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DEFENCE POLICY.

COUNCIL TO BE ABOLISHED*

MORE PRACTICAL METHODS.

NATIONAL DRILL SYSTEM.

(By Telegraph.—Special to "Star."}

UPPER HUTT, Friday. In the course of his epeech here tonight, the Prime Minister (Sir Joseph Ward) made a statement bearing oh defence matters:— "There will be material alterations in the Defence Department," he said, '<and I propose to ask Parliament next session to abolish the Defence Coiincil entirely. The individual members of the Council have done their duty, and have endeavoured to carry out the law to the utmost of their ability, but experience has shewn that the machinery is too cumbrous for a country with the population of New Zealand, and is for that very reason Jess ■effective than it should be. Parliament will, be asked to substitute a more practical system. "I may add th"at Colonel Robin and Colonel Davies are to go to England for j 12 months in turn. They will be attached to the War office, and these two responsible men will thus have ihe bene« fit of studying on the spot the latest developments in the Imperial service, so that they may on return to the Dominion be thoroughly posted up in €he most .nodera scientific methods of warfare. In the system to be adopted in New Zealand in the future it is needless to say that both these officers will hold responsible positions. "The Government proposed to submit to Parliament next session," Sir Joseph said, "a material alteration in connection with our internal defence system. They would submit proposals, riot of a compulsory character, but ensuring a national system of drill for the youth of this country from the time they went to school, passing through the cadet corps, to the age of 21. They would make it an absolute certainty that the young portion of this community would be equipped as effectively as if they tried to force upon them a system of compulsion, which a great many people in this country wer opposed to. He believed the Government would be able to submit' a very much better scheme of defence than they had at the moment, and one; which would make for the stronger, better and more uniform system of internal defence than they had had before. No member of the Administration was actuated by any feeling of jingoism, but as commonsense men they knew that we should take into consideration the growing value and responsibility of this country, and help to ensure a position that : contributed to the maintenance of peace throughout the Empire., To ensure this ! .they would have the assistance of large numbers of men who might be termed reserves. They Svould make provision for: rifle ranges from end to end of New Zealand at the cost of the country. They would see that every one of the rifle clubs secured a supply of free ammunition to the extent of 250 rounds per man. (Applause. ) "If the Government did this," "he said, "and if the members of private rifle clubs actively engaged in practice and became good shots, we ought to be able in New Zealand, without any feeling of militarism, to have a strong available land force which in time of stress and trouble would be called into active service so as to maintain our own position."

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DEFENCE POLICY. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909

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