Viewport width =
April 26, 2010 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

The Gospel according to Rick

A recent interview on the since-cancelled Sunrise show on TV3 saw Act on Campus ‘President’ Rick Giles emerge almost instantaneously as an online media sensation. In an interview with Salient’s Paul Comrie-Thomson last week, Giles further clarified his views on both the Earth Hour, and wider climate change debates, and spoke about the political fallout in the aftermath of the interview.

For those who haven’t seen the infamous interview, could you briefly outline your argument against Earth Hour?

Basically, whether or not global warming is anthropogenic, or whether it is completely natural, I think the best response to any natural disaster—and there is a fantastic case study that has come along recently with that volcanic plume that has come all over Heathrow Airport et cetera—the best way to deal with a natural disaster is with the free market. It is with people consuming and producing goods all over the board, the way we do when there aren’t disasters. Through voluntarism and through free trade, rather than through rationing things out and essentially reducing consumption and going back to the cave, which is what I think Earth Hour is all about. Human Achievement Hour or Edison Hour is about embracing technology and science and using it. And using freedom to resolve the difficulties.

Could you clarify your personal position on climate change for me?

I know climate change is happening. I’ve seen the historical record. We’ve had ice ages in the past, and we’ve had warm periods in the past, so it’s not controversial to me that we have warming. I’m not an expert on this, but when it comes down to it, I haven’t been convinced that it is created by humans. I know a little bit about it, because I have friends who are climate scientists, funnily enough. My understanding is that it is completely natural and can be explained that way, and it is not necessary to blame human intervention in the climate problems that we are having.

You talk about the need to use technology to combat any disaster that may occur out of climate change.

And productivity too, the economy itself; the organism, the social structure that we have.
I think most people would agree with you, but would prefer to see preventative technology, rather than reactionary technology. How do you respond to that?

I think those are the sorts of people who want central planning. Look at this ash disaster over the airports. You don’t need some Stalin or some committee of people in a smoke-filled room, or somewhere out the back figuring out how the world is going to cope with this. The thing to do is to let individual coach companies and the train lines—and the shipping—let private individuals figure out how they’re going to get from A to B, because these sorts of problems are just way too complex, and I think that’s exactly the same and even more complex when it comes to global warming and how people are going to adapt to it. Look at some of the books you can read about past history. Humans have developed canals, the Dutch have this great dike system which they have been building for 500 years to keep the sea out. People have been irrigating, people have been having fire breaks for hundreds and hundreds of years. People respond to disaster scenarios by adapting, by creating new technologies, and basically by consuming and producing, and we get ourselves out of the shit that way. It works really, really well and I’d like to do it again this time.

In light of the dire warnings scientists have put forth, do you think governments should be encouraging business to innovate to respond to this warnings?

No, I think that would be completely unnecessary. I’ll use the analogy with children. You don’t need to tell children to eat sweets and watch cartoons because it sells itself. They know what is good for them. You don’t have to tell people to try and save money, and be thrifty and go for profit and save, because the incentives are already there. And I think it is the same with this. It would be ridiculous for a government to tell people what to do, and how to manage these crises. I think that people will have the incentive to do it, and in a free market they will be able to do it for themselves, and better than a state could arrange for the problem.

How do you feel about the resulting feedback from the clip?

I couldn’t possibly be happier. It’s wonderful. I think it’s coming up to 8000 people on that Facebook group. It seems to me, that for every 100, I get about 10 Facebook friend requests and emails, and out of that I get two or three really good people. Whether they agree with me or not, some of them are really great friends, and I wonder why we didn’t meet years ago, but it’s like you’re cold calling; you ring up people and you get one yes for every no you get. It’s been like that for me. I’ve met some wonderful people, and I am having some great conversations and it is really boosting my side of things. I don’t care about the whole lot of people who just swear, and make fun of me, and make ridiculous photoshopped images of me. Those are the sorts of people who don’t rate with me.

Were you speaking on behalf of Act on Campus in the interview?


You have since been stood down as President of Act on Campus. Is that right?

