuting such cases. In particular, something I’ve been told a few times, is that for minor crime police are told to target the middle class as they cannot afford legal representation and are not eligible for legal aid and will usually settle for diversion.

    One case I was told of was a 16-year-old that was attacked on his way to his car and punched one of the attackers. The attackers then ran off. The 16-year-old was charged yet the attackers were not, despite the police knowing their identity. The 16-year-old then settled for $800 (from memory) diversion as he could not afford the legal costs of fighting the case.

    That is exactly the type of situation we want to fix. The police need to be de-politicised. Self-defence is not a crime in NZ, yet the police hierarchy seem intent on treating it as one, while ignoring the actual crimes. To me, that is a glaring example of a police state.

    We do favour the use of police (and government-funded private security firms) for patrols where necessary to target crimes. We also believe that the police should take the complaints of the public seriously.

    I can assure you that I have absolutely no desire for a police state, and have angered a (thankfully, rather small) number of our members who do favour one. I would ask you (although you don’t seem guilty of this anyway) not to judge us by the most extreme of our members, as I’m sure any party would not come out well when judged on the most extreme of it’s members.

    We do believe we can stick to the cap, and remain well under it actually. We intend to have competitively-tendered, privately built and managed prisons, and this has proven in the past to be cheaper as well as providing (in most circumstances) better conditions for the prisoners.


  52. Michael 53


    I don’t have most of the data I’m referring to on-hand with me at the moment. To be honest, this area isn’t one I’m most familiar with, and most of this is off the top of my head.

    In response to ‘Do you have any data to indicate that this happens in cities with “zero tolerance’ policies while other cities are trending in the opposite direction?’ most of what I’ve seen indicates that the crime rate in the US seems to be dropping overall, while dropping faster in those cities with ‘zero tolerance’ policies. I don’t believe there was a long-term trend in the opposite direction. New Zealand, on the other hand, is trending in the opposite direction.

    I probably could get a copy of most of the data I was looking at a few months ago, however if you seriously want to debate this topic I am not the ideal person to talk to.

    I’m finding it quite refreshing actually to have an intelligent discussion, when so much of my time is spent reassuring people a party vote for ACT isn’t wasted or uttering the catchphrases repeatedly. Unfortunately, having an intelligent discussion isn’t going to win many votes so I am going to, for now, bid you all goodnight and get back to the campaign trail tomorrow. There are signs to erect, meetings to organise, mail to print and deliver and many, many people to talk to.


  53. Chris 54

    Because once again I’ve jumped on the standard as a fantastic form of procrastination im going to be quick.

    Michael, cheers for the discussion, good banter. We are going to have to agree to disagree on tough sentences, I simply dont buy your argument especially
    ‘They commit crime because either it’s what they’re used to or they see no negative consequences to it or simple boredom or to fuel an addiction of some sort’ In my opinion what leads people to crime is a complex system its not as black and white as what you suggested, I think thats a ridiculous suggestion as to why crime occurs.

    Lastly, the private prison system is perhaps the most unethical justice system invented in modern history. Some have likened it to (In the US) as a modern day slave trade. When shares for companies like GEO Group and CCA fluctuate based on prison population I find that disgusting. I find it morally repugnant that people could make money off incarcerating people, it provides too much incentive to lock as many people away as possible at the expense of Preventing crime.

    I encourage you all to go and look up the negative sides of privatising prisons. And everyone should watch the movie: American Drug War – The Last White Hope. that touches on the private prison system and among other things the War on Drugs.

  54. Michael 55


    First, I’m not saying it’s quite that black and white, but I do see that you’re not even trying to defend the argument that people in NZ are actually forced to commit crime to survive.

    Regarding private prisons, I absolutely agree that they can provide bad outcomes. Like any industry, the outcome depends on the incentives set. If the company building the prison stands to lose financially from poor performance and gain from good performance, you’ll get a good outcome. In the public sector, you never know what kind of outcome you’ll get. The Auckland remand prison, which was privatised for a short period of time, was actually considered one of the most humane prisons in NZ while it was privatised.

    Again, it’s a matter of getting the incentives right. If you set the contract up so that they get more money if the recidivism rate is lower, then they’ll implement initiatives to achieve that. The outcome of private prisons depends, like anything else, on the details.


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