Categories

## You do the math

One of the many sad facts about New Zealand’s democracy is that most people don’t really understand how the system works, or what the election night results really mean.

Agent Orange to the rescue! Not A Party, not a problem.

I’m going to try to explain what just happened by way of an analogy.

I’m going to compare Not A Party’s performance on election night to National’s performance on election night, and the analogy I’m going to use is comparing the number of non-drivers to the number of drivers cruising along in blue cars. (Blue being the colour that represents the National Party.)

So I’ll give you the results to compare first and then show my working.

There’s five different ways we can spin the stats.

1. Seats in Parliament using the Sainte-Laguë allocation formula.

National 48.3%
NAP 0.0%

There are 120 seats in Parliament. 58 of those seats go to National. By analogy, suppose that there are 120 cars currently travelling on the road. 58 of those cars are blue. There are no non-drivers on the road. There are no stoned drivers on the road either, they parked up for a smoke, and Gareth Morgan also pulled over, he hit a cat and stopped to make sure that it was really dead. 58 out of 120 is 48.3%.

2. Percentage of actual votes by those who actually voted.

National 46.0%
NAP 0.0%

The analogy is to all cars on the road, before they park up, pull over, or break down. National got 46% of the party vote, 46% of the cars on the road are blue. The ALCP got 0.3% of the vote, 0.3% of the cars are travelling at 65 kph on the open road. Gareth Morgan hasn’t run over any cats yet. So in this second calculation non-voters and non-drivers (including drivers behind the wheels of stationary vehicles) aren’t included in the numbers.

3. Percentage of actual votes by those who were enrolled to vote.

National 36.2%
NAP 21.2%

This calculation includes all drivers who own cars, not just those drivers who own cars and are on the road. NAP enters the race, so to speak. 21.2% of drivers with cars didn’t go out on the road, they stayed home, their cars stayed in the garage or were parked outside on the street. 36.2% of all cars are blue and on the highway.

4. Percentage of actual votes by those who were eligible to be enrolled to vote.

This calculation includes all drivers, including those who don’t currently own cars. 33.0% of all drivers were driving on the road and driving blue cars. 28.2% of all drivers weren’t even driving that day, because they decided not to or simply couldn’t because they fell on carless days.

National 33.0%
NAP 28.2%

5. Percentage of actual votes by those who were eligible to be enrolled to vote, including wasted votes in NAP’s non-vote tally.

National 33.0%
NAP 31.3%

This is the same number as above for National. 33.0% of all drivers were driving on the road and driving blue cars. But the grand total for the disenfranchised is 31.3%. By analogy, 31.3% of all drivers weren’t even driving that day, because they decided not to or simply couldn’t because they didn’t even have a car, or they were driving but had pulled over, parked up, or broken down on the side of the road.

So that’s all the important numbers.

Now, the burning question is, who won the election, the National Party or Not A Party?

National did, we was robbed! Any way you spin it, there were more people who voted National than people who were in some way disenfranchised. NAP is under no illusions.

Now to show my working.

Here are some official stats from the Electoral Commission.

The following are estimated population statistics as at 30 June 2017 based on projections from 2013 census data, and actual enrolment statistics as at 22 September 2017 (the day before the 23 September general election). The dates don’t quite match up but there were

3,569,830 people eligible to enrol
3,252,269 people actually enrolled
91.1% of people eligible to enrol were actually enrolled

Here are some more stats from the Electoral Commission.

Voter turnout for the 2017 General Election is estimated to be 78.8% of those enrolled as at 6pm Friday 22 September. This compares with a final 77.9% turnout of those enrolled in 2014.

So estimated (by the Electoral Commission) voter turnout was 78.8%.

78.8% of 91.1% is 71.8% of those eligible to enrol to vote actually enrolled and voted.

So that’s 28.2% of those eligible to enrol and vote that didn’t actually vote.

Now let’s look at the percentages of those that did actually vote. Obviously, this doesn’t include non-voters. Non-voters were exactly 0.0% of those who voted.

More stats from the Electoral Commission.