No, I’m still president, but unfortunately my vice-president, and a couple of guys on my executive, mid-week from the first week decided this was embarrassing, and they set up their own version of Act on Campus. So we’ve got some nasty in fighting going on, but I am still recognised by the Act Party as the president, and I’ve got more members than they do. There are lots of arguments that can be had, but we’re trying to figure that one out. Unfortunately, they’ve got the keys to the website, but I still consider myself president and I’m doing my best to work that one out. There is something to be said for moving on though, because I’m a dad and I’ve got three kids now. I hope to wrap my degree up, and I’m trying to get out of the game and pass the torch, but unfortunately at the end of the show it’s become really exciting and there is a lot going on. So while I am trying to withdraw gracefully, there is all this tension. I need to figure out what I want to do, as I just want to be a dad. I’ve had my little stint at university, and student politics.


About the Author ()

Comments (53)

Trackback URL / Comments RSS Feed

  1. Shitkicker McGee says:


    We’re doomed.

  2. smackdown says:

    this guy is liam nub

  3. jonno says:

    what a dick… why give him more 15 minutes?

  4. Clint says:

    Just to correct that a little bit, Rick is not the AOC president. The membership, and executive including past members all asked for his removal. By saying that, we also held elections before this incident and voted for a new President.

    He is a *little* deluded. Ask the Libertarians on campus about their dealings with Rick, it’s all the same.

  5. Wednesday says:

    Just so I can understand where you guys stand compared to this article. Which part of what he wrote does Act on Campus think is deluded?

  6. Morans says:

    “He is a *little* deluded”….not so obviously so that you didn’t elect him president of AOC. Tell everyone the truth, he was indistinguishable from the rest of you. It’s just he said it on national TV and made you a laughing stock that hurts.

    Letting him have more airtime was a mistake, you should have been kinder not given this victim of the Dunning–Kruger effect more rope to hang himself with.

  7. Clint says:

    errr, no. He is deluded because he is not the AOC president and he think he is. They held their vote for a new President (as they do every year) in March, before the TV silliness. Handover was to be in April, but after the membership got together and requested he go sooner, he was replaced.

    He can say whatever he likes, but he does not speak on behalf of AOC, moreso, the views he has are shared by a lot of people from all political parties.

  8. smackdown says:

    shut up rick giles is my friend he and i hang out all the time and he lets me borrow his act on campus t shirt cos he’s got like seven of them

    he says he’s gonna give one to his gf but alas… :-(

  9. Rick Giles says:

    Previous Executive members,

    We have now come to the end of the 2009 executive term of office. As of tomorrow (Sunday) I had hoped to retire to other projects, leaving ACT on Campus in safe and worthy hands. This is not to be. My stated intent from the start of this year was to have an active and public final month to attract membership, attention, and funds. This has happened.

    The Executive has the power to call conferences, elections, AGMs, and to dismiss its members with due process. ACT on Campus does not recognise other individuals or groups to do this on its behalf. In March the President and the Secretary discovered second-hand via ACT Head Office that an early ACT on Campus election had been called without Executive consent. The Executive response was to sanction that election but change the date of effect to 25 March 2010, tomorrow.

    Since then individuals and groups, including previous Executive members, have reneged on their commitment against further ultra vires adventures. On 1 April 2010, in haste Peter McCaffrey wrote “But that’s 3 votes in favor with only 2 votes left to be cast, so the motion is carried” with reference to the statement “That the President makes no public statements or commitments on behalf of ACT on Campus until further notice.” This assertion does not qualify as an Executive decision.

    In similar style, on 2 April 2010, Peter asserted in haste “That the handover to the newly elected executive be moved forward to take effect at the passing of this motion,” and “That the motion be recognised as legitimate by the executive and is therefore moved.” Once more, these assertions were made on behalf of the Executive of ACT on Campus even though no notice of a meeting had been given, no meeting ever occured, and the Secretary and President were non-involved.

