1. This submission consists of three major sections:
- PART ONE: A first step towards empowering citizens and communities – Libertarianz policy on local government (paragraphs 5 to 8 inclusive);
- PART TWO: Libertarianz policy position on local government - principles and objectives (paragraphs 9 to 29 inclusive);
- PART THREE: Libertarianz Response to individual questions in the “Consultation Document” (paragraphs 30 to 90 inclusive).
A background on the Libertarianz
is annexed (paragraphs 91 to 95 inclusive)
Short Summary of this Submission
John Locke is the chief
architect of our Westminster system of government. Libertarianz agrees
wholeheartedly with Locke on the subject of government, and believes in summary
that the granting of a "power of general competence" is precisely the
tyranny that Locke warns about in the following passage: "As usurpation
is the exercise of power, which anybody can have a right to; so tyranny is the
exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to."
Locke recognised that
executive power should be subject to legal control. The existing Local
Government Act for all its many flaws still follows this ultra vires
doctrine by recognising and delineating what power local government has a
statutory right to, and prohibiting other actions for which it has no power.
5. This Bill however seeks to overturn this long-established constitutional safeguard. By seeking to grant local government a "power of general competence," this Bill overturns one of the important constitutional safeguards imposed by Locke. It should not be overturned lightly. In the submission of the Libertarianz, it should not be overturned at all.
We submit that:
- There should be no “power of general competence” given to councils. The concept is an oxymoron given the complete and demonstrated incompetence of local government, and its imposition ultimately violates the constitutional principles of Westminster government;
- Local government can ultimately be abolished, and all of the activities it currently carries out that citizens want can be carried out voluntarily;
- Local government should not be permitted to enter into any further commercial or non-commercial activities, including funding new activities;
- Councils should be prohibited from making bylaws, or acting under any other legislation in a manner inconsistent with private property rights and individual liberties. This will include an amendment requiring Councils to perform any functions under the Resource Management Act in a manner that gives private property rights precedence over any other consideration.
- Prohibition on councils borrowing. Debt repayments will only be able to be made from existing revenue sources, including privatisation;
- Requirement that all trading activities of councils (including roads) be transferred to Local Authority Trading Enterprises and privatised;
- Retain non-resident ratepayer vote and elimination of the ability of non-ratepayers to vote in all local body elections;
- Infrastructure Auckland to be abolished, and its assets distributed to all Auckland ratepayers (roughly $2000 per ratepayer).
6. As mentioned below, the first principle of Libertarianz on local government is that local government should be extricated from interference in people's lives by being abolished.
7. However, Libertarianz recognises the difficulties in outright and immediate abolition, chiefly because the current government sees local government as its “partner in controlling peoples lives.”
8. Abolishing local government may be done in a number of steps, and we offer here the first step in that process. In recognition of the fact that the Local Government Act is not the only piece of legislation granting local government "power beyond right" over people, Libertarianz calls for the following to be implemented in the new Local Government Bill. Please note that these proposals are seen as a FIRST STEP, towards improving the empowerment of communities and rendering local government incapable of doing violence against citizens.
- An immediate and permanent cap on the ratings levels of councils at existing levels. Any increase in property values will not result in an increase in rates paid by any property owner;
- A requirement that all general rates differentials be abolished (e.g. higher rates for commercial properties vs. residential), with the current lowest general rating category applying across the board;
- Elimination of targeted rates in favour of direct user charges;
- Elimination of local authority petrol and diesel tax;
- Immediate prohibition on all councils entering into any new commercial or non-commercial venture of any kind;
- Prohibition on councils borrowing. Debt repayments will only be able to be made from existing revenue sources, including privatisation;
- Requirement that all trading activities of councils (including roads) be transferred to Local Authority Trading Enterprises;
- Elimination of ratepayer funding for any activities of any Local Authority Trading Enterprise, and privatisation of all such entities, with the proceeds of such privatisations being directed first to eliminating debt;
- Prohibition on councils making bylaws that interfere with individual freedoms and private property rights;
- Elimination of the ability of non-ratepayers to vote in all local body elections;
- Requirement that all councils when acting under their statutory obligations under the Resource Management Act, fully respect all private property rights;
- Requirement that the 25% of councils each year that tax ratepayers at the highest level per ratepayer be required to reduce rates to the level of the lowest council in the country, and merge with that council if that council has an adjoining boundary;
- Infrastructure Auckland to be abolished, following the privatisation of its assets and distribution of the proceeds among all ratepayers within the Auckland Region (which would represent over $2000 per household, a true democratisation of community wealth).
