Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State. 'Illigitum non carborundum'.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Friday, April 26, 2013

The Westminster Principle in Taxation: It’s What the ANZAC’s Were Fighting For.

It’s worthwhile reading to the end of this one, for it finishes with an ANZAC story about New Zealand’s war-time hero, Charles Upham (V.C. and Bar), and the sad knowledge he gained about the society he came home to after WWII, as it changed about him into something that more resembled what he had been fighting.

* *

This ANZAC Day it is worth remembering our birth right in the West, paid for by blood, was classical liberalism; that philosophy of limited government and liberty of individuals: freedom of speech, markets, religion, assembly, of thought and intellect, and a free press (free to criticise and oppose, without fear of retribution) - the state as servant of the individual, protecting their person and property, not the state as tyrannical master, plunderer by force of property and liberty.

It was this ideal that the ANZACs were fighting for, and died for: men and women. And incalculable more men and women have died trying to escape the state tyrannies they were born in, be it the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, North Korea, et al, to be perhaps capable of the chance of living free lives.

Within this philosophy the very notion of a compulsory taxation does not sit well, frankly, although if we must have such compulsion forced on us by the state, voted for by a mobocracy looking for the illusory free lunch, then Commonwealth countries have had in legal precedent since the 1930’s a landmark classical liberal principle, referred to as the Westminster Principle, that gave the individual some small degree of liberty from the all-powerful state in its taxing operations, which is the operation of the authoritarian surveillance state:

Every man is entitled if he can to arrange his affairs so that the tax attaching under the appropriate Acts is less than it otherwise would be. If he succeeds in ordering them so as to secure that result, then, however unappreciative the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or his fellow taxpayers may be of his ingenuity, he cannot be compelled to pay an increased tax. (IRC v Duke of Westminster [ 1936 ] AC1 (HL)).

That is, the individual can arrange their affairs vis a vis structuring, estate planning, et al, according to their own rational self-interest - so long as 'artificial' (non-commercial, non-market) steps are not taken to 'avoid' tax - and not pursuant to supplying the maximum revenue, necessarily, for the coffers of the redistributive larceny conducted from the Fortress of Legislation: the individual ascendant, not the state.

It is a disgrace that in New Zealand even this principle has over the last decade been destroyed, and destroyed utterly, in the very courts that were meant to be the individual’s buffer against the tyranny of state. I’ve explained why on this post: the minds of our children have been captured in the classroom, generation after generation, and immured on the treacherous reef of belief in a statist theocracy; 95% of our secondary school teachers belong to that hard Left union, the PPTA, with a similar percentage of primary school teachers signed up the NZEI. These teachers preach the forced sacrifice of the individual’s liberty on the bloodied altar of the common good, and the state as redistributor of private property in a morality turned on its head. Our School Curriculum Document imposes this Soviet ethic into the basis of our very curriculum.

So it is not surprising to find Deborah Russell, Massey University lecturer in taxation, openly declaring her Left politick to the impressionable minds being taught by her, and perversely rejoicing in the op-ed of the Dominion, about the demise of the Westminster Principle:

This principle has been beaten back in recent years, in particular by laws that ask people to consider whether the tax minimisation scheme they have entered into is so artificial that instead of merely avoiding tax, the taxpayer is actively evading tax.

But even if the procedures used are legal, it’s not clear that they are ethically acceptable. This is in fact the closest I can get to understanding exactly what a rort is: it’s something that is technically legal, but nevertheless pushes the law to such an extent that it is immoral.

And it is immoral to make such a big effort to avoid paying taxes. It amounts to saying that you just don’t give a damn about anyone else, and that all you want to do is take. And take. And take some more.


We’ll know that the government is serious about all New Zealanders contributing fairly to the common good of our society when they start asking hard questions of their tax avoiding mates.