Of those who voted, 46.0% voted National. 35.8% voted Labour, 7.5% voted NZ First, 5.9% voted Greens, 0.5% voted ACT. That adds up to 95.7%. The remaining 4.3% of voters voted for parties like ALCP and TOP who failed to reach the 5% threshold under the MMP voting system and didn’t get any electorate seats. That means that those 4.3% of votes are wasted, because they don’t get input into the Sainte-Laguë formula which is used to allocate actual seats in Parliament.

There are 120 seats in Parliament. Projected seats are 58 to National, 45 to Labour, 9 to NZ First, 7 to the Greens, 1 to ACT. Note that 58 seats out of 120 is 48.3%.

Please note that the results published by the Electoral Commission on election night are preliminary results. Final results after special votes are counted may change the National Party’s percentages, but not NAP’s. There was an election and the government got elected. Deal with it.

Categories

## The Electoral Pendulum

The timeline represents the 1st Labour government (elected in 1935) through to the 6th Labour government (elected in 2017). We’ve endured six Labour governments and five National governments so far.

Categories

Wait … what?

Categories

## Not A Party (NAP) announces 2017 general election candidates

Not A Party (NAP) is pleased to announce it is fielding three (3) brave freedom fighters as entrants in the mainstream media’s personality popularity contest and expensive policies playoff to see who’ll win the 2017 general election. We have no policies, so no broken electoral promises from us. Our personalities aren’t popular either.

Bob Wessex is NAP’s candidate for the key Wellington Central electorate.

Simon Smythe is NAP’s candidate for the neighbouring Rongotai electorate.

Richard Goode is NAP’s candidate for the Mana electorate further up the line.

Voter turnout in New Zealand has been steadily declining as more and more Kiwis wake up to the fact that the electoral process serves the status quo and not the people. Not A Party exists to smooth the pillow of a dying democratic system, and hopes to hasten its inevitable end. Accordingly, we kindly urge you to not vote in the impending ballot. Instead, perhaps consider how you’d help to run your own local community if you weren’t being taxed at every turn and told what to do by career politicians and corporate lobbyists in Wellington. There’s 101 things to do instead of voting.

This time around we hope to bring voter turnout down below 2011’s record low. As voters boycott the polling places in growing numbers, sooner or later the politicians might wake up to the fact that they have to do better or face redundancy. Not A Party hopes it is the latter, because by that time New Zealand will have peacefully transitioned to a society based on voluntary cooperation. NAP will field candidates no more, but will put out to pasture all the politicians, now altogether past their best-buy dates.

Join us! Be the change you want to see. DON’T VOTE 2017.

Categories

## Goode, not Wood!

MEDIA RELEASE
Not A Party

7 December 2016

Goode, not Wood!

The Electoral Commission’s preliminary count shows that Not A Party’s candidate in last Saturday’s long since forgotten Mt. Roskill by-election didn’t even come last. Richard Goode received 40 votes, just 8 votes ahead of the lowest polling candiate. “Saturday’s show of electoral support is like big government,” says Goode. “I didn’t really want it but the voters gave it to me anyway.”

But when you add the non-votes to Goode’s tally, it’s clear that Goode, not Wood, is the electorate’s choice by a landslide! Goode graciously accepts the endorsement of the electorate and declares himself the Not A MP for Mt. Roskill. “I will faithfully represent the 63% of Mt. Roskill electors who didn’t show up to the polling places by not showing up to Parliament,” he assures.

Voter turnout is the second lowest of recent by-elections (in the past 10 years). “Will the current trend continue? The way things are going, I’d say yes,” says Goode optimistically. “Your non-vote counts. But only if you’re registered to not vote,” he adds. “Now is as good a time as any to check that you’re on the electoral roll.”

Vote or don’t, he confidently predicts a win for a Labour-led left bloc at next years’s general election. “History gets repetitive after a while. Since the First Labour Government was elected in 1935, it’s been left, right, left, right … National, Labour, National, Labour … New Zealand’s democracy is a long march in a pointless two-party political parade.”

“It’s time to call a halt to the charade,” he concludes. “DON’T VOTE 2017.”

