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LOYALITY OF LABOUR., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 78, 1 April 1909
LOYALITY OF LABOUR.
BBOEB SUPREMACY AT SEA. VEtf ZEALAND DREADNOUGHT. -rrrtVS QE T 3ll T^ ol3 COUNCIL. .The members o£ the Trades and labour "« nncfl SP 6ll * some time lasfc night ™ fussing the question of defence and S%, Zealand's offer ol a Dreadnought f fbe Imperial Government. Opinions ere divided, hut there was a general ■Ireoonderance of adverse criticism. lit L- Henry, who introduced the submitmoved —"That this Council disapJ f 0 T C 3 of tha action of Sir Joseph Ward ?' offering a Dreadnought to the Mother rvirntrr" with another one if necesr'' ji'He thought the money could Shatter spent locally. If Great Britain Dreadnoughts she was in a bettoposition to get them for herself than M% Zealand was to get them for her. i g& not think for one moment that rtj3 country did not need defence, but tte money ought to be spent here in .IgfyhuJ onr ports and building up our Ljence system. When New Zealand rejnired it, that Dreadnought might be Lsnt, and this country should prepare to its own defence. "I would not be jjjlined-io shoulder a gun and fight for country that would not pass a Right to Work Bill and give mc the right to Kjf" he continued. He was as much jbvß to-day as the bondman of days rane by, only the bond-slave was in a fetter position. To-day in England they «sve a living wage when they could not fjjp it He came from the Old Country, he knew. The moment the employers did not want their servants they jotrid go out and starve; but they would not do that for their horses, which they jid to pay for, or in the days gone by jo their bond slaves. It meant that the people of this country were going to be jaiedat the rate of 3s 7d per head per «jamn for the interest on the money jeqtared. As it was, they had borrowed joae £70,000,000, and were taxed heavily and that when they had not the jgo'mces of Great Britain. For these reasons he was going to oppose the jremiefs action. 'Mr. Aggers, who seconded the motion, jemarked that it was a matter of vital Importance that they should be saddled jnth such a debt without the repreEffltatives of the people being consulted, if they had money to burn it should be meat "in this country. At the present. time there were any amount of unem-1 ployed, and they had a valuable asset a the iron deposits at Para para. "There i is any amount of -blood-letting in the! lir," the speaker went on, "but if Sir •Joseph Ward were a proper statesman -ud a prudent man, he would say, ' "We ! irill nationalise the iron industry and build men-o'-war and cannons in this country. Which" would be the greatest i «ah? Take us in a state of war. We wrald run out of iron and steel in a : few months. Our guns would be worn out, and we would have to cry to the enemy, 'Taihoa until we get some more guns, and we'll go on with the fight.' A trained expert had reported that at Jarapara alone were millions and millions of tons of splendid iron in sight, wd they could soon build an iron works sad turn out guns and ships for the defence of the country. They had not heard that from the Premier. That ¥ould not give him a dukedom. Personilly, he was one of those who regarded j the matter as a piece of clap-trap. "1 tee no time to take up a. 6word and jjtt [for other people," he said. If the nmlists and large landowners want to fell let them. I would not mind King fiiird and the Kaiser each taking his fa and having iT out, and they would fS an immense audience. If we are pug into the business at all, let us Sold the ships and arms in our own enmtry, and we will be in a better josition for defence." Another delegate thought the whole filing was the work of a lot of political hum-bugs in England and the desire cf the papers for material for "black-cap. leadings." Mr Keir Hardie and twenty kbonr members were going to Germany to talk the matter over and show what tie workers thought. They were trying ia England to chuck the guns from their Moulders and make the fellows who carried them take to the pick and shovel. In Ms opinion the whole thing would end ia a fiasco. New Zealand was going to borrow £4 per head to make a present to England, leaving it to posterity W pay off the debt. Eosser supported the resolution. Slough not a member of the Internanoaal Peace Society, he was a Britisher fad believed in defending his hearth and noma. Possibly the time would come men they would get a rude awakening .nd when the time came he would like wwZealaad to be able to take its part. |P in the present instance the Pregjer had done an unconstitutional thing. Se could not claim even the originality -.«tae idea, for that came from Aus- ■ P&*. Australia, however, had been Some time ago ft hitter and wistful cry of the unemployed arose in New Zealand and TO re told there was-no money to JM men to work on necessary lines of Whvay and other important works. Uarles the First had lost his head : r amugh SM h unconstitutional procedure, RS v thou^hfc sir Joseph Ward had |H 2us in not consulting "the faithful v (Laughter.) He had prom"M a Dreadnought, and another if TOsary, rendering the country liable Bgjjto expenditure of about £3,500,000. ™aps he thought the offer would not . accepted, but the money was needed iffiS for roads, railways, to settle the WW on the land, and yet the Premier j™?*d this Dreadnought. And the kTji Jt ' Was i<; oeea accepted. It stated that England was bet- . gable to provide many Dreadnoughts '"j? 11 ~l ew Zealand was to provide one. m whole thing had started because discovered, officially, that GerSF w buildiD g more Dreadnoughts j*« sto had promised to do. Everyone -ZT ■ lt > tat not officially. The Conservei party bad worked it up to °-et BE , h out oi power. Now, New gg would have to go to the Old should i Do rrow the money. This ■ WTif ? COme out of surplus; they mrolnT tO , of a million ■'ttwint. a year ' on P a P er > and vet • fcrnntrS 6 * to S° dee P er th e mire flat* v generosity. He admitted ; fcr th. ,?^ alaild aid not pay enough i ■**? t£° mg of these Beas - an<i ■• Sttitor . a ? re read y to support a ' •fcW I*l1* 1 EUb3idy than to P rovide 1 mSL*?* d » ht in ™SH one note , *Ps« 6«« eves 7ono would think wa i that tho flood °i S«WSSL?" 1 * SBt la and tho J" 6 " ' **c a*! ! 8 # 8t th « cold eheulder be- , S« sntLr^J 80 * b re «fht aers on pjSJfG**. & thaughrtlie workers ! N ffiJS 9 ?? e§ tfl pretest, mi pre* , * liXT 8 -! s i j*i£di!L** l - I * rt « wHle i .""■'.- Beea ÜBeaasMtotianal la hj« ,
