The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 1905. THE COLONY AND THE GOVERNMENT.
Speaking in tho House on the Address-in-Reply on Wednesday night Mr Massey, the leader of the Opposition, declared that the Government had nbout as much to do with the increase in the colouy's exports as Bill Adams had to do with the battle of Waterloo. Mr Mwssey considers that the present prosperity of this colony is duo entirely to causes over whijh the Government; has do control, and that it is entitle! to no credit whatever for tha present happy state of affair?. When he made this statement, however, the leader of the Opposition did not offer any proof of its correctness, and contented himself with the jocular assertion mentioned above. It is, of course, true that the Government could not produce prosperity out of adversity and that any other administration would most probably have been unable to seriously threaten the colony's present prosperous condition. But the fact remains that Mr Seddon'B Government has done more for the people in the way of introducing Liberal and progressive legislation, than any ! other Government ever thought of doing. Doubtlessthe increase in our exports is mainly to be explained by the increased demand for our wool, frozen meat, and dairy products in the great markets of the world and to the increased abiliiy of the colony's producers, to supply that demand. But it must be admitted that the Government has had a hand in bringing about the increased production of the colony as a whole by in troducing the Lands for Settlement Act, and by other measures intended to help people to get on the land. What the supporters of the present Government lay especial stress on in recounting its claims for the gratitude of the colony, are its efforts to put the people on the land and the help it has afforded towards keeping them there. The Advances to Settlers Act has dona a tremendous amount of good to the struggling farmer by enabling him to obtiin a supply of cheap money and so get firmly establiahed on the road that leads to pros 1 perity. A considerable amount of help has been given to the producing industries of the colony by the establishment of the Department of Agriculture, which has supplied scientific and practical information of an important nature to farmers. The efforts of the Government to open up new markets for the products of the colony havo done a good deal towards increasing our exports. The Government has also shown judiciousness inthe rail way concessions it has granted with a view to eucourngiug fanners, and by the reductions and concessions it has made in other direction 3. On the whole, the Seddon regime has dona well for the people of New Zealand, and though prosperity and adversity havo their origin in natural causes with which political agencies cannot interfere much either for good or for evil, stiil, as we have said, the policy of the present Government has probably helped the tide of prosperity to flow freer and fuller than ib might otherwise have done. It is often said that nowadays we are all Liber-ils, but some of us are more Liberal than others, and the present Op position resent the imputation tha they do not hold elightened views or that they belong to the " stickin - the - muds." No doubt they are to a certain extent justified in their claim that had they been in office the colony would have advanced along the road of prosperity all the same. But the question is would they not have left all the large estates of the colony untouched, or would they have made a serious effort to satisfy the earth-hunger of the people, by pursuing a policy of " bursting up" the big land monopo ies. The Flaxbourne Estate is the latest instance of the Government's policy in this respect, and the manner in which the land was taken up shows clearly that the demand for a piece of the earth's surface to settle on, is still strong and vigorous among our people. On the whole we believe that the benefits conferred on the colony under the Seddon ' regime by the Acts mentioned above, exceed any injury that it has suffered from nny other measures passed during the same period.