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NO-LICENSE A FAILURE.

NATIONAL PROHIBITION A FALLACY

MR, H. M. STEWART AT AKAROA. Mr Stewart addressed a meeting a ttho

Oddfellows' Hall, Altaroa, latt evening, In the absence of the Mayor, who w„s indisposed, Mr C. W. Leete acted aB chairman. Mr Stewart spoke as follows ; — The whirligig of time has once more brought vi within measurable distance of a general election, and like its immediate pre* dtC3Ssor the burning question for Folution will be that of license or no license, national prohibition or continuance, and as these quostions involve the sacrifice of pers nal hbe" ty and the deprivation of natural rights, it isjnot presumptuous to suggest tbat it is the duty of every person possessed of these priceless gems to gather all the information .possible on these subjects, and weigh well the evidence before committing themselves to the responsibility of casting their vote either for one or the other. In the paßt, as in the present, this great problem bas only bean dea t with from the point of view'of two interested parties - those who are pfcuniarly interested on tbe one hand, tuid tboHe who are diametrically opposed to it on

the other—while the great majority of the people, by those I mean tho moderate drinking sections of the community, who in point of numbers exceed a combination of tjoth of the others, and whose interests are to be considered, are left entirely out of the bargain. 16ubrcit without fear ef contradiction that no solution of this g'rsat problem which does not recognise the claims of the majority can either be lasting or satisfactory. It may be urged tbat my a 'dress is not new. Well, the question is not whether it is new or old. Tbe question is 'Is it right or wrong?' If it is right there can be no harm in respect., ing it. If wronp bo much the better -cr miopponents. But I very justly remark here tbat when tbe advocates of no license and, prohibition give new reasons for ihii r attitude it will be time enough for me to adduce i:ew arguments to refute them. Howevtr, ilie ijuetiiion tha- will, interest yon m st «.>• tiiu present juncture is whether the nauinents made by these advocates are justified, and, if so, are tho remedies they propose pr:<ciical or effective ? To give either an affirmative or negative answer to this it will be necessary for me to take a retrospective view, and take the present movement from its inception and so to avoid tediousness. I will take you back to tbe year 1893, that is to a time when the Party had sufficient in 1 fluence to prevail upon the Government of the day to introduce an act conferring upon the people tbe right to vote out all licenses for the retail sale of alcholic liquors by a three-fifths majority, or to reduce them by 25 per cent by a bare majority, Tbe legis - mtors were prevailed upon to pass this Act on a the definite assurance that the Prohibition Party had no desire or intention to'interfere with the liberties of the people or the privacy of their homes, and that they only wanted the abolition of the open bar, as tbat institution wds a menaoe to the adult population and a snare to the young, and if ie were disposed of. the adult would lobe tbe desire for strong drink and the young would know it no more. They were so modest in their demands at tbat time that they did i ot ask for the Act to apply to wholesale licences or clubs. Well, the first vote on the question was taken in 1893, when the prohibitionists succeeded in carryini one electorate and reduction in fourteen and had a [ national majority of 10,000 votes. In 1896, they bad failed to ecure a Bicgle new district, while their Dominion majority vanished and was replaced by a continuance majority of over 41,000. In 1899, they had again failed, and the majority for continuance had been over 23,000, Th-J Moderate Party accordingly rested on their oars, little understanding, the people they bad to deal with- the enthusiasts who never slept! And so in 1902, the no-license crowd came up with a ru p b and secured the necessary threefilths iv several electorates, which were finally reduued by the Courts (owing to informalities) to two—Ashburton and Ma 1 tanra, while they also regained a Dominion majority (ov.