- Requirement that within three years, Councils have privatised, transferred or eliminated as many activities as possible. This includes all commercial activities, all activities currently partially or wholly user pays. Activities councils have not privatised or disengaged from must be identified and a preferred option for privatising the ownership, operation and funding of that activity should have been developed.
- Libertarianz recognise that Councils have a range of statutory obligations imposed on them by central government to undertake certain activities (e.g., inspection of food premises, Resource Management Act). Pending the elimination of these restrictions, Libertarianz propose to amend the Local Government Act to minimise the effect of such legislation on individual and property rights by requiring local government to only act in accordance with those principles. This will effectively limit local government’s ability to use such legislative obligations to infringe upon citizens’ rights.
9. There are several philosophical positions that have been taken by those who have governed, through the history of humanity, as to what legitimacy there is for the right to govern people. Many have (and still do) claim a spiritual mandate, from God or some other supernatural figure, effectively claiming a divine right to govern on behalf of the supernatural being. Some have claimed a mandate based on inheritance, that the ruler is the heir of the past ruler, and that the ruler has some sort of “special status” in respect of his subjects.
10. In liberal democracies, the basic notion of government is that it exists for the citizens of the relevant country, and not its representatives. Government is intended to be an instrument of the citizens, not to make them subjects to it.
11. It follows from that position that if government exists to serve the citizens, it gets its legitimacy from the consent of the citizens and all of the powers of government are those that the citizens themselves hold. In other words, government cannot have powers over citizens that the citizens themselves could not have granted to government. Citizens do not have the right to initiate violence upon others, force others to live their lives in a particular way or the right to take property (including money) from each other. Government that represents the citizens and gets its rights and powers from them, cannot then initiate force against them.
12. In short, Government should not have powers over the citizens that the citizens themselves cannot grant.
13. By contrast, it is legitimate for Government to act in accordance with the powers and rights citizens do have. The right to self-defence grants government the right to protect citizens from each other, and to adjudicate in contractual disputes or disputes between property rights.
14. Local government in New Zealand by contrast has become the unchecked leviathan, intruding into how people run their lives, and manage their property - and taxing them for the privilege. Local government has at best thrown their ratepayers' money away to stroke the many egos of the petty fascists that get elected to councils - Auckland's Britomart white elephant is only the latest example - and at worst empowers the thuggery of their employees over their ratepayers - Adrian Chisholm's long-running struggle with the Auckland City Council, or the related Auditor-General's inquiry into the council's behaviour in the Hauraki and Gulf Islands are very good examples of this unchecked thuggery under the current system.
15. Local government steals money from property owners in the form of rates, and wastes it on incompetent investments because councillors and officials who are unable to raise money by voluntary means have the ability to take it by force. Councils regulate people, tell them what they must do with their property and restrict the uses of land to what planners – unwilling to acquire sufficient land by voluntary means themselves– want to do with the land, lives and property of others. They have allowed and encouraged the worst excesses of envy driven planners, who loathe those who produce wealth and aim to shackle the freedoms of property owners, and to nationalise their land. The resistance of farmers and residents to the Hurunui and Far North District plans offer good examples of both the level of feeling over this issue, and the behaviour of council employees - even under the current system.
Libertarianz believe that there is no legitimate long-term role for “local government”, and that central government should move to immediately limit, and progressively curtail the range of activities local government can undertake.
16. The functions and activities of local government can be divided into three categories:
- Trading activities that can be owned and operated by the productive (i.e. private) sector;
- Planning and coercive activities that should be abolished and left to common law;
- Social, community and non-commercial activities that should be privatised and operated by the voluntary sector.
17. The Libertarianz believes that the priority for any review of the Local Government Act should be to stop the unfettered growth of local government and to force it to stop regulating residents’ property and lives, and to get out of their way.
18. Libertarianz would like to emphasise that the chronic lack of interest that the public displays on local government, in elections and consultation procedures reflect the disdain and low regard local government is held in by New Zealanders. While many New Zealanders have significant concerns with how central government operates, most participate in the electoral process and see it as at least performing SOME legitimate roles. By contrast, New Zealanders generally see local government as bumbling, incompetent and significantly more wasteful than central government. Local government disproportionately throws away money on pet projects that most citizens would not voluntarily pay for, and see as patently absurd. The former Palmerston North council buildings, the New Plymouth wind wand, the Christchurch historic tramway, City to Sea bridge in Wellington, Britomart transport edifice in Auckland, Invercargill “international airport” are just some examples of extravagant council waste.
