Antipodean warrior Bob Keall (website) was in Melbourne this week to put a proposal before he returned today to New Zealand.

Some historical background

Veteran Georgist Keall was mentored amongst others by surgeon the late Rolland O’Regan, author of “Rating in New Zealand” (1973) and scion of Patrick Joseph O’Regan, former NZ Labour member for Buller, later a judge of the Arbitration Court, and supporter of the ideas of Sir George Grey.

New Zealand having been partly settled on the principles espoused by convicted kidnapper and land dealer Edward Gibbon Wakefield, namely, that land be sold at “sufficient price” to keep workers servile, George Grey, as a great supporter of the ideas of Henry George, proved to be Wakefield’s (and many others’) nemesis – as evidenced in this particular biography.

Keall enunciates his proposal

Bob Keall believes, now the bifurcation between the major political parties has been set in concrete, politicians are incapable of dealing with essential reform of the economy. Therefore the Georgist case must be taken out of politics and brought before the law. There, on the grounds of a breach of human rights, the claim of the public to their resource rents may be made in the courts. New Zealand could be the crucible.

I think Bob Keall is onto something. I’m sure it can be shown that private rent-seeking in the public’s revenue stream (economic rent) is the process by which many billionaires are being created out of the impoverishment of all others.

Tomas Piketty, the IMF and  and many others have documented the rapidly-growing disparities in wealth around the world. Let the courts decide whether private rent-seeking is indeed the mechanism for this phenomenon, and whether it breaches the human right of all of us to our natural resource rents.

Maybe with a bit further work the idea could be fostered by a petition and a legal case eventually mounted by crowd-funding and support from philanthropists?

I reckon this idea could be a real goer.

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