|New Zealand's Persecuted
Minority: Property Owners
July 23, 2002
"For some years, regulations to protect 'The Environment' have buried the people who are actually able to protect their environment -- property owners," says Libertarians spokesman Peter Cresswell. His party argues that property owners are ignored at every election, that their property rights are buried with each new piece of legislation spewing out of parliament -- and that the ongoing destruction of property rights in this country must cease."
"If property rights were protected rather than abused, then people might soon realise that strong property rights actually provide unmatched environmental protection, and at the same time form the cornerstone of a free society. We must UN-bury our common law heritage," says Cresswell, "and this provides an essential second plank of the Libertarianz policy of environmental deregulation."
COMMON LAW - PROTECTING PROPERTY OWNERS AND 'THE ENVIRONMENT'
"New Zealand has had nearly a decade under the RMA, under planning legislation that abolishes property rights and provides no environmental protection," says Libertarianz Environment Deregulation Spokesman Peter Cresswell. "In doing so we have ignored eight centuries of common law that protects both."
"It is time to acknowledge the failure," he says, "and time to resurrect common law from where it has been buried."
Property owners are ignored at every election. The Resource Management Act has buried property rights -- only Libertarianz advocate a stake be driven through the heart of this Act so that our preexisting common law can be resurrected. Other parties now concede the Resource Management Act 'has proved unwieldy and costly to implement' but their attentions are at best a smokescreen:
- The ACT party's proposed 'reform' of the RMA, for example, will exponentially expand the number of consultants feeding at the RMA trough, while failing to protect property owners in any way at all.
- National also promises 'reform' of the RMA, and then tells us that the person chairing that reform will be the same person who wrote the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act - the egregious and dishonest Nick Smith.
- And of course, Marian Hobbs and Jeanette Fitzsimons would both like the RMA to be even more onerous, and they have already co-written legislation that will make it so -- all they need now to put it in place is your vote!
- Don't give your vote to them - TO ANY OF THEM!
Property owners from Bluff to Kaiataia have already had their lives destroyed by the Resource Management Act - you will not find a solution in any 'reforms' proposed by any parliamentary party that will fix that.
No parliamentary party offers anything that will help those across the country who have had their property stolen from them under this hideous law -- from people who own beach-front property on which they cannot build, to those like Adrian Chisholm who have been buried under the Act. There is only one solution - ABOLISH THE RMA! Immediately!
Libertarianz says that we should go back beyond the execrable Town and Country Planning Act, and replace our appallingly invasive environmental law with the sophistication of common law -- which has nearly eight hundred years of protection of property rights AND the environment to commend it.
It is from the principle of property rights that the body of Common law derives -- that property owners should be free to peacefully enjoy their property providing they recognise the same right in others. That is the simple heart of the common law, and from this simple principle derive its benefits.
Private property rights enshrined in law provide the best protection for both property owners and the environment. Private property sets up mirrors, in which the consequences of our behaviour is reflected back; it sets up tradable rights and easements which neighbours and others may exchange to their mutual benefits.
That Common Law experienced nearly eight centuries of success in protecting property owners and the environment -- before being buried by busybody planning legislation beginning early this century -- is ignored by academics, environmentalists and politicians alike, in some cases deliberately.
But they ignore a long history of success.
Common Law offers the only way to truly de-politicise the environment, to protect desirable environmental values without the need for constant political agitation -- to remove political meddling from property rights issues forever. Property that has had significant features voluntarily covenanted, for example, has the full protection of law for whatever environmental benefits are covenanted.
Reintroducing Common Law now would enable us to untangle the regulatory web that has been engulfing property owners in this country since the introduction of The Town Planning Act of 1926 began burying eight centuries of Common Law sense and certainty.
It offers the only way out. For property owners. And for the environment.
For those interested in further information on these important subjects: - The Libertarianz Submission to Parliament on the Resource Management Act review of 1997 is at www.freeradical.co.nz/content/32/32cresswell.html and on the 2001 Local Government Act review at www.libertarianz.org.nz/lg_act.htm
- Elizabeth Brubaker's book Property Rights in the Defence of Nature shows how the blessed simplicity of common law "has protected the environment from an infinite variety of insults for over seven hundred years." Her excellent book and her Environment Probe organisation in Canada are online at www.environmentprobe.org
- Another excellent on-line reference is The Common Law: How it Protects the Environment by Roger E. Meiners and Bruce Yandle, downloadable at the Political Economy Research (PERC) site www.perc.org/ps.13.htm
- Zoning is still with us under the RMA. Bernard Seigan's book Land Use Without Zoning is still the classic debunking of zoning, describing how Houston functions successfully without it. An update is online at www.libertyhaven.com/personalfreedomissues/freespeechorcivilliberties/houstonz
oning.html and a related on-line essay can be found at www.capitalismmagazine.com/2000/august/zoning1.htm