More on ‘Kiwi values’ and NZ First and MPs

One of the things to come out of the NZ First conference last weekend was a call for legislation to ensure immigrants comply with some vague ‘Kiwi values’. There was a distinct lack of enthusiasm for it from Labour, Greens and National, but they weren’t the voter demographic that NZ First would have been targeting.

Danyl Mclauchlan (The Spinoff):  Whistling on migration yet leaving migration high: what’s Winston playing at?

But here’s the thing about Peters’ perennial race-baiting – given airing most recently following a remit at the party’s 25th birthday over the weekend. He campaigns on the immigration issue every election, but Peters has been in the powerbroker position in government three times now, and each of those governments has seen very high levels of net migration of what his supporters and voters consider “the wrong sort” of people.

There are a few reasons for this. Most populist, anti-migrant politicians believe what they say about “our values” and “preserving our way of life”, and at least attempt to reduce migration when they get into office. Trump has his Muslim-ban; the conservatives have Brexit. But Peters’ statements about migrants appear to be as meaningful as so much else he says, ie nothing. It is useful for him to race-bait by grandstanding about immigration but never useful for him to ever do anything about the issue.

He could probably make the government reduce its intake of non-white migrants, if he was so inclined: we’ve just seen the passage of the waka-jumping bill; it appears that Peters can get Labour and the Greens to do pretty much anything. But so long as his voters and the true-believers in his party never figure out the nature of his MO there’s no incentive for him to act.

If Peters actually forced a significant reduction in immigration it would remove one of his campaign tools – attacking immigrants to attract votes from suckers.

…New Zealand First’s donors in the fishing and forestry sectors rely on high levels of migration to preserve a low-wage workforce working in high risk conditions. Maintaining those conditions is core business for Peters and Shane Jones. The people who pay for the party, who occupy the boardrooms of the fishing industry, are far more exacting than the suckers occupying the TV rooms of the retirement villages, who vote for it.

And talking about values, Andrea Vance (Stuff):  NZ First MP campaigning for ‘Kiwi values’ was ruled unfit to run a pub

The NZ First MP behind a “values” bill which could expel migrants was once judged unfit to run pubs because of his criminal record.

Clayton Mitchell wants new migrants to sign up to a cultural “code of conduct” that includes a commitment not to campaign against the legality of alcohol.

Mitchell is a former publican – but his licence to run a bar was cancelled after a series of incidents. They included a suspended prison sentence for assault – which a judge called an act of serious violence – and a dangerous driving conviction.

Two years later, Mitchell won back his certificate –  supported by a reference from former police officer Brad Shipton, who was subsequently disgraced over a rape conviction.

Those values have been under a lot of criticism lately, with #meto and the controversy over the appointment of Wally Haumata as Deputy Police Commissioner – Haumata has what looks like close links with Peters and another NZ First MP, Fletcher Tabuteau.

A couple of ex-MPs joined the discussion on Twitter:


Perhaps we need better vetting of the values of party list MPs before we worry too much about immigrants.

Oh, and talking of MP values, this is what Mitchell said when informed Vance was investigating his past:

The second term MP initially didn’t want to be interviewed by Stuff. “Is this one of your dirty little stories? You better get your facts right, because I tell you what, you better get your facts right or you’ll get yourself in a hell of a lot of trouble,” he said.

Taht sort of threat ois more likely to get Mitchell in trouble, but that’s unlikely with Peters who often attacks and threatens journalists.

Vance hopefully got these facts right.

In a subsequent response to emailed questions, however, he acknowledged:

* A conviction of assault with intent to injure in what a judge described as an “act of serious violence on your part.”
* A conviction for dangerous driving.
* A conviction for a “lock-in” at one of his bars – allowing customers to drink outside of the licensed hours.

They came from Mitchell so they should be accurate.



Garrett condemns ‘manifestly unjust’, others condemn 3 strikes

In a guest post at Kiwiblog the person largely behind the three strikes legislation, David Garrett, condemns the way the legislation has been used in practice – Guest Post: David Garrett on manifestly unjust

The “unless it is manifestly unjust” out clause was insisted on by National as its price for agreeing to support the 3S law in the first place – without that, we would not have a 3S law at all. That notwithstanding, I now feel something of a dupe for recommending to the ACT caucus that we agree to it.

It was intended to be something that was very rarely used; we never envisaged it being applied in every case  of murder – all eight of them – which have now  come before the court as a second or third strike.

I spoke at every stage of  3S  passing through parliament, and numerous times during the Committee of the Whole stage.  The issue of the “disproportionality” of 3S sentences was raised numerous times by the Labour Party; it was raised and responded to  so often I wondered if they were simpletons.

I made it clear that disproportionality was the whole point of the 3S regime; it was intended  that consequences get exponentially worse for repeat offenders.  At no stage did any of the National Party speakers on the  Bill  suggest that “…or grossly disproportionate” ought to be explicitly added to, or implicitly understood to be included in, the “manifestly unjust” proviso.

