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HON. R. H. RHODES AT LITTLE RIVER.

There was a largo attendance in tho Town j Hall, Littlo liivor, on Saturday nifiht, whon , Mr Rhodes addressed tho electors. Mr J. F. Buchanan acted a-* chairman. He said there . was no need to introduoe Mr Rhodes, but ho * asked thorn to give him a fair hearing. i ; Mr Rhodes said he took it aB an honour that the Opposition bad thought fit to send so many cruisers into his electorate. First ' tbey bud hud Mr Witty, and later Sir Joseph ' Ward, who might bf termed the battleship I of the opposing squadron, he did not'pre- 1 sumo he was worthy of attack from such big 1

eye „n_Bcgi_gcg~B3reE-reKi>,_-.w!-Mi«agi^^ -nns. X- 1 .'.b-I ;;f-vi i- jyu; attention like tha a l , pievioi": ei<-«',io-ir. Voice : Y<)i. r pEir.ty war- not in power then. Mr }!!ioiU)3 i-a-f! he hud no nbjec'.in:i to fiich tactics I-Ii? np?->iv--nt had j-ot a fortniylU's :~tavt of h ni. ii.if. by sprokinr; twice n | day he wouVr ;-,'rt m..d ilu> pi«- iv f--p ] T'nnrsd.iy nf-st. His opponent h.d h n ij-jite in ii - , ar-.u he was sure that whatever U-\t-Jii['. «-iis tiny wouhl be<;ood friends af-.-.-r it wL 11 !i over.' Fl-i was there that night '0 I-:'.; rhein In ;.:ive him thsir support. H n.--v.-r asked :-ny prrnonally for n votp, hut It-? wns j'trtifJEd in asking collet* lively ior !-,upport of hi.- party, He pointid out "that dm in;-' their t-rm of office oi two year? three months the Musfey Government Ivirt hid Fonifl difficult problems to face. He thmirrbt it was better for them to have bari tb> = experience t.hfin to liavs had a quiet time w/ir-n no trial could be mads of tbe/r rne'tl". First of all they had to face the difficulty e.f the waterside \vr.-.!;ers' strike, ami he' be:ievpfl that all eitizt-i.e approved of the way they had settled this t.-ouble. Voice: No. • ' He maintained the Government did the thing in preserving law and order against anarchy. When tho strikers tore down the barricade? on ths wharf and showed thsm-elvcs prepared for other law le: s act?, th" Government was obliged to take steps to preserve order. Voice : What about the batons '? Mr lib odes : It was better to u?e baton? than bullet l ]. The only suggestions Sir Josenh Ward made was to (he Riot Act.' Voice: Why did not Mr Massey take Sir Joseph Ward into bis confidence wh-n the latter guaranteed t.;i stop tire strike ? Mr Rhoues : He did not guarantee to stop the strike. The Gover. ment was able to pre ervo law unci order. Voice : Ry baton;., Mr Rhodes: Did the speaker prefer bul lets'. 1 lie behevuu many people did no', uni durstand what rc-fniin - th--: Riot Act meant It only lead to 'bedding of blood. Ho maintained the Government, faced the difficulty well, and that the bulk of the people up. prrwd of their action. Voice ; No [cat iSot for the U.S S. Co. Mr Rood's .-aid he wished for their sakes ihi-.t tlieir fi.c'oiy h,,dbeen threatened with no outlet fr.r ;heir produce. If their ror-nns of livelihood had been takm away tt] ey would have done much to see their produce on tbe market. Thty would have done tho same as tlie small farmers in tbe North Island, and rightly so, to. He quoted tbe words of Mr Mills, one of the Labour lenders, who agreed that strikes did not benefit the working man. Voice ; Mr Mills is no; a Labour leader. ! Mr Rhodes: Ho believed Mr Mills was an , imported man, not a New Zealander. He adcltd that he did not blame tbe working men in tbe strike, but the strike leaders. Mr Rhodes referred to the state of the i money mark-t when the Massey party took office" Tbey were left to raise £13,900,000 to wipe out the short dated loans of the prey. ' ious government. They had managed to raise them loans on more profitable terms than their predecessors, and it was much to j Mr Aliens credit that he had been able to j , make such good terms. The credit of the : country was good. He refetred to the way m which Sir Joseph Ward econimized by 1 dismissing 1045 from the Civil Service. , The Massey Government was able to carry on through a line of financial stringer ey and iheyhadnot dismissed a single Civil servant. 3 Voice ; It was too near electiou time. Mr Rhodes; It was nowhere near election time. As to the war, that had caused a great deal of extra work. They had to pass fifteen tmasur. s dealing with shipping and other i matters arising from the war. They were determined that there would be no bloofeaga at this end in getting the produca ol the . country on to tbe market. Then there w; s . the danger of shortage or wh_at. Tbpy had '' made terms with Australia, but unfortunately 1 Australia could not spare the wheat. How- ' ever, seme largo shipments were -coming s I from Canada which should meet tbe diffi _ I culty. As to the local farn-ers, they must be I allowed a good price for their wheat, but at 3 i the same time the Government would try 1 .