Compulsory “volunteer” work

Gordon Brown has decided he wants to make volunteer work compulsory:

Gordon Brown has announced plans that could see every teenager in the country complete up to 50 hours of volunteer work by the age of 19.

The automatic reaction to something being compulsory is to resent it. No-one likes being told what to do. This is one reason why schoolkids here will play up in class and bunk – school is compulsory. In Africa by comparison, kids will walk for miles in bare feet to attend school, just like people in the West did in former generations – because school is a privilege that they value.

If Gordon Brown wants to ensure kids hate “volunteer” work and don’t choose to do any more than the bare minimum 50 hours, this is the way to go about it.

It can never be compulsory to volunteer. Check a dictionary.

Hat tip: Fairfacts Media

Let’s make New Zealand a tax haven

There’s a lot of talk about “cracking down on tax havens” at the moment, as high-tax Western countries want to crank up taxes to spend their way out of the recession, and want to stop people who disagree with their policies from moving their money somewhere else.

But what is a tax haven? Not a dodgy regime of crooks as some might imply – no-one would invest their money there as it wouldn’t be safe. A tax haven is essentially a stable country with low taxes. According to the OECD, the UK, the USA, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria are all tax havens, as they offer low tax rates to foreign investors to encourage people to invest in the country. Sounds a sensible idea to me.

A government is basically a service provider. One government offers to provide state services (such as law enforcement) for a certain price. Another may offer the same services for less. This results in competition, driving down overall tax rates, just as competition between supermarkets drives down the cost of food.

But certain high-tax nations now want to gang up on a few low-tax countries to force them to give up the personal details of people investing money in them. Rather than making themselves more competitive so people choose to keep their money there, they want to steal business back from other countries that are offering a better deal.

Let’s illustrate this with supermarkets. Fruit and vegetables are generally cheaper from specialist growers markets than from the supermarkets. But what if Foodstuffs and Progressive (the owners of virtually all NZ supermarkets) banded together and told your local greengrocer that they had to give them the personal details of all their customers or they would undertake “protectionist policies” to drive the greengrocer out of business?

Such behaviour would be immediately stamped on as “anti-competitive”, and a breach of privacy. But when governments do the same thing, are we supposed to think it is ok? That’s a big double standard.

What right does any government have to pressure another into changing their tax laws, or giving up the personal details of individuals?

Furthermore, not all foreign investors do so to avoid taxes. It can be very important for investors to have their personal information protected. Jews invested large quantities of money in Switzerland during the 1930′s to protect it from the Nazis – what if their personal details had been given up? There are plenty of oppressive regimes at the moment that you wouldn’t want to keep any money in – Zimbabwe for example. But you certainly wouldn’t want Mugabe knowing you had money stashed away in Liechtenstein…

We must not destroy vital personal privacy laws just to satisfy a short-term greed for tax revenue.

No, if we want to ride out this recession, we need more people investing money in New Zealand. And if there is a crack-down on other tax havens, there will be wealthy people looking for somewhere else to invest. Why don’t we draw that money here?

So lets slash taxes, guarantee personal privacy, and make New Zealand a tax haven.

To have your preconceptions about tax havens blown away, I’d recommend this excellent short video series by the Centre for Freedom and Prosperity:
The Economic Case for Tax Havens
The Moral Case for Tax Havens
Tax Havens: Myths vs Facts

Anti-Christian discrimination in Britain

“Foster mother struck off for letting Muslim girl convert to Christianity”

If you thought religious discrimination was getting bad in Britain, it’s just got a whole lot worse:

A foster mother has been struck off the register for allowing a Muslim girl in her care to convert to Christianity…. Although she is a practising Anglican, she said she had put no pressure on the girl who was baptised last year at the age of 16. She said social workers had also raised no objections to her own attendance at church.

But officials insist she failed in her duty to preserve the girl’s religion and should have tried to stop the baptism.

Last April, they ruled that the girl, now 17, should stay away from church for six months. …

Mike Judge, a spokesman for [the Christian Institute], said: ‘All people should be free to change or modify their religious beliefs. ‘That surely must be a core human right in any free society.

‘I cannot imagine that an atheist foster carer would be struck off if a Christian child in her care stopped believing in God. This is the sort of double standard which Christians are facing in modern Britain.

So the local government officials have:
- Forbidden a Christian from attending church.
- Punished a woman for allowing someone to change their religion (how on earth do you stop a 16 year old from changing their religion anyway?).

That is government suppression of freedom of religion, as practiced under communism and Islamic law. It has no place in either a Christian or a secular country.