    As President I made it very clear that even these ambitions to disown me, even in the difficult times that they were, would be accepted…

    “I’m not deaf to what you’ve just said but I’m offering again. Let’s have a proper process about this as a group so that you will have my word that I will follow the results. Otherwise I will continue to act in my capacity and stop refraining from media contact. If you have views to represent you must tell me and change my mind quickly. Abuse wont do it. Force wont work either.

    “We MUST cooperate for the sake of the brand.

    “This is my appeal and perhaps not the last but it’s nigh on the last time I’m going to make the offer to remain a team.”

    Since then I have waited as long as I could in order to grant you the maximum latitude to accept the due process and authority of the Executive. In return you have,

    * Removed the President and Secretary’s email accounts
    * Published your own names and faces as the ACT on Campus Executive
    * Removed the President from weblog access
    * Removed the President from the national email forum and from Canterbury’s, his own region
    * Publicly contradicted our offices on radio and online
    * Surreptitiously circulated a letter to the ACT Board of Trustees claiming your own succession
    * Invaded today’s ACT Board of Trustees meeting uninvited and unannounced, claiming to speak for ACT on Campus even as I did so

    Still hoping to avoid compounding this list with public attention, I must now dismiss you all from membership of ACT on Campus at last. As a result, you will no longer be eligible to take office in the 2010 executive. I hope that this sanction can be reversed in future and have begun to arrange for an arbitration meeting with the ACT Party Executive Committee on May 9 2010. If you wish future involvement in ACT on Campus please contact me to renounce your part in the above actions and similar in future.

    Peter McCaffrey
    Rayneil Narsey
    Christopher Laing
    Sam Bonner
    Andy Moore
    Lukas Schroeter

    Memberships revoked.

    Rick Giles,
    ACT on Campus

  10. Hayley says:

    Rick rolled….

  11. smackdown says:

    remember when rick owned oliver driver by referencing borat and saying “… not!” at the end of his interview?

    driver was all like “blah blah respectable questions and ordered outrage” and giles was like “ima borat var nice”

    that’s why rick’s my friend


  12. Clint says:

    Thanks to Rick for proving me, AOC and everybody else correct. He truly does live on another planet and has a very loose grip on reality.

    AOC held a nationwide vote supported by the executive and all regional executives and membership to hold their annual vote for President. They also, in an unprecedented move, along with past members of AOC, votes unanimously to remove Rick from his role earlier. Not for what he said on TV but more his actions after the interview.

  13. steven marr says:

    HA, this guys such a flipping muppet.

  14. Clint says:

    Type here…

  15. Rickswrong says:

    Rick Rick Rick oh dear…..

  16. Rick Giles says:

    “AOC held a nationwide vote supported by the executive and all regional executives and membership to hold their annual vote for President”

    What, this……?

    From: Peter McCaffrey []
    Sent: Monday, 15 March 2010 4:36 p.m.
    Subject: Re: Voting

    CC: Lukas

    Ok that sounds good.

    Shall I email this round the list Lukas?

    No, voting is open, so no need to confirm ACT membership.



    Hi Peter

    I think you should cut off Thursday 25th at 5pm. We can figure out the best way for me to report the results closer to the time.

    Do all voters have to be current members or supporters????



  17. Rick Giles says:

    That election was out of Alice in Wonderland.

    The AoC President and Secretary found out about it only when candidates started soliciting their votes!

    And we only found out about the details from the ACT Party Manager- second hand!

    I wish you’d stop spreading these lies about in public, Clint. The three weeks of my not reacting are now over.

  18. Shitkicker McGee says:


  19. Rick James, bitch says:

    Quit tryna be me, bitch

  20. Naly D says:


  21. Jimmy says:

    I suspect Clint is in the right, as Rick’s argument this time is clearly not powerful enough that he doesn’t have to explain it.

  22. Clint says:

    What makes it worse is that everybody in AOC have tried to speak to Rick and he still thinks he is the legitimate leader. ACT party members themselves have attempted to talk some sense into him and guess what……

    Rick still thinks he is the leader.