-.niseo tbat the workers were not exploited • too much, Most people were of the opinion tbat wheat would be between 5s and Gs, and he thought it would be about ss. Voice: Tbe farmers won't sail at that I price, Mr Rhodes said ha would like to ask what means the speaker couid devise to mako a 3 marj bell h ; s wheat at a rixed price. . All the Government could do was to import wheat f om Canada, and keep the price down as much as possible. At Akaroa Sir Joseph ' Ward had stated that the election should 1 have been held a year later. He did not • make that suggestion, at the time he was con--5 suited. Voice: Mr Free did Dot say that. 1 Mr Rhodes: He would give Mr Free the • the credit for not having said so. Had the 1 Government delayed the elections a year, their opponents would havo eaid that they c were afraid to go to the country and that they were hanging on to office. They did not shirk their responsibilities, and went on with the elections as had Western Australia and Victoria, As to the legislature passed, the Opposition were always finding mare's nests, but they made no objection when the Government granted freehold to Crown tenants. They had carried out most of the programme outlined at the previou- election- t They had acquired a great deal of land for ] ' settlement. The following figures showed i i the amoun 1 ; acquired :— i Acres. . 1910 42,000 lilll 14,000 1912 .. .. .. 44,000 1918 52 000 1911 141,000 As to the workers' homes, in their short term they had built more workers' homes than their predecessors in six years. Voice; All legislature passed by the Liberal Government. 5 Mr Rhodes said ha did not object to the j legislature at the time it was passed. Mr . Bollard, a member in opposition to the ' Liberal Party, had advocated tha workers' 5 homes year after year, and originated the J idea. The Masspy Government had pro- ' raised to abolish political patronage of the | Civil Service, and they had done so. It was an old Tory idea that the Minister should 3 give pationage in the Civil Service-. One of 1 their political opponents went about debating that the Ministers were never accessible tj anyone now. Voice : A good man, too. Mr Rhodes sa;d ha gave that statement an emphatic denial, What they had abolished, t and what the member objected to was that he waa no loin, er able to stand on the Minister's doorstep and ask for a. billet for a friend. The Legislative Council Reform was another one they had earri. d. Voice: Why don't they give us propor tional representation for the Lower House. Mr Rhodes said ho would deal with that question when di cussing the second ballot. Mr R odes then alluded to the fact tbat j during their twenty one years of office the ; Liberals had never appointed a single politi- , cal opponent to the Legislative Council. Ho f instanc d Sir William Russell and Mr William 11olle=ton, both men who had servtd their country well. The Massey Government hed appointed Sir William 3 Hail Jones, because, tnought a po/itical oppo . nent, they recognised he had done much for 3 the eoui try. He then referred to the amend " merits in iho Pensions Act and th" Widow*' ' Act passed by the Government. There was f an A*ct granting pen-dons to the veterans in . the Maori War. They had increased the L . graduated land tax by 25 rer cent on the larger estates. They hoped to amend the 1 Valuation Act. They had established a 5 Board of Agriculture to help the small far . mersi That board would do a great deal of ood, ! Voice ; It will go out on Thursday, Mr Rhodes: Tho Board of Agriculture? Be did not think 30. Mr Rhodes referred to tho amendments in the Education Act effected by his GovernI ment, The Act was not perfect yet, and 1 they hoped to mako further improvements. ', He roferred to the Second Ballot aa an Act I well ofi the Statuto Bock. Their political opponents agreed there was nothing good in j the second ballot. j : Voice: What did Mr Massey promise to give in place of tho second ballot Mr Rhodes said that proportional voting was not fair to country el> otors, who had further to go the poll. There was a scheme to group city and country electorates together, but he did not see how it could be worked. I Ho bad eeon no satisfactory solution to mv j

