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PREJUDICED CRITICISM.

Altitouoh generally we have more sympathy with the Opposition than with the pi'esent Government, because the Opposition is more m sjnnpathy ■with the ctMise of land settlement and a fair adjustment of the burden of taxation, we are, nevertheless, neither disposed nor called upon to defend jail and singular tho tactics and doings of the Party or its members during last session. On the same principle, also, we decline to condemn everything proposed by the Government, limp and incapable as that Government are, though sooth to say they have proposed little and done less which is deserving of encomium. We are quite ready to accept that which is good, no matter from what quarter it comes, and hold that there is nothing so mischievous as the bigoted partisanship on the part of writers for the press which by the suppressio veri and mggestio falsi so frequently misleads and perverts the public judgment. This it is true is often the result more from prejudice m the mind of the writer than from a conscious or wilful attempt to misstate or to place matters m a wrong light, but the extremes to which such writers are unconsciously carried are now and them positively ludicrous. For example, a metropolitan contemporary m writing on Thursday last on the subject of the retrenchments effected by the Opposition when the Estimates were under consideration, refers to the reduction m the vote for the Audit Department as a " pitiable example " of a " reduct? >» which is no reduction at all," but m reality "an extravagance of the most wasteful kind." It cites m proof of that statement the memorandum of the Auditor- ! General, Mr Fitzgerald, m which that officer says m effect just what our contemporary says, and declares that under the reduced vote six clerks will have to be dispensed with whose annual salaries amount to £1121, but who will have to be paid compensation to the amount of £1400, so that there will be an increased expenditure of nearly £300. But Mr Fitzgerald fails to show why the striking off of £950 from the vote necessitates dispensing with six clerks whose aggregate salaries total £1121—less than £200 each; it being quite clear that the salaries of five must amount to more than the amount of the reduction. But that is a minor point. If our contemporary will take the; trouble to read Mr Ballance's speech on the subject of this memorandum, he will see that it is not necessary to dispense with any clerks at all, the items aimed at by the Opposition when the reduction was mored and carried, being the expenses connected with the audit m London, amountfng to about half the sum struck off, the balance representing the salary of one of the higher subordinate officers of the Department m the Colony, whoae services it was held could be dispensed with owing to the Department haying been strengthened m another direction. Thi.^* at anyrate, Mr Fitzgerald very well knew, and his memoz-andum is merely a proof of the tenacity with which officialdom clings to old traditions, and resists all attempts at economical administration. But our Gloucester street contemporary is not more astray m this matter than it usually is m all matters m which the doings or sayings of ■ the Opposition come under •; its review. As for example, the assertion which it made the other day, that the retrenchment party had only succeeded m knocking off some £45,000 from the Estimates, and that Mr Mitchelson had to take off £5000 from the expenditure under the vote for buildings to make up the £50,000 reduction which the Government had consented to effect. What about the Supplementary Estimates 1 It is of course convenient to forget that these were reduced m Committee by fully £20,000, so that the total reductions [ effected were nearer £70,000 than £50,000. Half a loaf may be, better than no bread, but "that sort of rule does not apply to matters of verity m which indaed the only safe guide is the obligation laid upon all upright witnesses, namely, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900923.2.14.4

Bibliographic details

PREJUDICED CRITICISM., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2525, 23 September 1890

Word Count
692

PREJUDICED CRITICISM. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2525, 23 September 1890

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