The Judges of the Court of Appeal have  not only thwarted the clear will of parliament, but have inserted words into a definition that are not there, and were never intended to be there. In my view, this is nothing less than a constitutional outrage, and if it were occurring regarding a law passed by a government of  the left, there would be loud protests in the street.

Our constitution is very clear: the laws are made on one side of Molesworth Street, in parliament, and ultimately applied on the other side of the street in the Court of Appeal. Because the Judges of the Court of Appeal don’t like the 3S regime, they have rewritten it. That is nothing short of a disgrace.

Is it that the Judges of the Court of Appeal ‘don’t like the 3S regime, or that they don’t like it when use of three strikes is manifestly unjust?

I have seen in sentence appeal judgments that judges go to great lengths to ensure sentences are similar in like crimes with like criminals.

Perhaps the 3 strikes law is too prescriptive and doesn’t take into account the many factors that determine sentences.

Greg Newbold at Newstalk ZB: Three strike rule unfair – expert

Canterbury University professor Greg Newbold says when the law was introduced it was thought this provision would be used sparingly, not in every case.

“The judges are interpreting the law very liberally. The judges effectively are saying the law itself is manifestly unjust and they are refusing to apply it.”

He says judges’ refusal to apply the three strikes law proves it should never have been introduced in the first place.

“It was a ridiculous rule to start off with it. It made no sense, it’s full of flaws, it’s completely inconsistent with the principles of justice.”

Meanwhile National promises to bring back three strikes and reverse any bail or sentencing changes

National says it will reinstate the three-strikes rule if it gets into power and reverse any changes the Government makes to bail or sentencing laws.

National’s justice spokesman Mark Mitchell said today that if his party was in Government in 2020 it would reverse the repeal of the three-strikes regime.

It would also reverse any changes to sentencing and bail laws “which will see more serious, violent offenders on the street”.

And in social media National MPs and supporters are trying to blame Little and the Government in advance for any crime committed by someone on bail or released from prison on parole.

It looks like crime and punishment will continue to be a populist political football.

ODT: Law changes a risk and challenge

The rapid rise in prison numbers follows 30 years of public policy-making and the public calling for tougher sentences, which Mr Little believes has criminalised behaviour.

One of the major challenges is to change public attitudes, saying what has been happening for 30 years in criminal justice reform is not working. Violent offending is increasing.

Fortunately, Mr Little is proving to be one of the more successful ministers in the Labour-led Government and he will not be bowed by the criticism already coming his way from many angles.

However, the minister needs to allay public concerns when it comes to easing bail laws and sentencing options. Law and order always features highly on any poll of public concerns, despite being part of a society based on fairness and equality.

No-one wants sexual offenders and murderers running around their suburbs and that is the issue Mr Little will have to address. It will only take one serious crime by someone on home detention or on bail for his opponents to start howling at the moon.

Denials the Government is going soft on crime will sound empty at that time.

Little is going to manage any changes carefully. There will always be horrific crimes committed that could have been prevented if criminals and alleged criminals remained locked up. And there will always be people prepared to use crime and punishment as a political weapon.

Complaint against David Garrett/Kiwiblog


Tanya Toailoa says the guest post is inflammatory, racist and irresponsible. She notes that assertions made by the piece are factually wrong i.e. that all Samoans and Tongans hate each other; and that they all are aware of historical reasons for Tongan/Samoan enmity.

Mr Farrar says his offer of a right of reply to the complainant was the appropriate response to the complaint; and believes agreeing to the complainant’s request for removal of the article would have a chilling effect on the ability of publications to allow strong opinions to be expressed.

Mr Garrett’s guest post is unpleasant, grossly exaggerated and provocative for many readers and possibly intended to be so.

The complaint is not upheld, dissenting from this decision.


CASE NO: 2639





On 8 November 2017 the online commentary site Kiwiblog published a contribution by David Garrett headed “Guest Post: Pasifika is Bollocks”. The post was made after the recent Tongan/Samoan rugby match and the associated public disturbances including fighting between Tongans and Samoans, as reported in the media.  Among other points made, the guest post stated “Samoans and Tongans hate each other with a vengeance”. It also claimed the recent events described above disproved the implications of the term “Pasifika”, i.e. that underneath cultural differences, Pacific Islands people are all one big happy family.

The Complaint

Tanya Toailoa says the guest post is inflammatory, racist and irresponsible. She notes that assertions made by the piece are factually wrong i.e. that all Samoans and Tongans hate each other; and that they all are aware of historical reasons for Tongan/Samoan enmity. She does not accept that the article is acceptable, is fair comment or ‘just an opinion’. She wants the article removed from the site. The complainant cites two Press Council Principles: Comment and Fact; Discrimination and Diversity.

The Response

David Farrar, editor of Kiwiblog, says that from time to time he publishes guest posts offering a variety of points of view. This does not mean he, as editor, agrees with all the opinions expressed, as in this case.

