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WELLINGTON COMMENTS.

THE NEED TOE STRONG NATIONAL PARTY. (SFECI-U. TO "THE PRESS.") WELLINGTON, December 8. The position regarding tho general election remains in tho samo state of uncertainty as it did last night, and the situation cannot very well be cleared up until about Wednesday, owing to the fact that there are 60 many absent voters' permits. Votes under these may be recorded in places far distant from the electorates to which they relate, and such voting papers have to be sent by registered letter to the returning officers of the electorates before they can bo counted. This time the number of absent voters' permits is unusually large, and as there are several electorates in which the candidate at present at the head of tne poll lias but a 6mail majority, there might easily stiil be a change in the present positions. Thu6, in the case of the Hon. E. P. Lee, who is only one vote behind the Liberal candidate, there are 267 absent voters and the Government may easily score a win. The same applies in the case of Mr A. McNicol (Reform) who is only 25 votes behind the Liberal for Pahiatua and there art 220 absent voters; in the. case of Mr David Jones, who is only 41 votes behind Mr Buddo. and there are 188 absent voters; in the case of Waikato, where the Reformer is only 35 behind, with absent voters; in the case of Taranaki, where the Reformer is 64 behind with 245 votes to come, and in the case of Awaru-a, where Mr J. R. Hamilton is only 32 behind, with 173 absent votes to come. On the other hand the absent votes may increase the Liberal majorities in these cases. There is no means of deciding what will happen until such votes are counted. In the case of the Hon. D. H. Guthrie (Oroua) his majority has been increased to 42, and the final result is no longer in doubt. Thus it will be seen that, apart altogether from the Liberals who are pledged to vote with Mr Massey on a No-confidouce motion against a combination of Liberals and extreme Labour, the Government has a good sporting chance of itself having a working majority in the new House. It is, of course, unlikely that all the absent voters will exercise their permits to vote. For instance, though 220 permits were issued in Pahiatua, advices have been received that only 167 votes have been polled. In tho 1919 olection a total of 16,000 absent voters' permits were issued, but only 13,000 absentees exercised the privilege of voting. In regard to the Labour Party, there is no doubt that, it was very well organised. It has been putting in solid work during the last three years, and the Civil Service bonus cuts and the decision of the Arbitration Court on the eve of the election for a reduction of wages on account of the reduction in tho cost of living helped it greatly. The organisation of the Eeform Party, on the other hand, was not nearly as good as it might have been. In Wellington, for instance, there were many Reform supporters who did not trouble to record their votes. They were so confident that the party would come back with a satisfactory majority that they thought their votes would make no practical difference. To-day one hears of quite a number of such cases.

The vote-splitting also made very considerable difference to several of! | the Reform candidates, this alone preventing the EefoTm Party from having a majority over all the other partlui' put together. The two most glaring instances of vote-splitting on tho Eeform side are in Patea and Waikato. In Waikato 3860 form votes were polled against 2369 Liberal .votes, while in Patea 4177 Reform votes were polled against 3265 Liberal votes. In the event of another election, both these seats should be won by the Reformers, and eo give Mr a working majority. The Napier seat, too, would most probably be won by the Government, for there the' Reform vote was 3487, against the Labour victors 3357. The failure of the women candidates was remarkable. It was thought that both Miss Melville and Mrs McVicar would poll much better than they did. Mrs McVicar's defeat was most humiliating. She had big and apparently successful meetings, but the people did not vote for her. At one booth she got only two votes. Mr Maesey is taking the position with philosophic calm, as well he may, for to use his own term, he has "had a dog's life" for some) time past. His character, however, newer shines more brightly than in adversity. At present everyone is talking about the prospect, and indeed the advisability of another general election to clear up the situation. More than ever people are realising that there is no room for three parties in New Zenlnd politics, and urging the formation of a strong national party to combat the extremists. A SEAMEN'S RESOLUTION. (PBESS ASSOCIATION TBLEGBAM.) WELLINGTON, December 8. A mass meeting of the Seamen's Federation held this morning heartily cheered the Labour election victories and passed a resolution congratulating the Labour Party on the splendid position of the polls, which had resulted in an increase in the Parliamentary representatives of eight, without a loss of a single seat, which augured well for the future democracy of the Dominion, and for the well-being of working men and women. NEW MEMBERS. MB E. McKEEN. Mr E. McKeen, the new Labour member for Wellington South, is 38 years of age. He was born in Edinburgh, and educated at West Calder, Heart of Midlothian. He worked in West Calder as a grocer's assistant in a co-operative store, and came to New Zealand fifteen years ago. For three years he was secretary of the Labour Representation Committee. He organised the Labour campaign in Wellington last election. Mr McKeen was also secretary of the Grocers' Union, chairman of the South Miramar School Committee, and a member of the School Commitees' Association. He was connected with the Labour movement in Scotland. His father was an enthusiastic co-operator. MR A. L. MONTEITH. Mr A. L. Monteith, who has captured the Wellington East seat for Official Labour, ia secretary of the Wellington Tramway Employees' Union, and has been prominent in the Labour movement for a number of years. At the last general election he stood for Wellington East, but was defeated. He was formerly a storemau, then he became secretary of the United Storemen's Union, and in the course of time he retired from that post to take the secretaryship of the Tramwaymen's organiaatioa.

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Bibliographic details

WELLINGTON COMMENTS., Press, Volume LVIII, Issue 17633, 9 December 1922

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1,107

WELLINGTON COMMENTS. Press, Volume LVIII, Issue 17633, 9 December 1922

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