Mr. Saunders, M.H.R. at Kaikoura.
[per press association special wire.] Wellington, Oct. 19.
Mr. Saunders addressed a largely attended meeting of his constituents at Kaikoura to-night. He said that though he had been elected on the Grey ticket, yet when he enquired into matters he found Sir George Grey’s protestations of practising rigid economy and working reforms amounted to mere moonshine, and that, instead of practising what he preached, he was actually engaged in most extravagant and iniquitous practices. He (Mr. Saunders) had, in changing sides, not changed opinions. Evil had been done to the colony by Sir G. Grey and Messrs. Sheehan and Macandrew. Extravagant as former Governments had been, none had approached the Grey Government. He did not say that money had never been spent so uselessly, but certainly never for such vile purposes as had been done by the late Government. They might vulgarly bo called three R’s and three F’s. Sir G. Grey surrounded himself with two men destitute of principle and three devoid of brains for his purposes. He had to have three men, who at least bore the character of being honest, but he did not think they knew how the money was being spent. Sir G. Grey squandered money for the purpose of rewarding his friends and favorites; Mr. Macandrew to satisfy toadies; and Mr. Sheehan to satisfy self-indulgence. Though his expenditure was not in some instances so damaging to the country as that of his colleagues, it was less creditable to himself. It showed the fallacy of the idea that Mr. Sheehan was even honest as a public man, as ho was deserted by his friends. He thought that the crushing debt that the colony was now groaning under, and likely to continue under for a century, had been brought about by the reckless extravagance of the late Government, and that was sufficient reason for his withdrawing his allegiance to them, and supporting the Hall Government. He did not believe altogether in Major Atkinson’s policy. In the early days he had been prejudiced against Mr. Hall, but he believed that there was not a more honorable, conscientious, hard-working man than the present Premier, who, although he worked like a slave at small matters, yet did not grasp larger subjects as he should. Mr. Bryce was a good common-sense man, of strictly honorable principles and truth. There was ud£' a more intelligent, hardworking man than Mr. Rolleston, who, although he was somewhat eccentric and made mistakes in judgment, was honest. The Minister for Public Works was the weakest man in the Government. Mr. S. thought horses, milch cows, sheep up to a thousand, and agricultural implements, should be exempted from taxation. It was highly necessary that agriculturists ■should be freed from all possible taxation if the country was to be extricated from its present position. He told the Treasurer that if this was not done there would soon be no one in the country to tax. He took an extremely gloomy view of the financial position of the colony and although he did not wish to appear an alarmist, he feared they might have to repudiate debts, and the country would be brought into disgrace, and colonists afraid to show their faces among honest men. The following resolution was unanimously carried —“ This meeting desires to thank Mr. Saunders for his address, and the great service rendered to the colony as Chairman of the Civil Service Commission and in the House of Representatives, and assures him that he possesses the entire confidence of the electors.”
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