He responds that in relation to Principle 4, Mr Garrett’s article is clearly an opinion piece, and that no reasonable person could regard his assertions as factual. Principle 7 provides that race is a legitimate subject for discussion where relevant, and the context of the piece was extensive media coverage of Tongan/Samoan disturbances.

Mr Farrar says his offer of a right of reply to the complainant was the appropriate response to the complaint; and believes agreeing to the complainant’s request for removal of the article would have a chilling effect on the ability of publications to allow strong opinions to be expressed.

Discussion and Decision

A search of the Internet reveals that there are traditional stories of past Tongan and Samoan rivalry, and unverified accounts of recent incidents, including some involving rugby matches. Apart from that is hard to find a basis for Mr Garrett’s surprising claim that Tongans and Samoans hate each other. In fact he contradicts himself by noting “you would never know it at pan-pacific gatherings – at least until cocktail hour”. Mr Garrett’s guest post is unpleasant, grossly exaggerated and provocative for many readers and possibly intended to be so. It is not surprising that many people commented online about the guest post, both positively and negatively.

Sporting events worldwide can provide an emotional environment where racial prejudices are revealed and unruly behaviour occurs. The Press Council believes the media are entitled to report these occurrences, and commentators to express their opinions. The complainant certainly has a legitimate contrary opinion to Mr Garrett. She has been given the opportunity to express that in a balancing Kiwiblog opinion piece, but has to date not taken that up.

On Principle 4, Comment and Fact, the Council believes the article is an opinion piece and marked as such by the heading “Guest Post”. The contentious statements in the guest post are assertions, and we accept the editor’s submission that they are clearly Mr Garrett’s opinions. The facts of the historical basis and recent history of Tongan/Samoan rivalry are publicly (although perhaps not widely) known and do not appear to be contested.

The Press Council Principle 7 notes that issues of race are legitimate subjects for discussion where relevant.  In this case Samoan/Tongan sporting rivalry was an essential part of the news story sparking the opinion piece. Given this context, we consider that dealing with the Tongan/Samoan issue in an opinion piece could not be considered gratuitous emphasis on race.

The complaint is not upheld, with one member Hank Schouten dissenting from this decision.

Press Council members considering this complaint were Sir John Hansen, Liz Brown, Jo Cribb, Tiumalu Peter Fa’afiu, John Roughan, Hank Schouten, Marie Shroff, Christina Tay and Tim Watkin.

Also posted at Kiwiblog: Press Council decision on complaint against Kiwiblog


3 strikes law aimed to protect

David Farrar at Kiwiblog writes in A third strike on the recent sentencing where a man who grabbed a female prison guard by the bum was given a maximum seven year sentence but the judge used the ‘manifestly unjust’ provision to remove the ‘no parole’ requirement.

I have no problem with this sentence. A third strike is not just about the most recent offence but also the previous offences. He seems an unrepentant criminal and we’re safer with him in prison – even if the prison officers are not.

The purpose of is a deterrent, and this case should act as one.

But in comments the architect of the 3 strikes law, David Garrett, says that victim protection was the primary purpose.

The PRIMARY purpose of 3S was always to protect victims – deterrence was and remains a secondary purpose…if it occurs, that’s a bonus.

This guy is now in jail for about three times as long as he otherwise would have been but for 3S…the public is therefore protected from him for at least three times longer.

If his lawyer (who I know well) is correct in his view, this sentence is a real game changer for him and he will not reoffend when he is released. If he does, and it is his preferred crime of robbery or aggravated robbery, it is back to jail for him for seven or 14 years respectively.

The 3 strikes law was also supposed to keep ‘the worst of the worst’ criminals off the street, but that is not the case here.

When he committed his third strike offence while in prison Campbell had been serving a 3 year, 5 month sentence for an aggravated robbery, after being convicted in April 2014 and getting his second strike warning. His first strike conviction was for robbery and demanding to steal in 2013.

Garrett also said he was “quite comfortable” with the judge using the ‘manifestly unjust’ provision.

But let me put on record that I am quite comfortable with the Judge’s exercise of the “manifestly unjust” proviso in this case: this is exactly the kind of case it was designed for. No-one – least of all me – would be comfortable about seven years for what is unquestionably a low level indecent assault.

So Garrett agrees that in this case a maximum sentence with no parole for a low level indecent assault would have been manifestly unjust.

This is the first time a third strike sentence has been given. Time will tell whether ‘manifestly unjust’ is the except or the norm.

All of that said, the following must also be taken into account – things the MSM strangely didn’t mention: Campbell has a number of non strike violent offences to his name, including being found with a knife in a public place without lawful purpose; his first two strikes were robbery and aggravated robbery respectively, the second committed while he was on parole for the first; a probation officer assessed him as a person whose violence is growing worse, and portrays him as a real risk to society.

Lastly, as I said on Nat Rad yesterday, the Judge’s remarks actually neatly underline why the law was necessary in the first place. The Judge said that absent 3S, Campbell would have got 12 months at most. The Sentencing Act automatically reduces that sentence to six months, with parole at one third, i.e two months.

