All of our U.S. politicians should be put in reform school immediatelyųNew Zealand‚s reform school. We have a thing or two hundred to learn from the small country down under that has done the impossibleųtrimmed the size of its coercive, regulatory and taxing government and lived to tell about it.           

     While we have been fattening into the most engorged leviathan state on the planet, New Zealand has been on a diet of lean liberty. New Zealand has peeled away suffocating layers of fat government to permit freedom to breathe and flourish. „Rolling Back Government: Lessons from New Zealand,š by Maurice P. McTigue, former New Zealand cabinet minister, is a school primer on moderation. McTigue‚s educational lecture is reprinted in parts by permission from Imprimus, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College <>.

     New Zealand‚s reform government asked each agency just two vital questions: „What are you doing?š and, „What should you be doing?š Then it told each agency to eliminate what it should not be doing. Reforms reduced the number of government employees with the Department of Transportation from 5,600 to 53. The number of parasitic employees with the Forest Service was slashed to 17 from 17,000. McTigue himself used to be the Minister of Works. He ended up being the only employee left when the process was applied to its 28,000 employees. As McTigue says, most of what that Department did was construction and engineering, and there were plenty of people who could do that without government involvement.

     Did New Zealand‚s new flexing of freedom‚s muscle kill all those jobs? No. Government just stopped taxing producers to transfer to those employees. The need for those jobs still existed and private companies happily employed those skills. Freedom allowed those workers to earn three times as much and be 60 percent more productive.

     Reform freed up the things government was doing that had no reason being done by government. New Zealand‚s wave of freedom sold off telecommunications, airlines, irrigation schemes, computing services, government printing offices, insurance companies, banks, securities, mortgages, railways, bus services, hotels, shipping lines, agricultural advisory services, and more. Productivity rose; costs dropped.

     The institution of high levels of transparency and significant consequences for bad decisions had the following results: the size of government was reduced by 66 percent measured by the number of employees; the government‚s share of GDP dropped to 27 from 44 percent; surpluses were produced; the surpluses were used to pay off debt; the debt dropped to 17 from 63 percent of GDP; the remainder of the surplus each year was used for tax relief; the income tax rate was reduced by half and incidental taxes were eliminated.

     With reform results like that, we taxpayers will even volunteer to foot the school bill. Load ‚em up; ship ‚em off.  


Floy Lilley is a land use attorney with Shroads & Lilley, P.L., Amelia Island, Fla., and is vice-chair of Sovereignty International. She is the most recent recipient of the coveted Veritas Award from American Agri-Women.


Illustration by John Bardwell 




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