19. The sheer stupidity of grand minded mediocrities who think tourism can be attracted to a provincial town if the council only spends ratepayers’ money on some absurd attraction, or if an airport is built there, makes many councils the laughing stocks of New Zealand, and it would be humorous if it wasn’t funded through the legalised theft of money from landowners.
20. Decisions to waste council money are made by elected councillors, who are BARELY accountable for the charges they impose on ratepayers. At worst they face losing election, when they should be jointly and severally liable for the effective bankruptcy of their councils - both moral and financial.
21. The roles of councils that may be seen as being legitimate include maintenance of public parks, footpaths and local roads. Even if it was accepted that councils have some role in providing those services (which Libertarianz believes can all be divested), councils have significantly overreached themselves into interfering and participating in anything that they wish, with few limitations. This Bill will make that process worse.
22. Councils do NOT represent “the community”- they represent those people who voted for the candidates who won in the election.
23. Councils do not tax “the community” - they tax landowners, who are the only people legally liable for the payment of rates. However, those not legally liable are able to vote for councillors who can dictate what those taxes are spent on. They seek to vote themselves rich.
24. Although both central and local government benefit through their taxation systems from growths in wealth (central government through income growth increasing income tax, local government through property value growth), local government consistently RAISES rating levels on properties, above the rate of inflation year after year in most councils. This usury represents organised extortion, and at the very least its growth should be terminated.
25. To truly empower communities and citizens, government should get local government out of their face and out of their lives. People can co-operate voluntarily when they see their interests met by working in that manner, businesses will invest where the greatest returns will be generated. The spontaneous dynamism of individuals using their minds and applying them to their property and in voluntary interaction with others is both significantly more effective and more moral, than forcing people to pay for the dreams of big minded, small pocketed petty fascists.
26. The principle of subsidiarity, which underpins local devolution, demands that first and foremost: INDIVIDUALS SHOULD HAVE SOVEREIGNTY OVER THEIR LIVES
27. Following on from that, individuals can act collectively, in every conceivable manner to raise money, interact and work together for their benefit voluntarily. The do NOT need to be coerced.
28. Government then exists to protect the rights of individuals over their own lives and their rights to interact voluntarily, by defending their rights to life, liberty, private property and the pursuit of private property and happiness.
29. The concept of local government is contrary to these principles. However, Libertarianz recognises that the size of local government is such that a transition period will be needed to enable local government to first withdraw from all activities that are easily exited, and then work to devolve funding and management of “traditional” local government activities to private provision and voluntary collective arrangements.
30. Libertarianz recognises that it is unlikely that the Labour/Alliance minority coalition government will take steps in local government reform that run contrary to its control freak nature. However, it is important to express principled positions on the questions raised by the Minister of Local Government and Department of Internal Affairs in the Consultation Document. Libertarianz believes that if its answers to the questions below are adopted, it will courageously and noticeably stem the tide of intrusive, unaccountable, local government.
31. No!! Nor does it represent the true coercive nature of local government. The proposed purpose of local government is fascist in its reach. Citizens can decide for themselves how they want to manage their lives and property. At most the purpose of local government should be “To disengage themselves from all investments and trading activities, distribute the proceeds of such disengagement to ratepayers and manage the winding up of all of their activities” Citizens will then be free to undertake their own decision-making about their own well-being unencumbered by the dictates of local politicians who may well disagree with those decisions.
32. Local government should not have a power of general competence in any way whatsoever. Such a power is tantamount to delivering the unfettered powers of a highwayman to local government operatives. As Libertarianz said in our submission to the Select Committee Inquiry into the practices of the IRD, if one empowers thugs then don’t be surprised if you get thuggery. The power of general competence proposed will unleash a local government mafia over the citizens of New Zealand. Any impartial observer who doubts the truth of this claim need only look into the example of Adrian Chisholm's long-running struggle with the Auckland City Council, or the related Auditor-General's inquiry into the council's behaviour in the Hauraki and Gulf Islands to judge for themselves. Government itself is a coercive instrument; by its very nature it cannot 'give' empowerment except by intervening when people act in a coercive manner. In order to give empowerment to communities government should further disempower the councils that prey upon them; they should allow individuals to work together voluntarily, to produce and get on with their lives themselves, and the Government should impose the following minimum restrictions on councils:
- A prohibition on all local authorities entering into new activities;
- A permanent ceiling on rates for all councils set at existing levels, and set to shrink by at least five percent per year thereafter;
- Elimination of differential general rates, reverting general rates to the lowest differential currently charged;
- Elimination of all mandatory functions of councils, include the express ability to opt out of the Resource Management Act provisions in favour of common law property rights being applied as the de facto “planning” law for a city, district or region;
- Councils required to prepare “Activity Divestment Strategies” within one year, which outline how they will disengage from all compulsorily funded activities, including the commercialisation, privatisation and devolution of activities to the private and voluntary sector.
