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Taxpayers support Mr “Small Government”

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, October 5th, 2014 - 48 comments
Categories: act - Tags: , , , ,

If ACT were made up for a show like “The Thick of It”, or “Veep”, they would be dismissed as too ridiculous and extreme for the audience to swallow. “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver would surely ask, “How is this still a thing?” And yet the good folk of Epsom keep on conspiring with the savvy but manipulative Key government to inflict this farce with a constantly revolving (and always revolting) cast on the rest of us, year after year.

Here we are in 2014 and the fierce proponents of Small Government, tax cuts and cutting government expenditure seem perfectly happy to take the $500,000 of taxpayers’ money that comes with the (invented) roles of Under-Secretary to the Minister of Educations and to the Minister for Regulatory Reform. As soon as he hits parliament, David Seymour has shown himself to be a true ACTite, in the tradition of Rodney Hide, David Garrett, John Banks et al. They talk up the benefits of cutting government expenditure and making people stand on their own two feet but just can’t quite seem to get the irony of the position from which they preach to the rest of us…

Let’s remind ourselves that this cult of free-market extremists has had 5 leaders in the last 3 years, won only 0.7% of the Party vote nationwide (on par with the Bann 1080 Party and fewer than the Legalise Marijuana Party) but is a convenient excuse for some of Team Key’s more aggressive attacks on core NZ values. Charter Schools are for-profit businesses, raking in government resources but not accountable the Teachers’ Council (they don’t require qualified teachers) or the requirements of the Official Information Act. When Seymour says (on The Nation yesterday) that he wants all schools to have the option of becoming charter schools and argues that they are a lot more accountable than other schools, it’s time to really worry about the influence this Right-Wing Think Tanker is being empowered with by this “We can do anything now” team. Similarly, he sees the Resource Management Act as putting too much emphasis on the environment, and believes it’s time to start completely again.

Seymour argues that policy and parties should be “(From the) ground up, not driven by Wellington.” YES! So, David, listen to your own words and think about your position. Who put you in power? Having done so, who gave you a ridiculous level of power and resources for a first term MP (and a practically non-existent Party)?

While she and I are not often on the same wave-length, this time I’m with Lisa Owen when she asks, “Is that how you cut government spending? Are you the best use for that money?” – (Lisa Owen, The Nation 4/10/14)

 – red blooded

48 comments on “Taxpayers support Mr “Small Government” ”

  1. BM 1

    As Key said he believes there’s a group of voters out their that supports a more rightist view point.

    Just like the other side with it’s hard left block of the greens and mana, key thinks there’s a potential 5-10% of the electorate that could fit into that block, that’s why he keeps act alive, in the hope that one day they get their act together and provide that extra % of votes.

    • Hanswurst 1.1

      As Key said he believes there’s a group of voters out their that supports a more rightist view point.

      If he thinks they’re so worthy of representation as to wield influence on the government, why doesn’t he own it and represent them himself, rather than hiding behind a merry-go-round of proxy clowns?

      • BM 1.1.1

        Key is center right.

        • adam

          If Key is centre right, why has he not repealed the reserve bank act? BM the lie is in the telling, keep telling yourself you’re not a VRWNJ, and you may just believe it.

        • Richard

          Key is centre right eh? Tell me that after they rewrite the RMA to let business walk all over the environment. Tell that to Nick Smith minister of mining protected reserves, Tell that to the Maui Dolphins.

          Tell that to your kids when they are paying down 200 billion dollars which is where borrowing will climb to when dairy prices keep dipping the dollar plumets, inflation sky rockets and Bills careful and esteemed running of the economy comes crashing around his double dipping backside.

          Tell that to yourself when you fork out 40k a year to charter schools for your kids but are still paying the same tax rate.

          Tell that to yourself when the ambulance that takes you to hospital charges you for the ride and the Dr hands you a bill for 150k for the repairs to the damage the truck did when you suddenly realized I am right and stood in the middle of the road dumbfounded over your Foolishness.

