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TO SIR JOSEPH WARD'S CRITICISM. (Per Press Association.) WELLINGTON, February 22. The Hon. J. Allen, Minister of Finance, intends to reply to Sir Joseph Ward's speech from the public platform, but to-day he took the opportunity of, at once. dealing with some of the statements made by the leader of the Opposition. " I am very sorry," remarked Mr Allen, " that Sir Joseph Ward should continue to draw attention to the fact that in the year 1912 he advanced to settlers-£2,336,000, when he does know that that was an abnormal amount to advance, that the law only authorised the borrowing of one million and a half a year for advances to settlers, that had it not been for the opportunity the law gave him to go back on unraised > portions of previous years he never could have got that money in one year, and that it could not possibly continue at that rate, as the law would not allow it. The policy of the present Government is not to plunge ; with public money, but to go steadily eta, and, as we strengthen our finance, open our hands both to settlers and to local authorities, and I hope I shall neJ el' be brought to the day' when I shall have to cut down the amounts that may be loaned out either to settlers, to workers, ox*, to local authorities. "I am sorry) too, that Sir Joseph Ward should attempt to discredit the revenue of the^countrv by alluding to the drop in tli'e Customs of £102,000. He knew perfectly well that during the months of November and December a strike was on and- trade was paralysed, and Customs revenue was not coming in. He ought to know that since the strike ended the Customs revenue has been recovering, and I have already told the public that it is beyond the estimate. ! "I think, also, that Sir Joseph) Ward has been trying to discredit the postal revenue. Obviously there is a misprint, or else his calculation is wrong. The postal revenue for the quarter shows an increase of £82,892, not £73,000, as stated in Jthe report of his speech. It is true that there has been an increase in the quarter's expenditure over the previous year of £245,375, not £243,575, as he is reported to have said; but I advise people not to calculate their expenditure upon the quarter, but) upon the full year, because a quarter's accounts are very misleading. Anyhow, £107,000 of the increases are due to increases under permanent; appropriations. Increases in interest and sinking fund amount to £118,000, widows' .pensions have increased by £1100, and military pensions by £6778. Which of these increases does Sir Joseph Ward object to ? A very large .proportion of the increase in the annual appropriation for the quarter was due to the working of the Railway Department, namely, £94,000 of it. Very much of this is due to increases in salaries and better conditions for railway servants. I ask the late Minister for. Railways whether he intends to.continue to criticise this bettor provision for the- railway servants of the country ?"

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MR. ALLEN REPLIES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8801, 23 February 1914

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MR. ALLEN REPLIES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8801, 23 February 1914