ENDS

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## Not A Party (NAP) predicts success in Mt. Roskill by-election

MEDIA RELEASE
Not A Party

29 November 2016

Not A Party (NAP) predicts success in Mt. Roskill by-election

Richard Goode, Not A Party (NAP) candidate in the Mt. Roskill by-election is predicting his candidacy will be a resounding success when the votes are counted this Saturday 3 December. “My message to voters is to stay home, enjoy your Saturday and refuse to participate in the circus being orchestrated by ringleaders Wood and Parmar.”

“This by-election has been dirty so far with allegations of National Party candidate Parmjeet Parmar’s supporters throwing horseshoes at their enemies and Labour’s Michael Wood threatening his National opponent’s husband who made derogatory comments about Wood’s wife at a public meeting. In short, politics as usual.”

This is why Goode is encouraging people to avoid feeding the politicians by taking no part in the process at all. “Mt. Roskill voters have a golden opportunity in this by-election to opt-out of the whole charade. Politicians behave the way they do because voters indulge their own fantasies of wielding power over others by voting for them.” Goode advises, “Live dangerously, not vicariously. Sort yourselves out, don’t expect politicians to run your lives for you.”

“Once the votes are tallied, the largest group of voters in this by-election will be the group that voted for nobody at all,” predicts Goode. “If we truly live in a democracy, shouldn’t we respect the wishes of the majority and leave the seat of Mt. Roskill vacant?”

“My message to voters is just don’t. But if you really must vote then vote for Not A Party (NAP). I pledge that if elected, I’ll be a no show. If elected, I guarantee Mt. Roskill residents a happy new year living in a politician-free zone.”

ENDS

Not A Party (NAP) predicts success in Mt. Roskill by-election

Categories

## What is anarchism?

What is anarchism? and what is an anarchist? What is anarchy? These are vexed questions.

According to many dictionaries the term ‘anarchy’ is synonymous with chaos and disorder. Of course, this definition is disputed. In fact, there are no agreed upon definitions of the terms ‘anarchy’, ‘anarchism’ and ‘anarchist’. When it comes to the definitions of these terms, it’s anarchy!

Merriam-Webster, the consensus source of meaning within the dominant paradigm, defines anarchy as: a situation of confusion and wild behavior in which the people in a country, group, organization, etc., are not controlled by rules or laws; or, a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority. The implications made in these definitions are clear – any absence of authority, structure, or control most surely amounts to confusion, wild behavior, and disorder. In other words, human beings are incapable of controlling themselves, maintaining order, and living peacefully amongst one another. So we are to believe.

Indeed. But this is anarchy in the pejorative sense. So let’s repudiate the dominant paradigm’s dictionary propaganda and instead take to the streets with torches and pitchforks.

What is anarchism? Anarchism is a socio-political ideology such as mutualism, anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-pacifism, anarcha-feminism, anarcho-primitivism, anarcho-hipsterism, agorism, or anarcho-statism.

What is an anarchist? An anarchist is someone like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (a French politician), Peter Kropotkin (a Russian academic), Leo Tolstoy (author of the novel War and Peace), Errico Malatesta (an Italian troublemaker), Stephan Kinsella (an American patent attorney), Neil Roberts (a New Zealand suicide bomber), or me (Not A Party’s candidate in the upcoming Mt. Roskill by-election).

But I suppose that a handy list of (some) anarchists is not really the answer you want. You probably want to know what it is that all anarchists on the list have in common in virtue of which they are anarchists. In other words, a list of necessary and sufficient conditions for when the term ‘anarchist’ applies. This is where it gets tricky tho. Extensional definitions are easy. Intensional definitions, not so much.

In fact, there is no list of necessary conditions for when the term ‘anarchist’ applies. There is nothing that all anarchists have in common. What now then?

Wild Wittgenstein appears!

Wittgenstein uses Familienähnlichkeit. It’s super effective!

Wittgenstein’s basic idea is that sometimes things which could be thought to be connected by one essential common feature may in fact be connected by a series of overlapping similarities, where no one feature is common to all. Such seems to be the case with anarchism and anarchists. They bear a family resemblance.