          • BM

            Bit over the top there, Richard.

            • Richard

              But that’s the agenda BM, Key shelved the RMA rewrite as he couldn’t get the numbers, now he can, Seymor stated it on the Nation to boot, charter schools are happening, Hospital privatizations happening. Nick Smiths already doing it and I still can’t figure out how he can be kicked out yet get back in to a Cabinet position that gave the business friendly freak an environment job. It’s like slapping the greens with the Maui Dolphin.

              I am just telling you what I see to try to make you think outside your comfort zone buddy.

              • BM

                Nothing wrong with Charters schools, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

                Same with Hospital privatizations, could save quite a bit of tax payer coin and who knows maybe they’ll find a few surgeons willing to work for less than a million per year.

                The Maui dolphin is thought to be an inbred variety of the Hectors dolphin.

                • dv

                  ‘Same with Hospital privatizations, could save quite a bit of tax payer coin and who knows maybe they’ll find a few surgeons willing to work for less than a million

                  We had a conversation with a US hospital manager recently.
                  The reason why US care is so expensive is the Dr salaries!!!

                  ‘Nothing wrong with Charters schools
                  How about the failing one in Northland?
                  Read some of the US data.

                  ‘The Maui dolphin is thought to be an inbred variety of the Hectors dolphin.
                  Bit like humans inbred neanderthals. (Temped to suggest rw, but that is rude.)

                • Richard

                  Man that’s sad BM, Have you thought through the consequences of that? Really and properly.

                  Then the poor won’t be able to afford schooling or medical care.

                  What’s your tax rate currently? lets guess 25% as a rough figure plucked out of the air, how many years of paying less tax say it dropped to 12 % would it take for you to have saved on tax payments for 1 year of schooling or one hospital visit.

                  Oh whatever BM keep your head in the sand can’t be bothered you obviously are so well off it’s just never going to make you sweat in the slightest. It’s Sunday time for a you tube clip to cheer me up. If people out there have your rationality it’s time I sold the house and moved oversea’s I give up.

                • fender

                  ” ……….could save quite a bit of tax payer coin and who knows maybe they’ll find a few surgeons willing to work for less than a million per year.”

                  Yeah cos privatising power companies has produced a multitude of CEO’s willing to work for less than a million per year 🙄

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Nothing wrong with Charters schools

                  This is a great example of someone holding on to belief against the evidence.

                  Same with Hospital privatizations, could save quite a bit of tax payer coin

                  It may save taxpayer coin while costing society more. That extra cost will come out of private pockets making people worse offf. We know this from the failed private system in the US which costs three time as much per capita than our own system and isn’t as good and most of their bankruptcies are private people brought low by medical bills.

                  Privatisation is the worst thing to ever happen to essential services.

                  • Hanswurst

                    Yup. This weasel spin has been pissing me off for years. In this context, “the taxpayer” effectively means “the wealthy”, because such privatisations mean that the poor (also taxpayers) end up paying closer to the full cost of treatment, rather than a tax which is (in part) effectively health insurance in a proportion that is commensurate with their income.

                    It makes me almost physically sick how those on the right can peddle such intellectual dishonesty in promoting a view of society as a group of entirely separate individuals with diverging interests, then suddenly appeal to a nebulous concept of “the taxpayer” as though we were suddenly all exactly the same and working shoulder to shoulder.

                • repateet

                  If there’s nothing wrong with Charter schools I expect Seymour to put our money where his mouth is and let all of his Epsom electorate schools became charter schools. Will he have the courage of the ACT convictions? (Sorry John Banks, pun intend.)

                • Murray Olsen

                  If the Maui dolphins were inbred, ACT would want to save them. I think you mean genetically isolated, which is a different thing, but then you can probably find another scientist.

          • Lanthanide

            “Tell that to yourself when the ambulance that takes you to hospital charges you for the ride ”

            That is already the case. St John’s ambulence is a charity and does not receive any government funding.

            In CHCH, it is (or was, anyway) $50 a trip.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Yep, been $50 per trip for about 20 years or more.

