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CORRESPONDENCE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 70, 23 March 1909
THE NAVY SCARE. | (to tbe Editor.} Sir,—lt is a matter for congratulation that the bulk of the British people at last appear to apprehend the significance of .the German menace. It is certainly astonishing that such a large , part oi them have so long failed to appreciate a fact that has been known for years to every GeTman schoolboy, who has been taught to believe that England is the relentless enemy of his country, and that a powerful German navy must be built up for the express purpose of destroying that of England. The threatened danger to our Motherland is the greatest since the Norman Conquest; that of the Armada and Napoleon's invasion pales into insignificance in comparison with this German menace. The personal and fighting prowess of the British navy sailor has in nO wise ■deteriorated since the days of Nelson, and if it was still a question of wooden walls fighting at close quarters, our country could laugh at the idea of being in danger from any possible combination. But these are the days of scientific quickness of action and long-range monster guns, and it has recently been demonstrated how the diminutive Japs with good ships and well trained and fearless crews, destroyed the Russians. It is quite likely that now the British people are thoroughly aroused nothing less than a monster building programme, entailing an immense expenditure, will satisfy them. At present our country is ahead of Germany in big battleships, and has the advantage of geographical position; and as a conflict between the two countries is certain sooner or later, it is a matter of consideration whether or not she would be justified in forcing Germany's hand whilst she has the advantage. One thing is certain, if the positions were reversed, Germany would have brought on a quarrel before this. If such an event should happen shortly (and to my mind it seems more than probable), the German navy could be crippled and prevented from being dangerous for the next decade. And before the expiration of that time, floating battleships will probably be superseded by fighting airships. And how does this navy scare affect New Zealand? In the event of England being worsted in an encounter with Germany, one of the first prizes (and perhaps the most coveted of all), for which Germany would hold out her hand, would be that of the Australasian Colonies, and our people would have to submit to live under the German flag and learn to do business in the German language, using its guttural speech instead of the smooth flowing tongue of Shakespeare. The right of free discussion on political and social topics would be denied them, and generally the march for the betterment, of humanity would be indefinitely postponed. Sir, as our very existence as a free community is bound up with the supremacy of the British navy, it should be the bounden duty of our Parliament during the coming session, and without any loss of time, to take steps for paying a naval subsidy to England much larger than the present one, and a subsidy which, according to our population, would be legitimate and proportionally fair.—l am, etc., WALTER CRISP, Fencourt. LOCAL ELECTIONS. (To the Editor.) Sir, —Re Harbour Board election. ' The emphatic denial, by the gentlemen engaged in the grain business, of the truth of the rumour that "they are working for advantageous privileges as against other importers" is most re-assuring at this juncture, and no doubt will remove any suspicion that rumour may have engendered in the public mind. It cannot be expected, however, to remove or allay the dissatisfaction concerning the constitution of the Board, under which its members are, nominated and elected, that exists in the mind of the majority of the citizens. They contend, and I think rightly so. that the system of appointments to the Board by nomination should be entirely abolished, and that all members should be elected direct, by the people. In their opinion the Board is the custodian of the gates of the city from oversea; nnd bears the same relation to the citizens as does the City Council. The citizens (consumers) pay •the dues, just as surely as they pay the rates, and there is no logical reason why they should not directly elect those who control the affairs of the harbour, as they do those who control the affairs of the city. Provision could be made for election of members, under a much wider and more equitable franchise than that at present in use, separately, to represent shipping and commercial interests; but there is no sound reason why the whole of the Board, with these exceptions, should not be elected by the city and suburban and borough electors direct, under the popular franchise.. It is to be hoped the present members of the Board, and those who seek election, will see the advisableness of assisting the reform in this direction that is already begun. Re Licensing Committee Elections. I ought to feel flattered that your