So here’s not a comprehensive checklist of anarchist attributes and agendas. If you sign up to some of these, you might be an anarchist. 🙂

1. No state

Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful …

2. No hierarchies

… or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations.

3. Voluntary association

Proponents of anarchism, known as “anarchists”, advocate stateless societies or non-hierarchical voluntary associations.

Could these three be considered the three pillars of anarchism? See Wikipedia’s excellent outline of anarchism for more info. RationalWiki’s Anarchism is also a handy resource.

4. No rulers

Just a few words about the claim that ‘anarchy’ means “no rulers”. It doesn’t. For sure, the term ‘anarchy’ derives from the Greek ἄναρχος or anarchos, meaning “without rulers” (from ἀν- or an-, meaning “without”, and ἀρχός or archos meaning “ruler”). But to suppose that the meaning of a term is wholly determined by its etymology is to commit the root fallacy.

Christian anarchists are a clear counter-example to the claim that ‘anarchy’ means “no rulers”. Christian anarchists are opposed to worldly rulers, but on the spiritual plane they’re actually monarchists. Jesus himself is sometimes considered the first anarchist in the Christian anarchist tradition. Check out his charge sheet!

Insisting that true anarchists are strictly no rulers likely also excludes the Spanish anarchists (anarcho-communists). As Bryan Caplan explains in his essay The Anarcho-Statists of Spain

It barely took a month for Anarchists to set themselves up as the government of those parts of Aragon under their control, euphemistically dubbing themselves the “Regional Defense Council of Aragon.”

Not my flavour of anarcho-statism, I hasten to add.

Also, surely no self-respecting anarchist is opposed to self-rule.

5. Beards

6. The NAP

Considered by some to be a defining principle of libertarianism, the non-aggression principle (NAP) is revered by anarcho-capitalists. Aggression is bad, mmmkay? But it turns out that the all-important A in NAP, is defined in terms of a prior theory of property rights. So we can all love the NAP. We just need to plug in our preferred theory of property rights and we’re good to go.

7. Propaganda of the deed

Propaganda of the deed is for violent anarchists. (But we don’t want a bloody revolution.)

8. Civil disobedience

Civil disobedience is for peaceful law-breaking anarchists.

9. Non voting

Non-voting is for otherwise law-abiding non-violent anarchists. Like us, the Not A Party people.

Voting is not a victimless crime, voting is an act of violence.

10. DON’T VOTE 2017

Categories

## Not A Party (NAP) announces Mt. Roskill candidate

MEDIA RELEASE
Not A Party

7 November 2016

NAP announces Mt. Roskill candidate

Not A Party (NAP) announced today that it is entering the Mt Roskill by-election race.

Richard Goode will represent the party, in its first foray into electoral politics.

Goode said he was “chuffed” to be chosen to stand for Not A Party (NAP) in the seat made vacant by Phil Goff.

“Let’s keep the seat vacant,” says Goode. “Let’s make Mt. Roskill a politician-free zone, with the rest of New Zealand’s electoral map to follow suit at next year’s general election.”

Not A Party (NAP) is the forerunner of a new breed of post-democratic political party. The party advocates a peaceful transition to a free, peaceful and prosperous society based on voluntary cooperation. “Don’t look to politicians for answers, they don’t have any.”

“Individuals and local communities know best what’s best for themselves.” Not A Party (NAP) believes in the efficacy of the man in the street. It is at a grassroots level that people understand what they need to achieve peace and prosperity.

Goode strongly supports people’s right to self-determination. So much so, in fact, that the candidate says he hopes to get no votes. “If you simply must vote, vote NAP. But why not stay home on election day and NAP instead?” He goes on to point out the benefits, “You’ll feel better for it, and be more productive.”

“DIY. Be the change you want to see. Don’t pander to the corporate oligarchs in the Beehive.” This is Goode’s challenge to the electors of Mt. Roskill.

The by-election, which was triggered when Phil Goff switched troughs, will be held on Saturday 3 December.

ENDS

http://nap.org.nz/not-a-party-nap-announces-mt-roskill-candidate/

Categories

## Taxation is theft

Taxation is theft.