-r 3000). In ,1905, they had scored ai;siin and added three more places, and had al=o increased thrn'r New Zealand majority <o 13,000 In 1908, they had for.ner advanced. Ov capturing six more electorate*, and recuring *a Dominion uajority of 33,000. But if govern, m°nt was to be by the majority then be held that continuance had, it for the totil majorities for continuance were greater than those for no license. In 1911 ths majoiity for continuance was 23(37. As I have already shown that thsre are twelve places under No-Lic|jce it would| c iu.poss D.c for me to go into detail with each of those places, and therefore I will take one—lnvercargiil— because if I can show that t is a failure in one place it proves con- : clusiveiy that it is not an an active principle for good. To be an active principle for gocd it must act in a similar manner in every place in whicn it is tried; The advocates of No« License have based their claims on tbe definite statement that the abolition of the retail sale of liquor would rid tbe people of the desire for strong drink. To see whether their statements-have been justified by experience, I will quote the following Parliamentary return:— "A return of liqour sent into the No License districts during the year endiDg December 31st, 1912, was laid on the table of the House on Tuesday (says the "New Zealand Times'), the return having been obtained en "the motion of Mr L M. Isitt, M.P. It gave the following totals (fractions omit'ed):—Beer and stout, 279,302 gallons; brandy, 1621 ; cider, 127 ; gin and schnapps, 2199; rum, 517: whisky, 47,834; wine, 5593; miscellaneous, 184. The totals sent into each district were as follows: Ashburton 18 216 gallons; Bruce, 20,953; Clu-ha, 19.557; Eden, 15,953; Grey Lynn, 5409; Invercargiil, 95,967; Masterton, 23,843; Mataur, 45,468; Oamaru, 27,757; Ohinemuri, 20,489; Wellington South, 0347; Wei Itng'on suburbs and country, 8314 ; total, 337.380 gallons. Tho total number of convictions for drunkenness in each NoLicense distriot was as follows:—Qbinemuri, 40 ; Masterton, 66; Ashburton, 80 ; Oamaru, 75; Bruce, 12 : Clutha, 14; Mataura, 22 ; Invercargiil, 113 ; grand total, 422." To take all liquor going into No License districts through kgal channels alone would take a tarn* Oft wide, 6ft deep and 500yd3 in length. Invercargiil al ne would n quire a tank 6ft wide, 6ft deep and 142 yds in length to contain that quantity of liquor. I arguo ihat with 113 convictions for drunkenness, combined with the quantity of liquor they to:>k in from the legal channel alone; my coniention ii proved that Local No License is a failure. iMost of those present would no doubt remember the famous clause 9 that was introduced into the Licensing Amendment Bill that was brought before tbe House in 1905 by the I*te It J Sddon. This pro vidod that in th se tlecfcorates where nor license was carried liquor would be pro. hibited. Did that .suction of the.oomrriuoity that was always raving about no license countenance this measure? No! They opposed it for all they were worth, and characterised it as being too drastic and undemocratic. Yet it was the very same class of people that wanted that " undemocratic e;au?e " appli d to the wbole of the people of Dominion, it was inapplicable, to one tlei-torate, yet they desired it to be applied to the whole of the Dominion. Was this logical ? and was it a fair proposition on their own finding? I think not. I will deal with clause 21 of the Licensing Act Amendment Bill, regarding the strictures that would be enforced on the people of the Dominion in the event of national prohibition be'ng carried. It would be unlawful to manufacture, import or sell liquor except for industrial, sacramental, scientific Or medicinal purposes absolutely, under pres' sure of fines ranging from £100 to £1000 for first breaches of this section, and term* of imprisonment ranging from three monthi and upwards for subsequent breaches. Interested no license advocates were indusi triously circulating the statement that tbe clause of the Act I refer to would not prevent individuals from manufacturing liquor for their own private use, but I wish to point out that tho Act does not make this exempi tion, and that had it been the intention, of tbe leg ; slature to allow the private manufac' tureof alcoholic liquor the fact would have undoubtedly have been set forth, If national prohibition were carried, people who had been accustomed to tbe moderate

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Bibliographic details

NO-LICENSE A FAILURE., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIII, Issue 3446, 16 October 1914

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1,492

NO-LICENSE A FAILURE. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIII, Issue 3446, 16 October 1914

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