Friday, March 18, 2005


Publicanism is New Zealand's newest political movement. WIN is a political party formed by publicans John van Buren and Geoff Mulvihill, who are angered by the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act 2003. This despotic piece of legislation came into force on 10 December last year, and made it illegal for publicans to allow patrons to smoke inside their establishments. WIN say they stand for freedom of choice - freedom for publicans to allow guests to engage in a particular activity of which they approve, viz. tobacco smoking, while on their private property. It's not a big ask, and I wish them well in their quest to overturn this recent example of health-Nazi busybodying.

But do WIN stand for real freedom of choice? Or just freedom of choice for smokers and publicans? Freedom of choice must be freedom of choice for everyone - regardless of their choices - unless those choices infringe on others' equal freedoms. Freedom of choice just for you and your mates isn't true freedom of choice - it's special privilege. Time will tell whether WIN stand for true freedom of choice. But a look at other New Zealand political parties claiming to promote freedom is generally not reassuring.

ACT protests much that they stand for "individual freedom and choice" and "personal responsibility" (which is the flipside of the coin - free individuals must take responsibity for the consequences of their actions). But a look at their voting track record says otherwise. ACT is right-wing - they promote economic freedoms, but when it comes to personal freedoms their moral conservatism is to the fore. Barely half of their MPs voted in favour of decriminalising prostitution, for example. To their credit, however, ACT MPs were unanimous in their opposition to the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act. And, yesterday, Muriel Newman had her Smokefree Environments (Exemptions) Bill drawn from the Parliamentary ballot box. Congratulations.

It's not yet known whether the recently announced Freedom Party stands for freedom of choice. Even with a name like that, I mean... Jim Anderton's party is hardly progressive, is it? They've registered the domain name ( is registered to the Church of Scientology International.)

The centre-left New Zealand National Party claims "individual freedom and choice", "personal responsibility" and even "limited government" to be among its core values. Yet, despite having a leader with liberal views on both economic and personal issues, National's moral conservatism is more extreme than ACT's, and they are socialist to boot.

That's it for the parties who claim to stand for freedom of choice, except, of course, for the one party that really does - Libertarianz. Other parties will legalise smoking in bars, but only Libertarianz will legalise cannabis cafes, opium dens, crack houses and shooting galleries. After all, "if the publican doesn’t object, employees don’t object and the patrons want it, then where is the crime?"


At 2:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Richard

Nice to see another link to the Freedom Party. Keep up the good work.

At 1:27 pm, Blogger Terry Finley said...

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Terry Finley


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