    Rick thinks he is now a lone wolf leader of an alternative AOC where he is the accepted and beloved leader. Pity that not one single person in AOC or ACT believe him and are literally slapping their heads every time Rick opens his mouth,

    Rick… for the sake of what is left of your credibility, leave and stop destroying AOC.

  23. Clint says:

    And no they are not lies Rick. The membership are 100% in agreement that you are a loose cannon who speaks for none of them. Just give it up. Your emails about legitmacy and voting are all going round in circles and don’t mean a thing. Nobody cares and the membership just want you to stop it.

    We’re all still trying to be nice about this, because you obviously have some issues. But really, just give it up. The Party are getting pretty annoyed with this distraction and all you’re doing is hurting the party, AOC and everybody else associated with the party.

  24. smackdown says:

    “from sunrise to salient: the rick giles story” two buck fifty from yer local BP station

  25. smackdown says:

    dont feel bad rick its just the market calling u shit i still like you, i’ll steal ur book from the library when it comes out :D

  26. Shitkicker McGee says:

    Clint, Rick – can’t you Facebook chat or something? No one cares about your petty squabbles here!

  27. Clint says:

    Ha ha.

  28. smackdown says:

    this is what it sounds like
    when doves cry

  29. smackdown says:

    rick hired my 10-year-old self from 1995 to design NZB3 DOT COM

  30. Clint says:

    Dunno McGee… I’m quite happy to keep dishing out the truth if it will help Rick realise he is not the President of AOC, or Zimbabwe or even Mongolia.

    The truth will set him freeeeeeeeee

  31. Hank Scorpio says:

    does rick giles think anyone sees him as anything other than a bumbling buffoon

  32. Uncle Joe says:

    Act On Campus is starting to look worse than 2 rival Trotskyist sects…

  33. Hank Scorpio says:

    “Roger Douglas Won’t Answer My Emails: The Rick Giles Story Volume II.”

  34. smackdown says:

    get your own jokes loser

  35. My Name says:

    Don’t worry Clint, everyone hated AOC even before Rick was around. You guys appear to be equally douchey. I don’t know why you kids can’t just work it out – you’ve got so much in common! Awwwww.

  36. Abby says:

    Get a life Clint and Rick. Air your boring squabbles in a private forum. no one gives a shit what act on campus think – if we did we would be one of the 12 members.

  37. My Name is Abby and I am a retard says:

    Get a life says the girl who read this thread about Rick… I don’t know if you’re being ironic or just stupid.

  38. Abby says:

    Grumpy grumpy – is that Clint or one of the few other AOC members? Sounds whiny enough to be. This is an article not a thread; all the cool kids comment on articles, especially ones about crazy Rick. But still no one cares about your little Act on campus catfights. There’s no side worth supporting.

    You guys were dumb enough to elect rick, so its your own fault. What exactly did Rick say that AOC didn’t like? or did AOC agree with what he said but dislike how he became a laughing stock?

    You should rename yourself Future Douchebags of NZ. Or Wankers on Campus.

  39. Shitkicker McGee says:

    I think Wankers on Campus is taken by the Wankers Party Youth Wing

  40. Abby says:

    Future Douchebags of NZ it is, then. :)

  41. smackdown says:

    they could call themselves “fuck u, got ours”

  42. Felicia Jollyfellow says:

    Why has the so-called ‘free’ and anti-taxation ACT Party supported almost all the ‘Nanny-State’ regulations and new taxes bought in by the Key government? Boy racing = bad, so regulate against it. Smoking = bad so increase the tax on it. Increase GSTax = good. Privacy is good so support the Search and Surveilance Bill. Cannabis = bad so keep it illegal. Unemployment is bad so bring in unemployment insurance, which is basically another tax. P is bad so increase the penalities against it. Booze = bad so regulate against it. Crime is bad = more prisons, more cops and yet more Nanny-State laws etc.?

    Also why is it that wherever the so-called ‘free’ market is introduced, such as in Mexico with NAFTA, that it has caused widespread poverty and local businesses to fail?