provn tha ordinary system of voting. Mr Rhodes said that among the legislation they * had omitted to pass was that nffooting tariff reform and grants to local bodi«s>. As to naval defenep. much political CRpitnl was being mad« nut of trn gift of tbe Drca> nought The mßnv->e> , <; of ths Ma c spv Gov rnmon' h d not objected to trio cift. :■;■., but tl c manner of tbe .\l . In a dpmonra'ic country no man sho i ! d be in th« po.ver of giving a ship on h s owl Hi referred to Anst-a'ia's- action in building a navp, and to k-, thq fact that but for thai nivy New ZmUnd not have had the honou* of seizing * th first German territory in the Pacifn. He also believed that they had b<-en liable to a bombardment from Garman cruisers at any tim<). Vona : No. f'\ Mr Rhodes said t.h«re was no reason why the German squadron should not have attacked on» of their unprotected porls and taken coal. The Emden bad done damage to tho pxtent of £2.000,000. and it was dne to the Australian Navy that she was put out of action. He advocated the system whereby each colony had a navy of its own. Thpy w»re surely not always going to expect the Home Government to protect their waters— th"V could piy for their own protection Voice: How if the German navy came out of the Kiel canal and smashed up

th* British navy. Mr Rhode? said the British navy would rnaver b<* "mashed up. (Applause). Sir Jo3eph Ward was eong about saving he got no credit for introducing the Compulsory j Training Act. They RavA him nil erfdit for it; but he did net cive Mr M(i"»s«y cr«dit for PiK'geoting th« 'dea (Laughter). Mr Rhodes said tho c who laughed shoild lo k "' ua Han«ard A voioe : When can we get it ? Mr Rhodes said they could see Hansard at. their library. Sir Joseph Ward opposed • Comnulsorv Training In 1908 when bp attended the Imperial Conference he ohang r d his mind H? would give Sir Jopph Ward every credit, but the mea ore wh"n pished wis called an Opposition measure by Mr Witty. Mr Russell whs also against the scheme though he was in favour of it now tha war was on. What was the Rood of a gcbemi during a war. He referred to tbe ridicule Mr Allen met with on account nf bis f-cbemfl for orgnn'sot on of fronrs, "f" 1 vet that organisation had enabled thrm to g-t thfir foroes away quickly Much party capital bad been made out of the canteei s on board the trooo-hips. Ho believed that at first the scheme was rot well devisnd, bu*, fortunately, owiug to tds delay of departure, they had been able to reorganize the canteens. He was glad to say that he had heard from a number of members nf the | forces, and they were perfectly satisfied with the cantren. Voice: They were the officers. ,' Mr Rhodes said he had heard from all ' ranks. He said there were always grumblers. > on every boat. Tbe war had proved tbe Wisdom of the compulsory training system, ' and everyone could see that now. Voice : No. ■ Mr Rhodes asked what they would have done without the compulsory training. The interjector was certa'nlg in ibe minority. Voice: The volunteer system was the best if properly organised, Mr Rhodes said he had had 21 years' ex.perience of the volunteer Bystem, and knew its useleasness. If they did not believein helping their country hy compulsory training then they should vote for his opponent, who was opposed to the scheme. Mr Rhodes referred to the expanse of the expeditionary forces, and said that if the war was prolonged tbe £2,000,000 would not be sufficient. It was the opinion of every right thinking man that they should fight for their liberty, and if Great Britain needed, further reinforcements they should be sent. | (Applause), He referred to the improvements in the railways, and to tho amount of money weioh was being spent in improving yarding accommodation in the big centres. He took the whole responsibility for improvement ol the Medtal Hospitals and for allowing the patients to be classified. Mr Rhodes also explained how the Government had shown a surplus of £426.000. They could have increasfd that amount by adding the money from land sales. Instead of doing this they had paid this money direct into the Land for Settement Fund to acquire mote {and. They also started an insurance fund of £10.000 per annum to moot the cost of jublio buildings l< st by fire. Voioe: What was the