Saturday, September 23, 2006

Advance New Zealand Fair?

A link from a post on Samizdata tells me that one of my least favorite countries has a viable Libertarian Party. Funny that they're not mentioned on the Wikipedia page for New Zealand Politics - although there is a page for the party. Libertarianz (get it? With NZ for New Zealand at the end?) apparently fares much worse than the Libertarian Party in the US. We generally come in third or fourth. The highest I can see that Libertarianz has polled is "fourth out of the parties that didn't win seats in Parliament." To put that in perspective - there are currently 6 parties represented in New Zealand's 120-member House of Representatives (the NZ legislature is unicameral). I guess that's higher than normal, but even so, Libertarianz has only ever been as close as 7th or 8th place. Not terribly impressive.

The party leader is pulling a stunt wherein he's suing Prime Minister Helen Clark for having stolen the last election. I know, I KNOW - YAAAAAWWWWWNNN. Tell us a story we haven't heard. Only this time I'm getting the impression there's someting to it. Clark's Labour Party currently has legislation before the House that would retroactively approve some currently-illegal campaign spending they did - with public money. So unlike in the case of a certain annoying President of Mexico, there's a real issue here.

That doesn't mean Libertarianz isn't making a mountain out of a molehill for political gain, though. (And, really, they've got nowhere to go but up...)

I guess I should probably be interested in this. Samizdata links a handful of blogs for anyone who wants to know more. I myself just can't seem to summon up enough caring for a country that produces more America-bashers quarterly than France to bother. I've done my part with propagating the links - hands washed. Here's hoping a rocky implosion for the current NZ government (which is really only hanging on by a thread due to a delicately negotiated slimy power-sharing agreement, by the way) that results in some kind of ever-more-open economy (to give the Devil his due, New Zealand is making laudable progress here - having turned itself completely around from the crypto-socialist mess it was in the 80s to one of the freer economies in the world - with huge financial gains to show for it).

I somehow don't think Darnton's lawsuit is going to go anywhere, and I especially don't think it's going to win his party any seats in the House. Maybe the spiral of scandals will result in a new set of political alliances, though, that Libertarianz might be able to use. It's not completely hopeless.

I suppose if Libertarianism is going to become a viable movement anywhere, New Zealand is an ideal place for it to start. An isolated country of only about 3million people doesn't really rock the boat much when it installs radical governments, but since it's still part of the first world, people pay attention when things go well there. One of my acquaintances from that country told me once that it was often used as a lab beaker for new political ideas. Maybe Libertarianism can be one of those. Think of it as the international Free State Project.

I mean, assuming you want to think about New Zealand at all.


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