A rush of blood to the head?

David Garrett has been thinking.

Unkind people might suggest this is an oxymoron which, incidentally, does not mean a moron who's had a rush of blood to the head - although in this case, again, the description could be construed as uncannily accurate.

Plenty of people have said as much, but I am not one of them.

Here is a man who is prepared to say what others may be merely contemplating.

Eagle scout, advance guard of the ideological Right - call him what you will - there he goes, a fearless beater in the political undergrowth, flushing out targets for the bleating commentariat.

For those as yet unblessed by Garrett-style enlightenment, he is a member of Act New Zealand.

Fifth on the party list and formerly of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, he entered Parliament when Rodney Hide won the Epsom seat at the last election.

No mere dilettante, he contested the electorate of Helensville at the last election against, among others, John Key.

Mr Key hosed in with 26,771 votes, Mr Garrett trailing with 811 electors in his corner.

Still, that's 811 more than nothing.

Soon into his stride, Mr Garrett wasted no time in putting namby-pamby liberals on their mettle by making so-called "lewd comments" to a Parliamentary Act staffer.

He was required to apologise.

But was that good enough for the humourless PC establishment? Evidently not, for, handicapped by his unfamiliarity with the complex social nuances of his new environment, Mr Garrett said he now realised his comments were more at home in a Tongan law office, where he practises as a lawyer, and was forced to apologise again - this time to Tongan lawyers.

Quite rightly, he made no apology to the prison officers appearing before the law and order select committee, who, when they criticised private prisons, were told they'd hurt their job prospects.

If it had occurred to him at the time, he might have invited them to apply for voluntary sterilisation on the grounds that they might pass on such antisocial thoughts to their offspring, but you can't think of everything.

But just to prove he hadn't lost his intellectual edge, Mr Garrett gamely addressed the problem of family violence and abusive parents in this country, offering his own ingenious solution on a blogsite last week.

He suggested $5000 could be paid to abusive parents in return for being sterilised.

Let's put aside all that mawkish stuff about the measure of civilisation being in direct proportion to a society's inclination to care for its weak and vulnerable, and cut to the chase.

The snivellers will say that procreation is a fundamental human right; that we should be very careful in flirting with any state-sanctioned regime that mitigates against that right.


Mr Garrett did not suggest compulsory sterilisation; in fact, he emphasised that in his proposal the measure would be voluntary and self-selecting.

But - nudge, nudge, wink, wink - "bad parent" and "sterilisation" go together like "socially useful" and "cost-effective" and if people come to that realisation all by themselves, then that's democracy for you.

What's more, if enough people think it should be compulsory . . .

Outrageous? Not at all. (Read the blogs, you pathetic bleeding hearts.) And once compulsory, perhaps the qualifications for sterilisation could be revised and widened to disinfect society of other social menaces.

After all, the intellectually disabled aren't much fiscal chop, and long-term welfare beneficiaries cost the country and arm and a leg, too.

Should these people be allowed to breed? Why stop at fiscal considerations? Imagine how much happier and prosperous we would all be if we all thought the same way.

Is there indeed a case to be made for eliminating stirrers, communists and other atheists from the collective gene pool?Identifying such people could prove to be something of a mission . . . unless, of course, we just opted for the job-lot approach and based it on, say, ethnicity, or race. (Granted, this isn't exactly an entirely original proposal.) A few innocents might have their lineage foreshortened in the process, but think of the savings! Because, having made sterilisation a state "privilege" rather than yet another "benefit" to be applied for, the Government would not be doling out $5000 to any old citizen to go out and binge on methamphetamine.

Who would decide which reprobates qualified? We could have panels of respectable people to consider the matter. But we wouldn't want to burden the state with them, so we could privatise that little task, put it out to tender.

So much more efficient.

It could even become a model growth industry.

The possibilities are endless.

Which is why it is such a shame that Mr Garrett and his Act party colleagues appear to have gone to ground on the issue.

Don't they know there is so much more mileage to be had here? Where are they when there's a serious discussion to be had?

• Simon Cunliffe is assistant editor at the Otago Daily Times.


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