Should local government be bound by international legal agreements entered into by the New Zealand Government that are not enacted as domestic New Zealand law by Parliament? Why? Why not?
33. Local government should only be bound by international legal agreements on free trade, i.e., when such agreements extract obligations to not have any barriers to commercial activities. This could be facilitated by an express provision in the Local Government Act prohibiting any measures being promulgated that restrict commerce, trade or the undertaking of business on private property of any kind.
P 21 Would the principles outlined in this chapter provide a sound basis for local government management? What changes would you suggest to these principles?
34. The Libertarianz opposes the first principle outlined under General Principles and would replace it with the following:
- That local authorities carry out their responsibilities, and functions according to the non-initiation of force principle.
- Local government should at all times fully respect the private property rights of all citizens, and strive to undertake all of its activities in full respect of those rights and the individual rights of citizens, ratepayers and any other individuals who at any time enter the boundaries of the respective city, district or region.
- Local government should not use any of its powers to compete with the rights of any of its citizens, and should only undertake activities that are consistent with those principles heretofore stated.
35. The Libertarianz regards Principle 1.1 as meaningless, and likely to result in councils playing favourites between groups that it likes, while ignoring the rights of individuals.
36. Libertarianz agrees with Principles 2-5 as they stand, but only insofar as they operate within the context of the suggested new principles listed above.
Financial Management Principles
37. The Libertarianz oppose these principles as they justify the continued confiscation and theft of property through council rates and levies. Libertarianz would replace them with the following principles:
- Expenses incurred to deliver policies and services should be consistent with the ability of those choosing to finance them, using user pays, donations, sponsorship and other non-violent, non-coercive mechanisms available to the community.
- The residual raising of rates as a coercive means of funding shall only be carried out in a manner that is non-discriminatory, and in the context of a medium term plan to replace general rates entirely within three years.
- Targeted rates shall be phased out within three years, with such rates replaced by user pays in a manner that enables payers to choose not to consume the relevant good or service.
- Council debt shall be eliminated over three years by the sale of shareholdings and assets.
P 21 Should regional councils and territorial authorities have the same powers of general competence? Why? Why not? Should there be any limitations on a regional council undertaking activities that are already being undertaken by a territorial authority and if so, what should the limitations be?
38. Libertarianz believe fundamentally that neither regional nor territorial authorities should have any powers of general competence. The concept of any of these entity having any great competence, compared to the vast majority of productive individuals that they live off in a leech like manner, is both laughable and ludicrous.
39. Regional councils were created to undertake a series of specific functions at the regional level, and should not be permitted to increase the size of their fiefdoms. Councils should not be competing with each other to see how much they can grow and control people’s lives. Regional Councils should at the maximum have no greater powers than they currently do.
40. Regional Councils should be prohibited absolutely from undertaking any activities already being undertaken by a territorial authority.
41. Notwithstanding our position that all councils should be prohibited from engaging in new activities, if that position is not accepted we suggest that as a minimum: i) Regional Councils should have the unanimous agreement of all Territorial Authorities in their region before entering into new activities; and ii) Territorial Authorities should have the agreement of its local Regional Council before entering into any new activity. Such a restriction should serve to at least partially chain up the ability of councils to meddle beyond their means and ability, and will in now wise encumber councils from ending activities they should never have begun.
P 26 Would the effectiveness of local government management be enhanced by any further specification of the role of chief executive? Why? Why not? What limitations, if any, should be placed on the employment of chief executives?
42. Libertarianz believe that there should be greater specification of the role of the chief executive. The chief executive should be required explicitly to ensure that council acts within the law and principles of local government as outlined previously in this submission, and should be held strictly liable for his actions and the actions of the council outside these laws and principles. The chief executive’s contract will be exempt from the Employment Relations Act, with the employment conditions entirely subject to general contract law.
