Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

On the Act Party’s latest policy contortions

September 26th, 2011

Don Brash, Bab Marley, Marijuana
Click for big version.

By bringing together every dope smoking university student who owns a copy of Bob Marley’s Legend with every rural Rasta, the Act Party has triangulated a whole new vector of voter support with its cannabis decriminalisation policy, providing that anyone can remember …uh… what day is the election again? November 26, right, right. And what’s going to happen then? The election. RIGHT, gotcha. Mind you, the way that Act has treated Heather Roy and Hilary Calvert, its pretty clear that “No Woman, No Cry” has been the party’s unofficial anthem for quite some time.

One can have sympathy for John Boscawen. Even waiting until December to escape from his current duties as the party’s Parliamentary leader must seem like a very long time. Act, like the Greens, is supposed to be a party of principle. That’s meant to be the fount of its electoral appeal, and libertarian principle is certainly the basis of its new stance on cannabis use, which it defines as a “no victim” situation where the use of punitive state power for cannabis law enforcement is (presumably) just as wrong in principle as when the state uses its coercive power to collect taxes.

Unfortunately though, you would need to be stoned to see any principled continuity between the party’s support last week for the government’s rushed policy on Police covert surveillance on private property, and the sanctity of private property that Act then sought to enshrine in the right-to-self-defence measures that it unveiled on the weekend. Running the video surveillance legislation through a quick 36 hour dry-cleaning job before a select committee – which was the feeble condition that Act attached to its support for the government’s interim legislation – just didn’t cut it.

Last week, Act seemed quite willing to flag its principles when it came to endorsing police coercive powers to carry out covert surveillance of the public in their own homes, and then – only 48 hours later – it chose to adopt a policy stance on principle against any intruder violation of private property rights, and against Police coercive power when it comes to cannabis law enforcement. A stoned “Huh?” is the only proper response to this kind of flip flopping.

One can only wonder what contortions the Act Party would have to go through if the Police secret surveillance cameras were being installed to turn up evidence of cannabis use and supply. Oh right. Act would presumably draw a line between private use and trafficking. So the party of economic freedom would want to forbid anyone making money out of an activity that, in its view, is quite legitimate? Being Act, wouldn’t it have to condone cannabis trafficking and oppose any attempt by the Police to inhibit that particular form of free trade? One can only look forward to Don “Dread At the Controls” Brash trying to defend this position on the campaign trail.


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    1. 19 Responses to “On the Act Party’s latest policy contortions”

    2. By Meros on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

      I always saw Don as more of the Max Romeo, than Bob. “Chase the Devil” has kind of a libertarian anti-big guv’ment ring to it. Perhaps we could compromise: Lee Scratch Perry?

    3. By ClaireB on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

      This is all populist rant taking peoples minds of the failed policies of ACT – Rogernomics – which Brash is committed to. Privatisation of everything owned by the Crown on behalf of the citizens, Deregulation which has just brought the globalised financial rort to its knees, low taxes for the wealthy already achieved by Key, and less government spending on essential services and infrastructure. Don’t be fooled NZ. They are carpetbaggers in ACT.

    4. By Jacquelyne Taylor on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

      Don has *blown it* big time..Thankyou Gordon you just made my Monday.Best Political toke(sic) of September & second time I have almost inhaled a bit of my pitta bread this month laughing and trying to eat lunch!

    5. By Anorak on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

      Actually I always saw Dr. Brash as more mastodon than rastadon.

    6. By Joe Blow on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

      Actually Gordon when I heard Brash talking I felt kind of happy to finally hear some sanctity of non-hypocritical libertarianism finally coming out of the ACT Party. I think that Brash should at least be congratulated for being a real libertarian. I don’t think he’s thought this out at all as it isn’t ACT party policy and John Banks has made it very clear that he’s not supportive at all.

      If anything it’s Brash thinking about how to grow the party vote without thinking about the implications for the more niche Epsom vote. I imagine that Brash would like to make the 5% threshold and be the biggest man in the room…

      It will be interesting to see who backs down. It’s time for a Brash vs Banks show down only a few months before an election. It can only spell gloom and doom for the ACT party, which is good news really.

      I say burn baby burn!

    7. By tommygun on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

      Mmm, but actually maybe he is right as well. It’s a bit disappointing that you have trotted out all the usual tired cliches about people who use cannabis, Gordon.

