The Dim-Post

February 27, 2010

Public Service Announcement: when there’s no more room in hell . . .

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:42 am

No, the zombie apocalypse is not upon you Wellington – those crowds of pasty white, dead-eyed cadavers shuffling towards you are not the living dead, they’re just delegates for the annual ACT Party conference. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Or is there? The other day Brian Fallow wrote about ACT’s latest scheme to rescue the New Zealand economy and transform us into the South Pacific equivalent of booming free market Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Slovakia:

Beware. There is a risk that radical legislation, gravid with constitutional danger, will be smuggled into the statute book disguised as a measure to relieve business of vexatious red tape.

Its innocuous-sounding title is the Regulatory Responsibility Bill and in its most recent iteration was drafted by a taskforce headed by Graham Scott, who was Treasury Secretary at the time of the sweeping economic reforms of the 1980s. It would redefine the relationship between Parliament and the courts in a way neither is likely to welcome. And it would tend to entrench the current distribution of wealth by setting a high hurdle for any legislated redistribution of resources.

Rodney Hide’s office says the Government is considering its response to the taskforce’s report. “It is anticipated that the issues will be considered by Cabinet in April.”

One might hope, rather against hope, that the Cabinet’s consideration of the issues will be illuminated by the views a string of lawyers and economists presented to a symposium on the bill held by the the Institute of Policy Studies on Tuesday.

Almost without exception they were critical of the draft bill.

Essentially ACT are attempting to introduce a new constitutional document – like the Treaty of Waitangi or the Bill of Rights – so that all future and retrospective legislation must adhere to the principles of the ACT Party. Of course they have no mandate to do this and Hide is attempting to sell the bill as a crusade against ‘red tape’. Even though we’re always top of the world in the ease-of-business, deregulation surveys ACT likes to pretend that our underperforming economy is crippled by government bureaucracy.

The benefits and costs of the Regulatory Responsibility Bill itself, are not, the taskforce concedes, easily quantifiable.

“The taskforce is convinced, however, that the potential benefit to the New Zealand economy of a step-change in the quality of legislation significantly outweighs the additional compliance costs placed on the Government by the bill.”

As Brian Easton points out in the article, the most costly regulatory failure in recent history was the leaky homes crisis, caused not by too much compliance but by deregulation of previous standards. And how about the finance companies? The third party transactions, poor reporting and misleading risk analysis that created the disaster are illegal in almost every other developed economy on the planet. The mad genius of Hide’s bill is that it’s impact on existing regulations and legislation gives it the power to create dozens – possibly even hundreds – of future leaky building and finance company crisis. Let a thousand flowers bloom!

The only other article I’ve read about Hide’s bill was a puff piece in the SST – it does have an opposition quote though: here’s Labour’s response to ACT’s attempt to impose a new constitutional document on the nation with no discussion or electoral mandate:

Labour’s commerce spokeswoman, Lianne Dalziel, said the bill was little more than window dressing and would hinder rather than help, although she admitted much more could be done to remove regulatory “roadblocks”.

Labour still doesn’t get that Hide is this government’s Winston Peters writ small: a deeply unpopular megalomaniac that the PM can’t sack without breaking the governing coalition is an opposition’s wet dream, but for some reason Labour devotes all it’s attention to the Maori Party and Anne Tolley instead of the guy with the bullseye in the middle of his massive orange forehead.


  1. Hide’s Paradox

    Comment by Neil — February 27, 2010 @ 9:01 am

  2. As far as personal torment goes, Rodney Hide at times cuts a tragic figure of almost Shakespearian proportions.

    From John Armstrong in teh herald today.

    I think Labour see Tolley and the MP as big slow moving easy targets, but the Orange one is a slippery little eel with as you say an army of zombie true believers who will go into battle in the market place of spin and sacrifice themselves at the glibertarian alter of the invisible hand.

    Comment by andy (the other one) — February 27, 2010 @ 9:48 am

  3. As I was reading this it was slowly emerging in my mind that Hide is presenting us with another Resource Management Act.. a sort of super regulatory monster that was designed to make us rich and famous.. but it ended up a dinosaur.

    “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”


    Comment by JC — February 27, 2010 @ 10:33 am

  4. well, a couple of more fuck ups by Rodney, a bit of chaos in the Supercity and the zombies will turn on each other. Rather than take over the world, they’ll return to where they rightfully belong, buried 6 feet under.

    Comment by Eszett — February 27, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  5. *Sigh*. King’s response shows how utterly inadequate, tired and mined out the vein of identity politics that built the left’s response to neo-liberalism in the nineties is today. It is totally frustrating.

    The people of King’s generation who defeated Shipey and ushered in the Clark era were always uninterested in economics, and now as they enter or are comfortable middle aged beneficiaries of Rogernomics with comfortable homes in leafy suburbs with plenty of happily civil unioned gay friends to remind them of their liberal credentials they’ve lost the will to be even bothered to really oppose ACT. And of course, secretly they kinda like the comfortably numb John Key, though fashion forbids them from saying so. Look at sad case of Russell Brown. His attacks on Shipley were frequent, impassioned and persuasive. The man can write, when he can be bothered to get of his arse and do so. Now what are we served up? He is reduced to feeble bi-weekly posting about expensive items of consumer technology and indie local bands, sad and pathetic mewlings as much designed to bolster his fading hipster credentials even as the last of his youth disappears like whispers of oxygen from an airlock as they are relevant or important to anyone beyond the navel-gazing liberal middle class echo chamber that Public Address has become.

