The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 1890. PARTY GOVERNMENT.
The sooner it is admitted that party government, as carried out in New Zealand,,is*, ,what it undoubtedly is, an utter failure the sooner shall we attain ] to a-more healthy condition of things political. We might indeed say, and say with truth,' that in other colonies ; —Victoria for instance—nay, in the ■Mother- Country -itself, from-.whose institutions our o^jn are adapted, government by party has proved itself played out and' effete—^in a. w6rd that it has become an anachronism, but need not go further afield than our own colony, to see that ty is .cumbrous, ineffective, costly, and mischievous. To have a proper system of 'party.-government we must first have clearly defined parties, "actual , not imaginary party lines, and that is precisely what 'we have not. If there be, Liberals and Conservatives, i.e., if these words have for us any meaning, at all, then there are Liberals .in the so-cajled Conservative party, and Conservatives in the so-called Liberal , party, more liberal or more conservative perhaps than the leaders of the parties known by those names. Then lines of division cross and re-cross like the .threads of a spider's web, and no set of men can be> found to agree together upon anything like an all-round policy, every question -which' comes up if it were dealt with on its merits involving an entirely fresh sorting of the cards in the political pack. On a given question it is easy to find men, on opposite sides of the House more nearly agreed than men on the same side, and members of "the rank and file in the same party who differ more widely than do the leaders of opposite parties,' Take recent utter-ances of party ieaders in proof. Major Atkinson declares that it won't do to go in for further borrowing for the present—so does Mr Ballance; Major Atkinson, believes i in payment by results to schoools other than state schools—so does Mr Ballance. Major Atkinson professes to believe in the policy of settling the lands of the colony, Mr Ballance certainly believes in it, and so on, over a number of question^, "What then is the difference—simply that of administration, the extent to which either may be trusted to carry out what he professes, plus the question of fitness for the conduct of any particular department of Government. Obviously under circumstances such as these the House should be free to choose from out of its' whole number, without regard to fictitious party- divisions, the men in its opipion best fitted and niost thoroughly, to be trusted, for the several departments, and this is what could and would be clone if the present stupid system of so-called Party Government [ were put an end to. Then also, and not till then, -will every measure Avhich. • (jomca before the House be disou'ssed on its merits and accepted, amended, or rejected according to the intelligent views of a majority representing a preponderance of opinion, not a riiere preponderance of votes brought into ihe lobby under the' whip and-withoiit respect to the merits of the simple issue; and then, and not till then, will < the votes of hon. members clearly, plainly, and unmistakably indicate their real views, opinions and> objeqts. Then also, and not till then shall we see the disappearance from our political arenaof that miserable intrigue, obstruction,;! and' purposeless, * though sometimes' purposed, waste of time which are a reproach and a disgrace, not to'one Parliament only but to alLParliaments in which the wretched and demoralising etish yclept "Party Government".'still holds sway. \