offer, they should also remember that the protection of their homes depended, on British naval supremacy. There was no country in Europe which would be more ready to snap up the Australasian colonies than Germany. It was imperative that they should show their national spirit if they wished for the protection of the British navy. From the Imperial standpoint they must endorse the proposal. "To-day," he went on, "we are an infant colony, alone in the southern seas. Take away British protection and where are we?" He the resolution should be modified, otherwise it might be regarded as selfish. They must admit that since they were living under a capitalistic system, that capital must be protected. Another speaker said he was loyal to the country he lived in and to the flag he lived under, but be was not loyal to capitalism. He wanted to see the workers have something to fight for, because now they were asked to fight in the defence of others. Here they were, ready to rush away and borrow money to give a Dreadnought to people who were rolling in millions. He gloried in such men as Mr T. E. Taylor and wished there were more of them. Mr O. Mason was in favour of the resolution and thought that not only was the Premier wrong in making the offer he did, but also in saying that its moral effect would be so vast. If there was any immediate danger of invasion, he thought the colonies would place all their resources at the disposal of England. A voice: Too late then. Mr Mason said there was no immediate danger of invasion and there need be nothing done except what could be achieved by constitutional means. When this senseless panic died down the Premier would regret his headlong action, and would find out that Parliament and the people would call him to strict account. Labour should make a united nrotest. * As a Britisher, Mr. Peake wondered if there were any real cause for alarm. What about, the affairs in Austria and Russia? Apparently Germany had been at work and bad brought about her own ends. The question was, How much was there behind the scenes so far as England was concerned? As far as the Premier's action was concerned, it would have its good effect, though perhaps ,the attitude of Australia was "better. What was the use of spending £"1,500.000 here, if Germany was to walk in and take it? They had many objectionable things under the""British flag, but it was within the workers' province to alter those in a constitutional way. He thought the resolution should be modified. Another delegate who had been in Germany said they found that England was falling behind the two-Power standard. England had always supported the colonies from the start, and would be prepared to protect them to the last man. If New Zealand were threatened to-morrow he would take up a rifle and fight, and therein was the honour. The Premier had acted at a vital time, and he (the speaker) thought be was right. New Zealand had need of advertisement, and had received a good one in this offer. As far as Mr. Keir Hardie and his twenty Labour members going to Germany were concerned, he did not think they would do any good. "Mr. Keir Hardie has one failing/ he concluded, "and that is he thinks he is the only man on earth." Mr. Long thought the Premier had no right to act as he had done without consulting the workers of the country. He was glad to see the action taken by Mr. Taylor, and wished they had a few hundred more like him. "I come from the Old Country, from Ireland," continued Mr. Long, "and God knows if Ireland would be any worse under German rule than "under British." The late Lord Burton had bought 50,000 acres in the West of Scotland, where the croftei-3 had been living for years and years on their small farms, and harj turned them out. This wa-s the sort of man they were asked to protect. The day was not so far away when the British workman would realise his power. A Voice: Under Keir Hardies leadership. Mr. Long continued that warfare should be a thing of the past, and the capitalists wanted them to fight to protect their property. As a. New Zealander, he was prepared to protect his hearth and home in this country, but not to go outside to figm, for someone else. The only part of warfare he was prepared to take his share in was when an army came here. A Voice: No good then. Too late. Mr. Henry said he did not -think it would make a great difference to New Zealand if Great Britain was under Germany's rule.—(Chorus of dissent.) As patriots, it was at least "up to them to study posterity." Had it not been for the patriots of old, the posterity of to-day would not enjoy fho liberty they did. He wanted to see our own defences perfected in this country, and was not opposed to militarism, though ho was to wars of aggression. They squealed loudly because Germany was building Ih-eadnoughts too fast, but Britain started it, and he did not blame the Germans.
The resolution was then put and carried, with a few dissentient voices.
LOYALITY OF LABOUR., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 78, 1 April 1909
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