correspondent "Dum Vivimus Vivamus No. 2" so admires my pseudonym that he has adopted it as his own. In doing this, however, he has created an awkward situation, so, to avoid confusion and for the sake of brevity, I propose, in all courtesy, to refer to him as "Echo." The substitute pseudonym is, moreover, specially applicable to one who so accurately voices the aims, opinions and objects of his party—the Nolicense League. It is also gratifying to know that "Echo" entirely agrees with the sentiment of the phrase "While we live, let us live," but I notice he did not avail himself of the, opportunity to amplify and complete the sentiment by adding the words "and let others live." This would have seemed a graceful act by one of the No-license League—even though he did not believe iv such amplification. "Echo" does not deny that there has been an influx of the extremist party into our public bodies, and justifies it on account of their "honesty and intelligence." And he goes further by affirming that "public opinion endorses the selections." Very good. He then writes as follows: —"It is well known that public bodies are refusing employment to men in responsible positions who are in the habit of using strong liquors as beverages." Just so. But herein "Echo" goes much further than I do. However, I willingly accept his admission that "honest and intelligent" men of the extremist party; whose selection has been "endorsed by .public opinion," occupy seats on our public bodies; and (his clear and emphatic statement) that (moderate) "men are being refused employment (by those bodies) who are in the habit of using strong liquors as beverages." Yes. that .is it. Please reflect a moment and con- , sider to whom are these "hciest, intel-
ligent and selected"-men refusing 'employment? Not to drunkards!—not to incapables!—-but to . (moderate) -"men who use strong liquors as beverages." There can be but one meaning—only one construction placed on those' words —and it is this. ■ That in the inirids of extremists who occupy seats oh our public bodies, the one indispensable qualification for employment is total abstinence unless under medical advice), or, in other -words, that the applicant subscribe to- the tenets of the extremist party. Had this statement been authori-, tatively announced-r-as it now. is—before the November elections, it would., have been interesting to observe the effect on- the moderate party, and on those who are employed by the Harbour Board, City Council and other public bodies, when they were recording . their votes. In future elections, however, they may remember and, perhaps, take par-; ticular interest in, the candidature of those "honest and intelligent" men who belong to "Echo's" party. I thank "Echo" for the enlightenment and assistance he has afforded mc in this matter; and in doing so I must also express my amazement that a member of the No-license League could be so frank —in public. I really thought his object in writing was to refute my let-, ter—not to illustrate and confirm it. But then I did not realise how. kind he could be to an opponent, when so Blinded. Again he proffers his assistance, and this time the information forthcoming is even more surprising, and his frankness still more amazing. He writes:, "It may- be news to your correspondent that the sole aim and purpose of the Nolicense League is. to foster temperate habits in the use of alcoholic beverages." Yes, this is indeed news. . If it came from a less reliable source than the advocate ■ of the No-license League, who writes "as one in authority," I should refuse to believe it; but coming as it does from such au authority I cannot discredit the statement. Besides, none of his fellow members have contradicted it, so I must accept it. Still, I cannot but ask myself how I could have so Jong misunderstood them ? • And why have they so persistently obscured their real aim and object? But to what conclusion does this statement of " Echo's " lead ? What is I the real meaning of it? Does he -seriously adhere to the pronouncement, written by himself, that I the "sole aim and purpose of the Nolicense League is to foster the habitual (temperate), use of alcoholic beverages" knowing, as he distinctly affirms, that in the minds "of the members of that league who occupy seats on our public i bodies, "the habitual use of strong liquors as beverages" is a disqualification for employment? That is the only conclusion I ca.n come to after reading his letter, and the only construction it will bear. Aid,-I re-i peat, it. is indeed news and will be re-1 ceived as such by many. "Echo" asks the reason of my anonymity. The answer may be found in my | letter appearing in the "Star" of the 17th instant. If further reason were needed it is supplied by the anonymity j of my questioner. And while on this subject may I suggest to "Echo," in all kindness, the advisableness of preserv-1 ing his anonymity from his friends of the No-license League?