              And they do receive some government funding:

              St John Ambulance Services are not fully funded by the government. Contracts with the Ministry of Health, ACC and District Health Boards (DHBs) fund just under 80% of the direct operating costs. The shortfall is made up from payment of part charges, community donations, fundraising and revenue from our commercial activities.

              Which is, of course, why there’s a $50 per trip cost which I know causes poor people not to call the ambulance even though they should.

              • George Hendry

                Now between $87 and $88 ( citation: my trip from Christchurch to Christchurch hospital, April 2014).

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  You can buy St Johns membership which for yearly cost covers hospital trips.
                  ACC funds accident callouts, same goes for helicopter pickups. Im not aware of any charge for accident victims going to hospital.

                  They have annoying habit of pressuring accident victims to take the ride to hospital even if not necessary- to get the funding

            • Murray Olsen

              In Brisbane they used to put an ambulance charge on the power bills. I’ve used an ambulance once in ten years, and I never missed the money. Hopefully I paid for a few pickups for people less well off.

              The charge seems to have disappeared now, so I don’t know how they fund it, but when you call, they come.

          • Murray Olsen

            They can’t see ahead. They’ll say it’s ridiculous saying debt will get to $200 billion, but 5 years ago they were probably saying it would never get to $60 billion.
            They’ll say NAct cares for the environment at the same time as they ask who wants to swim in rivers anyway? If you’re too lazy to have a swimming pool………..

            The fools either want what’s coming or they can’t see it.

        • Draco T Bastard

          No he’s not – he’s radical right-wing. The problem is that the centre has been moved to radical right over the last thirty years so Key, and other RWNJs, can claim to be centrist while being completely delusional.

          Reality has a radical left bias.

          • Kiwiri

            the centre has been moved to radical right over the last thirty years so Key, and other RWNJs, can claim to be centrist while being completely delusional


            The parties in opposition, separately as well as collectively, need to pull the ‘centre’ back to issues that concern the interest of median wage workers. That is only the first step. Much more work needs to be done. There are those who are excluded from the workforce in this ‘uneconomic’ system, as well as those who are marginalised, impoverished and vulnerable.

            Thanks and kia kaha to Hone Harawira. Looking forward to him and representatives like him being back contesting at the next election.

          • Tracey

            and 17% of ACT MPs have been convicted of fraud or deception…

            doesnt matter tho cos Key is comfortable with at least 17% of members having criminal behaviours

        • Tracey

          yet they barely muster 1% of the vote making them nothing like the greens

        • JonL

          Key has never been centre right! Most people under 50 have no conception of what a centre right government is like – the same people who call Labour centre left? Labour hasn’t been a leftist government since douglas and co knifed it in the back!

    • r0b 1.2

      So Key is picking winners (that turn out to be losers), state funding a hunch (that keeps turning out to be wrong), and using taxpayer funds to try and tilt the political playing field to his advantage? Thanks for explaining that to us BM.

      • BM 1.2.1

        I’m just going on what he said on 7 sharp and extrapolated it out a bit.
        He didn’t actually come out and say

        there’s a potential 5-10% of the electorate that could fit into that block, one day Act could get their act together and provide that extra % of votes.

        that was me doing a bit of mind reading.

        Anyway, I would have thought you guys would be all about as much representative democracy as possible.

        • Richard

          I think the fallacy that labour want an over inflated government with more democratic representation is a stereotype painted by the right. Same as nanny state and other fallacies.

          The truth is I think and always have that Labour is the party of common sense vs the party of pleasing corporate donors quite frankly.

          I will never ever vote for a party who’s funding comes from corporates as they just do not care about anything other than shareholders.

          When you look at both parties actions in Parliament when running the show, for the most part Labour do far, far better, in even the economy, because they work for ALL NZ not just SkyCIty and every other freak show corporate.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I will never ever vote for a party who’s funding comes from corporates as they just do not care about anything other than shareholders.