The capitulation of freedom and the ethos of individualism is complete in these four paragraphs: we don’t have tanks on the streets, but it gets little worse than this, for we have lost the battle where it matters: in the minds of the citizenry. Because when the Westminster Principle was lost, by the same process in every sphere of life in our social(ist) democracies, every value that made the West the best civilisation to live in, ever, is gone. I only need to parse the news this week to prove the point (and my blog shows I can do this process every week).

Here, a judge in our employment courts has just disallowed a redundancy on the grounds the employer didn’t have the ‘business case’ for it:

It has been confirmed the Employment Court can inquire into the business case behind a redundancy to see if it is genuine.

Confirmation, with major implications for employers, is found in the recent judgment of Employment Court Chief Judge Graeme Colgan, who found the rationale behind a Hawke's Bay farm’s decision to make a farm worker redundant did not stack up.

If you’re not certain what just happened here, then the below two comments made to that thread demonstrate the gravity of it:

So the lawyer judge stands in the shoes of the employer making financial decisions affecting other staff and shareholders but with no responsibility for the company's operations.


On the face of it, the company had made a judgment that the job did not require a person of the existing holder's skill/experience and it would save money by downgrading the position. Offering the position to the present holder at a lower salary is OK in theory but it will only work if the person concerned accepts the situation. As often as not, as a result of the downgrade, the person has a 'chip' on their shoulder. As a general rule, judges with little or no senior management experience are not competent to make these sort of decisions.

There is no philosophical or political difference, from the demise of the Westminster Principle, or to the fact of an employer’s business being everybody else’s business but his own. There's not one without the other: everything connects.

And again this week, to cite another example of the rampant statism that rules, a practitioner of a once proud free press in the United Police States of America, preaching the nationalisation of children:

MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, responding to a backlash for a promo she recently appeared in, doubled down Monday on her claims that children do not belong solely to their parents.

“This isn’t about me wanting to take your kids, and this isn’t even about whether children are property,” she said. “This is about whether we as a society, expressing our collective will through our public institutions, including our government, have a right to impinge on individual freedoms in order to advance a common good. And that is exactly the fight that we have been having for a couple hundred years.”

The MSNBC host has been thrust into the spotlight lately for a network promotion she appeared in, claiming that kids belong to whole communities.

“We’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and your responsibility,” she says in the ad. “We haven’t had a very collective notion of ‘These are our children.’ So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that ‘kids belong to their parents’ or ‘kids belong to their families,’ and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

This entire notion is so horrific, children belong to ‘communities’, just as my wallet and my bank accounts do via the tax department, that if I have to explain it to you, then sorry, you’re one of the fallen, there’s no coming back to humanity for you. What do you think of your children belonging to the community, Deborah?

Returning to these shores, and to where I started this piece, the Dawn Parades to commemorate the heroic fallen on ANZAC Day, an anecdote provides no better place to sign off on.

I have in the past talked to several IRD staffers in Christchurch, who commented on how ‘unpleasant’ it was dealing, before his death, with Sir Charles Upham, VC and Bar, on his farm north of Christchurch, and I don’t mean audit, just routine advisories, for example, when GST first came in: please don’t take offence, my friends in IRD, but after he got through with fascists in Europe, Sir Charles came home and obviously realised with rude shock the enemy was in-country: that enemy was the rampant state that maintained by force and coercion ascendency over the liberty of the individual, and the rubber met the road bearing the police-state to Sir Charles’s farm via the Inland Revenue Department, so he dedicated himself, it seems, whenever the opportunity arose, to make life particularly unpleasant for IRD staffers who dealt with (to) him.

So, and sorry, in what might seem a very low blow, but in fact is simply me having to  get down to the bottom of the grave in which classical liberalism has been buried; to the Deborah Russells, to the politicians that hold the theocracy of themselves over our lives, to the bureaucrats in the departments that daily usurp the rule of law by enforcing police-state powers upon us; if you woke up early this morning and attended a Dawn Parade, then what the hell were you thinking? Sir Charles understood the enemy, and I'm afraid it was you. Daily, as you go about your work, you disgrace and pile dirt on top of what the ANZACs were fighting for: our freedom; Classical liberalism; the Westminster Principle; our right, if we are harming no one, to be goddamned left alone by you and this enormous, lunatic state that’s comprises over 44% of the spend in our entire economy.

