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EXTRACTS FROM "HANSARD."

Id tbe Honae on Jay 3, when tbe vote for volunteers was being discussed, Mr Walker said tfaftt on the previous night ths Minister promised to give ■oma n aion why he btoke up the battalion system m the oolony. To his mind, the Minister hadstruok at tbe effio enoy of the forcoby that atep ; because It must be admitted that they could never get oat of Individual companies the same •mount of effiuienoy its 1' they were pUcad m po.ltlou Id bat tallons,, and trained accordingly. Therefore shy man of ordinary intelligence knew that it was batter that the battalion system should be reverti d to. He spoke somewhat fealing'y he be'leved a very admirable orgaaizttlon, m the shape of the North Oan'erhary Battalion, had been destroyed ihi on jh the aqtlonof the Minister. That foroa was characterised by the extreme; ordar, effioienoy i and eocnomy whloh were displayed at the Eos'er enosmpment. He believed • that from th« several encampments that were held at Easter that district alone actually returned to the Treasury a aam of monoy as a sarplas oat of tbe small amount whlah was plaoed at their disposal for the purpose. That spoke volumes for the excellenoe of the management, and for Its organlgitlon, ; which the Minister had lately upset— because, is a matter of faot, that enoimpment was 'tarried oat by the old battalion officers whom he had discharged. He trusted, h wever, that the Minister would say a few words m defenae of his own action, whioh ba himself, as a ndn-oombatant at present, considered to be a mistake. Mi. Fergus, the Min'st'ifor Dafaroej said that, as a matter of fact, belore the Wtall<n« existing m the past were up he had received from the officers commanding In the various districts confidential reports, and the burden of those reports wai against the oontlnuanoa of tbe battalions as they then existed. ' He would be very happy to show these reports privately to the honorable gentleman, although, from the f\ct of their being confidential, he was debarred from laying them before th) House. There was provisi6n, however, nnder the present regulations, for the reformation of battalions. If any half-dozen oompanies lv any part of the oolony, were desirous of forming a battalion they were at liberty to do to. It was a singular faot thnt the battalions were always most satisfactory lv districts where the companies nevgr had the op,pgrtiinlty of ocmlng together. 'They could not possibly do bo more than onoe a year ; and In such oases he had found that the commanding offloers' reports were very favorable to the battalions ; while In the olties the commanding officers generally reported t^at tbe existence of suoh battalions was not conducive to the effioienoy of the individual corps, If there was a general deiire on the part' of the Volunteers— of whloh deiire, however, he had not heard—to have the battalion system restored, they .h«jd the power >o| giving effect to their wishes povf , Instead of the old form of battalion they would be given another form, which they could take advantage of at the present time. Mr Walker said of oourm he was not prepared to state that tha Minister had not had eoffiolent reasons, as be had Informed the Committee, m those confidential reports for theatept that had been taken. The only further word that he had to say on the subject was that It appeared to him to be an amialngly pmtt&dUjtoty system whioh could not be preserved and organized from the headquarters of thu'Mlnlster and his depart- , ment. ' At a later stage of the debate/ Mr , Walker said that he could not oonoetve anything more Injurious to a force lik? the Volunteers th&n qoDatant changes . especially when made on each slight grounds as those addaoed by the Minister of Defence. The honorable gentleman had shown no reason why the who}e force slyoqld be disorganised apparently to suit. one or two oases. He regretted to bear the honorable gentleman isay that the tf-a which bound the Volunteers to the Stare was very slight. In spite of all tbe discouragement by the department, m spite of ail thi disruption of the old ties whloh bound the oompanies together m battalions,, the honorable geptleraan admitted that the Volunteer roll was higher now than it was a jear ago : and yet he said the tie whloh bound the Volunteers to the State was slight) It was the strongest tie on the face o Jthe world j It was the tie that led these men to give up the beat years of their lives to be, trained so as to be able. to defend their country, If necessary, In time of danger. He depreoited most strongly the Minister's miking suoh ohanges for Huoh slight and attempting suoh tricks as he had done with the real principle Involved In the Volunteer sys^om. H<j would only ask the honorable gentleman, before making any more ohaqges, to think all ttlo, ftud to consult sqme other petsom besides the oommaidlng offiotrs. He was persuaded that If- the publ.'q opinion of the, oolony had been consulted, and If the' honorable gentleman hid called into bis councils saoh offioera as the old officer to whom the honorable member for the Walrau had referred aa keeping the Yolunteero m his district In such good order, the Minister of Dofunoa w. uld noycr have made the mistake he had made when he disbanded the battalions under 'he new rogulations. Of course it waa apllt mill; R4 far os the late organ'^ition was concerned ; but hj fished to eoipbasf^3 the ereab mistake thp MlpUte,r had

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890720.2.5

Bibliographic details

EXTRACTS FROM "HANSARD.", Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2178, 20 July 1889

Word Count
941

EXTRACTS FROM "HANSARD." Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2178, 20 July 1889

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