Hutt News, Rōrahi 6, Putanga 2, 14 Pipiri 1933, Page 8
BRANCH AT PETONE
ABOLITION OF PARTY SYSTEM
A well attended public meeting called by the New Zealand Legion was held last week in the Oddfellows' Hail, etone. Mr tfeo. i'indiay presided. The speakers were Messrs A. W. Jb'ree, Ji. <j. Anderson, J. it. V. Sheraton, and Dr. Campbell Begg. Mr A. W. ±ice said he was glad of the.opportunity of dealing with the criticism o±" those who said, the Legion aims were too idealistic and that they would not work. The air of the Legion was to get the people to. put their heads together and see if the present system' could not be altered, and that was surely possible. The removal of obstructions to progress was like the removal of an obstruction from the road. The best way of getting the job done was for those concerned to work together and remove it,, and not depend on the Government which would merely pull against its opposition and accomplish nothing. For too long politics in New Zealand had been considered as a game played by the "ins" and1 the "outs." There had been it was true, a team spirit, but it had functioned in the wrong direction, for party and sectional I interests insttad of for a great national ideal. There was a twofold economic job to be done —to see that everyone was able to exchange what they had for what they wanted and to see that the national life was so organised that there would be no recurrence of the present trouble. The way out was neither by Fascism nor Communism. New Zealand should find its own remedy, and the Legion was offering the machinery whereby this could be done, through the pooling of the thoughts of the community. Everybody was capable of contri-. buting something to national thought, and the Legion aimed at being the collecting agency for that body of opinion. Mr K. 6. Anderson spoke on the contribution youth c uld bring to the help of the national life, and stressed) the interdependence of humanity and the need for co-ordinated effort freed from .sectional domination in the solving of the. national problems.. Government' as it existed to-day was a farcical expression of the opinions of the people. The Legion sought the welfare of the whole nation and was a body of men who were prepared to sacrifice self and give service for the national good. The present wa» a time to make iaeals a reality and not keep them as a mystical hope. Major J. B. V. Sherston, secretary of the Legion outlined the history of the movement and showed now it had originated out of a conversation he had with Dr Campbell Begg while the speaker was studying the country's economic' problems in Wellington. H> paid a high tribute to Dr. Begg. An attempt was made, he said, to inntiate the movement by correspondence in other centres, but eventually it seemed essential that Dr Begg himself should visit all the divisions. This was only made possible by the co-operation of Dr Begg's partner (Dr Bruce Rennie) who was just as ardent •!" the Legion as Dr Begg himself. He was glad to say that the intensive dirive put into the movement had enabled a position to be reached in which Dr. Begg would be able to remain in Wei; lington and attend to his own private practice, on which naturally he was jast as much dependent as any other professional man. He took this public opportunity of stating that any rumour that Dr Begg had given up Ms practice for the sake of the Legion movement was without any foundation in fact. It was nly through the lucky chance that he was in partnership that it was possible for him to give up the time he has already done. Dr. Campbell Begg said the move-. ment was now getting to the stage when the promise made when the Legion started would have to be fulfilled, and the time was soon coming when a pronouncement would be made of what the Legion had set out to do. The Legion's aims had necessarily been vague because it had been in process of being moulded and how it would function would be determined by the body of opinion behind it. There were several possibilities. It might be that the Legion would advocate the formation of New Zealand in one constituency returning by proportional representation some 20 or 30 mem bexs to the House, or it might be that the inter-relation of local and general Government would be sought. The main question at present was for the Legion to give expression to the views of its members. Dr Begg quoted from an article in the "Fortnightly Review" showing that thought in England was tending towards the abolition of party Government and also quoted what had recently happened in South Africa, where party politics had been wiped out. The Legion was preparedi for criticism, but it must bo fair criticism and not the spurious type which searched to find loopholes and misprints and wrenched statements away from their contexts, instead of trying to find the real aims and aspirations of the Legion. In answer to a question, Dr. Begg freely, admitted that the Legion must form a party to abolish party government, but -when that had been done the function of the party would have ended and the government of the country would be carried on In the same way as a local body functioned. There -was no difficulty in abolishing party •govesnment; the only question was why the* people had been fools enough to conn* tenance it so long. A large number of new member* sign ed the membership cards and an executive was formed to control the Petone • branch.