43. Employment of the chief executive should be exempt from the Human Rights Act, and no chief executive shall be able to be appointed who holds a position or shareholding in any agency currently receiving funding from the relevant council.
P. 29 Should councils be required to adopt a code of conduct and if so, what should it contain?
44. Yes, such a code should contain requirements relating to conflicts of interest and pecuniary interest. It should outline standards for the following:
§ Respect for the individual liberty, privacy and private property rights of citizens;
§ Recognising that Councils are largely funded directly through coercion and that all Council staff should treat that money with due regard for those whom it was confiscated from originally.
P30 Should the right to vote in local government elections for non-resident ratepayers be removed? Why? Why not?
45. NO! Libertarianz firmly believe that the right to vote in local government elections for non-resident ratepayers must be retained since these people are paying for local government. To do otherwise is to impose taxation without representation, an imposition that readers should realise lost Britain its American colonies - the lesson should not be lost on our present-day politicians.
46. The argument that it is difficult to justify retaining it on cost effectiveness grounds is disgustingly offensive and outrageous. If cost is the only criterion here, then readers should be reminded that the cheapest political system to operate is a one party state. Libertarianz trusts that - while recognising that democracy per se is itself fundamentally flawed - it at least offers something of a chain on excessive expenditure by politicians both local and central.
47. It is outrageous and fascist for those compulsorily forced to contribute to the running of councils through rates to not have a right to vote – the only small say that all ratepayers have against the use of force by councils against their properties. Just because a group doesn’t always exercise its right to vote, does not give the Government the right to deny it – on that basis New Zealanders for whom English is not a first language could be denied the vote!
48. Libertarianz would further suggest that not only should non-resident ratepayers RETAIN the right to vote, but that ONLY ratepayers should have the right to vote. Only ratepayers are liable for non-payment of rates, and they should not be subject to the collective highway robbery of people who do not face this legal sanction. Those who decide how to appropriate rates should represent only the victims of that appropriation - in this way we may expect to see the beginnings of a conscience in the way council monies are so profligately spent. (NOTE: While tenants of properties claim they pay rates through their rent, it is the landlord who is legally responsible for the rates and the landlord who invested in the property, maintained and developed it to a value that enables councils to strike rates on it.)
P31 Should a person be able to stand and be elected to more than one council or community board? Why? Why not?
49. No person should be able to be elected to more than one council or community board at a time. There are conflicts of interest when councils have competing roles and functions (e.g. regional council vs. territorial authority regional land transport strategy) and it is important to minimise those conflicts by not having overlapping membership.
50. Libertarianz believe that there are too many councils and councillors and would impose a requirement that no council have more than 11 members and that no council shall be permitted to increase its size beyond its current level. Local government has become an easy path for petty sawdust Caesars who have nothing better to do with their time. Reducing council sizes will go a small way towards improving the quality of council decision making.
P36 What do you believe the relationship between Maori and local government should be? Do you consider there is a relationship between local government and the Treaty of Waitangi? If, so, what do you think the nature and extent of that relationship is? Do you believe there are barriers to Maori involvement in local government? If so, what are they? What suggestions do you have for enhancing and encouraging Maori participation and representation in local government?
51. Libertarianz believe that all people who consider themselves “Maori” should have the same relationship with local government as all other people in New Zealand. Local government should get out of their lives and stop regulating and taxing them.
52. Libertarianz believe the Treaty of Waitangi is a historical curiosity, and that any pretensions about its role in government should be disposed of and replaced with a written constitution. Pending that, the Libertarianz deny that there can be any relationship between local authorities that are supposed to be independent of the Crown and any individuals who claim to represent any entity that is a party to the Treaty of Waitangi. Imposing a fictional relationship upon local government (which did not exist at the time of the Treaty and therefore cannot voluntarily choose whether or not it enters into the Treaty) is merely an exercise in Orwellian political correctness, promoted by the Minister of Local Government and Attorney General to impose a privileged apartheid status upon Maori that wish to pursue collectivist statist views of the world.
53. Libertarianz believe that the main barrier to involvement in local government is that most people are too busy looking after their businesses, jobs and families to be bothered with the minutiae of those who wish to tax and control our lives. The continued over regulation and taxation of our lives means that most New Zealanders work 1-3 days a week for the state in effect, leaving insufficient time for themselves, their families and friends, let alone local government!