      Don Brash is a creep, but I am not sure that it matters much if it does anything bring the boring suit-wearing faction into a reasoned debate about the wasted policing, justice and human resources, forgone GDP, social costs imposed, social benefits and economic opportunities lost due to the current regime.

      The message is what is important, I don’t really care who the messenger. All the better that it is a former Reserve Bank governor because perhaps some of the hardline knee-jerkers will take more notice than if the Greens promoted the debate.

      The current regime is unfair and illogical. It needs to change. Good luck to him I say.

    8. By Kate K on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

      You might be interested to read my new book “Matters To A Head: Cannabis, mental illness & recovery”. You can check it out through my website The book discusses extensively the relationship between cannabis and mental illness, and why the decriminalisation argument is far less important to NZ than the real issue of providing and resourcing appropriate treatment and services to those who become unstuck by the drug. Of which our mental health services and prisons have many such sufferers. As a Registered Nurse and prison volunteer I can assure you that NZ already cannot cope with the harm caused to individuals and families through cannabis addiction. Why open the floodgates?

    9. By Cam on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

      Why does everyone on here have to be so bias?

    10. By Joe Blow on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

      @ Cam

      Oh we know we’re bias. The point is that you think you aren’t bias when you very much ARE…

    11. By John Yarker on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

      While there is a fair argument to decriminalise cannabis, it’s political suicide for a politician to suggest decriminalisation is a viable option, because regardless of any rational argument, the majority of New Zealanders do not want cannabis decriminalized.

      To have Don come out speaking in favour of decriminalisation is as comical as anything Monty Python ever did.

      I thought we had seen the last of him after Nicky Hagar’s book “The Hollow Men” was published, but he arose like a hybrid of Uncle Scrooge and Dracula for another bash at politics.

      The Act party and their supporters must be cringing right now.

    12. By Leon Henderson on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply


    13. By Leon Henderson on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

      Joe Blow, about your observation viz Brash and Banks, – you are right, it is shaping up for a Maul-Fest Bloodbath of Brash Versus Banks as a brutal gang such as the ACT Party, made up, like the National Party (and nearly all of the so-called “Labour” Party) of savagely greedy and utterly immoral capitalists, can not bear to have two “Top-Dog” capitalist pedants like Brash and Banks up at the top.

      One of those vicious capitalist thugs is going to hit the deck with a back full of knives!!!

    14. By John Doe on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

      “Why open the floodgates?”

      You mean the stable door surely? You make a valid point and then follow it with the usual hollow rhetoric. The idea that decriminalisation will dramatically increase the use of cannabis suggests you’ve little grasp of the facts surrounding this aspect of the issue. It is important to understand also the subtle difference between decriminalisation – which preserves the rights of the end user- and legalisation – with it’s inevitable marketing and profiteering.

      Statistics suggests that use of cannabis in Holland where the drug is decriminalised (but not legalised) is comparable to or lower than other wealthy democracies where use is criminalised.

      The floodgates argument is as old and tired as the ‘war on drugs’.

      Brash is seldom right about anything- but here the facts speak for themselves to anyone willing to face them.

    15. By s burgess on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

      i cant wait for the banks and brash show down.libertarians verses neocons.theres is some great principled people in act but non are neocons i’m voting for brash i never saw that coming.

    16. By Leon Henderson on Sep 29, 2011 | Reply

      Gordon, it shows how low this Thug will go: throughout the 1990’s Donald Brash (who was the Governor of the New Zealand Reserve Bank) was going to National Party and ACT Party conferences to read out the ACT Party Manifesto to the suit-and-tie wearing capitalist landlord/moneylender/businessman congregation.

      Under New Zealand Statutary Law this was illegal, and Brash should have been repeatedly arrested, thrown into a jail-cell and then prosecuted by the police … but Brash never was arrested and prosecuted.

      Brash is like Millie Holmes: utterly impervious to any law – exactly like the Jew-owned so-called “Ruling Class” of the USA Joe Blow.

    17. By Leon Henderson on Oct 3, 2011 | Reply

      Gordon Campbell: another superb Article, but in it you say: “Last week, Act seemed quite willing to flag its principles”.

      Gordon, since when has the ACT Party ever had any principles? They are, and always have been nothing other than another “Face” of the National Party: Brash is literally John Key, and precisely as Rotten a Traitor to New Zealand/Aoteroa. The people of this country have got to Wake-Up and FAST!!!