It’s a sentiment shared by most voluntaryists. (Voluntaryists advocate a social system based on voluntary cooperation. Not A Party people are voluntaryists.)

But is it true? Taxation is theft, it’s a sentiment, but is it a fact? Is taxation really theft?

I’m going to give some reasons for thinking that taxation is theft, and then a couple of reasons for thinking that it isn’t. And then ask you to please feel free to make up your own mind.

Here’s the basic argument for the proposition that taxation is theft.

1. Theft is when someone takes your money or property without your consent.
2. Taxation is when the government takes your money or property without your consent.

Therefore,

3. Taxation is theft.

Seems legit.

Consider the following progression (due to theologian J. Budziszewski). Is taxation theft?

1. On a dark street, a man draws a knife and demands my money for drugs.
2. Instead of demanding my money for drugs, he demands it for the Church.
3. Instead of being alone, he is with a bishop of the Church who acts as bagman.
4. Instead of drawing a knife, he produces a policeman who says I must do as he says.
5. Instead of meeting me on the street, he mails me his demand as an official agent of the government.

If the first is theft, it is difficult to see why the other four are not also theft. Expropriation is wrong not because its causes are wrong, but because it is a violation of the Eighth Commandment: Thou shalt not steal.

Consider the following progression (due to Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano). How many men?

1. Is it theft if one man steals a car?
2. What if a gang of five men steal the car?
3. What if a gang of ten men take a vote (allowing the victim to vote as well) on whether to steal the car before stealing it?
4. What if one hundred men take the car and give the victim back a bicycle?
5. What if two hundred men not only give the victim back a bicycle but buy a poor person a bicycle, as well?

The experiment challenges an individual to determine how large a group is required before the taking of an individual’s property becomes the “democratic right” of the majority

Now, here are a couple of reasons for thinking that taxation isn’t theft.

The first objection is a pedantic one. Taxation isn’t theft, because the government doesn’t take your money, you give your money to the government, albeit under duress. Taxation isn’t theft, it’s extortion!

Well, I see where the pedant is coming from. But I still think that taxation is theft in a broad sense of the word ‘theft’. Theft is when you acquire something that doesn’t rightfully belong to you by immoral means. Robbery, fraud, extortion, even inflation—these are all forms of theft in the broad sense. Taxation is theft!

The second is an objection to the basic argument I gave above. Yes, it’s theft when your money is taken without your consent—except when it’s the government doing the taking. The progressions above don’t work, because at some point the taking stops being theft and starts being taxation. How’s that supposed to work? Well, so the objection goes, you implicitly consented to be governed simply by living here in New Zealand. And you’re bound by something called the social contract.

I think it’s not a good objection. I think we already dealt to it. Try not to leave civilisation.

But here’s a better version of the objection. It’s the best objection I can think of to the proposition that taxation is theft. Ready? Here it is. The chunk of money the government takes out of your income (as income tax) or out of your grocery bill (as GST) was never really yours in the first place. So taxation isn’t theft, tax evasion is!

It’s an objection worth considering. Is it a good objection tho? To answer that question we need to consider another. What is property? And that’s for another time.

A final thought. Just because taxation is theft, doesn’t mean that you don’t have some sort of personal obligation to help pay for some of the social services (health, welfare, etc.) that the government currently provides, if it’s within your means to do so.

Do you think George ought to help? Voluntarily, of course.

Categories

## I tried voting but it didn’t work

My pet issue has always been cannabis law reform. I’ve always voted for cannabis law reform.

In 1996 I voted in the first New Zealand general election held under the MMP voting system. Naturally, I gave my party vote to the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, who gained 1.66% of the party vote. Their result was simultaneously disappointing and encouraging. Disappointing, because it fell well short of the 5% threshold required to gain seats in Parliament under MMP. Encouraging because it was a solid base of support on which to build.

So in 1999 I voted for the ALCP again. But this time their share of the party vote fell by about half a percentage point to 1.10%. Instead of voting harder, people were realising that a vote for the ALCP is a wasted vote under MMP. But in a sudden plot twist, former ALCP candidate Nándor Tánczos entered Parliament as a Green Party MP and started making noises about cannabis law reform.

