Take the taxation of smoking.
Smoking is harmful to health. Smokers were not paying the full heath costs of their treatment when they became ill. Increasing tax on cigarettes had the double benefit of reducing demand for cigarettes as the price increased and raised sufficient revenue to pay for the health costs of those who continue to smoke. So far so good.
But successive Governments have gone much further. They have raised taxes on cigarettes way beyond the point of covering health service costs. They have raised tobacco tax to the point where it has become oppressive and counter productive. Each new draconian increase is having a decreasing effect on stopping smoking but is leading to unintended consequences that are very harmful to society.
This was pointed out by the Taxpayers' Union last January when National increased tobacco tax by a draconian 10%
While politicians cry crocodile tears about the harms of smoking, they are refusing to allow the sale of healthier alternatives. It appears the only reason is to protect the revenue stream from the taxes on traditional cigarettes.
From today, a $20 20-pack of cigarettes includes nearly $16 dollars of tax
Increases in tobacco excise tax are often held up as interventions that are effective at reducing consumption amongst low socio-economic groups. However, significant tax increases have coincided with an increase in the socio-economic smoking gradient. Counterintuitively, the poor are the least likely to respond to tax hikes. That means they, and their families, go without.
"A carton of cigarettes is now worth nearly $300 due to the tax increases, and we've had 17 robberies in Christchurch in the last seven weeks targeting tobacco. You don't have to be a genius to work it out."
Mr Seymour said the excise increases have been ineffective at reducing smoking, they're impoverishing the poorest New Zealanders, and now it's led to an increase in black market activity and crime.
"In the past five years tobacco taxes have doubled. Maori smoking rates have gone from 37 per cent to 35 per cent. That's not an effective policy."
The increasing crime against racial minorities has led to the formation of a new race-based political party, The New Zealand People’s Party.
The acting leader is Roshan Nauhria - successful Indian businessman and member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
He says it's about time Indians and Asians are represented
"The population of our people is 13 percent. We just feel that we are not fully represented in the Parliament and other aspects of the country."
The party's constitution has a big focus on crime, following a number of attacks on Indian shopkeepers.
"The biggest issue with our people is law and order," he says. "It's a big issue and nobody is really standing for them.’
The People's Party was announced this week with a narrower focus than its name suggests. Its target is Asian and ethnic voters and its issue is fighting crime.
Prime Minister John Key pooh-poohed the party's chances and Winston Peters attacked another race-based party as divisive.
But our political discourse is increasingly about diversity and formal and informal quotas to achieve predetermined results. The call for diversity increasingly trumps the principle "one person, one vote".
We have reserved seats in Parliament for Maori. So why not reserved seats for other groups? Once the principle of "one person, one vote" is given away it's impossible to draw a sensible line.
It’s all very sad. Once the principles underpinning the rule of law and democracy are removed it is a slippery slope to an uncertain and dangerous future.
I leave to the last word to Ben Franklin one of the Founding Fathers of the US Constitution.
History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy…
These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened.