Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Go radical, Act Party told

Godfather gives the message on why the state shouldn't even provide roads.

Act Leader Jamie Whyte is hinting at new social welfare policy. Photo / Geoff Dale
Act Leader Jamie Whyte is hinting at new social welfare policy. Photo / Geoff Dale

The man regarded as the "godfather" of the Act Party, multimillionaire businessman Alan Gibbs, flew in yesterday to urge the party to think more radically.

Alan Gibbs
Alan Gibbs

He questioned why the state should provide health and education, or even roads.

Gibbs, who gives the party at least $100,000 each election year, arrived at the party conference at the Villa Maria winery yesterday by helicopter from his Kaukapakapa farm, 33km away.

It was the first conference as leader for philosopher and writer Jamie Whyte, who Gibbs supported for the leadership.

Whyte announced a couple of radical new policies at the conference - a mandatory three-year prison sentence and no parole for a third burglary conviction, and abolishing the Resource Management Act.

He hinted there would be more radical policy on social welfare to come.

But they were mild in comparison to Gibbs' thinking.

"I'd privatise all the schools, all the hospitals and all the roads," he told the conference. "We've had a 20-year siesta so I think Act should get out there and shake the market."

He cited the success of Singapore education and health systems which had state and private schools and hospitals but which, he said, all worked to prices.

"We in our arrogance or stupidity have ... obsessively ignored it - we say the state must run the schools.

"What is this crazy fixation, love affair, with the the state running things?"


Dotcom's digital party

Kim Dotcom is to be anointed "party visionary" for the Internet Party, which he hopes to launch next week.

The new party will call for its first 500 members to join at internet.org.nz, or through smartphone apps.

In a novel development, chief executive Vikram Kumar said members would be able to trace their signatures with a mouse or a touch-screen, rather than a pen and paper.

The Internet Party is submitting its apps to Apple and Android this week, for acceptance. Digital membership would be a step into the future for the Electoral Commission, which last year refused emailed membership data from Peter Dunne's United Future Party.

- Herald on Sunday

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