amount spent •year in buying land for settlement ? Mr Rhodes: £81,000. Mr Rhodeejadded that it was mainly owing to the fact that the British moneylenders approved of their book-keeping that they ob tamed such good terms for their loans These gentlemen watched the Government's methods, and their careful methods had improved the country's credit. Voice : On Sir Joseph Ward's prosppctus, Mr Rhodes pointed out how they had to meet heavy liabilities left by Sir Joseph Witd, He added that the Massey Goverm ment had been able to continue the Advances to Settlers for small sums. He referred to the waste of money in the past on commis sions. Tbe country had paid from 1902 to 1912 £62,000 in commissions, and yet their opponents criticised them for their costly -commissions. They forgot this return for their own commissions when they talked like that. He maintained tat Mr Massey's man>fe--to was mora progre;sive than Sir Jo* eepfa Ward's. Vtioe / There's no baby bonus in it, , Mr Rhodes said this was no new scheme. Ezra Parker, an Amerioan, had advocated suob a scheme years' ago, whereby a dollar would be paid into the bank, and the amount with interest handed back to the baby at 7 years. It might be a good thing, but he (thought it would be better to pay the bonus 4o the mother. He referred to tbe amount of the deposits in the post office savings bank. Their opponents bad said that the withdrawals from the savings bank were a want of confidence in the Massey Government. He took it then that the large deposits were a sign of the country's confidence in the Massey Party. He bolieved the country bad confidence in Mr Massey, and that the Government would ro in again. Voice; They would never have got in but for rata. Mr Rhodes said they would have got in sooner but for rats. He read an extract from the "Dunedin Star," an opposition paper, which admitted that the Reform Party had passed some progressive legislation, He referred to the " Lyttelton Times'" criticism p~t himself, and said be would offer nc japology to the "Times" for his politic-' aareer. He left it to his constituents to judge for themselves, and was not afraid of criti cism from the "Lyttelton Times." QUESTIONS.

In answer to the question as to when tbe troopers' votes would be counted, Mr Rhodes Eaid tbat it was a matter for the Electoral Department. He believed they would be gent to the various electorates to ba available on the day ol the election In anßwer to a written question as to whether Mr Bhodes was in favour of Boyd Garliek's appointment and what his views were on the Bible.in State Schools Referen; dam. Mr Rhodes declared that Mr Allen was quite guiltless of the accusation that he had favoured Mr Gwlick. He did not know bim at al'. He was in favour of a referendum on hi Bible in State Schools, and always Wirt he would favour same ' He believed *he'i-e was a system in South Queensland I Iwhicb. satisfied all denominations. .Question— Was it a fact that New Zealand .ffould be the only colony without a navy '.' Mr Bhodes said that Canada had Baid tbat the Australian navy was an object le?son to the other colonies. General Botha expressed the same views about South Africa. Ouestion-Was not the Britißb navy strong enough ? ~.._*• Mr Rhodes eaid tbat he considered it time they thought of eelf defence. Mr Frank Gread spoke at some length about the state of the EUesmere settlers, whose land was submerged, and objected to the original agreement re culvert being adjh.9r._d to. Jir Rhodes ie.rplained that this was not in bis province now. Mr Gread asked if it were not possible to use the power from tbe Lake Colertfgf scheme to drain the Lake. Mr Bhodes said tbat the Lake Coleridge .was being utilised close by. Any jsghewe which promised to be suoces-f.il would m»£t with his support. ', . , Question-Why, if Mr Rhodes claimed that tha Massey Government had borrowed pioaej more-che&ply than tho Ward Goverm

ment had, they had to pay a higher intereFt for their money of late ? Mr Rhodes explained that in 1908 9 the interest was even higher. The Government did not control the money ma ket, and thi Balk in War had affected it very much. Hh maintained that, considering the rates nt which o.her countries had obtained money, Mr Allen had borrowed their loans on excel'ent term.

