Red Alert

The ACT Party- all for one and…..

Posted by on March 4th, 2010

I don’t particularly want to give further oxygen to the views of David Garrett which I find, as is often the case, extreme and appalling.  But I could not resist the comment from former ACT MP Deborah Coddington on Facebook this morning.  She was responding to the wonderful David Slack’s status update  ” The ACT MPs would work much better as a big brother house.”  Deborah said

The Act MPs would work much better if they found some humans to stand.

Continuing in the fine tradition of ACT individualism which saw almost the entire caucus contest the leadership when Richard Prebble resigned!

One thing I can say about Deborah when she was an MP  is that she did clearly espouse what I understood to be ACT principles- love them or hate them. Not so sure about their more recent recruits.

33 Responses to “The ACT Party- all for one and…..”

  1. Spud says:

    Act scary, hope they aren’t part of a government in 2011. :-(

  2. Richard McGrath says:

    Grant, what exactly do you find extreme and appalling about Garrett’s suggestion?

  3. StephenR says:

    Consume if the answer includes the word ‘eugenics’ or ‘Nazis’.

  4. Unpleasantly Odouriferous says:

    Richard, you’re kidding, right? You can’t see that this idea is both extreme and deeply offensive? If you were being ironic, I didn’t get that. If you’re not being ironic, I guess you’ve got some pretty big issues with your moral compass.

  5. Jeremy M Harris says:

    I heard Garrett was once in the social credit party… Seems like quite a sad, confused, drunk to me…

  6. George says:

    Perhaps, like Phil T, Garret has also always considered it an MP’s job to fight for what the people want.

    Comments on Garret’s proposal on various websites suggest this is a hugely popular suggestion.

  7. Unpleasantly Odouriferous says:

    I should also point out the ludicrous inadequacy of this idea. Funny Garrett goes to incentives to remove fundamental human rights but ignores the potential for incentives to be used more constructively to support good parenting etc. Underpinning this noxious proposal is an ugly undercurrent of Malthusian judgements. It’s so ugly it beggars belief that an MP would even voice it. This is to the eternal shame of ACT.

  8. Sweetd says:

    Unpleasantly, what is both extreme and deeply offensive is people breeding as a means to get money with no account or responsibility for the lives they bring into the world.

    If you removed the means they enable them to breed, ie welfare, then perhaps these children would not be bought into the world. Recognizing that will never happen, then this is the next best option. Paying people not to have children, or at least less children.

  9. SPC says:

    Welfare/tax credits allowing low income people to breed is the ultimate target of the few outnumbered by the many.

  10. Anton Craig says:

    There’d be plenty of nats who’d be in favour of this too, but Garrett’s doing them a favour by looking extreme so that government can get away with just as damaging but slightly more palatable reform.

  11. Nicola Wood says:

    So stopping kids from buying unhealthy food is far too invasive an action for the State to take, but they can go ahead and alter people’s internal organs against their will?

    Mmmmmm liberty.

  12. Nicola Wood says:

    Ooops not against their will. My bad. But still!

  13. George says:

    This may not be the way to address the issue, but…

    What’s the general view on the suggestion being voiced around the blogs that too many unsuitable people are having too many children, and too many suitable people are either having too few or leaving it too late and ending up with none at all? And whether this presents a longer term problem or not? And if so what sort of measures should be adopted to address the issue?

  14. jennifer says:

    @ George, public executions used to draw a crowd, too. Maybe that’s next on the Garrett agenda? Anything for a bump in the polls?

  15. George says:

    @ Jennifer – don’t forget the public floggings as well. I’m sure they’d be popular as well… :-)

  16. millsy says:

    David Garrett and the ACT caucus seem to be permanently stuck in 1856.

  17. A Mother says:

    What I’m reading on the other blogs is disturbing so I’ve made myself stop reading them. Its all about how only low income families are abusers. What a load of.. (can’t write it as I don’t swear and I’ll be in trouble).

