The Joy of Not Lobbying

30 July 2008 12:01:00

Speech given by Bernard Darnton to the Wellington Central Candidates’ Forum, Wellington Chamber of Commerce, 30th July 2008.

Good afternoon, everyone.

A while back I picked up a booklet, The Joy of Lobbying, at the Government
Bookshop. It has glowing quotes on the back from the Prime Minister, the
Communications Officer of the CTU, and the sitting member for Wellington
Central, Marian Hobbs, who sadly can’t be here today because she’s cleaning
out her desk for one of us.

The book has a guide to how laws are made and covers topics such as
campaigning, media, and sucking up to MPs. It even has little anecdotes:
“Sir Randal [Elliott] said they made absolutely no headway in the seatbelt
issue for years. Then a close relative of a Minister was killed in a car
crash and there was action from then on”. This episode is charmingly
described as a bit of luck.

The trouble with lobbyists, author of this booklet Deirdre Kent included, is
that they tend to be interfering do-gooders. They usually want someone
else’s money for some grand scheme, something made compulsory or something

The list is endless: Imported wood, big TVs, fast food advertising, foreign
fruit, lightbulbs, party pills, smoking in public, smoking in private,
substances I’ve never even heard of. Ban them all! Politicians have the
power to deliver all of this and so lobbyists are born.

Lobbyists are drawn to political power like flies to garbage. And the only
way to get rid of the flies is to clean up the garbage.

There are people here today who lobby – I hope you do it reluctantly. To the
trader, the person of commerce, who deals with people by voluntarily
exchanging value for value, lobbying should not come easily. It should be a
reluctant act of self-defence. Lobbying is a sad fact in a world where
politicians wield too much power.

As author Ayn Rand observed, when the productive have to ask permission from
the unproductive in order to produce, then you may know your culture is

When I said that the only way to get rid of the flies is to clean up the
garbage, what I meant is that we need to limit the power of the government
so that it’s incapable of handing out these favours.

The proper role of government is to protect its citizens from aggression.
Libertarianz would shrink the government back to its core duties: law and
order and defence. Every other area of life would be depoliticised. We’d no
longer fight over one-size-fits-all answers to every problem. People would
be free to make their own arrangements as they see fit.

What this means for you is that you can spend more time running your
businesses and less time running to the government. Rather than fight the
people who are getting in your way, you can concentrate on helping your
businesses realise their potential.

Wellington’s and New Zealand’s most important asset is people, their
talent, and their creativity. If those talents and that creativity could be
redirected to useful productive activity rather than being wasted on
politics there’s no limit to what we could achieve.

Vote Libertarianz and discover the joy of not lobbying.


For more information, see or contact:

Bernard Darnton
Libertarianz Leader
Phone: 021 324 466 / 04 586 2182
Email: [email protected]

Libertarianz: More Freedom, Less Government