      Hey New Zealand: if you vote wrongly in November, John Key is going to abolish Pharmac. I repeat: the vicious creep, the vicious Traitor, is going to abolish Pharmac.

      And this is only one of the first Traitorous acts that this rotten creep intends to do to this Nation.

      Key intends to privatise the water supplies of New Zealand and has already made it legal under the Local Government Act for New Zealand Municipal Authorities to SELL their water reticulation systems to capitalists without having to inform their ratepayers!

      The Mighty, Mighty, New Zealand/Aoteroa Green Party were going absolutely berserk in outrage: they furiously fought the legislation all the way to the end, but unfortunately for the Working-Class people of New Zealand, at the moment, the New Zealand Green Party has not yet got enough Members in Parliament to generate big traction.

      But it is shaping up to be looking very good for them in November: the New Zealand public are starting to get sick and tired of Jewish-American capitalism.


    18. By Des on Oct 8, 2011 | Reply

      So ACT stands for Affluent Cannabis Tokers.

    19. By Leon Henderson on Oct 12, 2011 | Reply

      Brash toppled Rodney Hyde in a viciously savage Coup to grab the leadership of the Nasty and Horrible ACT Party recently.

      When Brash was actually not a card-holding member of the ACT Party, but was still a member of the equally rotten John Key/Stephen Joyce/William English National Party!!!

      Incidentally, every National Party leader since the pompous Holyoake (who Michael Bassett – the so-called “historian” – claims in his fascistic “biography” of Holyoake, that Holyoake was not pompous but was instead “shy”!!! According to Bassett, Holyoake was a “Socialist” and “Anti-Vietnam War” as well!!! What the hell planet do Fascists like Bassett actually exist on???) has gone down with a backfull of Political-Death-Knives:

      It was the “Ides Of March” for the successor to Holyoake as per John (called “Jack” by the grovelling corporate media) Marshall, who seemed on the surface to be a “kindly”, doddering old “Grand-dad” type of creature.

      Like hell the old bastard was!!! “Jack” in his younger days of maniacal capitalist self-aggrandisement was an Arch-Enemy of all Kiwi workers, and like all capitalists mercillously exploited them just like farm animals.

      The antiquated, doddering “Jack” went down with a metaphorical “Back-Full-Of-Knives” with Muldoon’s one being quite prominent!

      Then in 1984 down went the hitherto seemingly invulnerable Muldoon (apparantly “Impenetrable” because his venal capitalist “associates” were Shit-Scared of him. Why? Because he had made himself the Boss of the New Zealand Secret Intelligence Service, the SIS, and he fooled and terrorised them into thinking that he knew about all of their crooked business deals!!!).

    20. By Leon Henderson on Oct 12, 2011 | Reply

      (Ctnd) What did Muldoon do wrong as per his greedy chums? Well, in 1984 he called the Business Roundtable a mob of Traitors. This saw the corporate mass-media (which up until then had been fawning lackey’s of his)turn suddenly against him, and the Business Roundtable’s Robert Jones (a real-estate speculator) with the mass-media’s fanatical assistance created an Anti-Muldoon political party called “The New Zealand Party”.

      The front pages of the “news”papers had gigantic photographs of Robert Jones plastered all over them while the “editorials” venomously railed against Muldoon and proclaimed Jones as being some kind of so-called “Saviour”.

      The result of this was Muldoon losing the 1984 General Election and the horrendous Roger Douglas Labour Party getting into power (to this very day, the capitalist nightmare that Douglas unleashed upon this country rampages onwards undiminished).

      Muldoon went down with a back full of knives from his gutless, venal, “mates” (none of who he trusted at all, and with excellent reason!) and was replaced with James McLay who not much later got cut down by Bolger/Richardson.

      These thugs got a taste of their own medicine in the mid 1990’s when their vicious, evil “Pet”, Jennifer Shipley went for their throats and toppled them. Shipley made William English it’s Finance Minister. That ratbag is the Finance Minister NOW also.

      Shipley got toppled by English! English got toppled by Brash! Brash got toppled by Key! (who then hastily “rehabilitated” English, or, in other words, dragged English off the Political Morgue Slab and made English the Finance Minister! It’s all about the Numbers!!!

      Are we beginning to see a forty-continuous-years-long pattern here?

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