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MR. W. D. HUNT'S ADDRESS. i Mr \V. B. Hunt, of Invercargill, addressed a small gathering in the Theatre Royal last evening. Tbe Mayor (Mr R. Galbraith) presided. The Mayor apologised for the small attendance, and stated that" probably the public were getting tired of the subject of Prohibition On the other hand the short notice of tho meeting may also have accounted for tbe small attendance. ■Mr Hunt said it would be the duly of every elector to record his vote at the poll on April 10. In the meantime it would also be the duty of each elector to become acquainted with all points in connection with the two issues. Mr Hunt explained that the National Efficiency League was formed to press for the recommendations of the Efficiency Board in regard to the liquor trade. He pointed out that the recommendation was not merely intended to be a war measure, but that the- Board considered the abolition of liquor would vbe good for the Dominion for all,time. The object of the Efficiency League was to obtain Prohibition on the terms published and when that object was attained the League would cease automatically to exist. The League consisted, largely of men who m the past never had anything to do with Prohibition and many of the members ac- ■ tually opposed Prohibition in the past. One active member, who took a great part in patriotic work and a man tond of his liquor, stated that although he liked his glass he liked his country •better. (Applause.) The speaker then explained in detail the class of some or the men associated >vith the League. The point of view of the League was largely the economic and efficient point . of view. The speaker said Mr Findiay's iaddresses on behalf of the Moderate ; League had been largely comprised of % ridicule, with very little foundation in ( fact. Mr Findiay would not admitthat any revenues would accrue to the „ country through the abolition of liquor. , The whole burden of his argument was that we had either to drink or, burst. 1 1 (Laughter.), According to Mr Findiay's , argument it would be better if we ( spent twice as much in liquor to build up the revenue. Mr Findiay's state- \ ment that the deficits, would have to , be made up in taxation would not bear ; argument. If the £5,000,000 .was not t , spent in liquor it could riot vanish into \ air. The money would have to be spent ; in some way and there was no way a ; man could spend it without increasing the revenue. The money savedthrough - abolition of liquor, no matter how : spent, had to go through some channel" tnat produced revenue even if spent in i picture shows. All these things stimu- i lated local production and local production produced revenue. Even if a man buried £20 in the garden he could not escape increasing the revenue, for the ■manufacture of notes .was production.' The source of all revenue and wealth was production. Without production there would, be no wealth. The approximate production of this country was £100,000,000 per annum. The rev-. enue for the year ending March -1918 was £15,600,0U0. Out of every £100 produced the State took £15 12s, the balance remaining with the people. Mr I Findiay had stated that under Prohibition there would be increased expendi-• ture in more police, etc. The speaker contended these statements were ridiculous and judging by the way they were going in for Prohibition in U.b.A. Mr Findiay did not carry much weight in his own country. The speaker quoted a letter from the Stratford Hospital Board showing that a large proportion of those who could not pay for treatment had been persons where the above result was due to drink. The experience of the Board went to show that many patients had come to the hospital as a result of drink. The speaker contended that this showed that drink increased the burden of charity able aid in this country. Mr Hunt then dealt with the increased efficiency that would come to the country if liquor were abolished. Mr Parry, aii eminent electrician, had, to the, speaker, also condemned the waste in iiquor, and stated that within three years the money so wasted would provide electric light and power for every person in'the Dominion. Comparison of the wet and dry States in America had shown that the dry States showed far bettor working efficiency. The more they went into this question they would find that prohibition meant reduced taxation and reduced cost,of living. It did not take a "genius to find out that, if you increased production you reduced taxation. This country would require to raise its standard of efficiency as ■ other countries raised theirs. There had been an immense increase of work- \ ing efficiency in the world during the last century, and efficiency would go on increasing. The nation could not 1 afford to stand still and let other nations like America and Canada, without the burden of the liquor, beat us in efficiency. The speaker contended that the league did not say liquor was not a good thing for medicinal purposes, and provision was made in the . Act to get liquor in the country for medicine. The Trade was raising the medicine question as a bogey. A leading doctor had told the speaker that the only argument ; you can get lor! liquor was "I like it," and when you act rid of the " I like it " you sot rid I of its value". Doctors differed in regard to the value of alcohol, and the epidemic had proved that alcohol-soaked men did not recover. The epidemic had proved that while the use as a medicine might be beneficial its abuse was fatal. It had been suggested that all that was wanted in the trade was reform. The only way to reform the liquor was to put it out of existence.. The Trade and the Moderate League had never tried to reform the traffic, and any suggestion of reform the lrnde j had always strenuously opposed. _lne Trade had published that Mr Lloyd George was in favour of State owner-j ship. This was fact. Mr, Lloyd George saw his country as he would like it to be. It he could not j get all he wanted,he would get all he could. He had declared during the war that the areatest enemy of the nation was drink, and Mr Lloyd George during the war placed the traffic under control and reduced the manufacture and hours of selling. Because he did all this the Trade said he was m.tavour of, State control. The speaker then referred to Mr Findiay's statements and statistics regarding increased crime in prohibition countries. He, stated that Mr Findiay was nut to extraordinary straits to compile his figures. ,He left out offences in wet areas tried in- dry areas, etc. Tbe speaker then quoted statistics for the whole Dominion to show that offences in No-liconse _ areas were low as compared with those in wot areas. Mr Findiay's statistics, he snid,' were bunkum and nothing else. The Moderates had also a great deal to say

about sly-grogging in dry areas. The judgment of the people on the spot in America had shown that any State 'which had obtained No-license never I went back on its decision, and that was ' the best argument ■in favour of prohibition. Mr Hunt contended that' re-.' ' forms in legislation in this country were ■ necessary, and befoi*e they could efficiently deal with those Reforms they had first, like other countries, to get rid of the burden of liquor. People might call the prohibitionists fools, but they were a class of people who were willing to give their time and money for what they believe to be the benefit of the community. Compare that with the attitude of the liquor trade, which utilised its money for political influence and the protection of the trade. The Trade, in asking the people to stay their haad until the election on this issue, knew perfectly well that If prohibition was not carried on April 10 it would never be carried until the law was altered. The three issues was a most unfair way of voting, as prohibition had to beat the other two. The speaker concluded by stating that the rirohibitidnists were going to win on April 10 by an astounding majority. The cost to pay interest and sinking fund if liquor was abolished would be Id per week per head of population^ and as the population increased this sum would be further reduced. The liauor traffic had been the curse of politics in this country in the past, and prevented the bestbrains of the country getting together in Parliament. , A hearty vote of thanks was accorded' (the speaker. i.

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Bibliographic details

PROHIBITION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9574, 1 April 1919

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PROHIBITION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9574, 1 April 1919