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POLITICAL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8791, 11 February 1914
MINISTERS AT TE AROHA
SPEECHES BY THE PREMXEPv AND
(Per Press Association.)
TE AROHA, February 10. Political addresses were delivered in the Theatre Royal, Te Aroha, to-night by the Prime Minister (the Right Hon. W. F. Massey), and the Minister for Railways (the Hon. W, H. Herries), in the course of which both replied to recent statements by Sir Joseph Ward. There was a very large audience, the theatre bing crowded to the doors, and the Prime Minister and his colleagues had a housing and enthusiastic reception.
In the course of his remarks Mr Massey referred to the occasion as being; practically the opening of the political campaign. The session of 1913 and the difficulties which had to be met by the Government were reviewed
and Mr Massey went on to deal with the various Acts passed during-his term of office. Speaking of land legislation he said that nearly £000.Crown tenants who were only leaseholders, previously had now the opportunity of converting their land into, freehold.-. The ■Government also had given them the opportunity of paying for the land by instalments. So far as the Government's land legislation was concerned he was proud of it and was sure it had been of benefit to the settler, and to the country at large. More was to be done in this direction next session. As indicating what was being done in this direction of land settlement , lie quoted figures showing that during the year ended December 31, 1913, the Government had placed on the land 2143 settlers, who had taken up 677,910 acres. Referring to the financial difficulties the Government had to face he asked what could be thought of the financiers who had allowed £8,000,000 of loan money to fall due in one year? The fact that the 4£" million loan recently raised in London had been subscribed five times over in an hour and a half spoke volumes for the'esteem in which this country was held. The Government had reason to congratulate itself, too, for unless the English investor thought well of the people in control of this country lie would not lend his money so freely. The 4^ million loan raised nearly two years ago cost £144,049, and to raise the nioney to pay it off would cost the present Government no less than £235,000, and charges and ex-! penses of renewal estimated at the same proportion as the cost. of raising the £3,000,000 loan. He hoped that would be a lesson to the people «f New Zealand to avoid short-dated debentures. It had befen said that the Government had done nothing for the settler and . the worker. In this connection he would say.that very shortly, possibly within the next few days, the Government intended to put 'up the limit of advances to settlers, workers and local bodies. These were the proposals: To increase the limit for advances •to settlers from £750 to £1000, to workers from £400 to £500 ■which was the maximum allowed _ by law at present, and to local authorities from £2000 to £5000 for any particular work, these advances to be available within counties, or road districts, advances within "•'' townships, > including the populous centres, to be made Up to £250. During the 18^ months in which the Government had been in office it" had lent to settlers, workers, and local bodies a total of
£2,472,715. The leader of the Opposition had criticised the Government's defence policy. So far as land defence was concerned, said Mr Massey, the country generally approved of compulsory military training so long as it, did not cost too much. . As regarded naval defence he did not think there should be any difference of opinion on the subject. They had in the past paid to the Imperial Government £100,000 an- ! nually by way of subsidy' Hereafter 'would v be deducted from that payment the cost of the training ship Philomel, so that there was no contemplated increase in the expense. The interest and sinking fund on the gift warship was about £145,000, which, added to ,-the £100,000 subsidy, made a total of £245,000 for their naval defence. _ In 1909 an' agreement was entered into between the New Zealand Government and the Admiralty, under which th& latter proposed to place here two Bristol cruisers, three destroyers, and two submarines. But what had they got ? Apart from the Philomel, there were the Psyche and the Pyramus, two boats useful for policing the Pacific and other purposes'/but as fighting ships obsolete. With the officers and men no fault was to be found, but there was no doubt the ships were out of date. The Government had asked the\ Home authorities to comply with, tpe 1909 agreement, and had said that if this were done, and if . within 18 months they would give the Dominion the two Bristol cruisers. New Zealand would pay another £50,000 a year. So far there was no reply. The matter could not.be allowed to rest, and, if something were not done, it would be the duty of the Government to ask Parliament for authority to build at least one cruiser in a British shipyard. .The •Pjrime Minister denied that the cost of this would be enormous, as Sir Joseph "Ward had said it would be. He thought it was about time that New Zealand made up its mind how much :it could afford to pay, for combined naval and land defences. He believed the Pacific would be a storm centre of the future, where British people would have to fight for their supremacy. They should do all . that was possible to ensure 'naval supremacy in these waters. This was not a party question, and he hoped it would never be allowed to .become one.
After a reference, '-to.,'the..'.-recent labour unrest and the Government'''and Opposition attitude towards it, the Prime Minister said-there were going to be two main parties in the future. On the one hand the Reform candidate (really the progressive Liberal), and oil the other the Social Democrat, the Red Fed. and his supporters. The men who had called themselves Liberals in past years would have to choose between the patriotic Reformers and a set of men who, if they had the opportunity, would make New Zealand the first Socialistic republic m the Pacific. '' The place for the true Liberal is with us," he declared, "not with the Red Fed."
The Prime Minister closed with a promise, of a vigorous Public Works policy. He was loudly cheered on resuming his seat.
Mr Herries said that when Sir Joseph Ward was in Te Aroha recently he seemed to be altogether on the defensive-, and apologising for the acts of the Opposition; and well he might.
Referring to the recent industrial trouble, the Minister contrasted the attitude of the Opposition with that of the South African Opposition Party,, which "had supported the Government ! in maintaining law' and order. Dr. Pomaro also addressed the meeting briefly.
POLITICAL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8791, 11 February 1914
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