54. Libertarianz does not believe that there are any barriers to Maori involvement in local government, and consider such an implication as promoting the cause of apartheid in the New Zealand context. Maori are not special, nor are they excluded. Maori get elected to councils, they vote and they participate. Someone of the same ethnicity need not represent Maori people any more than Danish, Korean or Sikh people. Maori brains and bodies are of the same genus as “non-Maori” – Homo Sapiens. Any suggestion Maori are incapable of using their minds to manage information and systems less than any other individuals is insulting, degrading and patronising to Maori!
55. Libertarianz opposes vehemently the suggestion that there should be any special enhancing or encouragement of Maori participation and representation in local government. There are no proposals to enhance business, productive representation, representation by smokers or any other “groups”, so there should be none based on genetic/ psychological ethno-nationalist grounds.
56. Maori may legitimately choose not to stand for councils, many do not wish, unlike the Minister of Local Government, to run other people’s lives and tax them.
57. Libertarianz notes that the Minister of Local Government herself gives the lie to any perceived need for special Maori representation. The Minister gained representation in Parliament initially in a general electoral seat, and twice more subsequently by voters of many nationalities voting for her Alliance Party. She did not need special legal status to get elected as a Maori Member of Parliament.
P 40 Will the development of the long-term council plan provide an effective mechanism for community participation and the development of partnership relationships?
58. The concept of a long-term council plan (LTCP) is a useful mechanism to determine in what direction councils are intending to go with expenditure and strategic planning.
59. However, Libertarianz are appalled at the prospect of yet more costly council paper shuffling exercises, and the employment of many more consultants, and we completely reject the objectives and proposed content of the proposed LTCPs as an imposition of a Stalinist 'Five year plan' mentality.
60. Councils emphatically should not be required to “identify desired community outcomes”. They should not and cannot get into the head of citizens. Individuals make trade-offs between their various needs, time and resources and abilities to obtain them every day. The role of councils should be to get out of their way, not identify partnerships they can enter into. As Ronald Reagan said “if someone says to you 'Hi, I’m from the government, I’m here to help' then run a mile!"
61. Any LTCP produced should express only how councils will meet the objectives expressed in our submission earlier, which are to get out of as many activities as possible within the shortest practicable time. In due course there will be no need for a LTCP because the future of local government should be short term!
P. 40 How could the proposed long-term council plan and annual plan processes be improved?
62. Libertarianz believe that the proposed LTCP and annual plan processes could be significantly improved by, at the minimum, requiring councils to explicitly identify sources of funding separated from three sources:
§ voluntary payments/user charges, sponsorship;
§ income from investments (including nature of those investments);
§ coercive sources.
63. The plans should also identify the net loss to the city, district and region of the activities carried out by councils and the alternative non-coercive, non-council options that have been fully considered. This will enable there to be full transparency of the ongoing socialist activities of councils. Socialists of all kinds, including the Minister, should not be afraid of annual plans outlining the truth of local government coercion.
p42 Will the proposed consultation and reporting processes contribute to effective participation? How?
64. Libertarianz believe that the proposed consultation and reporting processes are woefully inadequate, as they are predicated on participation by individuals who buy in to the collectivist violent philosophy that councils decide what is best for everyone, and they regulate and tax people in order to meet that council determined objective.
65. The proposed consultation processes are akin to asking two wolves and a chicken to vote on what they should have for breakfast. They benefit the leeches, the parasites and the succubi who make many submissions to local government, opposing the productive and the innovative. They hurt those who are too busy running their own lives to be able to respond to every single step against their freedoms and property.
66. The proposed reporting processes do not measure infringements on individual liberty or the degree of theft undertaken by council relative to the raising of revenue by voluntary means. Libertarianz supports all councils being benchmarked on the basis of individual liberty, with the 10 worst councils each year fired by the Minister of Local Government and council boundaries redrawn to abolish the offending council.
P. 43 Do you consider that the information councils will be required to provide will enable communities to participate in an informed manner in the decision-making process concerning changes in the level of services to be provided, and ownership of significant assets? Why? Why not?
67. Libertarianz does not believe that it is appropriate for any representative group to dictate what services should be provided at the compulsory expense of another. Nor should people be required to bear the risks of foolish investment by councils in assets none of them would own if given the choice.
68. Libertarianz would require all councils to divest themselves of all assets that can be owned and operated by the private sector over three years. This process would first be undertaken to wipe council debt, following that, all ratepayers will be distributed annual proceeds of revenue obtained from asset sales to invest or spend as they see fit. This would be true community participation and true democratic management of assets.