Prepare for an influx of (still more) British migrants, fleeing Islam. Hopefully we can resist the same sick policies here.

One law for all day

Rather than doing my own detailed Waitangi Day post, I’ll recommend Peter Cresswell’s post, as he has written it far better than I could (bar his proposal of a new constitution, which I believe is unnecessary).

If you really want to know what Waitangi Day is about, read the treaty. Too many people go on about racist concepts they have invented, ignoring that the Treaty actually says:

In return for the cession of the Sovreignty to the Queen, the people of New Zealand shall be protected by the Queen of England and the rights and privileges of British subjects will be granted to them.

The Maori version is even more explicit

Hei wakaritenga mai hoki tenei mo te wakaaetanga ki te Kawanatanga o te Kuini-Ka tiakina e te Kuini o Ingarani nga tangata Maori; katoa o Nu Tirani ka tukua ki a ratou nga tikanga katoa rite tahi ki ana mea ki nga tangata o Ingarani.

Literally: This is an arrangement for the consent to the Government of the Queen. The Queen of England will protect all the Maoris of New Zealand. All the rights will be given to them the same as her doings to the people of England.

The treaty established one law for all. That is what we should be remembering and celebrating today, the end of tribal warfare and slavery, and the institution of equal rights for all – the legal framework that has given us the country we enjoy today.

EDIT: See also my post on flying a Maori flag on Waitangi day

A new ‘lost generation’?

The recent case of children being adopted by a gay couple against the wishes of their family in Scotland is shocking, and makes you wonder how this thing can happen in the West. But social engineering like this has a long history.

For over a century it was the policy of the Australian government to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from their families to be raised by white families. They believed if the children were removed from the “corrupting influence” of their parents they would grow into “good” members of society. This was a disgusting, racist practice that resulted in a “lost generation” of Aborigines that do not know their ancestry, and was finally halted in the 1970s. But it was just social engineering by people who genuinely believed they were doing the right thing for the children.

Today we have some people who believe they know what is best for children (being raised by gay parents for example), and believe it is in the child’s best interest to be taken from their families to allow this.

How is this different?

Also, if a child is taken from their family because a parent smacks them, because the current crop of bureaucrats believe smacking is “wrong”, how is this different?

The State has no right to kidnap children from a loving family. Certainly, as Sb has pointed out, if the parents are actually abusing their children this must be dealt with through the criminal justice system, but that is relatively rare.

We MUST NOT allow this destructive social engineering to take hold in New Zealand.

Former BBC director general admits bias

The BBC has decided not to air an appeal for aid for Gaza, to ensure it doesn’t look biased over the Gaza conflict. I think this is a good decision, but it would have little relevance to NZ were it not for this quote:

Greg Dyke, Mr Thompson’s predecessor as BBC director general, said the issue had put the BBC in a “no-win situation”.

“I can understand why the BBC has taken this decision, because on a subject as sensitive as the Middle East it is absolutely essential that the audience cannot see any evidence at all of bias,” he told the Observer.[emphasis added]

Very interestng choice of words that! He could have said “it is absolutely essential that the BBC remains clearly unbiased” or something like that, but he didn’t. It certainly sounds like he has accepted the BBC is biased, they just don’t want anyone to know! Is this a rare glimpse into the true mindset of the BBC, or just a random slip of the tongue?

Irish farmers want more subsidies

I am disappointed to hear that the Irish Farmers Association is calling for more subsidies – and ridiculous ones at that. The value of the pound has dropped, so as Irish farmers export a large amount of their produce to the UK, the price Irish farmers receive has dropped as well. Now the IFA is calling for Irish taxpayers to make up the difference.

So Irish farmers, who already survive on subsidies (an Irish sheep or beef farmer receives around 50% of their income from subsidies) want yet more money from the government. Money that is taken from other productive sectors of the economy.

However the rest of the economy is suffering at the moment too. No-one else can afford to pay more tax to prop up farmers. Subsidies need to reduce in these hard times, not increase.

New Zealand farmers suffer too with changing exchange rates. They tighten their belts and weather the hard times. That is the nature of any export industry. You can’t expect the government to pick up the tab whenever the market shifts.

In my dealings with the IFA I have found them to be sensible people who want the best for Irish farmers. However they appear to be so used to subsidies now that their automatic response to hardship is to get the government to fix it.

Much as I support Irish farmers, I do hope the Irish government declines this short-sighted request. The EU is already reintroducing export subsidies, which will benefit Irish farmers while damaging agriculture in the rest of the world and draining money from other sectors of the European economy. There is no need for more of this foolishness.

Hat tip: Homepaddock

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