Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 1905. THE HIGH COMMISSIONER.
The announcement that the position of first High Commissioner for New Zealand has been bestowed on the present Agent General, the Hon. W. P. Reeve?, has been received with approval and satisfaction throughout the colony generally. During his nine years of office in his former capacity, Mr Reeves has done good service to the colony, and has endeavoured to advance its interests steadily and judiciously. The work connected with the position of Agent General has largely increased in volumo and importance during the last decade, and there is possibly some justification from this point of view for the creation of the new office with the |high sounding title, as there certainly is for the iucrease in the salary that accompanies the position. Iv his handling of the business of the colony in London, Mr Reeves has shown tact an<l skill, and may be trusted to exhibit tho same qualities in the higher position which fitted him so well for the one he has hitherto filled. Mr Reeves will discharge the duties of bis highly named office without the ostentation or pomp which a less tactful person might be tempted to indulge in. Since he took office in 1896, tho credit and good name of the colony have frequently been subjected to attack in the columns of the London newspapers, and the repelling of those attacks hus been one of the most effective of the services rendered by the new Commissioner to the colony since ho retired from active participation in its politics. The services which he rendered to the people while actively engaged in tho political arena are well knrpi, tho most noted being connected with His term of office as Minister for Labour and Minister for Education, more especially the former. When the Conservative Party went out of power early in 1891, Mr Rsoves was already known as one of the brightest intellects to be found in the ranks of the Liberal Party, and in the Ballance Ministry he assumed the portfolios of Labour, Education, and Justice, which he held—subsequently under Mr Seddon—-till his appointment to tho office of Agent General in 1896. Mr Reeves was permeated with the new ideas of the time, and when he became a member of the [ Ministry, he seized the opportunity to put .them to the tgst of actual experience. The result of the labour measures for which ho was mainly or wholly repponsible, has been generally regarded as satisfactory, and the progressive policy which he initiated as Minister of Labour has been followed out by his successor on similar lines. When Mr Reeves was appointed Agent -General after four years as a Cabinet Minister, his appointment met with a good deal of opposition or lukewarm approval; but his record since that time has been such that even the strongest opponents of the selection of Mr beeves as Agent General, have had to admit that they were mistaken in their opposition. The duties of such a position as representative of an important colony at the capital of the Empire, are yearly becoming heavier, and the increase of salary that goes with the new title has long been overdue. Mr Seddon has taken an unnecessarily long time to make the appointment, seeing that fcbe High Commissioner Bill was passed by the House early last session; and it seems most probable that the Premier seriously contemplated accepting the office himself, but for some reason or other abandoned the idea, possibly on account of his restoration to health, and possibly because he considers che Liberal Party's campaign ah the forthcoming elections will require his personal supervision and assistance. However that may be, it must be admitted that, with the ejcooption of Sir Joseph Ward, there was no other possible candidate for the position once the Premier decided not to assume it, and the colony ia to be congratulated on securing for its first High Commissioner a man of such liberal attainments, experience, and tact as the Hon. W, P. Reeves.