The Politically Incorrect Show - 07/11/2000
[Music - Die Fledermaus]
Good afternoon, Kaya Oraaa & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Tuesday November 7, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd., the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit, & excellence, against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.
[Music up, music down!]
Today is a special day for veterans of the campaign against the NaZis On Air tax. A history of the campaign called Beating Big Brother, written by the prolific Ian Wishart, is being launched in Auckland this afternoon. You might be surprised to know that when I first heard of this project, I blew my stack. By this I mean, not that you would be surprised to learn that I blow my stack occasionally, but that you might wonder WHY I would blow my stack over THIS, having been so involved in the campaign myself. Well, I was initially upset at the selection of Ian as the author, since he had been mute on this matter throughout, & because I associated him with far-fetched conspiracy theories & the anti-business attitudes so unfortunately pervasive in New Zealand. I didn't realise at the time, or had forgotten, that my colleague Deborah Coddington had already been asked to author the book first, but had declined. Anyway, I calmed down, & when Ian rang me to get my perspective, we had a pleasant & lengthy conversation, much of which is reproduced in the book.
The campaign has a long & tortuous history. Deborah tells me that she & I began agitating against the tax back in 1993 while at World Service New Zealand. I don't recall that, but I DO know that we went big on it at Radio Liberty in 1995. During that time, the NaZis took us to the Broadcasting Standards Authority for calling them NaZis. The BSA upheld our right to do that, but found against Deborah for some reference she had made to concentration camp guards & carbolic acid. Then, when Radio Liberty went down & I came here, I took up the cudgels again. It got boring, I know, but a fuse had been lit. Libertarianz, to mix my metaphors even further, picked up the ball for a while, distributing bumper stickers featuring the NaZis' goldfish with a Hitler moustache. Then the formidable Ned Haliburton came on the scene. It was he who organised the campaign proper, complete with regional coordinators, lawyers, a dedicated box number, etc.. Ned made the difference. Though not a well man, he was indefatigable. Setbacks never stopped him, reversals never daunted him. In & out of court he went, rallying more & more people to refuse to pay the tax, making the NaZis' lives as hellish as they were making their victims'.
Finally, the government caved in & scrapped the tax. ACT's broadcasting spokesman, Muriel Newman, who until recently had steadfastly refused to back the campaign but had climbed on the bandwagon when she realised how big it was, hilariously tried to credit ACT for the government's decision. Well, we all knew better than that, didn't we?!
So a battle was won ... but the war, I submit, was not. Many who refused to pay the tax did so, not on principle - not because the enforced extraction of money by the NaZis was wrong - but because some television programmes were screened too often or because Coronation Street wasn't screened often enough. The NaZis are still there, National Socialist Radio is still there, & they are still funded by the enforced extraction of money. It's not called the "New Zealand On Air fee" any more ... it's called taxation. The focus on the principle of the thing that I personally had hoped for never occurred. What, fundamentally, has changed?
Still, I don't wish to be a party-pooper. Ned & his campaigners did get the NaZis off our backs. Their efforts were herculean & heroic. For that, I wish them a successful & joyous book launch today, & salute them now with a Free Radical award. Just remember, though - Big Brother has NOT been beaten; the war goes on!
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