Ques'.'en—Cou'd Ibe Government move th.- Like Forsyth Arms Hotel maror Little River ?

Mr Ithcde? said that this wa' entirely a matter for the Licensing Committee, wbich could move a license within a mile's rad us. Question— When Sir Joseph Ward nnd Mr Free spoke at Little River they had men. tinned naval and land defence. Why was it Mr Rhodes had taken up twice the time over these matters ?

Mr Rhodes-1 tbeught defence was a more important subject now. (Applause). In answer to a question, Mr Rhodes said he had never objected to the contract system in railway work, especially in cases of small contracts.

Q lestion—Why bad the Little River poit office been made 'o small after plans had been drawn out for a larger one.

Mr Rhodes said that a number of residents had said that the expense of £1600 whs not warranted. Ha hoped tbe railway office* would be pxtended later, and ibat the post offioe would be separated and built apart. Qu ftion—Who were the few residents who advii-ed io Ibis effect ?

Mr Rhodes said tbey were the most prominent people in the district Question—What ab)ut the Wa ; rewa C unty Council ? Mr Rhodes said thtt when he explained tbe situation tha Wairewa Councillors the; were quite coavinced. Question. -In the event of being returned wound Mr Rhodes arrange to have a veterinary surgeon visit the I'eninsula, in place of the stock inspectors ? Mr Rhodes said it was not-in his department, but he would be pleased to otter the suggestion f .o his colleague. Question.—Why were the horses for the Defence Department bought by one man, and not by tlie Government direct. and why did the man pay for them and retain 5 per cent?

Mr Rhodes said this was not in his department. It seemed.better business for the' Government to buy direct themselves.

Questioner : Tbe man who bought the horses is a great supporter of yours. The chairman ruled the speaker out of order. Jle was only entitled to ask'questions, and not to makeinsimiatiors.

In answer to a question as to whether he was in favour of a working man striking, Mr Rhodes said that he believed in the secret ballot, which would do away with a nnmber of strikes.

Question.—Are you in favour of a Government ollicial having a vote ?

Mr Rhodes said he did nob see why a Government official should be disfranchised. In answer to a question as to the number of settlers put on land in the last year, Mr Rhodes said that, speaking from memory, he thought it was about 4000.

Question.—Does Mr Massey think he can make the electors believe do as much for the country as Sir Joseph Ward ?

Mr Rhodes said he was nob trying to make them believe anything. lie was only stating facts, and leaving it to their intelligence to decide how to vote. In answer to a question as to the cost of the strike, Mr Rhodes said it cost-over £90,000 In answer to a question as to his views on the licensing question, Mr Rhodes said he favoured a. :i-sths majority for the local licensing poll, and a 55 per cent, on the national issue. He had always held the same view: VOTE OF THANKS. Mr Montgomery moved a vote of thanks to Mr .Rhodes for his address. He was not going to touch ou politics. lie ,thought the district should be proud to be represented by a'Cabinet Minister, and also by a man who volunteered and went to the' South African War Mr Rhodes had given a manly and straightforward speech, and he had great pleasure in moving a hearty vote of thanks. Mr (iread seconded the motion, lie expressed his admiration of the Massey Government's conduct of the strike.

An amendment of want of confidence in Mr Rhodes was moved by Mr M. Rarelay, jr., and not seconded. The vote of thanks wan carried by a large majority. At the' conclusion of the meeting a noisy section, who had been interjecting all through the meeting, gave three cheers for Sir Joseph Ward. Mrßhodes moved a vote of thanks to the chairman, which was carried by acclamation..

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

HON. R. H. RHODES AT LITTLE RIVER., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIII, Issue 3459, 8 December 1914

Word Count
3,870

HON. R. H. RHODES AT LITTLE RIVER. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIII, Issue 3459, 8 December 1914

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