—lor they may seek him eagerly, and with many ques-i tionings. In conclusion, Sir, I beg to thank you for allowing mc so much space in your i valuable paper; and to state that, so far! as I am concerned, this correspondence is now closed. —I am, etc. . DUM VIVIMUS VIVAMUS. March 22, 1909. , AUCKLAND HARBOUR BOARD ELECTION. (To tbo Editor.) 4 Sir, —All who are intelligently interested in Harbour Board matters know that the tuture policy of the Board—immediate and distant—may be shaped for | rrood or ill to Auckland by those who are to compose the Board after the 29th inst. Of the policy of each present member the electors are, to some extent, informed by the voting and speaking of those members during their terms of office; but on the part of the fresh contestants at the forthcoming election there has been no pronouncement whatever other j than vague generalities. Surely it is due to those whose votes are asked for, that , they be informed by .public address or | published statement by a candidate, the ' exact views of the latter on the policy questions of the Harbour Board. It seems high time that candidates for seats on local bodies in Auckland should publicly make known their knowledge and views of important measures being, or to be dealt with by the corporation to which they desire to. be elected. Auck- i land is now no longer a village, but a I city large enough in herself and in her relations to other important centres to have done with the village system of silent candidature. —We are, etc., T. H. HALL & CO. (To the Editor.) Sir, —I have perused Mt. Virtue's letter, and agree with wha-t he says, but on looking up the Board's statement of accounts ending 31st December, 1907, which is the last one issued, I find, he has under-estimated the revenue, which is as follows:— £ £ Shipping dues from all sources 20,438 Water supplied to shipping 4,927 25,365 Rents from endowments .. 16,403 Dues on general merchandise Wharfages 44.170 Storages 4,630 "Weighing 612 49,421 Admiralty subsidy and sundries 4,175 * JE90,369 On studying carefully this revenue account, it is obvious Mr. Napier was quite in order when he stated at the last meeting of the Citizens' League that it was the consumer who should have the voice in the management of the affairs of the port, and not the nominees of any party. —I am, etc., CONSUMER. THE HOUSING PROBLEM (To the Editor.) Sir, —In your issue of the 15lh inst., Mr. J. H. Hannan takes mc to task for having stated on a deputation to the Premier, that a four or five-roomed house cannot be obtained in the city for less than 18/ or £ 1 per week. I am also reminded by Mr. liannau that he has houses that are let for as low a figure as 10/ per week. I am sorry that Mr. Hannan should feel aggrieved in the matter, as' 1 can truly state that when- I made the statement to the Premier, I did not have his houses in my mind at all; 1 meant houses of a more desirable character. Unfortunately many respectable families are obliged to live in such houses, biit it is irom necessity, and not from choice, and they are constantly on the look-out
for a better house if it can be obtained at a-,price - within.-their-, means. I -have been .subjected to'-a-great deal of criticism,'for making the statement that has aroused Mr.. Hannan's honest indignation, even after" this lapse of time I have not been able to discover any four or five-, roomed houses in a"'decent locality that j are to be let for "the figure mentioned: • Numerous landlords have drawn my attention to the fact that they have houses, I that are" let for less than that sum, 'but: I they are all occupied, therefore not obtainable. Auckland is deplorably defici- j ent in small cottages for workers, and the ' sooner that our' city' councillors realise: their . responsibilites in this. respect, and' i build workers' homes, under municipal' control, the better it will be for the paysipal and moral welfare of the workers ; and their families in the present over-! crowded areas. ' As a rule,' I do not 'reply to attacks made on mc in the Press, hut ; , Mr. Hannan is always such a rcfresilingj subject, that the temptation has been too great for me—and I have fallen.—l, am, etc., ARTHUR ROSSER, LIBERAL AND-LABOUR FEDERATION | | GYMNASTICS. (To the Editor.) i Sir, —Can you or any of your readers I inform us why, at municipal elections in Auckland, this Federation, whose plat- j form and principles are supposed to be, Jin the interest and furtherance of Liberalism and Labour, invariably support candidates who at the Parliamentary [polls endeavour to wipe out the Federation and. the party it is supposed to, uphold, instead of well-.tried .and able I , candidates belonging to the Federation's own party? How the .interests of, Liberalism and Labour can be furthered ■ and advanced by assisting those opposed 'thereto to place and power, and by -voting against their own -tried -and trusty j friends, is a query that perhaps some I members of , this Liberal and Labour organisation can answer.—l am, etc., j AUCKLAND LIBERAL.
CORRESPONDENCE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 70, 23 March 1909
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