BRITAIN'S SEA POWER.
" NEW ZEALAND'S OFFER. ■' CONGRATULATIONS FROM CITY COUNCIL. UNIVERSAL TRAINING' ADVOCATED. The ordinary meeting of the City Council last night opened with a long discuision on the naval crisis', and the question of universal training. The matter was introduced by his Worship the Mayor (Mr. C. D. Grey), who said he was quite in accord with the action of the New Zealand Cabinet in offering one, and, if necessary, two firstclass battleships to assist in upholding the supremacy of the .British Flag. He thought the Cabinet and the Government deserved every commendation for their prompt action. Mr. Grey then moved: " That the Auckland City Council desires to convey to the Rt. Hon. the Premier its hearty congratulation upon the prompt statesmanlike and patriotic action of the Government of New Zealand in offering on behalf of the Dominion to the British Government one, or if necessary two first-class battleships to meet the demands of the present naval crisis." THE GOVERNMENT UPHELD. Mr. J. Patterson seconded the motion, and said he was glad the matter had nofc been overlooked, as all other public bodies had supported the action of the Premier. The Government had taken action at the proper time, and had worthily upheld the honour of this Dominion. UNIVERSAL TRAINING. Mr. P. M. Mackay said he would like to see the following clause added to the resolution: " That the Auckland City Council is of opinion that the defence of the Dominion should be established on a basis of universal training." He went on to say that the present crisis must be taken as an indication that the naval supremacy of Great Britain could be challenged. New Zealand must make adequate provision for the contingency of that supremacy being lost. If ai any time such a dire calamity happened, New Zealand would be thrown on its land forces, and its defence should be the duty of all, and not the option of an inadequate few. The Government of the Dominion evidently recognised by its present offer, that finance was not a bar. There was a feeling amongst nearly all the citizens that universal training had been too long delayed and there were no bodies more fitted by contact with and representation of the people than municipal .corporations to voice the public demands in matters of absolute vital importance. The freedom of citizenship would not be trammelled by universal training to any greater extent than it was b.y the volunteer system, for what the State accepted from a volunteer it should have no hesitation in exacting from every suitable citizen. Universal training did not mean conscription by any means—they were two very different things. A NATION IN ARMS. Mr. C. J. Parr cordially agreed with the sentiments of the resolution. He thought the Prime Minister of this Dominion was to be commended for promptness and the statesmanlike attitude which he had, adopted in this crisis in th& history of the Empire. He particularly wished to say that the striking feature of the matter, namely,' the promptness of the Government, was, to his mind, to be commended in the highest terms. With Mr. r.lat-;ay, He regretted that the Government had not been so prompt to recognise its duties in the more immediate needs of the defence of this country. In the Board of Education and other bodies ot wmen ne was a member, he had continually advocated universal trainiug for our young men. When the State gave free education practically from the A.B.C. and the primer classes to the University, the country could fairly claim from its young men in return for this splendid heritage of education, that they should do something for the defence of their native land. (Hear, hear.) He was a little more than surprised that the " Powers that be " had not wakened up to the need of the community in this respect. He supported Mr. Mackay's view that the Council should express the opinion, as calmly and considerately as possible, to the oGvernment, that the' time had come when the Government should certainly consider the question of the defence of this country. " To-day," continued Mr. Parr, " we' are defended by a few thousand volunteers—excellent men, excellently drilled, but badly equipped and utterly inadequate in numbers against an invading force. It is not right, it is not proper, that it should he so. We should express the opinion that the Government should be no longer lax. I think such a resolution, coming from the premier city of New Zealand, would carry weight. (Applause.) I am pleased that Mr. Mackay has had the courage to bring this matter forward. With universal training what would the result be? Instead of a few thousand volunteers, we would have 100,000 riflemen, well armed, drilled and equipped; and well might any nation pause before they attacked our doors and guarded gateways." Mr. Parr went on to say that there were thousands of boys who were enthusiastic in their training as