I believe the public were and remain sick of violent offenders getting two months in jail; the proverbial slap on the hand with as wet bus ticket. Most people – when they know the full facts of this case – will be quite happy with the sentence.

I don’t know about ‘most people’ but the judge was obviously quite unhappy with the sentence he was required to give. The legal fraternity in general seems to be unhappy with the law and with this sentence.

Law professor Andrew Geddis wrote in Three strikes and you still get out at Pundit:

New Zealand has had a “three strikes” sentencing regime in place for some six years now. It was controversial when introduced. It’s effectiveness is the subject of some debate (I urge people to read Warren Brookbanks’ excellent Greg King Memorial Lecture Paper here). But what is indisputable, I think, is that the judiciary really, really doesn’t like it.

The Brookbanks lecture is worth reading.

But Garrett took a swipe at Geddis:

Geddis’ piece is disingenuous as usual: Unless Campbell really acts up in jail, he won’t serve anything like seven years – he is eligible for parole in two years three months, so is likely to be out in three years at most.

Secondly, Geddis seems to think no-one can be a victim of a crime committed inside jail (read the piece)…The victim in this case was a lowly paid female Corrections Officer who remains badly affected by what happened, and had time off work as a result of it.

The victim said she hoped that the court would rule non-parole as manifestly unjust. From the victim impact statement:

[11] About three weeks after the assault, the victim provided a victim impact statement. She said she felt angry, frustrated and totally degraded by the offending. She had been left feeling vulnerable and uneasy when performing her work duties.

[12] When speaking to the pre-sentence report writer recently, the victim stated that she hoped the Court would allow you the opportunity for parole as you are young and need help. She said you do not grasp appropriate relationship boundaries and she would like to see you offered assistance.

It will probably some time before we get a number of third strike sentences on which we can judge how the 3 strikes law works out in practice – it can be presumed that the worst of the worst criminals will have lengthy first and second strike sentences so unless the offending happens in prison (as in this case) the worst won’t be out and able to offend again quickly.

So it is likely to remain a contentious and unproven law for some time.

Key points from the sentencing on this case: Third strike sentence “grossly disproportionate”

Full decision:

Life Without Parole appeal

Last week the Court of Appeal ruled against the Crown in two cases involving the 3 strikes legislation.

Court of Appeal Judgment R v Harrison and R v Turner

The Court of Appeal media release aimed at assisting understanding of the judgment:


R v JUSTIN VANCE TURNER (CA114/2015) [2016]


This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document.

The Court of Appeal has today dismissed the Solicitor-General’s appeal against sentence in the case of Shane Harrison but allowed the appeal against sentence in the case of Justin Turner in part, increasing the minimum period of imprisonment of his life sentence to 17 years.

These appeals were the first to challenge the application of s 86E of the Sentencing Act 2002, part of the so-called “three strikes” legislation. Section 86E requires a person convicted of murder after committing a “serious violent offence” (a “stage-1 offence”) to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, unless that would be manifestly unjust. In the High Court the sentencing judges, Mallon and Woolford JJ respectively, found it would be manifestly unjust to sentence Mr Harrison and Mr Turner to a whole of life sentence. A Full Court of the Court of Appeal has agreed with this conclusion.

The crux of the appeals turned on the meaning of “manifestly unjust”. The Solicitor-General contended that manifest injustice would be established in rare and exceptional circumstances only such that the exception was a very narrow one. Section 86E created a statutory presumption that there should be a higher level of punishment for repeat violent offenders, irrespective of their actual culpability. This was the basic rationale behind the three-strikes regime. The Solicitor-General accepted that the manifestly unjust exception involved a 2 judicial discretion to ensure that the presumption in s 86E did not infringe s 9 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 — the right not to be subjected to disproportionately severe treatment or punishment.

The Court of Appeal considered the likelihood of grossly disproportionate sentences arising from the application of s 86E to be high. A key reason included the breadth of the qualifying catchment, namely a previous conviction for a “serious violent offence”. The offences within that definition number 40 and are extremely wide-ranging, producing an infinite range of circumstances of offending.

The consequences of the application of a whole of life sentence also contributed to the potential for gross disproportionality. Such a sentence provides no opportunity for review. For a sample of actual murder cases from 2009–2010, the length of time spent in prison, on average, was calculated to be upwards of 35 years, significantly longer than an offender sentenced for murder would usually serve.

Given the high likelihood of a sentence imposed under s 86E being grossly disproportionate, the Court concluded that the meaning of “manifestly unjust” must be interpreted broadly. Its application requires an intensely factual consideration of the circumstances of the offending and the offender, including: the sentence that would otherwise be appropriate for this offending, the consequences of a whole of life sentence, the actual culpability of the offending and the risk posed by the offender. Ultimately, the judicial approach to the scope of the manifestly unjust exception is intended to avoid wholly disproportionate sentencing outcomes.