    Yes because we all know that child abuse only happens to people on low income! NOT.
    I know people who lived in abusive relationships due to the stigma of being on the benefit, hoping it would get better and the guys have been earning alot! Flash cars, no need to worry about money or food, trying to stick it out for this reason. They go on the benefit and they get lumped with solo parents must drink, and party and have no moral high ground. Sometimes these people have been together and going great, then a baby comes along and everything changes.

    I’m sick of the attitude that all solo parents just ‘breed’ for the money. Its an insult to these mothers who left in order to raise their children properly.

    I don’t think the govt can decide who has children or not. I cannot beleive NZ wants to go down that path!

    I’m too sensitive so must stop reading these other blogs. I end up losing sleep.

  18. Bea says:

    As someone has already said somewhere (please take credit), it does go against Act’s non-interfering small-government ethos. Although as Anton says, the contrast also makes National look that much more moderate. It even makes Rodney Hide look much more moderate. Even before this, though, Garrett had already proven he was deleted. Clare. He doesn’t have many groups of people left that he hasn’t been offensive to.

  19. Patrick Andersen says:

    I’m sure that if the sterilisation for cash thing did go ahead it would make for some riveting reality TV.

  20. Nathan Mills says:

    And yet, when you read Garrett’s post at , it seems fairly reasoned debate. (Once you get past the blatant unnecessary politicking of the second para.)
    Why he chose to shoot his mouth off today and ruin any possibility of it being taking seriously is completely beyond me. Dolt.

  21. Spud says:

    Bleep me that’s bad :-(

  22. Tracey says:

    George can you lay down some criteria for me regarding the suitable versus unsuitable person?

    Do we have a referendum to decide the criteria or leave that to whoever has cobbled together a majority? perhaps we just get Garth George to tell us, again, what makes a “good” citizen?

    Garrett needs to be careful what he asks for… remove all the low income labour from our future workforce and his capitalist pyramid will collapse.

    It is a nonsense to follow the biggest Scam of all time “The American Dream”. EVERYONE cannot become wealthy, the system doesn’t actually allow it.

    On the one hand National is moving us toward a dumbed down de-individualised, de-innovative education system designed to provide good fodder for low income jobs, yet Garrett proposes something to eliminate this pool entirely.

    No one wants people on the dole but we have a Reserve bank which to control inflation admits we cannot have full employment.

    I have no doubt there are some having babies to get more money, but really, let’s get real it’s no where near the majority.

    When I practised in a Queen St law firm a decade ago I was up against and at time asked to represent very middle class and upper class men who weren’t paying or didnt want to pay for their children… mainly because they had started a second family. Ought we to have sterilised these men when their first marriage ended or are they in george’s “suitable” category?

  23. Tracey says:

    As an aside, Garrett is described as “practicing” law in Tonga and New Zealand? I hope not, aren’t we paying him to work for us?

  24. George says:

    Tracey – When I deliberately used vague words like ‘suitable’ in my comment I didn’t have any clear definition of what they meant. I don’t presume to be able to define, on my own, who should procreate and who not.

    I certainly don’t intend to suggest that this is a poor vs rich issue. I grew up in a very poor environment myself and the vast majority of parents on our council estate were decent enough at the job (even if Sue Bradford might have disagreed with how they chose to keep us out of bother).

    BUT – I did hope to stimulate some exchange of ideas on whether society should encourage some people to raise children and discourage others.

    The awful statistics we see of kids abused to the point of death mask a reality that many others who don’t make the headlines are still forced to exist in the most appalling of conditions. Whilst our middle class sensibilities might lead us to be morally agnostic when looking over the fence I’d like to know whether contributors to this blog think that there’s ever a point where the ability to produce children should stop being seen as a human right.

    When this sort of topic makes the headlines there’s always a great deal of philosophical posturing (‘we don’t have the right to do this’, etc), but whilst this ‘feel good’ stance by the cosy and safe pontificators is adopted children are being forced to live in the most dreadful of situations. Is there ever a situation where it’s right to infringe the rights of some in order to protect those of others? Or do we have to just wait and see and hope?

