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Monday, April 1, 2013

Focus NZ Party: A struggle for identity

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The prospect of yet another libertarian party in NZ. I don't know whether to laugh or cry? I do know that I'm leaving the country, so what's the difference. Well, its nice to think that there is some hope of a libertarian sovereign state somewhere; but given the values conveyed by these 'hicks', I do believe I will be crying. So what's up with them. Well, here is the problem as I see it....the list is a little long.


1. The prospect of a a new (Focus NZ) party is probably only going to increase the chance of a Labor-Green victory because it will mean no list seats for a libertarian party. This will of course spell the death of all libertarian parties. 'Divide and rule'....that depends on how you divide. Three libertarian parties is ridiculously too many, particularly since you make no point of differentiation. If they merge with Daniel Craig's Conservative Party (yeh that was a joke) or ACT, that would be better.
2. The other big problem is that they have pursued the wrong approach to credibility. ACT's strategy of digging up former National Party leaders is ridiculous for a party that should be trying to differentiate themselves. Find credibility within the business community and appeal to high profile people across the country to back you, not just business people....otherwise you look like a pack of hicks or vested interests. But don't just create the perception of being broad-based, actually change your mind-set from concrete 'vested interest' 'exporter of the year' myopia, to all issues. Not just fiscal, monetary and industry policy, but welfare, treaty, energy policies and besides.
2. Another big problem for libertarian parties is that they have no clear identity. This is perhaps the hardest pill to swallow, but 'libertarianism' as a concept is rife with problems. You have to pick a winner. If you accept to 'pick the package' then you diminish your credibility. You are positing yourself as the 'honest party', but you can't be if you are contemporary libertarian, which means, only caring about advancing 'small government' agendas, but being indifferent to the divided philosophical values that divide people. This 'packaged' attempt to be all things to all people works for the 2 major parties; but it won't work for ACT or Focus NZ. The reason is clear I hope - the 2 major parties are 'extortion' based parties - both peddling fear. Labour is peddling concessions based on extorting wealth from the rich; and Conservative-Centre National Party, is peddling a defensive 'we'll protect you strategy', or 'we'll allow you to grow' on a good day. They are entrenched in this extortion-based two-party model. Trying to be the balance of power is not going to work given that the Maori Party is already doing that. This means the libertarians need to differentiate themselves, and that means 'growing market share', and that means being something the other parties are not. But since its different, you need to convey integrity. It does not matter if you have to divide your market share; at least you will convey a coherent system of values the people can trust.
3. Identity - The problem with 3 parties is that there is no point of difference. Libertarianism is a political philosophy that advances 'small government'. Your problem is that people support small government for basically 3 different reasons (i) Indulgent, reactionary, subjective anarchistic reasons, (ii) intellectual Randian objective 'natural law' type reasons, (iii) intellectual utilitarian reasons, (iv) divine/Conservative party reasons.
The implication is that its very hard to integrate that set and preserve integrity because at the end of the day, the Labor Party, and National Party and even Greens, have a fair claim on these people.
4. Broad based policy is needed. Just looking at your website, and that's where journalists will look, one observes the following errors, aside from the pitiful website....
(a) Right wing is not a good term to adopt...its meaningless...better individualism, prosperity,
(b) Focus on 'producers and exporters' - its a mistake. You may as well call yourself an irrelevant farmers party. Farmers are the 'backbone of the country''. Perhaps, but the problem is they are 3% and you have not found a way to teach sheep to vote. Labour has. 

(c) Talk of 'foreign exchange rate' controls is the wrong way to go about policy for a party that purports to be 'free market'. You need to ask yourself why the currency is high and deal with the problem from that respect. All commodity currencies are high...to give you a hint.
5. Criticising the outsourcing of jobs. There is already a 'nationalist party', why are you going that path. That's not 'broad-based', that's just idiotic. Winston Peters already panders to the ignorant. Jobs are going offshore because its cheap to make things in China. If you increase the costs of living in NZ, then you have inflation. You will diminish jobs in NZ...the exact opposite of your intention. The cost of living will rise. It is true that there is a false economy in outsourcing jobs which will come back in 20 years, but the solution is not simply protectionism. The solution is not to identify the problem and not have a solution either.

The policy position of Focus NZ is actually not bad, at least from their opening page; the issue is more on the strategic positioning of the party. Of course there will be a need to see the detail. The problem with such small parties is that they tend to lack the lack of analytical skills to make a credible effort, and then they tend to fail on public presentation, which the major parties handle convincingly. Most voters are not analytical; but journalists will be voracious, so party speakers need to be. Going after list seats makes sense as a policy strategy until they identify credible public speakers.

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'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.


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