Finally, it is further worthy to note, when the Westminster Principle was being attacked, mutilated, by the hive mind of our judiciary, and then buried without ceremony, what was our current Minister of Taking, Peter Dunne - tweeting this morning about the Dawn Parade that he had attended - doing? Did he straighten his back, go to battle in the Fortress of Legislation, using the law to reaffirm the primacy of that principle to New Zealand as a free Western nation? No: everything Mr Dunne has done since holding that office, farcically, though damningly symbolic of the statism under which our system runs, under both a Labour, then a National government, via coalition, has been to merely write the epitaph on its tombstone, and bury it, with our liberty, as deep as he could, thinking he is legislating the fair society. What do you think Sir Charles would have to say to you, Peter? I know what that would have been, from my conversation about him, but I can’t write it here, suffice to say it would be along the lines of what I have said on this very blog before: George Orwell wrote a chilling view of the nightmare society in his novel, 1984, in which he said ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human faceforever’; well you, Peter, have your head stuck so far up the politick, you have lost sight and feeling for those taxpayers, faces down, necks exposed, you spend your career stamping on, and as your department is commissioned to do, forever … Every year liberties continue to be lost as the state grows itself, and we are taken down the road to our serfdom.

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  1. Hi Mark,
    Great post. Small point for your future reference, technically, Mr Upham should be referred to as Sir Charles not Sir Upham. Yes it is very sad to see the decline of so many of the things my father and others fought for. I attended the dawn parade carrying his medals and I know he would have been saying "yes, yes, yes," to all your points. He despised the "gray ones" who have managed to subjugate our compliant people in a way Hitler was never able to.
    Thanks for putting it so well.

    1. Cheers Andrew. Have to admit, etiquette surrounding honours of the realm are not my strong suite :)

      So the title attaches to the first name?

    2. Hey, where did you come from? Being an insatiable reader myself, I love your blog. Have bookmarked for good read over weekend.

      Our Chch house, Diamond Harbour, not as bad as your house,, however, I know the frustration. We've just two weeks ago sent EQC their cheque back to them with an 'are you kidding' note. We wanted builder friend to do our work, but are effectively being forced to opt into Fletcher program.

    3. Well, it would have been Sir Charles had he not turned down a knighthood.

  2. The real "Westminster" principle is a simple one: no representation without taxation!

    When that principle is enforced, all the rest suddenly fall into place.

    It is no coincidence that the number of nett taxpayers in NZ, and the number of ACT voters, is about the same.

    Were NZ a democracy, ACT would be the leftwing party in parliament.

    1. I have some agreement with that point of view, although fear democracy always ends up mobocracy. Would prefer small state constitutional republic in the form of a minarchy.

  3. Your entire argument is faulty Mark. As you quoted the Westminster principal set a legal precedent and argues,

    "Every man is entitled if he can to arrange his affairs so that the tax attaching under the appropriate Acts is less than it otherwise would be. If he succeeds in ordering them so as to secure that result, then, however unappreciative the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or his fellow taxpayers may be of his ingenuity, he cannot be compelled to pay an increased tax. "

    What we observe from this is that there is only one group which could violate the Westminster principle, that is the judiciary. However you fail to show any evidence whatsoever that the NZ judiciary has violated the principal anywhere. Obviously Deborah Russell doesn't violate it by advocating her readers, or even her students should act ethically. In fact she could not violate the principle if she wanted to, she is not a member of the judiciary.

    In recording other parties which can't violate the Westminster principle we must point out that the state can't violate it either, at least not without the assistance of the judiciary. The certainly don't violate it by committing acts of legislation. As the principle states the tax is payable according to what the tax legislation states so by writing or changing laws no violation of the principal occurs.