  25. Tracey says:

    Thanks for the clarification George, much appreciated.

    I guess the issue can be seen as, and this is the nerve Garrett is touching, It might be a human right to have children, it’s not a human right to have others take care of them.

    Then we have to seperate the issue even further;

    What about a family of two adults and 4 children, conceived and initially raised in an income receiving home. Job is lost… how do we support that scenario but not the “baby farm” scenario.

    I think the problem (one of them) with Garrett’s proposal is that it presupposes the main reason people are NOT getting sterilised is they cannot afford it. I suspect this is an incredibly over-simplified and flawed view.

    For example, sterilisation is totally unnecessary if a man engaged in sexual intercourse wears a condom. Perhaps, rather than focusing on women having children to get on benefits and sterilising them we could focus on the far cheaper option of getting all men who dont want children or to have to bring them up to wear condoms. For some reason our society steers away from this kind of accountability and tends to focus on the women.

    The man who stands with his placard every week in Greenlane or Dominion Road, retirement aged gentleman. Thanks mum for not murdering me type thing… could he not equally be standing outside schools preaching responsibility and accountability to our young, soon to be fertile men?

    This is a multi facetted issue, we have, historically dealt with it, almost exclusively by focusing on women and womens actions.

    Yes they are left holding the baby… but just because the alternatives are more difficult to change doesnt mean we oughtn’t try. more of the same will get us more of the same.

    Sterlising women is major surgery,pretty invasive and hard to reverse. let’s also sterilise men (15 minutes at the mens clinic) and so on, let’s think more broadly than Mr Garrett

  26. Tracey says:

    I ought to add, I know Mr Garrett is talking about both parents being sterilised, but this is too simplistic, and like tougher sentencing only deals with the case in hand… it doesnt prevent the behaviour in someone else.

    Chris Kahui was found not guilty and not the sole caregiver of his children. Sterlisation?

  27. George says:

    I don’t know whether Mr Garrett was serious in his suggestions, but he’s certainly put the topic in the limelight, as it should be.

    I think that we all have an image in our minds of what an adequate parent is. (And mercifully a huge majority of parents fall into this category).

    I’m sure most of us also have a horror image in our heads of what a totally inadequate and unsuitable parent is.

    The problem is how to voice this in a meaninful way, and drawing the line at an appropriate place along the continuum. Yes, we are dealing with extremes and exceptions here, but as the result of our current failure is death and misery I think it’s a nettle we have to grasp. Whilst we ring our hands for fear of offending some sensibility or other kids die or exist in the worst possible conditions. For those of us who are parents and who know the utter dependence little ones have on us, and the absolute trust they give us, this is heartbreaking.

    Turning the issue into yet another battleground on which to fight the class war, or the gender conflict, doesn’t help to address the problem in the short term. Initiatives to get boys to wear condoms won’t address this particular problem, I fear. The responsible have been encouraged to do this since I was at school (I’m now in my 50s).

  28. Unpleasantly Odouriferous says:

    “Unpleasantly, what is both extreme and deeply offensive is people breeding as a means to get money with no account or responsibility for the lives they bring into the world.

    If you removed the means they enable them to breed, ie welfare, then perhaps these children would not be bought into the world. Recognizing that will never happen, then this is the next best option. Paying people not to have children, or at least less children.”

    Sweetd, To describe this as a cynical view is so inadequate. People have babies for a whole bunch of reasons. This might shock you, but disadvantaged people have feelings just like richer folk. I know this might be dazzling news…but poor folk aren’t entirely driven by simple economics. They have babies because they want to or they had unprotected sex or they want a family or…pick one of a million motivations. The suggestion that people have babies as some sort of money making venture is such a deeply misguided view that it’s hard to respond. If you can’t see that people’s motivations for having families are varied – regardless of wealth – then I guess you’re not in a space for argument. You’re simply asserting prejudice.

