The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1890. THE GOOD OLD DAYS
Mr Bryce and one or two other members of the Conservative 1 p.irty have taken up the cry of Mr Ormond atNopicr, and complain bitterly of the alleged deteiioration of the New >?ea land House of Representatives. From the remarks made bj' these gentlemen people abroad and strangers arriving m the colony will be apt to infer that a seat m the New Zealand Parliament is by no means an indication' of superior attainments, and that thepeoplc of the colony exerqise no judgment or discretion m sending forward their best men to represent them m the national assembly. Any reflection upon %he Parliament is a reflection upon the people who elect the members. It must therefore be argued that New Zealand politicians and New Zealand electors are alike steadily and surely retrograding. If the assertion of Mr Ormond and his friends is absolutely true, there is hot much for the ybung New Zealahder tb look forward to. A seat amongst the legislators of any civilised country m the world is a laudable ambition held up by the people before their sons, but, if the sweeping assertion af Messrs Ormond aiid 1 Co. be true, the soundest advice a New Zeala.nd.er can give to his talented and ambitious offspring is : "Don't, degrade yourself byvtaking part m tile" public affairs of your country ! The company is besneath you, *hd any position of public trust you may be win will, owing tb yourassociates, reflect no credit either upon yourself or your friends !" ! Of course such advice as that referred to is the eatence oi intellectual and social snobbery—-but that is nevertheless the ideal which Mr Ormond and those who think nvith him would have the col*riy s'ist'up'! Under a democratic form oj Government, .with universal suffrage, New Zealand, unlike most oilier, countries, is going backward because,the electors do not bow down and worship tbe golden calf of wealth and social position! The farmer, tne artisan,,, the small, trader, and the industrious settler are slowly, apd surely replacing the designing merchant, thej purse-proud capitalist, and •the <■ professional politician who have run the country head over ears itito debt. The people have rebelled against increased taxation and the perpetuation of princely extravagance; and the old school of politicians are now bitter m their denunciation of the people's chosen representatives, who have set the colony's finances m order. With the deterioration of Parliament has come more economical administration. There may now be fewer brilliant men m the House than m the days of rockless'borrowing and lavish expenditure; the days of jobbery and ;corruption) the days of indiscrimato sale at peppercorn prices of huge blocks of valuable lands —-but it cannot be denied that t more practical legislation 1 is now firid-, ing its way on to the .statute books of the colony, and th.it the credit of New Zealand stands higher to-day m the eyes of the world than when there were so many able men m the House, whose loss is so bitterly deplored by Messrs Ormond, Bryce, and Co. A tree is known by its fruit, and is not valued alone for the brilliance of its leaves; and on the same principle, a New Zealand politician is not now guaged by his scholarly attainments or theoretical views, but by his fitness for the practical work of legislation. His social position or wealth may not be all that Mr Ormond and liis friends [would' desire ; but so far as intellectual attainments and a knowledge of the practical work of governing a colony are concerned, the work' of • the past fewjsessionsbears undeniable testimony to the fact that there has been a greater number of practical men m the House of late years than m "the good old days " which it is becoming the fashion .in' certain quarters to lavishly praise.