Applying this approach to Mr Harrison’s and Mr Turner’s cases, the Court agreed it would be manifestly unjust to impose a sentence of life imprisonment without parole in each case. For Mr Harrison, the Court agreed with Mallon J that the low culpability of Mr Harrison’s stage-1 offence, together with his attempts to rehabilitate, his age and the views of the victim’s family, would have made a whole of life sentence grossly disproportionate. The Court also noted that Mr Harrison was only a secondary party to the murder.

In Mr Turner’s case, the Court concluded that although the circumstances of his offending were brutal, his age, guilty plea and mental health difficulties culminated to make a whole of life sentence grossly disproportionate. However, the Court agreed with the Solicitor-General that the appropriate minimum period of imprisonment was 17 years rather than 15 years as imposed by Woolford J.

Mr Harrison and Mr Turner also sought a declaration of inconsistency with the Bill of Rights Act, contending both s 9 and s 22 were breached by s 86E of the Sentencing Act. The Court declined such a declaration on the basis that a rights-consistent interpretation of s 86E was possible. The Court noted, however, that if the manifestly unjust safeguard did not operate to prevent gross disproportionality, this could be addressed at a later time.

As an ACT MP David Garrett was the driving force behind the 3 strikes legislation. He responds to this decision in detail in a guest post at Kiwiblog: Guest Post: Appeal Court refuses to apply LWOP


INCITE review

The first newsletter from INCITE: Politics, edited by Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater, ws distributed yesterday. It has been promoted on Whale Oil and on Kiwiblog.

Whale Oil gave a summary of content. I’ll give some of my impressions.

In short it may be of interest to people keen on the machinations of politics but at $35 per newsletter the market may be limited.

Little in trouble – David Farrar writes about the fundamental problem for Andrew Little, his negative approval rating, and contrasts it with the very popular John Key.

This is backed by some interesting poll results but from a barely adequate 500 sample size, as shown by this.

M.E. = margin of error.

Farrar doesn’t provide any details of margin of error, polling method, polling period.

The Route to Victory – Simon Lusk considers the potential routes to victory and the relative institutional strengths of both the Labour and the National parties in the 2017 election.

Interesting but fundamental politics. Labour’s problems with fundraising have been well known for years. Little you wouldn’t see in public commentary.

Ten Questions – Winston Peters takes the time to give some thoughtful answers to some important political questions.

Peters sounds typically cagey, not much revealed here.

Politician of the Year – Review our choice for the inaugural INCITE: Politics Politician of the year.

Awarding this to Winston Peters seems funny, having got him to answer some questions. Sure Peters pull off a by-election heist but doesn’t seem to have built on that.

The Advent of the Media Party – Cam Slater writes about why the media have moved from neutral, dispassionate observers to players in the political game, and why the public no longer trusts them.

This is a continuation of a series of posts at Whale Oil that includes swipes at Dirty Politics, Nickey hager and Kim Dotcom so it’s more same old rant than revelation.

I don’t think it’s just in “recent years” that media have decided to engage in political activity.

Pundits & Media –  Cam Slater’s view on the New Zealand media, with a counter view from Simon Lusk.   

Little that he hasn’t been saying over and over on Whale Oil.

The Grey Economy – Carrick Graham writes about the massive amounts of taxpayer money that goes to nanny state promoting NGOs.

Interesting and informed comment.

How to win at Politics – Cam Slater builds a case for the need for politics to be meritocratic.

Slater dissing MPs he has slated on Whale Oil and promoting others  is a real problem, given that it’s known that Slater has promoted some MPs and attacked others for payment.

Maori Politics – Willie Jackson makes observations about the future of the Maori Seats, and whether the Maori Party can regain the seats it lost in 2014.

A bit of insight from a Maori perspective but little more than personal commentary.

Future Contenders – Simon Lusk explains the election process for Labour & National party leaders, providing background for a future series of articles on aspiring Prime Ministers and Leaders.

Mostly well known information with a small bit of commentary.

Sex Offenders –  David Garrett from the Sensible Sentencing Trust discusses how the justice system is still skewed towards the rights of sex offenders, not victims.

This looks odd in the mix promoting some policy by someone who doesn’t seem to have much say in party policy any more.

Local Politician of the Year – We have two contenders and people may be surprised by our choices.

Interesting but just commentary on the past year, which is funny given Slater’s comments promoting INCITE two days ago:

Firstly this report and the coming monthly reports are a bit different. All the contributors in the first issue and contributors in coming issues have signed up to deliver their thoughts in this report because it is going to be different. We are going to be forward looking not backwards looking. Have a look at all the political commentary since parliament rose for the break. It is all about what happened in the past year and nothing at all about what should happen.

There’s nothing wrong with looking back, as INCITE does naming  Politician of the Year and Local Government Politician of the Year, but Slater looks silly here.

Recommendations: Book, Podcast, Video & Web Site recommendations for those serious about politics.

Could be of interest to some people.

Another section called Dirty Rat is half a dozen snippets of political gossip without naming anyone. This seems odd.

Overall there’s some interesting sections in INCITE but it also seems to be an extension of Slater’s posts at Whale Oil that dtreact more than add value.

Spme will be happy to pay for this. Most probably won’t.