    Anyway, back to the core concept: I still can’t get over that most discussions end up focusing on the merits of this proposal rather than simply moving on to discussing more effective and less offensive ways of stopping inter-generational crime – which is, I think, what Garrett was getting at.

    Putting aside the moral arguments, sterilisation is just dumb policy. There are a 1000 better ideas-in fact, I’d say almost any other proposal is likely to be a better idea than this silly nonsense. So, I am struggling to understand why people are debating it as if it were a sensible notion. Let’s be clear: This idea of Garrett’s is just misguided stupidity. If he’s interested in stopping inter-generational crime and disadvantage then let’s talk about sensible policy proposals and stop pretending like this bigoted dribble is a worthy concept.

  29. Tracey says:


    It is debated because the only way to change the world view of those who treat it as a serious solution, is to lead them, gently, to other ways of viewing their world.


    “Turning the issue into yet another battleground on which to fight the class war, or the gender conflict, doesn’t help to address the problem in the short term. Initiatives to get boys to wear condoms won’t address this particular problem, I fear. The responsible have been encouraged to do this since I was at school (I’m now in my 50s).”

    You may see it as turning it into a gender issue, whereas I see it as looking at ways to solve a problem. Exactly what efforts have been made to get boys wearing condoms? How have you impressed on your boy/s their responsibility and consequences in this regard?

    I’m sick of people throwing up their hands and saying it wont/didnt work with boys, so we then abdicate, on their behalf, responsibility for their part in all this, put it in the too hard basket and get to work on changing women. Thats’ BS.

    For example, 75% of murderers (give or take) in our prisons are men. Violent offenses are dominated by Men. Ergo, we have a male violence problem. It’s not about creating gender conflict its about isolating the problem area to effectively address it.

    You might be very surprised what picture people have of reasonable parenting. The anti smacking debate illustrated perfectly that most parents believe the way they do it is the right way the best way for their children… including those doing it the allegedly bad/wrong way.

    If we look at a problem in a shallow way, surface only, we will keep addressing it in simple surface ways. This is what politicians do.

    people ahve to be prepared to look deeper and that includes sociological, behavioural, economic, opportunity, culture (yes some cultures revere family and have large families).

    One could argue that the ever decreasing number of children being born tot he middle classes is because of a corrolating increas ein greed and obsession with material possessions… if I have children I wont have as much stuff, trips, cars, nights out, fun, so I’ll delay or not bother.

    Many pacific peoples do not understand the apparent reluctance of pakeha to have and honour family for families sake.

    I think some people would be shocked to see how well many families in this country, with well in excess of 2.5 children, are run, served and catered for on bugger all income compared to some.

  30. Dorothy says:

    also the assumption (particularly in the rabid world of the blogosphere) that only poor people abuse their children is just plain WRONG.

  31. Mark says:

    What gets me is the people saying this is bad are protecting child abusers rights to have children (and then likely abuse them) and condenming children to a horrific life…

    also its being suggested it be voluntary…

    What is wrong with this country that good, common sense ideas are vilified?

  32. SPC says:

    Are convicted child abusers “free”, or sentenced? Are those in prison having children? Do we try and rehabilitate people before they are relaeased?

    I suspect that some people are using child abuser as a synonym for some profile of a portion of the underclass

    Are we really not debating the presumption that certain people fit the profile of perps and there should be some way of rpeventing them from breeding? Which is of course, a form of class warfare.

  33. Tracey says:

    Mark you need to read Mt Garrett’s blog, in it he suggests compulsory sterilsation. Do you genuinely believe that sterilising will rid this country of future child abusers in the making?

    For example the white middle/upper class man who downloaded 300,000 images of pornography, there is solid evidence that voyeurs of his ilk will escalate, and usually move on to real life children. If we sterilised him, would we be preventing child abuse? In fact we gave him a slap on the hand and name suppression. Can you imagine the kind of fevered obsession that needs 300,000 images?

    Can you imagine the numbers of children abused and lives wrecked amongst those 300,000 images.

    Sterilisation isn’t the answer because its question is wrong.