    Since you don't appear to be able to parse the Westminster principal, maybe some other non implications should also be explained to you. Among other things the principal doesn't state, is that the consternation of the other taxpayers, or the inland Revenue Commissioner is unwarranted. Neither is their political protest, which is not illegitimate. In fact in short the principal is entirely meaningless outside of a judicial argument.

    You also seem to find it problematic for Deborah to declare any kind of left ethic in front of 'impressionable youth', though one hates to think at what age you consider a member of society has amassed enough experience to be given access to such 'subversive' material as mild suggestion of the existence of a left ethic. Certainly in your judgement they are still too inexperienced by the time they have reached voting age.

  4. You've read enough of my blog to know my point is the minds of successive generations are brainwashed via the left ethic that has captured our state school system, meaning our judiaciary in large part does not hold with classical liberal values: the judges deciding tax cases believe in a society based on the common good to which an individual's liberties must be sacrificed, with the ascendent state as redistributor. More basically, they don't question the process of, or ethic behind, redistribution. So those of us who understand where our society is headed, and how the tradition the ANZACs such as Sir Charles were fighting for is completely gone, your comments are proof of this, now have no protection against a rampant state. We're all fodder for the machine.

    Are we going to have to through another massive effort of clarification around your tautological posturing on this post, as before, which makes it's position aptly, and accurately? A lot of words from you, already, saying little that connects with it, other than trying to obfuscate clarity.

    1. No, one thing: there is plenty of clear evidence in the form of tax cases of how this principle is breached, also that IRD have not lost a major case that breaches this principle in over ten years. Deborah Russell and I both concur on that point, you will note, which is my point.

      This post was never about going over case law, obviously.

    2. Ahh, I see where I have been going wrong here. I failed to assume that virtually everybody had been brainwashed, silly me.

      Obviously when you put it in context that makes more sense. Is that the context I kept obfuscating in the previous discussion? I was having a great deal of trouble understanding how it was possible to obfuscate the context in a single trail of comments, but obviously if everybody is brainwashed that makes a lot more sense.

    3. Yes, that states the case well enough. Antonio Gramsci understood the power of that first imprint on a youth's mind. And what is imprinted by a teacher body 95% signed up to a union currently lobbying against charter schools for their near monopoly of education, is at the centre of the NZ school curriculum document:

      Out of curiosity, are you coming to this blog via University of Reading, or is that a whole different fan base I've got there.

    4. There is of course a simple way to increase the odds of the IRD losing a case, they could act more litigiously. The fact that the IRD has a multi-year unbeaten record simply indicates the are quite conservative in taking cases.

      Ohh, sorry that's my brainwashing speaking. Since you didn't actually provide a shred of evidence for this, I guess the right thing to do in a non-brainwashed context is to assume the evidence into existence? Yeah, that makes more sense now its a giant liberal conspiracy involving the NZ courts.

    5. If you talk to the auditors', which I do, they know they can take and win cases they never could've fifteen years ago, yes. As I've been saying. And what other field of law do you know of where new interpretations of, or new law, can be applied retrospectively? Do you agree with retrospective application of law being used to re-write a taxpayers past legitimate actions into avoidance?

    6. In fact you and Deborah don't agree, you apparently don't understand her prose either.

      "This principle has been beaten back in recent years, in particular by laws that ask people to consider whether the tax minimisation scheme they have entered into is so artificial that instead of merely avoiding tax, the taxpayer is actively evading tax."

      As I said, it's not a violation of the Westminster principle if the legislation has been changed, and the act of changing the legislation is not a violation of the Westminster principle either.

    7. Full nasty Nic, back in obsessive stride.

      Application of the Westminster principle is no longer held by judiciary. While the Fortress of Legislation regularly legislates to fix revenue leakage - livestock tax provisions being the latest - not a word was spoken in the House, or law made, to support the cause of the individual holding their property, as the principle was expunged. Again, yes, that is my point.

