NEW ZEALAND'S OFFER.
A FIRST-GLASS BATTLESHIP. SECOND BATTLESHSP IF NECESSARY. TO ASSIST THE MOTHER COUNTRY. CABINET UNANIMOUS. (PRESS ASSOCIATION—COPYRIGHT.) . - WELLINGTON, this day. The New Zealand Government has decided to offer to defray the cost of the immediate building and arming of one first-class battleship of the latest type, and, if subsequent events show it to be necessary, to provide the cost of a second warship of the same type. INTERVIEW WITH THE PRIME MINISTER. WELLINGTON, this day. In an interview with the representative of the "Star" to-day the Prime Minister stated that the unanimity of both sides which the recent debate in the British House of Commons has disclosed with regard to the gravity of the situation between the Motherland and Germany in so far as our naval ascendency is concerned cannot be misinterpreted. "No room is left for doubt that England feels that her supremacy on the seas is now seriously threatened by the amazing naval activity of the German dockyards. "It appears clnr that all thoughtful men in Great Britain recognise that the Empire must set itself with the utmost determination, and, if necessary, sacrifice, to maintain the naval supremacy upon which not only our honour but our national greatness depends. "The burden lying upon the British nation for naval expenditure is at present enormous; and every loyal subject of the Crown must feel that in a tirtia of crisis like this he is called upon to help the Motherland with more than words. "New Zealand is proud of past proofs of her loyalty to the Mother Country, |and stands to-day in the estimation of .British people as among the first in the Dominions for a ready and loyal response where the necessities of the Empire call for it." "The Prime Minister said that in these circumstances the Government of New Zealand felt its obligations to assist the Motherland, and a Cabinet meeting this morning had unanimously agreed to the Prime Minister's proposal that this country should offer to defray the cost of the immediate building and arming of one first-class battleship of the latest type, and if subsequent events show it to be necessary, would provide the cost of a second warship of the same type. "Sir Joseph said that he had sent this offer through His Excellency the Governor to the Secretary of State for the Colonies this afternon. The Prime Minister went on to say that this is a time when any waiting or halting on the part of the New Zealand Government would enormously lessen the value of any assistance we might eventually give, and he felt confident a matter touching our national existence would be treated as above party consideration, and would appeal to every section of the community as a right and proper thing to do. Apart from the moral effect of this offer, it had to be remembered that even upon the grounds of self-interest it was amply justified, since in this country the value of our national and our private -wealth is now nearly six hundred million sterling, and this largely depends upon the British Navy for its security and defence. The Prime Minister added that this determination had not been hurriedly arrived at. He had been revolving the whole matter for some days past, and after anxious and careful consideration had brought it before some of his colleagues on Saturday morning last. ' All the Ministers were present at the meeting of Cabinet to-day, when the matter was dealt with, and as he had already stated the proposal had been cordially and unanimously assented to.
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