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(Per Press Association.)

■'■■■- WINTON, February 20. Sir Joseph Ward addressed a large and enthusiastic meeting at Winton tonight. Mr R. Wilson (Mayor) presided, and the -hall was filled to overflowing. (Dn rising, Sir Joseph Ward received ail ovation. .He referred to the reasons .leading _. to his resignation and, while expressing his cheerful willingness to abide-' by" the majority at the polls, said •he would "do -his best for the country. He approximated last-election Mr iMassey and his followers polled 0n1y,,,28 per cent, of the votes. The present Government had no mandate '-from the country and no absolute majority! "of their 'own followers in the :Bm\se, and he expressed the opinion that before any leader formed a Government, he should go before the people. This also applied to any member changing his party. As to finance, Mr ;Allen had criticised him for not raising a loan for 10 years before leaving office. The reason, why he did not'do so was perfectly sound. When the position l>etween the\ parties became close, he i'elt it was proper to leave a successor a free hand. Had he loiown there was going to b© a loan of 60 millions and another of 1(1 millions raised by other countries, he v might have considered the raising of four millions before going out of- office. Yet, had he ,clone so, he would have been 1' cried down from one end of the country to the 1 other. Before leaving office, he had arranged for one million from Home and one million locally, which, with £BCO,OOO transferred to the Public Works" Fund, gave the incoming Trea-; surer £2,800,000 to carry on the business of the country till October. Sir Joseph Ward quoted figures showing that Mr Massey had increased the taxation r: by ICte 3d per head, instead of decreasing it, as promised prior to the election. He criticised the naval proposals, as enormously expensive and ineffective in comparison with the system! of contributions to the Imperial Navy." He compared the amount advan'ped, to s settlers by 'his Govei-nment andj^b-y Mr. Massey, to the advantage of ■ the] former. The system of partygrantsT for Public Works was , continued/ though Reformers had once iriVeighefl against it as degrading. He criticised land settlement and promised ,to outline later a system which would meaif. closer settlement, cheaper land, a.nd'greater productivity. He twitted the t Reformers for failing to carry out promised reforms. They had not reduced the taxation, but had increased it. ;They had not reduced the cost of .living', Which had increased; they had nqt'stopped political patronage; they htid not reduced the working hours of "Parliament; they had not stopped rush legislation '', at the end" of the session ; .they had not introduced the Local Government Bill, and had not promoted industrial peace. All these promises "were ■unfiulfilled. What a record, said the -speaker, in comparison with the beneficial measures of the Liberal Government. He opposed the system of Public Service Commissioners. The Public Service, lie said, should be controlled by men responsible to Parliament and Sir Joseph strongly denounced statements that he had prejudiced or hampered the Government in dealing with the late strike, and referred to the efforts of the Opposition to bring about a peaceful settlement. He denounced the application of the guillotine, and the tactics of the Reform; League in endeavouring to have ■■resolutions carried and telegraphed throughout Ne^ Zealand condemning the tactics of the Opposition. That sort of thing was responsible for lowering.the standard of public life, and such tactics- would recoil on the heads ot those responsible. Sir Joseph Ward said ■there was no solution of industrial troubles without some measure of State interference, but capital already invested should be protected. Superannuation funds and sick and 1 accident funds would do much to improve the .condition of the workers. Sir Joseph .claimed that during his 27 years of public life he had never hit below: , the belt, never written an J anonymous letter aboiit opponents, and .never written an article to a '■newspaper about an opponent. He had endeavoured to play the game and do -his best to promote the interests of the whole country. -/The speech was frequently interrupted by applause, and another ovation followed its conclusion, when a vote of thanks and confidence was carried unanimously. ,

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Bibliographic details

SIR JOSEPH WARD., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8800, 21 February 1914

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SIR JOSEPH WARD. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8800, 21 February 1914

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