Libertarians across the country say they have been appalled by the behaviour of ordinary Cantabrians.
As if the devastation inflicted by the earthquake that struck on Saturday morning was not enough, libertarians say the aftermath has highlighted the barbarism of many Christchurch folk.
Dick McVeagh, spokesperson for the Atlas Foundation, said that some of the incidents from the city reported to him by fellow libertarians and objectivists had left him deeply disturbed.
“In a disaster like this we usually see people pulling together and helping each other out. There’s a real sense of community and sharing, and of neighbours giving each other a helping hand.
“How truly disgusting.”
Jerry Galt, leader of the Libertearoans, was also dismayed by the public reaction to the disaster.
“There was a story in the newspaper about a diary owner giving away milk and batteries to needy residents. What an evil man. Disasters always bring out the worst in people. Had he possessed a genuine and enlightened sense of self-interest he would have auctioned off these precious commodities to the highest bidders.”
The role of state agencies in the cleanup is also causing concern among libertarian groups. A march had been planned in Wellington to protest the developments, but was called off at the last minute after leaders bickered over who would get to march in front.
Mr McVeagh said the massive resources being poured into Christchurch by state agencies posed a direct threat to liberty.
“This state intervention is unprecedented, and we risk a steady slide into Stalinism,” said Mr McVeagh.
“If we just leave people to make their own choices they will get by. Mr Key, the people of Christchurch don’t want your help. They may say they are desperate for help, that they need shelter, clothing and clean water, and that they have no money, but that’s just because days of aftershocks have muddled their minds.
“The government should keep out of this mess and let the market take care of everyone.”
Mr McVeagh was especially scathing of claims that New Zealand’s comprehensive building codes had saved lives. He dismissed comparisons between New Zealand and the largely regulation-free nation of Haiti, where hundreds of thousands perished in a similar sized earthquake.
“The average Haitian may be hungry and homeless, and have lost most of their family members. But at least he knows freedom,” said Mr McVeagh.
“If the price we must pay for safety is a subservience to totalitarian regulation, then may I be buried under rubble in the next quake!”
Mr McVeagh then started to flap his arms and quack like a duck. He was returned to his cell shortly afterwards.
Update: The Libertarianz are even madder.