Garrett, intolerance and ACT

One of the things David Garrett is best known for is his successful championing of the Three Strikes legislation as an ACT MP.

I don’t know if he is still associated with the ACT Party but I presume his anti-Muslim (immigration and population proportion) views – see Garrett on 2% Muslims and immigration – have nothing to do with ACT.

Garrett’s wish to halt all immigration of Muslims and limit them to less than 2% of the New Zealand population appear to contrast significantly with ACT principles that include:

Our vision

  • A free society: free trade, free speech, and personal and religious freedom
  • A nation that values personal responsibility, tolerance, civility and compassion

ACT is committed to:

  • Unleash the creativity, energy and enthusiasm of New Zealanders by removing petty regulation…
  • Safe communities through effective policing, with rehabilitation for young offenders but uncompromising sentencing for repeat and violent offenders

Credit to Garrett for “uncompromising sentencing for repeat and violent offenders” .

Our History and Values

The ACT Party was founded upon those traditional classical liberal principles which are the basis of a free and prosperous community: the suite of fundamental freedoms which include free trade and free speech, limited government, the rule of law and secure property rights.

But that is not enough. We also need a strong engagement with the values of civic society, which include honesty, compassion, enterprise, community service, personal responsibility, tolerance and civility.

Many of the ACT principles seem to be absent from Garrett’s proposal to restict immigration and population numbers based on religious beliefs.

I personally don’t have religious beliefs but I oppose discrimination based on anyone’s religious beliefs. Much like ACT by the look of their principles.

Repeating thje first of ACT’s principles:

  • A free society: free trade, free speech, and personal and religious freedom


A response to Garrett’s 2% doctrine

David (Three Strikes) Garrett has a guest post at Kiwiblog that has received a lot of support there but also raised some important questions in opposition to his claims and call for an immediate stop to immigration of Muslims.

See Garrett on 2% Muslims and immigration (here) and Guest Post: David Garrett on A case for immediate cessation of all Muslim immigration (Kiwiblog).

Some commenters at Kiwiblog responded to Garrett’s call for taking measures to stop Muslims from reaching 2% of the New Zealand population (they are currently about 1.2%).


What do we lose by stopping Muslim immigration right now? My argument is that we lose absolutely nothing of value.


The knowledge, certainty and example that we are a non-sectarian nation that judges people on their actions, instead of their colour, creed…or religion. A piece of us dies if we compromise on that.

Ryan Sproull:

Another way to put it would to simply say: we would lose our democracy.

Jack responded:

Kimbo, Sproull, and RRM in posts above suggest that blocking Islamic immigration might end our democracy.

On the other hand, admitting a flow of people who hate our Western democracy, might be more likely to end it.

Sproull expanded on his point:

Well, blocking immigration would end our democracy, by definition. We would immediately change from a country that discriminates only based on deeds to one that discriminates based on thoughts.

It’s true that admitting a flow of people who hate democracy might end it, but stopping them includes both blocking theocratic Muslim extremists AND people who look like they might want to block immigration based on religion.


I mean, really, if you take freedom of thought and freedom of religion as essential to democracy, what we have here is a public declaration by David Garrett that he recommends destroying democracy in New Zealand.

Is there some sort of watch list he should be on? I know he hasn’t actually done anything, just thought it, but we can’t afford to be politically correct about this stuff.


I think that if a democracy had tried to prevent Nazi immigration by blocking all Protestants, it would no longer have been a democracy.

Of course, that’s only an argument against religious discrimination if you think that freedom of religion/thought is essential to democracy, and/or if you think that democracy is worthwhile. It could be that democracy with freedom of religion/thought simply can’t exist, because it can’t protect itself from insidious immigration threats, and so some new kind of government must be adopted – a infidelocracy.


Then there’s the problem with people who are born in New Zealand, or non-Muslim immigrants, who become Muslim while in New Zealand, perhaps after accessing information about Islam on the internet.

I’m sure that can be sorted with a combination of strong government controls on access to Islamic websites, and a state advertising campaign reminding New Zealand citizens that a strong infidelocracy requires that good citizens report any friends or acquaintances that start acting a bit Muslimy.


Good point, Ryan. Assuming we stop all Muslim immigration, what would we do about the one already here, including the extra dangerous unborn generations? The Eurabia-type theories hold that they will outbreed the locals, so DG’s magic 2% limit might still e breached.
We would have to deport any Muslim and prohibit those beliefs to be sure that our liberal democracy was secure.


Firstly, it’s our infidelocracy, since by that point we will have lost the right to call ourselves a liberal democracy.

Secondly, yes, you’re absolutely right. In addition to the tactics I’ve already suggested, we can also:

* Offer $5000 to any Muslim willing to be surgically sterilised
* After a Muslim family has two children, if they get pregnant again, their extra children can be rehomed to be raised by normal families
* Heavily fund evangelists from non-Muslim religions to get to work converting Muslims
* Start offering cash payouts to non-Muslims willing to give birth to and raise non-Muslim children
* Make sure that all Muslims register as Muslims in a national database so that we can keep track of the Muslim:Citizen ratio (with a maximum of 1:50)

These efforts, in addition to carefully censoring the nation’s internet and giving teachers and citizens the tools necessary to spot and report unregistered Muslims, will ensure that we never reach that dreaded tipping point.