    None of this might be important; Men are allowed to grow old and complacent as the fire in their belly diminishes in proportion to the expansion of its girth. It has always been the way of the world that new men take their place in the Hastati and Principes as the older men retire to the Triarii, to be stirred and deployed in only the gravest crisis. What is important is the refusal of these aging warriors of the 1990’s liberal-left to accept their time has passed and the population is now sick and tired of their brand of politics. Now they simply act as a passive, PC roadblock to genuine opposition to neo-liberalism. Instead of retiring to the wings and clearing the main stage for new primary actors with a new script they insist on egotistically clinging to the limelight, babbling incoherent and inconsequential lines about themselves to an audience that is sick of the sight of them.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 27, 2010 @ 11:30 am

  6. Oops. I meant to say Lianne Dalziel not Annette King… Doh.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 27, 2010 @ 11:38 am

  7. Sanctuary, I think you’ll find that five out of the last six of Russell Brown’s posts have been strongly critical of the government, impassioned even, and based on research and policy, not on identity politics (and what is ‘the old generation must step aside’ if not the most puerile form of identity politics, by the way?). If you go back to January, you get the consumer products and music festivals, but that might be because Parliament was in recess.

    As for Rodney Hide, I think any man that looks that much like a Ferengi should not be allowed anywhere near the reins of power.

    Comment by Mausie — February 27, 2010 @ 11:58 am

  8. That’s part of the problem for Labour, isn’t is Sanctuary? You can substitute Lianne for Annette, often one Labour politician for another, and there is no difference. They have not really done much revitalisation. They have a few bright new faces, but their old guard are firmly in control.

    Comment by David in Chch — February 27, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

  9. Am I going out on a limb here or does Danyl dislike Rodders a little bit?

    Speaking of cadavers and zombies, wouldn’t it be laugh to graft Rodders and Mallard together, wonder what its name would be?

    Comment by expat — February 27, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

  10. those crowds of pasty white, dead-eyed cadavers shuffling towards you

    To be fair, they’re much better dressed than the dead-eyed cadavers that make up the Greens/Labour/National party conferences…

    Comment by Phil — February 27, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

  11. “Am I going out on a limb here or does Danyl dislike Rodders a little bit?”

    Only slightly less than he hates Don Brash.

    And what’s wrong with Latvia?

    Comment by radar — February 27, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

  12. Latvian girls you make the rockin’ webcam world go round.

    Comment by expat — February 27, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

  13. Slightly wrong link for the swirler rodders

    Comment by nznative — February 27, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  14. Imagine, if you will, a world where the PrimeMentalist is bald, orange and wears lycra, and isn’t sure whether he should be inside the hide shooting the ducks or outside preening & banning stuff.

    Comment by expat — February 27, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  15. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that Hide’s Regulatory Responsibility Bill has almost zero chance of becoming law. For one thing, as you point out, virtually everyone with some feeling for constitutional niceties gets the screaming heebie-jeebies when they read it. (Not, I know, an insurmountable obstacle to change – some might even see the objections of pointy headed academic types as a good reason for having it!) For another, the principles therein don’t just apply to economic regulation (‘tho this is their main target). They’d also apply to legislation like Judith Collins’ Car Crushing Act – which Treasury’s regulatory impact statement condemned as lacking a sound basis in principle and likely to be ineffective in practice.

    Point is that National, as much as Labour, is as wedded to passing Acts (and making regulations) that are quickly made and unsound, yet politically very popular. And insofar as Hides’ Bill would threaten their ability to do so, National won’t really want a bar of it.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 27, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

  16. So the aliens really are here, Mausie? I knew it!! And it certainly explains the skin colour…

    Comment by Ataahua — February 27, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  17. To be fair, they’re much better dressed than the dead-eyed cadavers that make up the Greens/Labour/National party conferences…

    That wasn’t fair at all.

    Comment by progger — February 27, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

  18. Hessian sacks, cloth caps and clokes made of peasant skin are de rigour for those conferences respectively

    Comment by expat — February 27, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

  19. “…wouldn’t it be laugh to graft Rodders and Mallard together, wonder what its name would be?”

    Comment by Neil — February 27, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

  20. Er? So there are roadblocks in the way of business?
    ACT and Labour agree?

    Comment by peterlepaysan — February 27, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

  21. this anti-regulation malarky really is completely nuts… it’s like these ideologues have nothing else to do besides blame regulators for the fact they’re hopeless twats working pumping gas and not busy r@ping their beloved anne.

    Comment by Che Tibby — February 27, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

  22. will it a three strikes and your out arrangement. it might ge a handy way of getting rid of MPs.

    Comment by Neil — February 27, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

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