69. Libertarianz calls upon the Minister of Local Government to be courageous and put her words of supporting democracy into deeds, by calling for local authorities to distribute shares to ratepayers in their assets, giving them true participation and choice.
P. 44 Are the proposals sufficient to ensure that councils adequately define and assess the performance of all organisations (commercial and non-commercial) over which they have control?
70. Libertarianz believe that all council controlled organisations should be privatised, either by sale or by distributing shares to ratepayers in order to give ratepayers control over their assets.
Should all council-controlled organisations (commercial and non-commercial) be subject to the Ombudsmen Act and the official information provisions of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act? Why? Why not?
71. Yes. It is essential there be transparency regarding these organisations as they are risking other people’s money (ratepayers).
p46 Should the requirement for councils to fully fund all projected expenses in each financial year be retained? Why? Why not? Should there be any exemptions to the requirement to fund depreciation each year and if so, what should they be?
72. Libertarianz support the proposal that councils continue to fully fund all projected expenses in each financial year, in order to avoid the accumulation of debt and to prevent councils from entering into deficit spending for political or other reasons. This also ensures councils operate within the prudent limits of their existing revenue base. The introduction of this measure has proven its worth over the past few years.
73. There should not be exemptions to the requirement to fund depreciation, as any such exemptions will give councils the ability to avoid the transparency of the reduction of asset value from ratepayers. Any assets that councils are unwilling to fund depreciation on should be sold or given away to individuals or private bodies.
p47 Should councils be able to charge under the new LGA to meet the costs of additional infrastructure capacity arising from new housing developments? Why? Why not? Who is most appropriate to charge for the additional infrastructural capacity costs? Why? When is the most appropriate time to charge for additional infrastructure capacity costs? Why? Do you support any of the two options for funding additional infrastructure costs? Why? Why not?
74. No. Councils do not fund telecommunications, electricity and gas infrastructure, and property developers manage to gain agreement on these utilities. Councils should not be able to charge under the new LGA to meet the costs of additional infrastructure arising from new housing developments. Reserve payments and other such nonsenses are already imposed on new development and are manifestly and openly not spent on the area so intended. Any additional charges are equally as likely to be spent on the usual council white elephants as these existing charges.
75. Further, the infrastructure required by such developments, in the form of water, sewage, footpaths, roads and the like should be fully paid for by the property owners, in exchange for freedom from rates funding for those services. Such services can then be vested in the new property owners under a conventional body corporate arrangement. Usage by property owners of council-provided water, sewage, roads should therefore be on a commercial usage basis, with rating levels reduced to reflect this. Councils should cease to have any requirement to fund any such infrastructure and the property developer should contract with whatever supplier it sees fit to provide whatever infrastructure services it wants to see included in the development. Alternative water supply and sewage disposal systems could be utilised, and private roads can be developed.
76. The Libertarianz opposes both of the proposed two options in the discussion paper and supports a complete liberalisation of existing provisions that prohibit any coercive council involvement. Councils should be told to, at least, offer their services on a competitive basis and all necessary legislative changes should be made to enable them to do so.
p49 How effective will the proposed changes to the funding decision-making process be in providing a more balanced approach to funding decisions? Why? Why not?
77. Libertarianz believes that one of the most fundamentally offensive and unjust provisions of the existing local government system is how it is biased in favour of the use of violence to fund local government activities. Rates are not voluntary; they are extracted from ratepayers through the underlying threat of physical force. The use of coercion is not the use of persuasion or application of thought, but of brute force by someone who does not even ask whether you want to pay for whatever they want. This is how local government and central government finance works. Libertarianz submits that any change should be in the direction of reducing the theft, and reducing the ability of government to threaten.
78. Pending the progressive disengagement of local government from all affairs, the Libertarianz proposes the following three-pronged decision making process:
§ 1) Is the service currently being carried out by the council? If not, it cannot be carried out. If so, how can the council disengage itself from the provision of that service?
§ 2) Is the service currently being funded by coercive means? If so, the council must in the first year use all available means to recover as much funding as possible from voluntary means, reducing the coercive funding level by that amount. In the second year, the council should prepare the service/activity for privatisation with a view for eliminating coercive funding by the third year;
§ 3) By what means do ratepayers want the activity/service/asset to be privatised? By a sale, with proceeds distributed to ratepayers, or by a simple distribution of shares to ratepayers? Both may include a partial contribution to the elimination of council debt.
p52 Are the proposed bylaw making powers and processes appropriate for local government?
