FARMERS v. THEMSELVES.
TO THE EDITOR. Sib, —As ib is not every day the fanners meet together for their mutual benefit, I thought I was going to hear something of especial interest to the farmers and to the* public of Ashburton m general. Hair*. ever, Sir, I was sadly disappointed m all 1 heard. I expected to hear fr,am, the-. various speakers the reasons' why' the? meeting had been convened, and why themotions that were carried were put to th& meeting at all. Bigotry seemed to be the ruling order, and there are hone so blind as those who, do not wish to see. As none of the speakers gave the correct account of the present strike, neither did they seem to know anything about the Maritime Council, with your permission Mr Edxtor, I will try to enlighten them. In the fcrst place, a great many people are of the opmion, that the Maritinfe Council of New Zealand is affiliated with Australia, buch is not the case. It is selfcontained. It is composed.of delegates from the Federated Seamen's Union of tf.Z., the Amalgamated* Millers' and Laborers Association of N.Z., and the federated- Wharf Laborers' Union of r'r,' mcc.th« last half-yearly meeting of the Council, four other bodies, including the Railway Servants 1. Association, have applied to he affiliated. You will therefore, s^o (that it is a New Zealand concept and has ho connection -with the Maritime Council of Australia^ except m sympathy. The Union Steamship Company is the connecting link between the two couutries, doing business m New Zealand waters, but belonging to an Australian Association. This Association was formed, not for the purpose of strengthen*
ing the shipowners' position m thei legitimate callings, but for the crushing of Unionism. The Union Company afc first nobly refused to join it, but were afterwards compelled to do so, under the threat that : they did not, a fleet of steamers would be sent across to New Zealand to run opposition to them m their own waters. Now, mark Sir, what would have been the result if that were so ? It would mean a reduction of fully 30 per cent on the present freights The value of exports from New Zealand to Australia is estimated at £1,600,000, and of imports from Australia to New Zealand £1,177,000. When we consider the thousands of tons of produce this money represents, it will be easily seen that by breaking up this monopoly the farmer would be the gainer, and yet, m the meeting on Saturday the farmers passed a resolution pledging themselves to "support by labor or o-'V'^-wise, to keep the trade of the country iroin being vrißyn%i." On stroke of the pen from the Union Company would sever their connection with the Shipowners' Association of Australia, then New Zealand with her Unions would stand alone. The strike would be ended. Australian labor would not affect New Zealand, neither would New Zealand labor affect Australia. Bui this would mean breaking; up the monopoly and a reduction m freight, and that will never do, so the strike continues and the farmer suffers. I now come to the resolution moved by Mr D. Williamson, "That an Association be formed . called the Ashburton Farmers and Employers' Association, the object of which is to secure for its members unity of action and protection of their just interests, etc." I must say ie is a step m the right direction, and will receive my hearty support, but I would like to ask Mr Williamson what good the above Association would do, if it was moulded on the lines Mr Williamson lays down for Labor Unions, I will quote Mr Williamson's own words—"l believe m Unionism, and Unions are right enough as long as they don't affiliate with each other." If the above motion finished at the word "interests" it would simply mean nothing, but Mr Williamson is aware that unity is strength, so he generously adds, with a view to affiliation with other kindred Associations. What is sauce for the goose surely ought to be sauce for the gander. The last motion, Mr Editor, I'll take for what it is worth. The high compliment paid to Mr Stead by the farmers of Ashburton, I have not the least doubt, will be graciously received, but if wheat is 4s per bushel next year, most likely he will return the farmers thanks back again m the shape of shipping Californian wheat to the Sydney market, to the detriment of growers and shippers m Ashburton. Thanking you, Mr Editor, for your valuable space.—l am, etc., Reason.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2512, 8 September 1890
FARMERS v. THEMSELVES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2512, 8 September 1890
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