  43. Clint says:

    Oh Abby… here I was thinking you were actually uninterested in this article and then I see you’re just another ACT hater. YAWN. Not very original are you – I’d have thought if you were going to be yet another one of those, you’d at least do it without using profanity. Maaaan, I hope you’re getting some value out of your University education! :)

    You didn’t read what was said on these comments before as I made it clear what we didn’t support. We didn’t care what Rick said, it was the behaviour he showed (not just in public) that we disagreed with – for many things. But hey, you’re the one who can’t argue without swearing and you can’t read either so I’m wasting my time :)

  44. Clint says:

    Felicia – ACT didn’t support the tax increase for smoking (voted 4-1 against), they support legalisation of cannabis as well. If you forgot, they have an agreement with National (as have other parties in a coalition Govt before) so they support some policies and go against others. By saying that, if you read the newspapers, it is abundantly clear that the ACT party does support the reduction of the nanny state that Labour constructed.

    But you don’t really care as your inherant bias against the free market came out when discussing Mexico – a country I am very familiar with, which is far wealthier now than they have ever been in history. I’m not too sure what you mean by “widespread poverty” when this country has experienced quite the opposite and only recently due to the credit crisis (and to a lesser extent swine flu) has it dipped. NAFTA works – but like all free trade agreements, it isn’t perfect. At least they *have* a FTA with the US. Ugh, why do I bother :)

  45. Abby says:

    Yeah, I guess ACT haters are really common. More common than fake tan on your MPs (looking at you Roger & Rodney, looking sexy there!). Hopefully the next President you elect will be a bit more media-savvy than old Rickosaurus, yeah?

    ACT should publicise their support for cannabis legalisation though – they might score a few extra votes from the stoners to cover the loss they make in Epsom if Roger and Heather succeed in their next attempt to boot out Rodney. But I guess they have to keep National happy so they don’t become totally irrelevant, and that means no drug legalisation today. I bet that was top of their list, though.

    And calling you lot wankers/douchebags isn’t profanity, just accuracy. But I’ll add a smiley on the end of the sentence like you do so I look all jokey. :)

  46. Clint says:

    Oh Abby. Really? Fake tan? Accuracy? Harrassing the pot smokers? Not being able to understand what is profanity or not?

    I must remember never to ask you who you support politically or I’d be tempted to have a go at you myself. Obviously you know best Abby… or are you saying that your argument is so powerful….etc?

  47. Abby says:

    Oh, so Rodney and Roger’s skin is naturally bright orange? I apologise.

    And I would never harrass the pot smokers. I totally endorse pot’s recreational use. Safer than alcohol, that’s for sure. I just can’t imagine why ACT doesn’t publicise it more.
    Good luck getting rid of Rick though. And I mean that.

  48. Clint says:

    Thanks Abby. We all thought we *did* get rid of Rick! Salient just gave him an extra few days of him thinking he was Pres.
    Damn right about the weed, far safer than booze – but you won’t hear many politicians say that.

  49. Vegeta_Mtcook_29 says:

    Lol. Clint. How old are you? Where do you live? Why do you care? STFU.

  50. pony says:

    Vegeta you sound and look like a horses penis!! Neigh!!!!! who gave you the right to tell anybody to stfu?

Recent posts

  1. VUW Halls Hiking Fees By 50–80% Next Year
  2. The Stats on Gender Disparities at VUW
  3. Issue 25 – Legacy
  4. Canta Wins Bid for Editorial Independence
  5. RA Speaks Out About Victoria University Hall Death
  6. VUW Hall Death: What We Know So Far
  8. New Normal
  9. Come In, The Door’s Open.
  10. Love in the Time of Face Tattoos

Editor's Pick

Uncomfortable places: skin.

:   Where are you from?  My list was always ready: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, puppy dogs’ tails, a little Spanish, maybe German, and—almost as an afterthought—half Samoan. An unwanted fraction.   But you don’t seem like a Samoan. I thought you were [inser

Do you know how to read? Sign up to our Newsletter!

* indicates required