79. Libertarianz believe the proposed process for making bylaws is a significant improvement over the status quo. Most importantly, bylaws are to have a sunset clause, which should result in the debating and clearing out of many pieces of unnecessary regulation.
80. However, the fundamental purpose for which bylaws could ever be utilised has not been put at the centre of this activity of councils. We believe that every debate about the rolling over a bylaw beyond its legislated sunset should centre around that bylaws ability to protect individuals from the initiation of force and that protect private property rights.
81. Libertarianz believe that the only role for council bylaw making powers is to protect individuals from the initiation of force and that protect private property rights. We further believe that simple common law tribunals would be far more effective in this role than the proliferating thickets of bylaws that exist.
82. Although Libertarianz question whether councils could ever sufficiently carry out such a role, it is prepared to grant them the benefit of the doubt, but constrain all bylaw making powers to that purpose only, pending the introduction of similar such restrictions on the legislative powers of Parliament through a written constitution, and the eventual reintroduction of accessible common law fora.
p53 Which of the three options presented for regulating the drinking of alcohol in public places do you prefer? Why?
83. Libertarianz support vigorously the enforcement of private property rights when owners wish to allow or prohibit consumption of alcohol on their premises, and support wholeheartedly the requirement of those responsible for inflicting damage or harm through their behaviour to be responsible for their actions. However we say that in every other way people should be free to behave as they themselves see fit, and consequently oppose any laws regulating the drinking of alcohol in public places beyond these.
84. Libertarianz are outraged that the three options presented in the discussion paper are all either “regulate at present” or “regulate a lot more”. None of these options deal with the real problems, which are individuals refusing to respect the individual and private property rights of others.
85. Concerts that are organised by private companies should regulate the consumption of alcohol through the application of private property rights by their lease over the relevant venue. If councils as owners of those venues refuse to require such limits, they have themselves to blame for the consumption of liquor at those venues. If councils organise concerts on publicly accessible land, they take the risk that alcohol will be consumed. They have no right to restrict the right of peaceful citizens to ingest whatever substance they may wish on that land.
86. New Zealanders have a fundamental right to consume food, alcohol or any other beverage or chemical as they see fit - as they own their own bodies - providing they accept the concomitant responsibility for their actions. While some may be upset by the behaviour of people following such consumption, that behaviour is only an issue when it infringes upon the rights of others. Criminal law should be adequate to deal with such behaviour, and it is incumbent upon the Police to enforce it and not rely on fascist bylaws to restrict people’s freedoms.
87. If councils do not like this fact, they should vest the public places they would prefer to regulate into private ownership.
p55 Should the maximum penalty for bylaw offences be increased? Why? Why not?
88. The maximum penalty for bylaws offences should not be increased until all bylaws are restricted to those that protect private property rights and individual freedoms. At that point only can an appropriate penalty level can be set.
Should the Crown be bound by local bylaws? Why? Why not?
89. Absolutely, with only one exception: as long as the bylaw does not interfere with the operation of the Crown’s core functions of defence, justice and law and order, within the parameters of protecting individual and private property rights.
p58 Will the proposed changes help streamline the existing reorganisation processes and enhance community confidence and participation? Why? Why not?
90. The proposed measures reflect the belief that New Zealand needs 86 local authorities, when there aren’t even that many constituencies for MPs in Parliament. Libertarianz believe that every year the nine worst performing councils (on a rates value per ratepayer basis) shall be disbanded and their activities carried out by the best performing adjoining council. This shall be continued until there is a rump of 14 remaining councils, which ultimately will be abolished.
Background - Libertarianz
91. The Libertarianz is a registered political party under the Electoral Act 1993. The Libertarianz was formed in 1996 as the only political party committed to the principle that individuals own their own lives, and have the fundamental right to legal protection of sovereignty over their bodies and property.
92. Libertarianz believe that the only legitimate role for the state is to protect people and their property from the initiation of force and fraud by others.
93. The Libertarianz Party has contested two general elections. In the 1999 General Election, the Party obtained 0.3% of the vote, with 5949 party votes. The Libertarianz came 11th out of the 22 registered list parties, slightly behind the United Party which came 10th.
94. The Libertarianz considers this submission to be on behalf of at least those 5949 voters, whose views are not currently represented in Parliament. The Libertarianz Party submits that this number represents a greater sum of individuals than the population residing in some small local authorities.
Leader and Coromandel Candidate 2002, Libertarianz
 Government shall not perform any activity that involves the initiation of force or the threat of force or fraud against any adult citizen and their private property.