      So you've settled in for an all nighter there in England? Time I was out of bed doing something useful.

  5. "not a word was spoken in the House, or law made, to support the cause of the individual holding their property, as the principle was expunged."

    As I pointed out, the principal doesn't protect anybody against paying tax as accessed under the law, if you thought it did, you were mistaken. Also clearly the principal wasn't expunged by the legislature, it never did and doesn't apply to the legislature, its a judicial precedent.

    Also, you are incorrect to claim that the legislature was not involved in recent changes regarding livestock provisions.

    1. The principle allowed the taxpayer to go about their affairs so as to legally mitigate their tax if consistent with their structuring, estate planning, etc: the position without the principle deems every such action to be avoidance, as now holds.

      Then you continue to slip and slide. Regarding your last statement, I said exactly what you dishonourably try to reverse: I said the legislature legislated, obviously, the livestock changes. You are the lowest, Nic.

    2. Sorry Mark, if you think the Westminster principal constrains the legislature from constructing or changing legislation, you are mistaken. It does no such thing and never did.

      In fact if they think the law as they intended it is being violated the principal says their only course is to write the legislation better.

    3. Everytime, Nic, you diliberately misconstrue me.

      My very point is the Westminster principle, that represents the classical liberal society that made the West the best civilisation to live, does not constrain a legislature that has wanted to see its destruction because their rampant, anti-classical liberal ethic, born of the progressive program in the state schools, wants the slave society. That is precisely the nature of the treachery that has befallen the free in the new surveillance states of the Bound West. Representative democracy, mobocracy, you, has and have been a travesty, and we are all now on the road to the collective hell that is your wet dream.

      Christ's sake. Go enjoy the day, and get a life.

    4. This is my job, Nic, I do know how our system of government works, and it is in that, largely, I no longer agree.

    5. If I am constantly misconstruing what you are saying, its because there is no logical connection between your starting point and conclusions. Its very easy to be misinterpreted in this case of course.

      A case in point, the Westminster principle does not constrain the legislature at all. If it doesn't constrain the legislature then it can't be violated by the legislature. Other groups who can't violate it include, teachers, the electorate, slave society, the IRD or Judith Russell. In fact its destruction is entirely irrelevant to them I would expect, as you said its not a hindrance to what they do, or did, or intend to do. How then was it protecting classical liberal society, plainly it never was protecting them against the legislature, though it was protecting the independence of the judiciary from the legislature.

      Maybe oddly the classical liberal society didn't write down the principle you appear to be searching for, or in my opinion more likely there never was such a principle.

    6. How can you miss the mark this far: you're not a stupid man?

      I advocate throughout this blog the need to (peacefully) overthrow mobocracy, and institute a constitutional republic in the form of a minarchy, precisely because the legislature is, in every way it matters, a tyranny that can, and has, overthrown the free, classical liberal society, in search of the illusory free lunch, or more precisely, our representatives of course don't operate above their self-interest, which is why they, or any group, must not be given the power to legislate and tax as they have. Once, in the 1930's, we had a judiciary that protected the individual from their abuse of power, now, for reasons I've given, that judiciary has sold classical liberalism out on the bloodied altar of the common good: Soviet styled society.

      The entire system is rotten.

    7. Rather than adding further misconstruing, I should just ask how on earth 10:10 relates to 9:55. To my stupid self you appear to be assuming the Westminster principle some how protected against this, but it just didn't as I show in 9:55. Maybe some other principle you failed to mention?

    8. It's obvious to me how they relate; read my post directly above: the interesting thing is why you don't get it?

      (And it's Deborah Russell not Judith: despite being evil incarnate, she means well, so we should get her name right).

    9. No, I'll spell it out once more: because the legislature can overrule and overthrow the classical liberal society, the social(alist) mobocracy which gives the legislature that power, must be overthrown.