Ryan: Have you done a family tree at all? Don’t have a chap called Chamberlain in there somewhere??

Garrett lauded Churchill in his post, which began:

I had just finished Volume I of Sir Winston Churchill’s WW II memoirs, “The Gathering Storm”, which covers his period in the political wilderness in the 1930’s. In developing my argument with my friend’s wife, I saw striking parallels with where we are now with regard to Muslim , and the position of Western Europe during the latter 1930’s.

Perhaps Garrett wants the ANZACs to follow Churchill’s example and follow Britain into another Muslim state attack in the Dardanelles. 2% of Turks might still be a threat.

I don’t understand what parallel Garrett is alluding to.

Germany discriminated against people because of their religious beliefs. Quite drastically. Many Jewish refugees tried to escape to safety. There were no blogs in the 1930s but there may have been Garrett predecessors warning New Zealand about the dangers of 2% of Jews, or communists, or homosexuals, or Gypsies, or any of the groups persecuted and executed by the Nazis.

Garrett doesn’t want to provide any refuge in New Zealand for people trying to escape being bombed by the Syrian government or beheaded by ISIS, so he can live comfortably with his prejudices.

I hope that we don’t get anywhere near 2% of Garrettites in New Zealand but I don’t think we should ban them from running restaurants here.

Garretts and Muslims shoukld have equal rights to speak and live here.

Garrett on 2% Muslims and immigration

David (Three Strikes) Garrett has a guest post at Kiwiblog that has received a lot of support there but also raised some important issues about his  call for an immediate stop to immigration of Muslims.

Guest Post: David Garrett on A case for immediate cessation of all Muslim immigration

It is really very simple. Every western country which has allowed its Muslim population to exceed 2% has experienced problems generated by that community – or at least arising because of their presence within those societies. The severity of the “problems” appears directly related to the proportion of Muslims in any given western society.

In Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden – and now Australia – there have been civil disturbances which can be directly linked to the presence of a sizeable Muslim community. Those disturbances range from harassment of women dressed “immodestly” at the low end, to mass murder – most recently in France – at the other.

Garrett and others have brought up the 2% (or some number plucked out of I’m not sure where) threshold. I haven’t seen research that backs it up.

When New Zealand has allowed it’s ACT supporter population to speak freely it has threatened intolerance and civil disturbance (actually that’s probably unfair on ACT, I doubt that David Seymour would go anywhere near supporting Garrett’s case.

I have asked the question many times – on this very blog and in my life in the real world – “why would our experience of allowing a Muslim population to develop above 2% be any different from that of all other western countries’?”  The usual response is that there is no evidence of anything bad happening here. The response to that non-argument is of  course “not yet – we  have not yet reached what appears to be  the tipping point of 2%”.

Garrett went all Godwin.

I truly believe we are, in a very real sense, in exactly the position Western Europe was in the  early 1930’s. The prevailing sentiment among both  the political elites  and the population of Britain at large was then, as ours is  now, one of tolerance, or at least wilful blindness to the dangers posed by the rising tide of fascism in Germany. It is important to be reminded that the very word “fascism” had none of the pejorative connotations in 1933 that it most definitely carried ten years later.

If I recall correctly Hitler’s fascist state tried to drive out and exterminate one particular religious group.

Our rulers and the political elites seem blandly unconcerned about Muslim immigration into our country, and deride people like me who warn of the possible consequences of it. I recently received a letter from the colourless Minister of Immigration in response to my letter expressing concern. The Hon. Minister tartly informed me that: “New Zealand does not select [immigrants] on the basis of race or religion.” How utterly un-reassuring. One can almost see the rolling eyes of the 22 year old staffer drafting a reply  to “another crack pot”. The letter did not even warrant the Minister’s signature.

That doesn’t sound like a tart response from the Minister of Immigration.  It sounds like a very basic tenet of a decent democratic country.

Why act now?

Again it is very simple – if we don’t act now, it will be too late if doomsayers like me are right. We are endlessly lectured by the greenies about “tipping points”; that if this or that greenhouse gas emission is not reduced to some unfeasible level  by next week,  unstoppable catastrophic climate change will ensue. Once it has happened, we are told, it will be too late to reverse it.

Well, I know very little about climate change, but simple logic tells me that if I am right about the dire effects of a Muslim population above 2%, it will be impossible to do anything about it. The reason is again simple. We have 50,000 odd Muslims now, a bit more than 1% of our population. There are nowhere near enough of them to cause any significant trouble – yet.

Even if we closed our borders to all of the Muslim faith immediately  – I would go further than that, and exclude all  immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries – we could not stop the ones we already have from multiplying. Given their greater birthrate, it is a certainty that in 10 or perhaps 20 years at the most, we will have a Muslim population well above the crucial tipping point of 2%.

