March 31, 2006

More policy wonking

Over at No Right Turn a progressive think tank has been set up, soliciting suggestions and ideas for new legislation that can be framed in a Private Member's Bill in Parliament. Go on, get yours in.
I submitted:
1. Amend MMP to 125 list seats only (no separate Maori seats)
2. Abolish local government above community board level, transfer competencies to national ministries (roading to Transit NZ, public transport to Transport, parks and reserves to DOC, water/sewage to Environment, planning to community boards, etc) - replace rates with local income tax/GST transfer from central Govt to local board - see my previous policy wonking on that subject.
3. Join the EU and euro: joining the euro would mean lower interest rates and a hedge against the US$ fall when commodity trading switches to Euros; EU membership would mean we can have a say in their development rather than being on the receiving end of it all the time, plus free access to all markets for labour, goods and capital. NZ has an associate membership invitation since 1973 when the UK joined but it was never taken up.
4. Lower the drinking age to 16 (with access to safe and supervised drinking areas such as pubs and youth clubs): most of Europe has this, if you're old enough to have sex you should be able to have a beer too.
5. Increase the driving age to 18: it would do wonders to adolescent obesity rates if they went on a bike rather than by car to school. It would solve Auckland's traffic problem (there is no gridlock in school holidays) and boost patronage for public transport. Again, most of Europe has this.
6. Compulsory third party driving insurance: a no-brainer and would elevate driving to a privilege rather than a right. The free market (insurance companies) would price bad drivers off the road
7. 10 yearly re-sitting of driving tests: again, driving rules change, motorways get built, eyesight deteriorates, brains fail. Why does your car need a WOF but you don't? (While we're at it, we could follow Singapore and ban all cars older than 10 years to ensure better technology, fuel consumption and less emission)
(4 to 7 should be in one bill ideally)
8. Lower the voting age to 16: if you work and have pay tax, you should have a say over how that tax is spent
9. Reform the lifestyle drug laws so there is appropriate and safe access to all of them: the main aim is to cut the criminal gangs' extreme profits and to be able to sue your dealer under the Consumer Guarantees Act if he sells you dodgy gear. Black markets should be brought into the bright sunlight of a modern, regulated economy.

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