cadets, but the movement was not continued, and much of the value of the •cadet training was being lost to the community. He thought these boys should be compulsorily trained until 20 or 21 years of age. The day had come when every man should bp proud to carry a rifle, and be able to render good service, should the need arise, in the defence of his country, the finest in the world. THE GOVERNMENT CRITICISED. Mr. Bagnall supposed that in the face of the chorus of approval which had been heard throughout the Dominion, anyone who would dare to differ would be called unpatriotic. Personally, he gave way to no one in his patriotism and his Imperial ideas. If they looked at this matter carefully, they would see that they had acted a" little hysterically. The Cabinet had met in Wellington, and without discussing their proposals with anyone, had committed the country to an expenditure of £2,000,000, and that without aeking anyone's consent. He did not say that New Zealand should not give one or two Dreadnoughts, but he did say it -was wrong for the people to join in a chorus of approval when the Government had done something which they had no right to do—something which should be done only at the time of a. great crisis. . Mr. Parr: Well, the time has come. Mr. Bagnall: It surprises mc that the people say it is right for the Government to commit them to this expenditure. Chorus: They're quite right 1 quite right! Mr. Bagnall said that such a decision by the Government should be arrived at by the right way. He thought it was wrong for the people to knowingly applaud the Government for doing a wrong thing. iLooal bodies had no right to vote the ratepayers' money without consulting them, .and if the Government had asked the people they would have re-
ceived their answer. He thought the two matters should be decided by separate resolutions. A^i/ESSON I TO THE WORLD. , Mr. Enirican ■vra.s in entire sympathy with the resolution. Mr. Bagnall had stated that the Government had acted in a wrong way, but there was a good "arid, v obvious reason why this was done without consulting Parliament. Promptness was the one essential. It was well known that Germany and France as colonieing Powers had been absolute failures. Instead of getting any help from their colonies, "they had to pay large' sums year by year to keep their colonies going. The one feature of New Zealand's action had shown that the English colonies, instead of being a drag, were a help to the Motherland. It was ehownthat the colonies would come to the rescue at a time like this, and it was not only-a lesson to England, but it was a lesson to Europe and the world. (Applause.) He endorsed the action of the Government and the Premier, for they had managed to gauge the popular feeling at this time. A little time ago the Council had ivoted £1,000 towards the American Fleet Reception. This was done without going to the ratepayers, and the action of the Council had been approved by the people. Mr. Mackay said he had no objection . to the two resolutions being taken separately. Mr. G. Knight eaid it was not many years ago when the late 'Right Hon. R. J. Seddon had saved this country from a great catastrophe by his prompt action. Sir Joseph Ward, in acting as he had, had done quite right. England's navy was a guarantee of the peace of the world, and the supremacy of the seas must be maintained. The resolution proposed by the Mayor was carried, Mr. Bagnall voting against it. Mr. Mackay then moved his previous suggestion in favour of universal training ac a separate resolution, which was seconded by Mr. Parr. Mr. Bngnall thought it was doubtful if a motion of this kind ehould be introduced without notice. It was rather vague. In his opinion there wae but little difference between conscription and universal training. Mr. Glover said that he had in hie platform speeches declared that he was prepared for conscription. So far as New Zealand's gift of a battleship was concerned, he had been interviewed by reporters, and had given his views in the Press. Mr. Mackay: Conscription and universal training are very different things. Mr. Farrell was in favour of universal training. He had seen some excellent results from cadet companies. Universal training.' taken from the earliest years. was a thing they could not meet, but he hoped he would never live to see conscription in the British Empire. He was in favour of the training of cadets being continued until the boys reached maturity, and thus they would secure a large force of men who would know the use of a rifle and how to handle it. The motion Tvas carried without dissent.
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BRITAIN'S SEA POWER., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 73, 26 March 1909
BRITAIN'S SEA POWER. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 73, 26 March 1909
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