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I had repeatedly, but very respectfully, rung and asked to speak, but was turned down firmly every time.
When we arrived at Kerikeri club, the chairman, Garth, asked me whether I would like to join the other speakers. :) Persistence really pays off! Then again, it probably helped that Sue Bradford was late, and Shane Jones, with no warning, had decided not to attend after all. :)
We handed out flyers to the crowd, which was quite big: 50-60. The people really warmed to Jasmine. She's my secret weapon! :)
The usual suspects were there: Jim Peters (NZ First), John Carter (National), Vivienne Shepherd (Progressives), Muriel Newman (ACT), John Rawson (?) (Democrats for Social Credit), Murray Smith (United Future) and Sue Bradford (Greens), who arrived late.
Main issues for Grey Power are:
1. Removal of GST from local body rates
2. Age-based driving tests
3. Rates rebates scheme
4. Escalating cost of electricity
They wanted to know what the parties were going to do for elderly people.
We drew lots, and I was second to speak, after the Social Credit guy's rambling about monetary systems.
I spoke off the cuff, and talked a bit about my background, about how our freedoms have been eroded by creeping Nanny-Statism, and elaborated on the principles of Libertarianz: Freedom, Responsibility, Tolerance, Rule of Law and Honesty. I ended by saying that Libertarianz would do nothing for them. When they recovered, I said that the more a government does, the more it makes a mess of things, and we would get the government out of areas that people can arrange for themselves. We would scrap all the unnecessary bureaucracy, GST and other taxes. I think I caught many people off-guard, yet still received a hearty applause.
I can't remember much of the other people's forgettable speeches, except for a bit by John Carter, where he hammered on about Nanny State and how people don't need bureaucrats to look after them.
We took a break for refreshments.
During question time, I upset quite a few busybodies and environmentalists by saying that an individual's property rights should be inviolable by the majority or by government. I used an example of the planned 7-storey building in the middle of Kerikeri, opposed by many in the area. I asked them whether, if they really objected so much to it, why don't they club together and buy the land? They could then put an easement on it and re-sell it. Why do they feel the need to use the government as a gun to tell other people what they can do with their property? Didn't they realise that this makes it possible for the government to tell them what they can and can't do with their own property as well? At this stage I could see the eyes of a few farmers in the audience light up. The busybodies started heckling me about people who would just chop all the trees down on their property if they were able to do with their property what they wished. I said yes, they can. It's their property. If you value your neighbour's trees so much, buy them. This back and forth went on for a while and besides making people stop and think a bit, it was very entertaining for the onlookers! Not too surprisingly, I didn't get very much applause after that session. :)
After the meeting, I was congratulated by quite a few people, some who really appreciated my defence of property rights, and some who didn't agree with me on all the issues, but still enjoyed my speaking. I handed out Peter Cresswell's article on putting a stake through the RMA:
All in all, it was another great meeting. :)