He repeats the ‘tipping point’ of 2%.  “But simple logic tells me that if I am right about the dire effects of a Muslim population above 2%” – is a claim without logic and especially without anything solid to back it up.

What do we lose by stopping Muslim immigration right now? My argument is that we lose absolutely nothing of value. Unlike the vibrant communities which have developed from our South East Asian immigrants – which by and large have had overwhelmingly positive effects on our society – there is nothing from overseas experience which suggests there is anything of value to be gained from having communities of stern bearded men and their subjucated women among us. And that’s assuming none of them are or could be  terrorists.

We lose a significant moral position for a start.

And Garrett’s stereotype of one a half billion Muslims shows the depth of his argument – his post is shallow, dangerous prejudice.

And he seems ignorant of the fact that many Muslim immigrants and students come from South East Asia, and the Pacific (Fiji).

I can do without that, thanks very much. I much prefer that my beautiful daughter is allowed to go to the beach wearing whatever she likes, and that my son isn’t influenced by people who think his wife should also be his servant. Muslim immigrants are a very real threat to our way of life. We should not take one more of them.

Garrett’s daughter can go to the beach wearing almost anything she likes – but on most beaches it would be recommended she wear something, we do have some basic codes of dress in New Zealand.

Intolerant and inciteful people like Garrett are a threat to our way of life, even if they are allowed to breed to beyond 0.2% of the population.

David Farrar makes it clear “For the avoidance of doubt, the post is the opinion of the author, not of Kiwiblog. Kiwiblog accepts guest posts, even when I disagree with the views in them.”

One comment well down the thread, by Inthisdress:

Mr. David Farrar. I address this to you because let’s face it Mr Garrett is hardly the sharpest tool in the box, and I’d hate to feed his delusive Churchill-complex, by coming across like a appeaser.

I’ve seen some pretty low stuff on blogs before today. I must admit I always thought that when it came to puerile bigotry that The Standard pretty much had cornered the market.

But seriously, for a blog started by an immigrant, of such mixed heritage, given the troubled history and outright barbarism meted out to a religious group, simply justified on the basis of their religion, mind, by derelict politicians hell-bent on reclaiming their careers on the backs of human suffering, well this just takes the biscuit.

Are there any other examples of ‘wilderness years’ politicians capitalising on ignorant prejudices to inflame populist opinion for little more than their own gratification. Think! There must be some examples we can draw from.

To allow a misguided individual, who frankly strikes me as someone in love with the sound of his own ego, to pass off a fictitious scenario based on a dinner party conversation, in which he proposes what is essentially hate-speech backed up with some unproven anecdotal statistic, is an unnecessary, destructive act.

Then to throw a natty little disclaimer at the end as if you are doing us a favour and making some kind of stand for ‘free speech’ Cowardly, at best, borderline sociopathic at worst..

There does seem to be some ego involved in Garrett’s post, he congratulates himself several times in comments.

But I disagree with Inthisdress as much as I disagree with Garrett. If Garrett had asked me to post his 2% of intolerance I would have posted it, as he has as much right to write in New Zealand as any Muslim.

I don’t support the religion of Islam in any way, it has never appealed to me. But I support the basic right of Muslims (or Hindus or Jews or anyone) not to be prejudiced against in New Zealand simply because of their religious beliefs.

We should do all we can to exclude potential terrorists from emigrating here, but checks on that should not be based on religion.

The next post responds more to the Garrett 2% doctrine:

A response to Garrett’s 2% doctrine

Dear Greg

There’s some strange things out there.

Strange that David Garrett has taken to comment at The Standard:

I understand this is The Standard’s equivalent of “General Debate” (one of your many moderators will no doubt correct me if I’m wrong…wouldnt want to break any rules) wherein one may discuss any topic….

I was most interested in a post over at my usual haunt which quotes Chris Trotter opining that Labour is “finished”…I was even more interested in reading what the Standardistas thought about his view…Imagine my surprise when I checked over here and found…nothing! A deafening silence…

I wonder why? I understand Trotter published his piece on Friday, 72 hours or more ago. Has Trotter been banned here? Are the Politburo still meeting to decide what the appropriate response is?

Can someone help me out?….Thanks very much in anticipation.

And a strange response from Greg Presland:

Dear David

Reports of Labour’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

With the party polling at 31% things could improve.

It always amuses me when people such as yourself and Pete George who have transformed small parties into micro parties engage in such puerile behaviour.

That’s very amusing. I haven’t had anything to do with transforming a party.

Garrett had a short political career but in game changing policy per year in Parliament he must be right up the top, with the three strikes law is his legacy. To a degree he’s.transformed sentencing.

And Greg’s claim to political fame is being the architect of David Cunliffe’s ill-fated donations trust that may have cost Labour the last election and certainly contributed to them plummeting to their worst result just about ever.

Who was being puerile Greg?

It’s not strange to see him making comments like that from his protected bully pulpit at The Standard.