            That means that you won’t vote for any party as they all get corporate donations. The decline of the mass party ensured that and so it also ensured that parties work for the corporations.

            IMO, donations to political parties from any legal entity need to be banned and only donations from individuals be allowed. This would force parties to become representative of the people again.

            • Richard

              Excellent proposition. In fact stunning, chuck a bill in the box for it.

            • Murray Olsen

              Dotcom isn’t a corporate. As far as I know, his donations to Mana and that other thing were personal. I’m not aware of any other corporate donations to them.

        • felix

          BM you’re a moron.

          We just had a general election to determine the exact size of the support blocks for the various parties.

          Result: ACT = 0.7%.

          According to your approach we needn’t bother having another one in 2017 because we can just ask Key how many seats he reckons each party should get and be done with it.

          Fucking idiot. And everyone else, stop arguing with him as if he didn’t just advocate abandoning democracy.


          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Llets not forget the internal battles of the Actoids, made it seem like reruns of ‘I Claudius’.
            The roll call of ‘perps’ make interesting reading still.

            Donna Awatere, David Garrett, John Banks.

            And still they think they will increase their Mps by means of ‘policy’. They are too stupid to see that backroom twerps like Seymour should stay in the backrooms, its time for a party leader from central casting. It matters much more than they think for minor parties, and is Colin Craigs biggest hurdle to getting over 5%

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          The 5% doesnt come out of thin air, they came out of Nationals vote. So there is no advantage to national letting a fringe party grow ( as though its plant you water and it will grow).
          A credible party needs credible people and ACT never will attract the best, they are mostly swivel eyed loons anyway, prone to the most viscous infighting, supposedly about policy purity but really because they are dickheads. Don Brash being an obvious example.

          Labour understood this about the maori party, why let them flourish, ignore them so they walk into the arms of national, then their supporters abandon them for Labour again. Game. Set. Match.

        • Thinker

          Labour and the Greens will potentially hold a majority in parliament, eventually, but I don’t see Key making room for them right now.

          You can’t have a democratic election, where 0.7% vote for a party, and then the incoming government decides it should have been more like 5-10%, so treats them on that basis. (Actually, it seems you can, but you know what I’m trying to say).

          Voters rated them 0.7%, they got 0.7% and that’s where they ought to sit until/unless things change in 2017.

    • Lanthanide 1.3

      No, Key wants all of the votes for himself. That’s why they didn’t give Conservatives a seat, and he came up with the weird “if you want a steak you buy a steak, not lamb” in the final leaders debate – he was talking about the Conservatives.

      Edit: Just realised I said, without thinking, “they didn’t give Conservatives a seat”, as if National are in a position to give seats to whomever they want. And yet that actually is the reality.

      • ma rohemo 1.3.1

        What sort of security is involved in the electoral counting system? Do they cross check the votes in a thorough way? Audit standard type of checks to make sure that simple things such as the lines ruled on the list across voters names is the same tally as the number of votes counted?

        I would like to think so, but I somehow doubt it is totally foolproof.

        The seat allocations were uncanny. One seat only for each of their allies, total elimination for their most feared opposition, and underwhelming power by having an even split in the two middle ground parties.

        The results looked a bit strange as GP sat at exactly 10.00% for quite some time. It was as though someone directing then decided that it didn’t look real so they tacked a few points on.

        The enormous surge in Labour – electorate/ National – party combination votes, regardless of all the public expression of displeasure towards JK, was the final touch in giving National the perfect win.

        It was one of the most surreal nights of my life. I still find it hard to believe.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          TV was using info from electoral commission but wasnt live feed. Manual updates.

          The real data from EC website was more useful and updated consistently, as well the data.herald.co.nz website was automated data in a graphical format so you could see actual polling booth data on a map.

          As well most larger partys have representatives at polling booths watching vote counting and seeing it all tallies up.

      • Tom Jackson 1.3.2

        He wouldn’t because it would lose National Voters to Labour. People in NZ can stomach economically far right parties being in parliament, but they won’t stand for far right religious kook parties.

