SIR JOSEPH WARD.
Observer, Volume XXXIX, Issue 52, 30 August 1919, Page 2
SIR JOSEPH WARD.
The Future Premier.
THE first feeling on reading the amazingly exuberant policy article of Sir Joseph Ward ts< that Mr. Massey is politically doomed. The retirement of Sir Joseph Ward from the National Ministry, and his sensation throwing-down of the gauntlet, immediately thereupon is political strategy in excelsis, and there are few so experienced in this form of warfare as the baronet with the agile mind and the bold promise. The magnificent programme produced by the leader of the Liberal party is so vast in its
scope that one wishes. New Zealand was a continent possessing one. hundred million people, who might reap the advantages Sir Joseph promises to, the one and a quarter million folk who inhabit the islands, comprising New Zealand.
There doesn't seem to be a shred of anything left to "Reform;" or to Mr. Massey, however assiduously hern ay search for new panaceas. The predominant note in the policy of Sir Joseph is State Control. The country and its people will be made happier, healthier, wealthier, and wiser by the nationalisation of everything that can be, nationalised, and the perfection of life may be attainted and the benefits secured by the return of party politics, but, above all, by adherence to Liberal politicians. The samples displayed by the Liberal party are so diversified they appear to cover every need and are so glitteringly shown that intending purchasers will surely say, "Thanks, I'll have some of that."
One sees in the gradual elimination of private enterprise and universal dependence on the State the acme of happiness. In the rather important matter of coal, which is at present in short supply, the panacea for minimum production is. to nationalise all coal-mines. The trifling fact that the present trouble originated in a nationalised coal-mine should not blind the public to the other fact that complete nationalisation and confidence in a Minister appointed by a Liberal Government will overcome all griefs and shortages, and that the home fires will burn brighter if one votes the right way.
It will cheer the Labour party and other possible parties a great deal to know- that under an enlightened regime, and although our national debt has been doubled/ that we may, if we vote the right way, have taxation reduced, and that coincident with the reduction of taxation we shall possess countless millions of pounds for the settlement of the land, the nationalisation schemes, the water power schemes, education, and so forth. One thing is oertain.
The sudden disturbance of a state of things that has persisted for many years can do no harm, and will certainly achieve good. Politicians, like soldiers, become entrenched, and become flaccid when there is no opposition. The dramatic reappearance of Sir Joseph Ward as a party statesman is the first thing of its kind that has occurred in the Empire.during the war, and the incident is not without its use. Humanity, including political humanity, gets into grooves, and it is not good for politicians to linger in Lotus Land too long. If the Liberal party, of which Sir Joseph Ward is again the head, is incapable of spurring the people of this country to the achievement of the policy set down, it at least has shown vigorous signs of life, and any kind of life is interesting. The division into parties, if Liberal adherents are still faithful to the shibboleths, gives the leader a preponderance of the more acute minds at present engaged in politics. The imminence of a general election is the best reason for refraining from prophesying what may occur politically before the New Year. It is impossible to decide, however excellent a political thimble-rigger one may be, under which thimble the political pea hides. The people, however, are influenced by promise as well as achievement, and Sir Joseph Ward promises excellently.
The outstanding thought engendered by the new state of political affairs is that in (the future the citiz-en of New Zealand will permitthe State to think for him. He will, if the State takes a larger hand in the affairs of the people, be in the happy position of having little personal responsibility. By a reduction of the argument that the Stateshould do everything and own everything, we may all in the future be .
paid servants of the Government, and think by regulation. Sir Joseph Ward, who is obviously the coming Premier of New Zealand, touched the problem of defence only from an aerial standpoint. It may be necessary for him to tell us when ho is once again in command of the country what are his views on this rather important question. It would be useful, too, for the coming Premie" to let the country know whether, in his opinion, the enormous developments he forecasts are to be undertaken and paid for by the very small number of people now iiir.aliting this country, or whether it is intended to increase our safety a'ld out commerce by inviting outsiders to help us. Incidentally, the future Premier's magnificent policy is one that might make five million people glad, if three millions seven hundred and fifty thousand people could be induced to share the glories of our future.