HARBOUR BOARD BILLS.
(To the Editor.) Sir, —Permit mc to reply to Mr. Napier's last letter under the above heading, published in your last Saturday's issue—an egotistical letter, full of gross misrepresentations. Kow, Sir, when a writer asserts that the letter of another writer is full of gross misrepresentations, he should be prepared to justify his assertions, which I will now proceed to do. hi his opening sentence, Mr. Napier states tha^l , ""mad c an unwarrantable attack xipon the Government at the recent meeting of the Citizens , League.". That statement, Sir, is absolutely without foundation. I made no attack whatever upon the Government. —Misrepresentation No. 1. Mr. Napier then states: "In seeking to secure the help of the Citizens' League to become a member of the Auckland Haxbour Board, Mr. Alison waxed eloquent upon the present"undemocratic constitution of that body." That statement is also absolutely incorrect, and in making it Mr. Napier has drawn, as he so frequently does, upon his imagination. I was not a candidate at either of the recent elections of the three Harbour Board members, and, therefore, i "was not interested to secure the help 'of the Citizens' League to become a. member of the Auckland Harbour Board."—Misrepresentation. No. 2. Then Mr. Napier goes on to say that in speaking to the motion, I made no reference to two bills, in one of "which I the Government had made a change, and in the. other of which they had i not, .but that my first reference to two ; bills was made when I rose to reply. Well, Sir, my reply to Mr. Napier is thai; »thi3 statement is wholly opposed to fact, and can be refuted by every one of the hundreds of persons who were present at the meeting, and is positively refuted by Mr. C. V. Murdoch (Chairman of the meeting), in his letter which appeared in your issue dl April 3rd inst.— Misrepresentation. No. 3." > Mr. Napier further asserts: "When Mr. Alison rose to reply to my remarke, he then ? for the first time, said there had been two bills, and that the democratic franchise to which I referred wae only in the 'second? 1)111', which the Government had been forced to introduce by the adverse criticism 'with which the first bill had been aseailed"; and then goes on to say, "I interjected, 'No, .the bill you call the second bill had been in the printer's hands before Parliament met, , and neither bill was debated in Parliament.'". For cool effrontery, commend mc to Mr. J Napier. He •did: not interject in such words—he did not-interject at all—but now, in his anxiety to .extricate himself from the ignominious position- ho has 'placed himself in, he has trapped himself, and has made a statement in.writing from which he oaunot withdraw, and I which can indisputably be disproven, namely, "that neither bill was debated in Pailianient." Any of your readers can test Mr.- Napier's political knowledge and veracity by reference to "Hansard," volume 140, pages 144-ICO, and t there it will be found that the first bill, which Mr. Napier at the meeting positively stated had never existed, and now so decidedly contends wae tthe "second" bill, was debated on the second reading by nineteen ' members, the members -who debated the jbill being Messrs JMilJar, Massey, Ell, Laurenson, Witty, Alison, Buddo, Dillon, Poole, Aicken, jDavie, Hogan, Field, . Barber, Lang, Hall, Greenslade, Stallwortby.—Misrepresentation No. 4; and: Mr. .Napier dean bowled out. I- .... ■ Continuing, Mr. Napier say 3 that he' doe 3 not deny that two bills were printed,, but that "the one and-,only Harbour. Bill, was the "Government Policy! Bill of 192 clauses prepared months before, and that the second bill, a stopgap bill, was only printed and circulated, but not debated"; and yet "Hansard" proves that the bill, which Mr. Napier contends was the seoorid'bill and was not debated, was the first bill, anil Was debated, aiid debated to some pur-, pose, as the second bill, which Mr. Napier contends was the first' bill, made provision, as members advocated, that all the members of the Auckland Harbour Board should be elected by the people with; the exception of two appointedVb'y the Government, so that.upon his own written statements, JVIr. iNapier is again proven to be entirely wrong.—Misrepresentation. No, 5.
The next statement.j.Mr. Napier, makes ia his his reputation, as >He, says: "Mr.. Alison .pathetically complained, ,to> a group on the" ferry steamer afterithe meeting that he had no idea that Napier, who is so well" primed in harbour matTyas gjoing to be., at the. meeting; and'he ought to'iiave /been'notified?' Fancy, Sir, .if you can, my making such a remark as-"that Napier'was , so well primed in harbour...matters," antir"tha.t I ought to haVe been notified rhe vivas to be present." This is.another instance' of 'the "fertility of idea" - iand of the vivid imagination of a, gentleinariV who ought to take care not to polish himself out of 'Ms veracity.—Misrepresentation -No! 6. ; : .'. ;, -..:.;,. ~; . .;■,;',:■;>: i i Thea.-Mr. Napier goes on to say ; that the first point in dispute between us-was , : "Was there or was. there not any change proposed in the constitution of the Board? Mr.' 'Alison- said 'No/ and 1 said 'Yes,' and ypoii-Mr. Alison's own case he is proved, to .be in the wrong. The second question was, Did the Government introduce a 'democratic franchise. I said ..' Ye.s,' Mi.. Alison - said ' No.'" Sir, Mr. Napier knows thafr the points of difference.;-between ;,us at the meeting of-the league are not as he states. The points of- disagreement were,'as set'out in the letter written by .the chairman of the meeting, •Mr. C. P. Murdoch, and by a writer* under, the nom-de-plum c of, "Fr namely, .Were two Harbours- Bills duced during' the session of' 1907-?' * Mr. Alison said "Yes," Mr. Napier Did either provide for direct. ■representation of; the shipping , and* terests? Mr. Alison said "Yes, ,, ' Mr. Napier said "No." Mr. -Napier Jias changed front, and now goes so far as to admit that two bills were printed and circulated during the session of 1907, but maintains that neither of them was debated. Yet at the meeting of thfc' Citizens' League he'denied that two-bills had been introduced intp Parliament, and emphatically maintained that s only one had been introduced—the bill which provided for the members being elected by the people. That the points'of dis; agreement were as I have stated," and not as Mr. Napier sets out, ie proven by the statements contained in the concluding sentences of Mr* Murdochs letter, which reads as follows: "The'jesult of my investigations proves .clearly, and conclusively that two Harbour Board Bills were introduced during the session of 1007, and that Mr. Alison's statements are indisputably confirmed in every particular," so that one cannot help but feel sorry for Mr. Napier in the unenviable and ignominious- position in which he has placed himself. He would have acted wisely had he remained Bilent upon the question of Harbours Bills, but Mr. Napier is not so constituted. He is assertive and full'of "egotism, and in defence of any statement he makes is prepared apparently to make any assertion or niis-3tatement. Mr. Napier says: "I have undertaken the task of exterminating .him 1 , but have undertaken something beyond the powers of abler men." 1 have no desh-e to exterminate Mr. Napier, nor is it necessary, even if 1 desired to do so, for he performs that part himself. There can be no doubt that if, instead of his being appointed a Government nominee, it were left to the decision of the people,' Mr. Napier would certainly be exterminated as a member of the Auckland Harbour. Board, notwithstanding "he is so well primed in harbour matters." I advise Mr Napier in future to add to his historical knowledge, and take well to heart the story of George Washington; and as Mr. Napier is free in quotations of ancient adages, I commend one from Plato's works which, it would be well for him to read, mark; learn, and inwardly digest, namely, '.'There is nothing so delightful as the hearing or the speaking of truth," and that "Falsehood, though it seems profitable, will hurt J'ou; truth, though it seems hurtful, will profit you." —I am etc., 05. W. ALtSON. Takapuna, April 14. . . . . . i ■ '
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