. a KEEN INTEREST IN THE CONTEST.
(SPECIAL TO "IHE PRESS.") WELLINGTON, September 12. As polling day draws near, the interest in the Rangitikei election is becoming exceedingly keen; indeed, it is quite safe to say that never befor© has such interest in politics been evinced in the district. There will be no fewer than 53 polling booths, and the voting is likely to be on a much larger scale than at the last general election. The returning officer states that during the seventeen years he has resided, in the district no election cam,paigri has aroused so much interest as the present one. Since the late Mr Remington's success at "the polls seven years ago, the Government have held the seat, but now there are indications of a considerable change of feeling on the part of the electors, and it is not unlikely that the Reform party may win the fight. The retirement of Mr George Hutchison, who loyally agreed to stand down in the interests* of the Reform pai-ty, will naturally improve Mr Hockly'a chances of success.
As in the case of the by-election at Tuapeka, the Government have again selected dates for the polling that are very, ahsuitable ! from tbe farmers' point of, view. For instance, the 16th, w"tuch is the date of the "first ballot, falls on the date of tie Rangitikei Racing Club's meeting at.Marton. This fixture is always a popular one with tho farming community, and some settlers from a distance who. wish to attend it will be unable to record their, votes. Then again,' the second ballot—should one be necessary-r-is fixed for the date of an equally, popular race meeting at Wanganui. Efforts, are, . however, being made to secure a special train from Taih'ape to' Marton on election day, in connection with the races at Marton; but if this cannot be; arranged, many of those who decide to attend the races will not get an opportunity of receding their votes. The chances of Messrs Hornblow (Liberal-Labour candidate) and of" Mr Georgetti (who says he is "sitting tight on a rail") are not regarded as of any value. In regard to Messrs Meldrum and Smith, it is no secret that, the Government vote will go largely to the former; but if he fails, tho Government will be Quite ready to .take "'.up'""' Mr Smith. The amusing thing in this connection is -that both candidate's are supporters of the freehold, amd the fact that the Government, which only a little while ago, nailed' its colours to the mast in the battle for leasehold, is finding 'both' candidates "fully satisfactory," is causing some perturbation in th© ranks of their Socialistic and ultraRadical supporters. How the leasehold Ministerial journals will square the Government's precept with its practice is a puzzle, but the "Post," who nowadays leans mainly towards the Government, referring to the Ministerial telegrams- to the Liberal candidates, says: —"The method indicated by these Rangitikei telegrams must bo unique in, the annals of political tergiversation. Two years ago the land laws of the country were placed by the Government in their present position; at the generaelection, Ministers stood for tho maintenance of th© status quo; ever since then, though thc enemy have been preparing for attack, they have maintained a rigid silence on the subject; now, however,- they leave it to bo inferred that they are contemplating a. betrayal which they have never before dared to avow or.even to hint at. If the popular, cause is to be betrayed, w© are at least entitled to ask that it shall be done openly." What we may perhaps be permitted to call 'an honest betrayal' would be far preferable to the silent, secretly-timed and evasive surrender which appears to be in progress."
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RANGITIKEI ELECTION., Press, Volume LXV, Issue 13526, 13 September 1909
RANGITIKEI ELECTION. Press, Volume LXV, Issue 13526, 13 September 1909
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