I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I have greatly appreciated your interest in the work of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research and your loyal support over the last year.
A special thanks to those of you who have taken the time to share your views with me. Your excellent contributions in feedback and commentary on the weekly polls and newsletters has ensured that a wealth of politically incorrect grassroots opinion on the important political and policy issues of our time is now in the public domain! And the NZCPR Forum, which is where all feedback is archived, has become a favoured destination for politicians, media and commentators wanting to keep their finger on the pulse on contemporary public opinion.
I am writing this last newsletter of the year in an email text format to make sure that it is safely delivered to those of you who have had difficulties receiving the NZCPR Weekly newsletters. If you haven’t heard from me for a while it is because your Internet Service Provider’s security systems are blocking the NZCPR newsletter format. If you are in that situation, please let me know as it’s an easy matter to sort out.
As the good cheer of the Christmas Season descends, it is reassuring to recognise that the sense of foreboding that had become a permanent feature of life under the socialists has now well and truly disappeared and we can look forward to the future with a far lighter heart. That’s not to say that the new government has done everything right – far from it as I regularly highlight in these weekly newsletters! But the point is that their ambition for a better New Zealand is based on the power of private enterprise, rather than the power of the state. They understand the fundamental truth that individuals thrive and businesses flourish when they free from state oppression.
Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman expressed it best in his iconic book “Free to Choose” in this way, “A free society releases the energies and abilities of people to pursue their own objectives. It prevents some people from arbitrarily suppressing others. It does not prevent some people from achieving positions of privilege, but so long as freedom is maintained, it prevents those positions of privilege from becoming institutionalized; they are subject to continued attack by other able, ambitious people. Freedom means diversity but also mobility. It preserves the opportunity for today’s disadvantaged to become tomorrow’s privileged and, in the process, enables everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a fuller and richer life”.
2009 has been a busy year for the NZCPR as we strive to make a worthwhile contribution to public affairs in New Zealand. In particular through our weekly research and analysis, in conjunction with the expert commentaries from our talented guest contributors, we seek to provide our newsletter readers, Members of Parliament, government advisors, policy makers, the media, and other opinion leaders with a useful insight into the crucial public policy issues of the day.
As a result, the influence of the NZCPR continues to grow, generating a constant stream of media inquiries and requests (please forgive me if I am not always able to respond to every email … I certainly read them all but sometimes find myself swamped!). In addition there are submissions to prepare, reports to write, Official Information Act requests to submit, and a busy website – which so far this year has registered over 13 million hits – to maintain and develop.
The growth of the internet and the ease with which information can now be shared, has enabled the NZCPR to play a useful role enabling more and more New Zealanders to become actively engaged in the Parliamentary process that is at the heart of a healthy democracy. I have always firmly believed in the power of ideas and strongly subscribe to the wisdom of President Thomas Jefferson who said, “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion. Enlighten the people generally and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”
None of this – the NZCPR, I mean – would be possible without your support. It is the generous contribution of individual readers who share our belief in the virtue of freedom, liberty and limited government, who make the NZCPR possible. While our electronic database is one of the largest in the country, with our free newsletters being read by literally tens of thousands of people each week (including growing numbers from around the world) only a small minority of readers have ever provided financial assistance. With 2010 shaping up to be a very important year – as New Zealand wrestles with the prospect of more and more public money being diverted into climate change, the possible introduction of fancy new forms of taxation, the chance that our foreshore and seabed could end up under Maori customary control, and the forthcoming debate over constitutional reform including the future of MMP and the Maori seats – I am hoping that I can count on your support to enable the NZCPR to perform the role that remains a cornerstone of the democratic process: informing public opinion and holding the government to account.
In return for your support, you will receive an exclusive gift – a web-based compilation of the brilliant televised version of Milton Friedman’s outstanding book “Free to Choose” in which the legendary economist explains why free enterprise is the best economic system ever developed by mankind. It is truly inspirational. In addition – depending on your level of support – our electronic books (Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate by Professor Fred Singer, The Treaty of Waitangi by Hon Sir Apirana Ngata, and the Ayn Rand Lexicon), DVDs (including the outstanding British documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle), and access to our popular website forum, are all available as a token of my appreciation.
Over the summer season the NZCPR will bring you THE BEST OF 2009 – outstanding contributions from our guest experts. The first two are Opportunities of a Lifetime: Lessons for New Zealand from New High-Growth Economies by the influential New Zealand entrepreneur Stephen Jennings and Why I Am a Climate Realist by Dr Willem de Lange, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Waikato. The articles can be viewed here. Regular newsletter services will resume in mid-January.
Last week’s poll asked whether you thought the Maori sovereignty flag should fly alongside the New Zealand flag on Waitangi Day. 99 percent of respondents said they were opposed to the idea, while 1 percent said they were in favour.
The summer poll asks: What do you consider to be the biggest issues facing New Zealand in 2010?
Finally, as the effectiveness of the NZCPR depends entirely on your generosity, I do hope you will support our work. And please be absolutely assured that every contribution – either by lump sum or regular automatic payment – is greatly appreciated. Thank you in anticipation for your valuable support and please accept my very best wishes to you and your family for a great Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!
Dr Muriel Newman
New Zealand Centre for Political Research