Clearly, I hadn’t been paying attention. Here was a party with a serious cannabis law reform policy that was actually in Parliament. So in 2002 I voted Green. Nándor was returned to Parliament and the Greens gained two more seats. Meanwhile, the ALCP’s share of the party vote fell again to 0.64%.

Then I discovered what seemed to be my natural political home, the Libertarianz Party. I became their Spokesman on Health and stood for Parliament for the first time on the Libertarianz Party list in 2005. We gained a solid 0.04% of the party vote. Meanwhile, the ALCP’s share of the party vote fell to a record low of 0.25% and Nándor lost his seat. The Greens had lost interest in cannabis law reform and the dreadlocked skateboarder was now being seen by some as increasingly out of favour. He’d been moved down to 7th place on the Green Party list and the Greens were now down to 6 seats. But Green Co-Leader Rod Donald died tragically in late 2005 which meant that Nándor got to re-enter Parliament for one final term, during which he achieved the cannabis law reform movement’s one and only small success, new licensing rules for industrial hemp.

After the 2005 election I came out fully as a drug user and became the Libertarianz Party’s Spokesman on Drugs. In 2008 I stood again on the Libertarianz Party list and also as the Libertarianz Party candidate for the Mana electorate. I got 64 votes. The Libz gained 1% of a percentage point, skyrocketing to 0.05% of the party vote. Meanwhile, the ALCP rebounded from their record 2002 low and got a 0.41% share of the party vote. Nándor quit Parliament and went away to cleanse his soul. After the 2008 election I jumped waka and joined the ALCP.

In 2011 I stood for Parliament again, this time on the ALCP list and as the ALCP candidate for the Mana electorate. Of course, by this time I fully realised that my chances of ever getting into Parliament on a cannabis law reform ticket were close to zero. I now regarded what I was doing as an exercise in educating the public and getting the cannabis law reform message out there, and my electoral results as a barometer of my success in that regard. I was simply taking a stand and speaking out against the injustice of the War on Drugs. I’d figured that I’d get more bang for my buck, as it were, campaigning under the ALCP banner instead of the Libz banner, and I was right. I got 334 votes as an ALCP candidate, up from 64 votes as a Libz candidate, and the ALCP’s share of the party vote went up 0.05% to 0.51%, its best result since 1999. The Libz once again barely registered with a mere 0.05% of the party vote, and soon after called it quits and disappeared from the New Zealand political scene.

Significant and sensible cannabis law reform started to happen elsewhere in the world. On 1 January 2014 cannabis law reform activist and Iraq war veteran Sean Azzariti became the first person to legally purchase cannabis for recreational use in Colorado. I was sure in my own mind that this could only bode well for the ALCP’s electoral prospects here in New Zealand. In 2014 I stood for Parliament again, again on the ALCP list and as the ALCP candidate for the Mana electorate. I got my best result yet with 403 votes as the ALCP candidate, but the ALCP’s share of the party vote dropped back down to 0.46%, much to my surprise and chagrin. And, also much to my surprise and chagrin, John Key’s National Party was returned for a third term. Worst of all, National’s lapdog Peter Dunne was returned as Associate Minister of Health, thereby ensuring that there would be no cannabis law reform for a further three years.

I’ve become very cynical. To me it doesn’t seem like a very big ask to be allowed to grow and use a harmless medicinal herb. I’ve been advocating for safe, sane and sensible drug law reform for three decades and seen nothing happen except some farmers who were prepared to jump through bureaucratic hoops being allowed to grow industrial hemp.

I’ve participated in our democracy, at some considerable financial and emotional cost to myself. And achieved precisely nothing in terms of legislative gains. Meanwhile, arch-prohibitionist Peter Dunne, in league with Satan, pushed through the Psychoactive Substances Act. Instead of drug law reform, New Zealand got landed with peak prohibition. What a total fustercluck.

I’ve always voted for cannabis law reform but I’ve never gotten what I voted for. Insanity is voting for the same thing over and over and expecting a different result every time. But I’m not crazy, just a bit of a slow learner. I tried voting but it didn’t work. So now I don’t vote. I’m plotting to overgrow the government instead.