MR. MASSEY'S CHARGES.
THE PREMIER'S REFUTATION. A CRUSHING REJOINDER. (By Telegraph.—Press Association.) CHRISTCHURCH, Thursday. At the complimentary uanquet tendered last night at Lyttelton to Mr G. Laurenson, M.P., an interesting speech on the subject of the public interest was delivered by the Prime Minister. Sir Joseph Ward, who was received with continued applause, said that he was not going- to deliver a policy speech, but he desired to reply to some allegations made by the Leader of the Opposition as to what the Government had done, allegations that were contrary to fact. These allegations were that the Government during the last general election promised positions to men in the Legislative Council, promised billets to people throughout the country, and that the Government had bribed the constituencies. He had challenged the Leader of the Opposition to name one instance where anything of the kind had been done. He had also been accused of sending telegrams at the public expense dealing with election matters, but nothing of the kind had been done. It had also heen alleged that differences of opinion between himself and the Hon. Jas. MeGowan had led to that gentleman's retirement from the Ministry. Therp was not a scintilla of truth in any of these allegations, he declared, and the Leader of the Opposition had been unable to indicate one instance in which the things alleged to have been done were done. There had been no differences of opinion between Mr McGowan and himself. They had discussed certain circumstances that had arisen with the greatest cordiality and with good friendship towards each other without heartburnings. In the latest allegations made by the Leader of the Opposition, said Sir Joseph, he (Mr Massey) had quoted some remarks made by Sir Robert Stout, the Chief Justice and Chancellor of the University. He had cabled to Sir Robert Stout, int'mating thnt in the course of an interview containing a. political attack Mr Massey had said. "With regard to Government billets, allow mc to call the Prime Minister's attention to a statement marie by Sir Robert Stout only a few weeks ago to the effect that in connection with the Civil Service he ventured to say that there were many appointments made of persons who had never passed the examination stipulated. Sir Robert also said that positions in the public service of the Dominion had been allotted to persons when they should have been given to others whom they were below. Sir Robert spoke in his'capacity as Chancellor of the Now Zealand University, and his statement, which has never been challenged, is much stronger than anything I have ever said on the subject." Sir Joseph's cable concluded as follows:—"I am i-'.ii'P that whatever you did say, this must hf> a distortion of its efleot." As it is clear tlmt your remarks in the Senate are to be u=ed in your absence for purposes of political attack, T should be glad to know before you leave Australia whether the extracts given from Mr Massey's interview express what you said, or meant to say. I think that you will affree that in the circumstances I am entitled to ask you for this." Sir Robert Stout replied from Melbourne by cable, on the loth inst. as follows:—"I am amazed that remarks T made have l>een construed into an attack on the Ministry. T made it clear that I was not referring to the recent administration of the Act. The incident cited happened 14 years ago." Continuing, Sir Joseph said that he had been informed by a member of the University Senate, who was present when Sir Robert Stout made the speech, that no such construction as had been placed on it could have been made from the speech he delivered. As a matter of justification of the administration, he (Sir Joseph) considered that he was entitled to say that this misrepresentation by the of the Opposition was not fair. Tn n memo, to the officer who administers the Civil Service Act (Mr. Hugh Pollen), he had asked if, and to what extent, the following allegations were true: — (1) That in violation of the Act, positions in the Civil Service had been allotted to persons when they ought to have been allotted to persons holding a higher position on the pass list. (2) That positions in the service had been given to persons who never passed the examinations reouired and stipulated by the Act. Mr. Pollen's reply was to the effect that both the allegations mentioned were without foundation. Vacancies in the service had been filled in accordance with the Civil Service Reform Act, lßßfi. and the regulations thereunder. He had never been asked in any way by any Minister to depart from bis statutory duties in the matter. The Government, Sir Joseph said, had not gone on the principle of over-manning any of the Departments merely for the sake of giving employment to anyone in New Zealand. (Applause.)
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