        This is a secular country. Religious parties are a turn off to the vast majority of voters (including the vast majority of religious voters).

    • He’s deluded if he believes that. The number of potential voters who will vote either National or Act (or switch between the two) is essentially fixed.

      Over the last three elections it has been consistent with voters switching from National to ACT and not doing anything to increase the total National/ACT vote.

  2. red blooded 2

    “Just like the other side with it’s hard left block of the greens and mana, key thinks there’s a potential 5-10% of the electorate that could fit into that block, that’s why he keeps act alive…”

    A few responses:
    1) Let that (supposed) block organise themselves, either within his own right wing National Party or with their own resources, like other parties have to.
    2) Stop pretending ACT are anything more than a label and convenient excuse for extremist policies.
    3) I don’t see how this addresses the main point of the post, which was about hypocrisy, or the secondary point, which was about a scarily inexperienced MP being given ridiculous status and potential power in this parliament.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      3) I don’t see how this addresses the main point of the post, which was about hypocrisy, or the secondary point, which was about a scarily inexperienced MP being given ridiculous status and potential power in this parliament.

      As far as I’m concerned, that’s the best point about all this. An inexperienced MP could break the mold and make things better but in this case I suspect that Seymour will be ridden hard by National and just do what he’s told.

  3. Mooloo magic 3

    The Right are only against Social welfare they are big believers of Corporate welfare. Irony and hypocrisy has always escaped the intellect of the main stream media who continue to ignore and fail to hold the government to account.
    Post-election the media has been on feeding frenzy as the Labour caucus implodes whilst ignoring the bizarre and cynical decision to appoint Seymour as an undersecretary for Education who has no background or experience in Education.
    The Key government due to a compliant and lazy if not inept media continues to escape scrutiny.
    Bizarrely the media ( and Gareth Morgan) seem hell bent in trying to convince the Greens to become Blue/Green which again demonstrates that these so called journalist are indeed extremely ignorant and do not understand that National’s environmental policies and lack of Social justice are totally alien to the Greens values.
    The media are doing the Right’s work in trying the weaken Left wing parties and if we are not careful we are going to be turned into a plutocracy.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      The Key government due to a compliant and lazy if not inept media continues to escape scrutiny.

      The MSM isn’t lazy or inept – they’re doing their job wonderfully it’s just that that job is supporting a National government and not holding them to account as everyone thinks it is.

  4. coaster 4

    Although I dislike act policys and ideals they are important in the big picture, as are the far left. The problem we have at the moment is a big party that is trying to be a little bit left (national have kept alot of labours popular left policys), a little bit centre by having so policy that appeal to swing voters , and then taking up a huge chunk of the right. This has sqeezed labour thus increasing green and nzf as average jos dont know where labour fits anymore. Act and greens should sit between 5 to 7% each, national and labour between 75-80% between them and the balance amongst other centre /special interest groups.
    Normal voters are confused which has allowed 6 years of an incremental movement of the centre to the left without the public realizing.

    although I hate to say it, I think it would be better for labour if act took back there part of national.

    my opinion only

    • Hanswurst 4.1

      Act and greens should sit between 5 to 7% each, national and labour between 75-80% between them and the balance amongst other centre /special interest groups.

      Why? Parties are there to propagate ideas, not simply to make up some ideal numbers.

  5. Jrobin 5

    Seymour could turn out to be a useful Achilles heel. He has already contradicted John Key and his mantra of Textor speak” on message, collegial, disciplined ” has all the originality and charm of a really poorly written script. He also gets angry quite quickly when needled by Winston. Jane Clifton is predicting key will have difficulty keeping his larger group of Mps disciplined , are they larger now? This could be a year of disunity for the right, as the dairy collapse bites and the economy contracts things will get tetchy. Mr Seymour will be one to watch his inexperience is embarrassing and he has a handy streak of arrogance. Aaron Gilmore mark II. I’m looking forward to his first real interview once policy starts to be enacted. With Espiner if possible.

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